today the mountain skied me

I have not been too enthusiastic about skiing this season. Not sure what is it. When skiing with my friend Charles I have wanted to quit before he does which is unusual for me.

At Mt. Snow, my first day of the season on Dec. 12th, I was underdressed and got a chill after lunch. We took a blue trail and it was ungroomed and deep heavy crud. That was tiring and not fun. Then there was a snow squall and i took a bad face plant because of visibility. I don't mind falling but I just wasn't feeling with it. Hey, it was the 1st day. But Charles was hot to trot. I quit an hour before he did.

Then went to Butternut and it turned out to be a powder day. That was pretty good once I realized that the snow was so light you could plow right through the crud with no ski deflection. Still, I was glad to quit for the day.

Last week was Hunter. It has to be perfect conditions for me to like Hunter. Too much too steep and too narrow. Couple of snow squalls with low visibility, high winds. Tired early. Not confident. Not having (enough) fun. Nuff said.

Oh yeah, I started tuning my edges myself this year so every time I hit an icy patch and didn't get the purchase that I thought I should be getting I was worried that I don't know what I'm doing with tuning (I don't).

Today was a scheduled ski day at Butternut and I even entertained thoughts of cancelling but went ahead out of momentum I guess, hoping it would be a good day.

... It was ...

Blue skies, 0 mph wind, not too cold. 100% open, every trail fully groomed, not crowded.

These are the kind of conditions that deceive me into thinking I'm a good skier. Hero snow. No, the mountain skied me. I didn't have to do anything. It was that good.

Sue and I have this thing at the beach in the summer. If you watch the waves as they break with sunglasses on sometimes we see this iridescent shimmery blue light in the water ... stunningly beautiful. We sit there looking at 6" waves going "oh wow" like tripping hippies. I don't know what it is, maybe plankton or something like that.

Well, my first lift up the mountain was like that today. The sun was just coming up behind the trees which were acting like a filter. I think the moon was just next to the sun. You'd never see the moon without the filtering effect of the trees and my snow googles. There was this quivering, iridescent blue blob that would appear from time to time ... such a beautiful vibrant color, it's hard to describe. Much bluer than the deepest blue of the sky. An auspicious beginning.

As I worked my way up from easy to more difficult trails I started to gain that old confidence back. I worked on my wide GS style turns, trying to keep myself facing down the fall line as I carved across the slope. I got some beautiful pure carves at least on my left turns, my right has always been my weak side. Pure joy. I think part of my edge issue may be technique rather than tuning.

Favorite runs of the day for those who know the hill and care: Whip to Hob Nob, Lower Downspout and Freewheeler. I skied everything except Upper Downspout as it was mostly bumped up except for a narrow chute on the edge and it looked like there may have been some icy spots too.

Quit at 2PM just because I said I was going to but I wasn't the least bit tired nor did my quads feel it at all.

So conditions have a lot to do with my ski happiness, in particular, groomed conditions. I would like to be able to handle ungroomed and cruddy conditions better and still have fun with it. Not have to fear those "uh-oh" moments when you wind up on a trail you thought was going to be groomed but is a bumped up nightmare. I can usually get down those all right but it's not what I call fun nor what I call skiing.

Goals for 2014-2015 in priority order: 1. have fun, 2. improve.