Ka Pow

My car in the morning

With the holidays behind us and a big storm on the way, my girlfriend and I headed north Sunday afternoon hopeful to be riding fresh snow the following day.  We were headed toward Waterville Valley thanks to a few passes given to us by my girlfriend’s family (thanks Lynn and Leslie) for Christmas.

As a side note: gift certificates get a great deal of hype for being great presents to give hard-to-shop-for people…why haven’t ski passes taken off? They are incredibly handy.  Even working at a shop and getting shop passes, I still have a need for ski passes.  Whether I want to bring a friend but they don’t want to pay full price, or it is a blackout week (no shop privileges) a ski pass is a very handy thing to have.  Or, worst case scenario, I can trade the pass in the parking lot for beer or money.

The plan was to leave early beating the storm north, stop and buy bindings for the girl’s new board, and hunker down to a good night’s sleep to be up for first chair.  It was a good plan and we stuck to it.  We had stopped and purchased bindings at Plymouth Ski and Sport, went to dinner at the Common Man in Plymouth, and were nestled into our five star room at the Thornton Days Inn (a great place to stay because it is not quite ski country, so you are not subjected to ski country rates) before the first flakes had started to fly up north.

Almost there….listen to the wind

In the morning we woke up to a snowy paradise.  Easily eighteen inches of snow had fallen throughout the night and it was still snowing hard.  We hit the continental breakfast for some quick and easy food (also a reminder you get what you pay for, in my case a cold cup of coffee and frozen donut) and headed for the slope to ride pow.  Of course in my excitement to ride the first ‘real’ snow of the season I made one minor miscalculation: my girlfriend wants to snowboard but doesn’t really know how.  She has snowboarded before, and on her third attempt last season had shown signs of progression, but she still was a long way from riding a powder day.

Finding another use for handwarmers (nose warmers)

Hmmm…..what to do?  Sign her up for a lesson of course!  It was the perfect solution. I would get to ski pow all morning while someone else suffered on the bunny slope working on linking turns.  I would be free to romp the mountain in the morning and return to ride in the afternoon with the girl (who hopefully had some skill building occur in my absence).

Wind whipped and tired

It was a great plan that was only foiled by savage winds.  My girlfriend benefited from the unruly weather, she signed up for a group lesson but was the only one who showed so she got a very cheap private.  The extra attention seemed to have paid off because by the end of the day she was looking much more confident on her board.  For me, however, I was only given a pow appetizer as the mountain only opened to the middle (the high winds kept the higher lifts from running).  So, I only was allowed to taste the good snow on the mountain’s more moderate terrain.  On a positive note, it made joining the girl on the bunny slope a little more appealing, rather than having to leave behind epic conditions.

Rule #1 It doesn’t matter how you look on the mountain as long as you look good at the base

In the end it was a great trip with some good runs.  My girlfriend enjoyed some time away and some decent snowboarding.  Furthermore, the girl is one step closer to being a competent rider.