Eulogizing Ski Season
Sitting in the emergency room Tuesday morning, I knew it. I knew before they took an x-ray, before I saw a doctor, really before I was even checked in. I knew my ski season was over. I’ve been bruised before, I’ve hurt myself plenty of times, but this was different. A different kind of pain; a pain that brought awareness—this would not be just another walk-it-off kind of injury.
I tried to be positive. I had a pretty productive ski season; without counting, I imagine I had already amassed upward of 70 days on skis. I had skied my local backcountry spot a considerable amount in some of the most favorable conditions I can remember. I had a great early season day on Mount Washington, had a few days exploring the Vermont backcountry, visited a bunch of resorts I had never been to before, fell in love with my new local mountain, had a great ski trip with my buddies, and managed to sneak in another mini ski trip with my girlfriend. It had been a pretty good season.
Better than good, actually. It had been an excellent season. As southern New Hampshire got buried in snow and the city of Boston ground to halt due to the relentless storms, I got out and collected more powder days than I could have imagined. Not typical east coast powder either, but Powder Magazine cover photo, Japan-esque, Utah-worthy cold, dry, fly-over-your-head powder. I got spoiled fast as and for a moment almost forgot what it was like to ski on firm snow.
My work suffered as I began calling in to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime conditions that were lasting weeks. I fell behind on chores at home as I left early to ski before work or in lieu of work, and got home late, tired, and hungry. My blog was neglected, books were left unread, I fell behind on shows I like to watch, and by nine o’clock every evening I would collapse in a heap, worn out from my own frenetic pace. It had been a great season indeed.
Its greatness only made it more disappointing when it ended so soon…and ended the way it did. I love spring skiing and don’t mind sacrificing freshies for sunshine; beers on the deck instead of in the lodge, skiing without a jacket, and getting a little color to chase away the winter pastiness are all things to love about spring skiing. The progression of spring allows me to ease my way out of ski season. I can watch the crowds shrink and the runs develop dirt patches and eventually close as I chase snow further north and into higher elevations, slowly weening myself off the habit of skiing. It all ended abruptly this year.
“Mr. Peck, we are ready to see you now.” I know its over, now I get to make it official. It’s been a great season and even though I’m not ready to give it up, my broken collar bone says it’s over.