I haven't skied a wide variety of slopes. Blue Knob, Seven Springs, Tussey Mountain (where I taught) in Pennsylvania. Valle Nevado in Chile. And that's it. I never got to go skiing in France because I was rocking a broken wrist the entire ski season. I never got to go skiing on the United State's west coast because I had never been to the west coast until March of this year. But now I'm here - probably for good. And I have no excuse, not even the excuse of having left all of my equipment back in PA, because they have rentals here. And since Steven's Pass, only an hour away, is open until May 6th, I really had no excuse. Not that I wanted an excuse not to go skiing. So I went. My guide, Jeff, decided that the first thing we were going to do was go up the Tye Mill lift and ski some black diamond powder. At the top of the lift, taking pictures in front of the incredible backdrop (I asked Jeff if it was ok if I kept saying "Oh wow." "That's why I brought you here," he told me) we met a couple who had met skiing and were on their 47th year of skiing together. They were smiling all over. The man, well into his 70s, told us that he is learning how to butter. Groovy!
Powder...I don't know if I've ever seen powder in real life, let alone skied it. I've seen the pictures of the skiers whooshing down the slopes up to their waists in powder who look like they're causing an avalanche with their awesomeness. We skirted around the edge of the slope until we found some - soft, fresh and perfectly white. I didn't cause an avalanche, but I still felt kind of awesome.
At the bottom of the hill they had set up a giant air-filled trampoline underneath an 18 foot jump. "Do you want to go try that?" Jeff asked me. "I'm 60% sure that I do," I said. "But let's go ski some more and then I'll be 100%." So we went and skied the rest of the mountain. Jeff had brought an extra pair of headphones and a double jack so that I could listen to his ipod on the lift with him, but I realized that we were getting fewer runs in because we had to unplug everything at the top of the mountain, and that took an extra five seconds off the time that we could have been skiing. I danced to my own mountain music. As Jeff said, skiing is dancing on a snow-covered mountain (while wearing long skinny boards attached to your feet).
When we got down again for lunch, the line for the jump had grown to fifty or more, they were playing music, and everyone was watching from the lodge balcony. Seeing everyone watching, I went from being 100% sure that I wanted to try it to 0% sure. So instead, we watched with everyone else as we feasted on smushed up sesame crackers, pretzel crumbs, and melting chocolate. In fact, I was melting. It was so hot that there were girls skiing in bikinis. Actually, it wasn't hot enough for that, but they were doing it anyway. On the slopes I also saw some pirates, a clown, and a unicorn. I was looking for Waldo but I never found him.
Jeff and I danced some ski-boot swing to the music in front of the lodge and then went back up the mountain to get some more runs in before the mountain officially closed for summer. We caught the last lift up at 4pm, and waited at the top on a rock in the sun until all of the skiers had gone down. The lift guy skied by and hassled us. "After me there's no one left if you hurt yourself." he told us.
"What a goober," I said to Jeff as he passed. The guy obviously heard me because he turned around and laughed. "You guys have fun," he said. "You have to be careful," Jeff advised me. "Sound carries here a little too well."
The mountain host came by on his last run and asked to take our picture. "You guys are great," he said, and left. We were the last ones there. Then, like the curtain call of a play, we stood and skied down, one long, last run, to the bottom.
Except that it wasn't really that graceful, because Jeff got distracted by watching his own shadow in the snow and did an incredible face plant. Not that I hadn't already done a few of those earlier...
At the bottom of the hill, they had closed the rental shop where all of our stuff was stored, so we had to hunt down someone who could open it up for us. Thankfully, we found someone, and managed to make it back in time for me to make dinner for Stark, Victor S, and friends.
*Thanks to Scott for the title!