The Blue Cooler

I can’t think of too many things that I owned in 1993 that I still have today. If I dug through my dresser drawers I might find my high school ring. My book shelf has a couple yearbooks from back then, probably a few other books I was given as a kid. I can only think of one thing that I have for sure owned since I was twenty one years old and have used continuously ever since, my blue cooler.

To say I own the cooler might not be accurate. We found each other some time in 1993. I was in college and sharing a place in the Bronx, near Van Cortlandt Park with four other guys. There were a lot of people in and out so I can’t really say who brought first the blue cooler into the apartment.

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Climbing Mount Mansfield

On Friday 2 August, I set out on a long-anticipated trip to Vermont. Saturday was the App Gap Challenge, a 7.2 kilometer roller ski race heading west on Vermont Route 17, past Mad River Glen to, you guessed it, Appalachian Gap. Sunday, I planned to climb Mount Mansfield.

Notch view Mount Mansfield trail

For many years my wife and I had gone in on a February house share in Waitsfield. The group that organized it gradually drifted apart. Age, work, kids, you get the idea. Two years ago, I’d raced App Gap, but immediately following the race, I had to get our daughter to sleep away camp in Massachusetts. This would be my first opportunity to hang out in this part of the world in a long time.

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A Bad Day Skiing

By Saturday I’d been in a foul mood for at least ten days. Job stress, a seemingly endless stream of bad news from family and friends and an energy-sucking head cold combined for a perfect storm of gloom. On top of it, I missed skiing the weekend before and a mid-week warm spell, followed by plunging temps overnight, could only mean one thing for Saturday — ice.

a bad day skiing

It was one of those cycles where a little flexibility made all the difference. Friday was a spring-like day filled with sunshine and corn snow. By Sunday, the mountain ops would have time to groom everything into fresh, carve-able corduroy. With the ice locked in, Saturday would suck. Friday or Sunday were obviously better choices.

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