This has been a truly epic winter. As I scroll through Facebook on a daily basis, I am bombarded by people who were begging for snow in December, but are now cursing the white stuff’s existence and praying for summer. Turning on the news, the weather is the main topic of conversation; the anchors ponder where we are going to put all of the snow as it congests are roads and highways. Daily I hear someone remark that we will have snow on the ground until May if it continues to accumulate at its present rate. I wonder: is that a bad thing? Skiing in May sounds pleasant to me.
As other people bemoan the increasing amount of snow, I remain unconcerned. I am brimming with joy as the snow continues to fall, accumulate, and refresh my favorite ski runs. Not only am I grateful for the snow, but also that I have been available to get out on these snow days and bask in the pow, racking up an impressive number of powder days for the season.
The skiing this season has been so wonderful that I often find myself coming home and unpacking my ski stuff from the day while simultaneously packing new ski stuff for the following day. It seems my ski gear is in a constant state of flux, with wet layers being substituted out for dry layers, resort skis being subbed out for touring gear, and touring gear being subbed out for snowboards. As the locations and activities change, so does the day’s gear list.
The problem with this type of rotation is that you find yourself forgetting items due to the constant packing and unpacking. Everyone who has ever skied has a story about forgetting socks, goggles, or a jacket and not noticing until arriving at the mountain, forcing them to suck it up and replace the missing item at the mountain’s ski shop (normally at an exorbitant cost). Furthermore, most people do not ski a hundred days in the season and rotate through as much gear as I do. Depending on who I am meeting, the conditions, and the objectives for the day, I can be packing a considerable amount of different pieces. It becomes further confused as items get spread out during the drying process.
This season Mount Wachusett has gotten me for a pair of socks and a pair of pants. On both occasions I probably could have done without, but sucked up the expense of these items as punishment for being so forgetful. Despite my belief that my odds of forgetting something are significantly higher than the average person, I find it an inexcusable offense and the sign of a gumbie.
Earlier this week I was especially hurried, and managed to forget something on two different days. Luckily, I was bailed out on both days…but not without damaging my ego. On Monday I showed up at ‘The Stash’ and began preparing for the day when I realized that I had forgotten a pack. There is no worse feeling than packing an entire backpack’s worth of contents into your vehicle and then realizing that you neglected to bring the pack. Luckily, I had a day pack in my car with clothes for work in it (my post-ski activity for the day). I dumped the clothes onto the car’s backseat and delighted in my good fortune for the day.
Then on Tuesday, as the snow dumped on Mount Wachusett, I prepared myself for a skin up the road with Luke and Mitch only to find that I had left my goggles at home. The night before I had replaced the lenses on the goggles (they had become pretty scratched over the course of the season) and had left the goggles on my coffee table. I would like to blame being in a hurry for this oversight, but in reality it was more the evening’s beer’s fault. Once again, I got lucky; Luke had a second pair of goggles in his truck and was kind enough to let me borrow them for the day, making my morning pow session much more enjoyable.
Perhaps I need to develop a pre-departure checklist similar to the ones used by airplanes before they depart. I could even read it in an aviator-esque voice – “Goggles…check. Pack…check.” – because it seems that as the season progresses, I am only getting worse at showing up fully prepared.