Monthly Archives: June 2009
Do you remember your first time on expert ski terrain? If you’re like me you do. I was on leather boots and long skinny skis when I started skiing at Gore Mountain in the late 90s. All I could really handle was Sunway, Gore’s long classic beginner trail . As I “upgraded” my gear, I started to ski some of the blues like Showcase. For years my ski buddy was Rand. Rand started to get better and one day he told me he’d “been up top.” I was in awe.
He said to me…”you know, you could totally handle Chatiemac or Hawkeye.” He couldn’t convince me to go and I spent my time convincing him to stay at the bottom with me. The next year, at the end of March, it dumped over 2 feet. The mountain was almost deserted. However there was this GANG that formed, comprised of skiers of all ages and abilities.
Rand says to me…IF YOU CAN’T SKI HAWKEYE TODAY – YOU NEVER WILL. The finality of it all — I went. In those days it was a commitment to go up top. You had to wait in a long, slow line, load the Old Red Gondola and take the slow ride up. You didn’t want to make that trip more than once a day. By the time we got up there, HUGE cutup bumps were forming and we were basically leaping over them. It was so much fun that we were laughing as we skied. We kept a group of 10 SKIERS together for over 2 hours. I’d never skied snow so soft that I’d lost all fear of falling. It’s a great feeling to overcome a long held fear. I’ll never forget it. What’s your story? Post a comment below.
It’s been really nice here in downtown NJ…I don’t think we’ve had temps into the 90s yet. This week the highs are going to be in the 60s and 70s. Sweet.
If I could have record cold in every season…I’d take it.
Record Cold in the Summer – Highs in the 70s, no humidity.
Record Cold in the Fall – Nice days and cold nights by the fire.
Record Cold in the Winter – no meltdowns, and great snow preservation.
Record Cold in the Spring – A long season of spring skiing.
I always say I’ve never done any alpine but … it’s not true. I alpined 2 days in my life…one at Gore in the old Gondi days- early 90s. I rented gear and conditions were really bad – a sheet of ice and frozen dirt. If you skied Gore before they had access to the Hudson…you know. The second time was actually a fair test. I was at Squaw for the first time. I was definitely still an intermediate on teles. I rented alpine gear and was skiing like an advanced beginner. Tripping on my tails, and frustrated walking in tight boots that were supposed to be excellent.
Back on tele in the afternoon and I was back to being an intermediate. I skied with a client. He was a total bomber, on alpines, on his home mountain. I skied stuff WAY beyond my ability. Anyway he took me up a lift on KT22. It had skull and crossbones on the lift at the bottom. “Expert terrain only.” He ASSURED me that an intermediate would be fine up there. We get off the lift and the wind is howling. There is this crack in the headwall with a sign…. TRIPLE black diamonds, a skull, and the words “The Slot.” I was too scared to even look over the edge. All you could see through the slot was blue Sierra sky.
He lets me freak for a few secs and then tells me to take my skis off. We walk across a bunch of moon rocks, and get on this cat trail traverse…and somehow end up in a place he called the Enchanted Forest. It was awesome…really widely spaced huge trees. I know the tale isn’t totally relevant to the title of the post. And it may not even be totally true. That’s just the way I remember it. Somebody who has skied Squaw could tell me if the names match up with the topography up there.