Driving over Berthoud Pass, I stare at the trees and peaks blanketed in white. Feeling a little giddy, like a kid going to their first day of school, I look forward to one final day of schussing down the slopes. Had it not been for the intervention of Mother Nature’s good graces during this past week, I probably would still be snoozing in my bed during this Friday morning instead.
But after a much too warm, much too dry, rather odd winter, winter made one final appearance this past week, dumping 18-21 inches of snow on the three ski resorts that still remain open in Colorado. I hadn’t skied in nearly a month, and truth be know, I hadn’t really skied in two months.
I say “really skied” because teaching a lesson to beginning skiers where most of the day is spent snowplowing on the bunny slope doesn’t really seem like skiing to me. And that was a lot of the skiing I did during most of March and early April.
This thought saddened me, as skiing is one of those joyful things in my life. It makes me feel alive, makes me feel young, makes my heart sing. I literally think it saved my life several years ago, when I lost my job just before the ski season. Skiing was the thing that brought some joy to me that winter, and made me feel like a normal person.
A great day of skiing can make me forget all my problems, can turn me from a grumpy person into a happy person, can help me start a new 24 hours with a renewed optimism. And so it is in anticipation of those feelings, that I make my drive to Mary Jane today.
Apparently I am not alone. Pulling into the Challenger Lot at around 9:20 a.m., it is close to full. The weather, a brisk 18 degrees, feels more like mid-February, than late April. As I walk towards the trail to put my skis on, I hear whoops and hollers echoing down from the trails above me. I glance up, and I see untracked areas of snow beckoning to me.
As I ride the lift, and then another one, unloading at a lofty 12,000 feet, I grin. My smile gets even wider as I ski down the very soft, velvety snow. As I enter the trees, I plunge down a stash of powder, reeling off four turns, as the snow covers my boots, and blow up alongside of me, making my own tracks, like my own personal signature in the snow.
I can’t help it – I let out my own “whoop, whoop!”
This final day of the ski season is going to be good one indeed.