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Skiers' memory

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

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. :beercheer:

post #2 of 25

The same thing is what keeps hackers like me playing golf. We remember the one great shot (and don't see any reason why we can't do that 71 more times and shoot par, even if the thought is ridiculous.)

post #3 of 25

it the "epic" moments that make all the other above moments tolerable.  It's like skiing a powder day in the east when you have the day off from work.  Memorable, but very hard to pinpoint when it will happen and that is why that "epic" memory sticks in our brains IMO

post #4 of 25

Listen to what the good doctor's got to say

 

 

post #5 of 25

I was thinking along those lines yesterday as I toured around the mountain. It's the over all atmosphere and vibe that keeps me smiling. Ski dad w/ his 2 youngest or a couple of kids jibbing and twisting off of any feature the mountain provides. I use to do that.:rolleyes Riding up the lift with a Austrian chatting about the good old days of Wood skis.:D Ski friends waving or friendly strangers. I went though a lot sports before I found the right one. The scenery along is priceless.

post #6 of 25

It is of great benefit to the human condition that the good sticks while the bad slip slides away.

After all, what woman would put herself through the pains of giving birth to a brood of kids if she truly remembered what it was like the first time.

D1

post #7 of 25

No such thing as a bad ski day, I remember them all as good/epic.  My standards are pretty low being from AZ though.

post #8 of 25

Agreed, no such thing as a bad ski day as long as you are still somewhat able to walk afterwards.  It's even worth it sometimes when you can't walk..

post #9 of 25

I've now been through two low snow seasons in a row at Wolf Creek. Both seasons got roughly 340", about 60 to 120 inches lower than average, depending on whose figures you trust as average. A good year banks 600" here.

 

These two "bad" years have been the best skiing in my life. That's buoyed by having good luck in that both years had a LOT of Friday night storms for this weekend warrior, and definitely buoyed by the lack of crowds and being able to ski untracked for days after a storm- ski lift served day one, ski the stuff off the 5 minute traverses day 2, take the hikes for the untracked until the next storm or it manks out too much.

 

One of the things I love about skiing pretty much anywhere is that if you share a chair with strangers, you always seem to find somebody who is having a better time than you. No matter how bad I think the snow is, somebody is talking about how great it is, and it is hard not to get buoyed by enthusiasm.

 

I still think my head will explode if I experience a "good" season down here, cause the "bad" season down here started October 19, and offered up a dozen weekend powder days by Christmas.  

post #10 of 25

It's been a little bit of a disappointing year in the Wasatch in terms of frequency, snow levels and totals.  There's still another month or so for potential powder days so it ain't over.  But so far I've still had maybe 20-30 great ski days including 5-6 I may always remember out of the 100 or so I've had.   I still enjoyed the rest of the days but this summer when I look back I'll probably only think about the 5-6 best.

 

It's not that I can't remember the less stellar days it's that I'm fine with this year's percentages, I'll ski 100 if I have to for 20-30 or even a handful of great ones.

post #11 of 25

If I got a hundred days in, that would be an EPIC season.

post #12 of 25
Nice post OP. It's been a great season for me too and yet the shortcomings in MA have been many, our trip to CO had no fresh snow and it was so cold so often.

But as you said I think back on all the great runs, wonderful companions and am fully satisfied.
post #13 of 25

We've had a great season in CO.  Selective amnesia was necessary in a few recent years, but not this year!

 

This year I've got proof in a phone full of pictures and video, many I have posted here.   There is also raw data.  This is from Copper, my home mountain:

 

http://www.onthesnow.com/colorado/copper-mountain-resort/historical-snowfall.html

 

@SkiMangoJazz how did you manage to not get any new snow!   Sorry to hear that :( but there is still a good six weeks or so of skiing here if you want to try your luck again! 


Edited by tball - 4/16/14 at 8:05am
post #14 of 25

@tball it was Feb. 22-26 for ski days.  I see on your calendar that the 23rd had snow at Copper, but none at Vail.  22nd was actually awful, hardpack NE conditions, washboards, but the rest of the time was good skiing.  Abasin had soft snow and Blue Sky Basin in the woods and bumps still had plenty of snow, just no freshies.  Biggest dump of the year was 8-10" and I couldn't make it to my home/teaching hill as it was still snowing, so went to the smaller close by bump.

