Friday, January 7, 2011

Hitting the Slopes

I’ve known how to ski since I was about 5 years old. My family is a skiing family – it’s the probably the hobby my dad is willing to spend the most money on, aside from the boat. Despite my working at a ski resort, I didn’t strap into my boots and bindings once last year, because the past few years it hasn’t been all that fun for me anymore, especially next to my highly skilled and competitive brothers. Yesterday (Wednesday) I got on the slopes for the first time in two years, at the marvelous Snowbasin, partly because I missed it, and partly because I knew it would make my dad happy to join him in one of his favorite activities for a day.

Despite how serious I think it sounds – 2 years! – muscle memory does not fade at all. Neither does the familiar feeling of terror before I’m about to wipe out, as I had grown somewhat accustomed to, from my previous attempts at pushing the limits of my outdated skis in heavy powder and serious moguls. I’ve come to blame my most of my frustration with my performance on the skis themselves (not a completely invalid claim, says Dad), but despite their immaturity, I did pretty well out there yesterday. Somehow, all the other planets in the universe decided to align as well, and everything seemed to happen perfectly. Since we went up after my morning classes in the middle of the week, we almost had the whole mountain to ourselves. The weather was great – not too cold, and not a cloud in sight. The new Christmas mittens that weren’t exactly built for serious winter activity totally held their own and I didn’t have to fight the freezing of fingers that occasionally happens.

Of course I noticed these details because it made the experience a lot easier to endure. Endure? Hell, I had fun. I hope to ski again soon, with similar conditions, and maybe I’ll even try a different pair of skis and see if I can manage better. To make the day even more superior, I got to ski a run with my old buddy Clay, and for the first time in my life I experienced the Mt. Allen Tram, which takes you to a whopping elevation of 9,465 feet, giving you the most incredible and terrifying views. I always appreciated the sights from the top of the other highest lifts that I’m used to, but this was incomparable. Not only are you able to see for miles out to the North and East, but over the ridge at the Ogden Valley and beyond as well.

The ride itself is an intimidating thing, because of just how high it goes, and the fact that the only trails down from it are blacks and double diamonds – stuff for the serious experts. I’m surprised that in all my years of frequenting the resort, it took me this long to finally go up the tram. It’s something I just never thought about before, but I encourage anyone in the area to give it a shot and take some awesome pictures, like these. Nothing will ever be as good as the real thing though, so get up there! 

 I am on top of the world. 

*Click on me for larger image size*

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