When Harvey declared that he was done skiing alone, I felt a post of my own forming in my head. Skiing solo is one of life’s great pleasures. I wouldn’t consider giving up skiing by myself any more then I would give up skiing itself.
One time this spring I found myself driving up the Thruway, skis and boots in the truck, with literally no idea where I was going. I reached out to a couple skiing buddies to see where they were headed but I was pretty ambivalent about finding a ski partner. One guy was at Plattekill (not on my MAX Pass), one was at Whiteface and another at Killington (both too far). I think I was subconsciously looking for reasons not to meet up with anybody.
I found myself drawn towards Gore. The fact that I wasn’t expecting to bump into anyone I knew wasn’t a problem, it was actually an enticement.
I’m not saying I always ski alone. I’m not completely anti-social. I appreciate camaraderie. I love skiing with my kids or friends and I like that I’ve met new people through skiing. I value the time spent with them. Really. But some times — often — I just want to ski alone.
I work in a “people position” and that might have something to do with it. I talk to customers, managers and suppliers all day so I cherish the quiet. In the summer I get my alone time in my kayak or the occasional solo bike ride or hike. During the winter months I find a laid back, selfish day of skiing by myself is a good way recharge my batteries.
That day at Gore was a great example. I parked my car, not worried about delaying anybody. I finished my coffee before shouldering my boot bag and skis and making my way to the lodge. I exchanged pleasantries with another skier in the gondola. Hey, I’m not a monster.
I zipped down Uncas to the Straightbrook quad and a quick solo ride to the top, dropped a backpack (lunch and extra gloves) in the lodge. It wasn’t crowded and the rest of the day was more or less my own. There were plenty of folks around, enjoying the mountain with me but I was there to ski, a few laps each on Rumor and Lies, once down Chatiemac, then to the High Peaks chair and the North quad.
I retrieved my backpack and took my time eating lunch, earbuds in. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and it was good. I skied hard all day and left it all out on the field. By the time I headed back to my car I was fully, thoroughly spent.
I wouldn’t want every ski day to be a solo mission. Most of the time I go the other way, the more the merrier. I like skiing with people that are around my skill level, I like sharing my experience with newer skiers and I absolutely love watching kids improve. I like pushing myself to keep up with the real rippers who go way harder then I do and following the locals through tight glades that I’d be scared to enter on my own.
It’s all fun. Most of the time skiing is a social sport for me. But once in a while, I just want to ski alone.