| July 20, 2017 |
I look at the bowl below me. It’s milky white, untouched, and vast. The intricacies of the landscape lack contrast; I merely see a surface of flowing, powdery sugar. There’s no clear path to follow, so I know I must pave my own. As I edge forward, I can feel its gravitational pull. I see the tips of my skis jut over the edge, and I release all resistance, surrendering to the blanket of snow. My poles drag beside me, as I carve into the landscape. My heart races, my legs and hips flow with my skis, and I move in sync with the varying grades. The contrast becomes clearer, and I begin sensing the variance in the landscape. I respond to each intricacy with intention. I may let out a sigh of relief, a “WAHOO” of exhilaration. Breathe in, cut right. Breathe out, cut left. Edge to edge, tip to tail. This awakens me, enlivens me.
And this? This is winter.
Ode To Skiing
I wake up at 5 in the mornin’,
‘cause I hear the snow’s been a-pourin!
Shredding with ski crews
and afternoon brews.
This kind of fun,
you feel on every run.
From diamonds to blues,
whichever path you choose,
stompin’ jumps and huckin’ meat,
a day like this simply can’t be beat.
Your legs burn from the pow,
with muscles refueled with an afternoon chow.
Life’s a beach when it’s car bar time
with quesadillas, Coronas, and maybe a lime!
The herd of animals that rush to the lifts
know of the slopes and their endless gifts.
Weaving through trees and moguls alike,
it’s evident the snow gods sure did strike!
Weekends at Steven’s and White Pass were a-plenty
I simply wouldn’t trade these days for any!
From Ladies Day with SAS,
to High Camp at White Pass;
From Yakima Sporthaus rentals to save time,
to effortlessly writing this rhyme;
From shining lights when night skiing,
to Krista’s first black diamond – ’twas all so freeing!
The pond skims, I say, were quite the moan
lending to long waits and broken collarbones.
Though this may damper the fun,
There’s so much powder for everyone!
On lift lines we attract others ’cause we’re silly,
making a scene as we sing along to Disney!
The Little Mermaid, Gaston, and others galore!
Skiing n’ boarding with us, you’ll never be bored.
My friends, I warn you, don’t take this lightly:
memories like this can make life quite spicy.
The weekends of skiing may not be enough,
you’ll go through the week with a huff and a puff.
So chase the slopes with effortless class,
and get yo’self to Crystal, Steven’s, or even White Pass!
Ode To Winter Camping
To the friends that offer to show me the ways,
and the memories of camping that lasted for days.
I simply cannot erase this day from my mind–
It’s people like this that are hard to find.
I arrived at Steven’s early in the morning,
to be greeted by a friend who’s far from boring.
Simon’s kiwi voice and mountain attitude arrive on scene,
with an east coaster who’s ready to learn — that’s me!
I spent the day chasing pow on my skis,
whilst the boys set up camp, busy as bees.
After an evening at Goggy Foggle, filled with many jives,
snowshoes are donned, and the time finally arrives!
JT charges forward on his skis and skins,
as the tequila ingested fills us with grins (spins?).
Camp is dark and barely even cold,
with extra sleeping pads and booties, I was simply sold!
Waking up to the sun shining and chirping of birds,
what I saw when I opened the tent door had no words.
The blanket of snow surrounding our tent,
lended to my heartfelt feeling content.
It all seemed so simple, so easy, so true,
this snow camping ordeal got my 5-star review.
Admiring JT as he skinned to hucked his meat,
I began dreaming of skinning and doing runs on repeat.
Backcountry skiing became an interest of mine,
and I knew I’d begin in due time.
That afternoon, I decided to give it a go–
but oh my did I give my friends quite the show.
Struggling with my bindings and heavy pack,
I couldn’t stand, and I gave myself no slack.
The struggle was real, JT has video evidence,
my frustration grew, using words far from eloquent.
Eventually I fell onto my side,
as the trust in my friends was amplified.
They lifted me up – literally, it’s true –
this fact I cannot hide from you.
When I was arisen onto my two feet,
I was ready for my next feat!
I skied in the backcountry, following JT’s tracks,
as I thankfully had a sherpa to carry my packs.
The success of this new experience wasn’t overwhelming,
but it sure set a fire inside of me without true warning.
I knew there’d be more days of skiing out-of-bounds,
and camping on a variety of wintery, snowy grounds!
With limitations disappearing and knowledge growing,
my adventurous heart and soul were absolutely glowing!
I couldn’t stop rhyming. I tried writing this non-poetically, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation to persist. (Spittin’ rhymes, won’t cost ya a dime!).
In all seriousness (who am I kidding), the snowy adventures in Washington have far exceeded my expectations. I’ve met an abundance of enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders who share the same joy for fresh powder and shredding slopes. Steven’s Pass was the most frequently visited, but White Pass lended for an entirely different community. As a smaller mountain, it certainly didn’t disappoint — even on a day when the conditions only afforded us to hunker down at High Camp and sip on Bale Breaker brews.
Luckily, my background of skiing in various conditions has not spoiled me, and even on days with poor to fair conditions, I was still in heaven on the ski slopes. The >100 feet of base snow was enough to make my jaw drop. I started began that the varied conditions (including heavenly powder) required different characteristics in a pair of skis, and I wanted to understand this more fully. I decided not to transport my east coast skis with me to the west coast, and therefore started delving into the unfamiliar territory of newer ski styles. I once made the silly mistake of renting skis AT Steven’s Pass one day (waiting about 3 hours for on a rental line, which was quite the buzzkill to my morning enthusiasm for a day of skiing *PRO TIP* reserve your reservations ahead of time, OR rent outside the pass)… but thereafter got a demo of K2 Fulluvit’s at Steven’s, and began renting from Sporthaus in Yakima to better understand the intricacies of waist widths, camber/rocker profiles, and tip/tail width. My newfound desire to float on the powder, sharpen my turn radius, decrease the transitionary edge-to-edge time, and maximize the speed/control ratio will shape my ski purchases. I now know I want a ski that has a lot of pop, because I’d rather it be able to handle my aggressive turning than have my ski literally pop off every time I make a quick turn or drop into a powderbowl. Yes, there were a few times my skis popped off unbeknownst to me. And my unfamiliarity with the new equipment definitely added a bit of a learning curve to my ski outings, but I ain’t complaining.
Even when sleeping, I was still skiing. My day dreams and night dreams allowed me tons of mental practice, because all I could think about was hitting the slopes again.
Honestly, it’s July in Washington, and I’m still thinking about skiing. It’s sounds manic. But I guess a certain amount of mania is acceptable in outdoor enthusiasts, right?
Winter is coming… winter is coming… winter is coming… (cue GoT theme)