Reflecting on the ski season so far, my first impression would be to label it mediocre. I was recently surprised when I totaled up my ski days for the season and discovered I had managed roughly forty days on snow so far. I was surprised because it seems this season has lacked the consistency we were lucky enough to have experienced the past few winters. The more I’ve thought about this season, though, the more I have come to believe this to be the year of the jinx. So far, even the good days have ended poorly for me; I’ve made very misstep possible, and seemingly every time it has snowed, I’ve either been hurt or my pass is invalid. Despite having skied a considerable amount of days so far this season, I have done very little of the type of skiing I am really passionate about.
The jinx may have started on the first real powder day of the season. Arriving well before the local mountain opened to score some early morning powder runs, I was just cruising down lower part of the mountain, considering if I had time to sneak in one more run, when I was attacked by a snow snake, resulting in ten stitches in my face, a bruised ego, and a couple days where the doctor suggested I not ski. Of course, it was snowing that morning…in fact it snowed all day, and continued to snow for the next two days. I may have gotten the first couple of powder runs at the mountain this season, but in the end those runs cost me three days of powder skiing. (A nice addendum to the story is that I was interviewed by a news team stationed at the mountain that morning, and eventually made it on television. I had forgotten about the interview–either thanks to the chaotic events of the day or due to a mild head injury–and only found out about it because my parents saw me on TV. Normally I would have been stoked to have made the news, but the stitches, hospital visit, and pain curbed a lot of that enthusiasm.]
Earlier this month Ashley and I had a nice ski weekend planned thanks to some friends inviting us to share their condo with them at the base of Loon Mountain. I had hoped that this would be the weekend that would spice up my so far vanilla ski season. We had planned on a skin-and-ski of Mount Tecumseh on Saturday, then skiing Loon the following two days. As the cliché goes, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Driving north toward Mount Tecumseh that morning, we were greeted by a drizzle that quickly turned into a downpour. I am very rarely swayed by the weather, but by the way the rain was falling had me considering building an ark. Furthermore, it was cold enough out that the rain was freezing as it settled on the ground, turning the town of Lincoln and the ski slopes of Loon into a skating rink. In spite of the weather, we still managed to ski two days at Loon, one of which was pretty good…it just wasn’t the springboard I had been hoping for.
Shortly before our ski weekend, I destroyed my phone skiing in the rain–like I said, I am not often swayed by the weather. Tempted by temperatures in the high forties, spring-like snow, and the chance to catch up with a friend on the mountain, I headed out for a wet morning of skiing. Leaving the house I thought to myself, should I put my phone in a dry bag? (It is worth noting that we have a Tupperware full of assorted dry bags and waterproof pouches at home.) In the end, I neglected my own caution and skied without one. On my way to the car I noticed a light shining through the pocket of my Gore-Tex shell; it was the flashlight on my iPhone, which didn’t extinguish until the battery died. With the battery, the phone died as well, despite my best efforts to dry it out and revive it. Lesson one: skiing in the rain is perhaps a little foolish. Lesson two: skiing in the rain with your expensive smartphone is very foolish.
Just the other night I suffered another ski-related misstep. As I unloaded my car of that morning’s ski gear, I decided I should take the skis and poles out of my Thule box and bring them inside. But I was quickly met with disappointment: I had lost my the key to the box. The key has lived the last few years in my car’s center console, but the other night it was nowhere to be found. I always put the key back in the same place, with the exception of the one time last week when I left it in the lock all day. I had gotten lucky that day, and the key remained in the lock, but I feared that it may have happened again…and after a late-night cleaning and rummaging of my car, the key was officially missing in action. A search of the spare keys around the apartment and a call to my parents house gleaned the fact that the replacement key was also MIA and so my skis and poles were out of commission until replacement keys arrive next week. No worries because early the next morning I was teaching a ski lesson and the bulk of the gear I had been using for the last month was locked away. Luckily I have backups.
Despite this being a topsy-turvy season so far, I’m happy to make the most of it. Furthermore, I am determined not to let Mother Nature or myself (I might have a head injury…hence all the forgetting) or anything else stand in the way of me maximizing my ski season. The first half has been a little up and down, but I’m hopeful for some better luck–and better snow–for the second half of the season.