I overheard an interesting conversation on the chairlift this past weekend. I was riding solo, waiting for my nephew to sort out his hangover and get his butt up to the mountain, so I was on the lift with a couple of guys who were skiing together. About 1/4 of the way up, one of the two guys says "It's been a great season", to which the other fellow agrees, and they continue talking about the epicness of the season for the remainder of the lift ride.
Here in Northern Vermont, the season wasn't really epic. The very beginning of the season looked promising, then we somehow got stuck in a cycle from mid December until early February where it was bitterly cold... until the storms rolled in. Then it would warm up, rain, and drop back down to -5 again. It was very rough for a long time, and we were looking like we were going to have another season like '11-'12. Then the storm cycle cranked up, and started dumping on us from Late February all the way through March. It was one of the most epic Marches on record here, and the late season skiing has been awesome.
Back to the chairlift. I listened as these guys waxed rhapsodic on the greatness of the season, and it struck me just how much our entire sport is filled with selective amnesia and short term memories. Our sport is at the whims of nature, and entails huge trials and travails in order to participate. Slipping and skidding in your car on icy mountain roads, juggling all of your equipment, shoving your feet into stiff, heavy, uncomfortable boots. Overpriced food, crowded lodges. Bitter cold, ice, freezing rain. Ugly seasons with no snow and lots of rain.
But come July, is that what we remember? No. We remember the epic moments, and forget all the rest. When I think back on this season, am I going to remember the rain days, or the icy days, or the month spent longing to drop into the woods, only to realize there wasn't enough snow? Nope. I'm going to remember March. The day I spent shredding knee-deep freshies with my brother-in-law who taught me how to ski when I was little (and who finally conceded that day that I had become the better skier). I'm going to remember skiing with 10 of my friends and coworkers on a 2 foot powder day, and watching one of my buddies huck a front flip off the Stowe Waterfall (don't tell patrol). When I think back to 2 years ago, a rough season by any measure, do I really think about that? Of course not. I think of the epic 3 foot dump we got in late February, where a bunch of us dropped into an untouched patch of trees we've skied a million times before, and just stopped moving because the snow was so deep.. then looked at each other and laughed.
Collectively as skiers, we have some of the worst memories on the planet. Which is definitely for the best. Here's to selective amnesia.