The Season

Getting ready for the first run of the season (I fell a mere fifteen feet into it)

Over the last few weeks (maybe months) I have been highly anticipating the beginning of ski season.  It seems that as the days get shorter and the air gets colder, the craving for getting onto the snow and making turns starts creeping into my head.  I love climbing and am always a little sad to see the season start to fade, but the idea of skiing and snowboarding makes me feel a little better about our progression to winter.

The other great thing about ski season is that it allows me to reconnect with some friends who disappear in the summer.  Many friends prefer water over rock in the summer, so the only time we really spend together is during ski season, unless one of us coerces the other into getting outside their comfort zone (I kayak surfed swam a bunch two summers ago).  In many ways winter reunites us climber, bikers, surfers, and paddlers – it seems our outdoor options get narrowed in the winter. Or, maybe everyone just wants to take advantage of the snow while its here.

During the initial gatherings, everyone claims that their summer workouts and sports are superior to the others and everyone petitions each other to join them in their preferred summer activities the next spring (remember you can never cultivate enough new partners).  This is often the time when talking under the influence of fresh snow leads to promises to try new things and join others in their passions are made, though such promises are rarely kept.

A grassy ride to the top
The other great thing about the ski season is that it is a much more accessible sport for many of my friends.  While most of them do not posses the skills or equipment to venture into the back country, they did grow up skiing and can join in for some skin and ski mornings or lift assisted riding at the resort.  I love that the ski season allows me to reconnect with some of my older, less outdoorsy (pre-EMS) friends and share with them one of my greatest passions.  
With desperation to make turns in my heart and no snow on the ground anywhere, I headed to Mount Wachusett the other day on the rumor that they had one trail open off of the summit.  On my drive to the mountain I had imagined grim conditions, but when I arrived to the near empty lot I was surprised to see the trail appeared to be full of snow.  It felt strange to ride the chair lift over a field of grass and a lake that was not even frozen yet, and I was dubious of the conditions on the trail.  The snow makers must have been busy, though, because upon arriving at the top I was suddenly in a winter wonderland.  Riding down the trail I was amazed at the coverage and quality of the snow.  The air was warm, and the sun was shining creating almost spring conditions. 
A view from the top
After roughly ten runs and one really good fall (it’s early in the season) I decided to call it a day.  It felt amazing to get outside and make some turns.  It was also great that one of my surfer/paddler friends decided to pry himself away from a breaking surf to join me.  Sure it was only one trail and a handful of runs but it was a great beginning to the season.