 

Some people say they get bored skiing the same small hills over and over.  I never get bored skiing.  Every turn is a special moment.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

It is of great benefit to the human condition that the good sticks while the bad slip slides away.

After all, what woman would put herself through the pains of giving birth to a brood of kids if she truly remembered what it was like the first time.

D1

This is exactly what I was going to post ... we would all be only children... (well, except for the twins etc)

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

@tball it was Feb. 22-26 for ski days.  I see on your calendar that the 23rd had snow at Copper, but none at Vail.  22nd was actually awful, hardpack NE conditions, washboards, but the rest of the time was good skiing.  Abasin had soft snow and Blue Sky Basin in the woods and bumps still had plenty of snow, just no freshies.  Biggest dump of the year was 8-10" and I couldn't make it to my home/teaching hill as it was still snowing, so went to the smaller close by bump.

 

Some people say they get bored skiing the same small hills over and over.  I never get bored skiing.  Every turn is a special moment.

Vail had a rough season in comparison to Summit County. It's usually the other way around.  Vail is reporting a 68" base, Copper at 107". Part of that is altitude, at this point, but that's really large for Copper. They did really well this year, somehow.

post #17 of 25
The best part about skiing for me is that I forget about everything else while I'm on the mountain.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

The best part about skiing for me is that I forget about everything else while I'm on the mountain.

 

Me too!

post #19 of 25

Me too!

post #20 of 25

OK, so here's the selective skier's memory that happens after a good year:

 

1. You forget how good you have it.  One of the things I'll never forget about this year is the lift op who told me he doesn't bother skiing unless there is 8 inches or more of new snow!?!?!  There was 5 inches new that day and a foot over the last week and conditions were fantastic, but not good enough for him to bother skiing on his break.

 

2. You forget which ski is a true daily driver.   My 90mm Steadfasts have hardly seen any time on snow this year.  One of the two days I was on them was when I reluctantly gave up my 110mm Sickles to a buddy to demo.   I'm (probably wrongly) thinking of adding a 100mm soft snow ski like the Soul Rider to sit between those two.  I really should be thinking more seriously about an 80mm ski for mostly bumps like the Latigo, but when would I use it since it snows all the time? :dunno 

post #21 of 25
^^^Nah, get the Soul Rider wink.gif

Do not buy toys for Less. Fun. Days.

The Subaru Latigo.

Doesn't that sound perfect? Now you can't buy that ski anymore.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

It is of great benefit to the human condition that the good sticks while the bad slip slides away.

After all, what woman would put herself through the pains of giving birth to a brood of kids if she truly remembered what it was like the first time.

D1Quote:

 

 

Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

This is exactly what I was going to post ... we would all be only children... (well, except for the twins etc)

 

While Ms. D1 has brought three children into this world, I have sired several kidney stones.

The delivery pain is comparable. But at least you do not have to put those crustaceans (the calcium ones, I mean) through college.

So less pain, I guess, in the end.

D1

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

The best part about skiing for me is that I forget about everything else while I'm on the mountain.


Brownie, for me it is different.

I do think about life when I ski.

But when that happens, I just ski a bit faster.

And it is all good because life just can not keep up.

D1

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

 I really should be thinking more seriously about an 80mm ski for mostly bumps like the Latigo, but when would I use it since it snows all the time? :dunno 

 

One of the most simpatico Bears again displaying a tendency to post about alternate realities in convincing detail that is annoyingly hard to dismiss as mere allegation. :mad  

post #25 of 25

I'm approaching 40 days at Breck and I can honestly say I only had one day where I wish I hadn't put my boots on. It was a little bit of soft snow on top of a previously wet, then frozen surface. Pretty much the entire mountain was dust on crust. Very unpleasant and un-fun. All the other days, whether powder or not, were a blast and quite enjoyable.

 

From the Summit of Peak 6

 

The few days I've gone BC have been nice. Even the windy and cold days.

 

Near Hahns Peak

 

Cross country ski days are always nice, too. I'm out, I'm exercising and I've got my dog with me. :)

 

B&B Trail

 

My other 15 or so days were either racing or in support of racing and would have been fine ski days. I measure my recreational skiing on a different scale than my race days. If I'm racing yay! If I'm an official, not so yay, but I feel good about helping keep racing alive. It needs all the help it can get.

 

Ski Cooper and the FuxiTime Super-Combi

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