Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Home Turf

it's funny that no matter how many ski areas you might ski, you always tend to come back to your home mountain.  am i right?  there seems to be some special connection that skiers have with their favorite mountain.  you know every line, every bump, every low-lying tree limb.  you have your secret stashes and your routines on which slopes you will ski and in which order.

this past weekend i skied Vail, Colorado with my sister-in-law.  it was awesome.  we had a great time, and the Spring conditions were excellent.

today, i skied my "home" mountain here in Utah.  and there was in some way a deeper connection to the lines that i skied.  there were familiar faces bumping my chair, and i joked with the lifties that i must have found something good because i kept doing laps on the same 2 or three chairs.  i avoided the upper mountain today, because i found some hidden stashes down low.  they were deep.  i smiled and raised my hands in victory after i skied them, because it seemed that only i had been stealth enough to find them.

i almost felt guilty today, neglecting the upper mountain.  it called to me at 2:15pm, so i decided to make a couple laps up high.  i was not disappointed.  i marveled at the fact that the tourists were few and the locals were for the most part, not present ~  it's late in the season after all, and there are only about 3 weeks of skiing left.  the die-hards remain; or in my case, the ones who missed the first 3 months of the ski season and feel like they've got to make up for lost time.  i passed a girl as i hiked up the traverse, and ducked into the trees before she could see which line i took.  after i was down the slope, i let the lifty know which line had been good to me, because it's not so much of a secret between friends...  and we pondered which slopes would be good to us tomorrow.

as i skied my favorite lines today (and some lines that i have been fortunate enough to have learned from others) i got just a little bit sentimental.  tears welled up in my eyes and i fought them off ~ am i really crying over a ski run?  yes, with two feet of new powder spraying up into my face, yes i am.  i recalled all of the good times that i've had over the years skiing by myself and with friends at this mountain.  the memories flash vividly across my memory and they seem like they were only yesterday.

how long have i been skiing this mountain?  i struggle to do the math.  it seems like only a year or two ago that i left that other mountain, the one that i knew so well and swear i could have skied the steepest lines with my eyes closed.  i knew every rock and every turn there as well, but she got too popular for me, and i felt that others were stealing her away from me...  so i had to leave.  and then i found this gem.

i hope it stays this way for a while; that i can ski this beautiful little mountain and have her to myself on the deepest of powder days like today.  sure, i'll still share her with friends from time to time, but in my heart of hearts i know that she belongs to me.  funny thing is ~ i'm sure you feel the same way.

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