I'd have won my jacket last winter, but I cracked three ribs six weeks before the test, resumed training in three, but couldn't get cleared for our patrol's pre-test. We're a small local resort, but our trainers are tough, testy and proud, so nobody gets sent up to Region for the S&T without first passing tougher local muster.
I wasn't keen on another year of training, but that made passing all the sweeter Sunday. That's when our training director confided that he didn't pass his senior OEC til the third try.
Inspired by our post-test celebration, I called the wife with the good news that I'd next start senior training. And of course she replied, "Nope -- you're already a senior patroller." (ba-da-bummmppp!)
Most fellow patrollers my age are in fact senior patrollers, including my shift leader today -- and she's got three years on me. A couple are in their 70s and two in their 80s. One of them, the region's general counsel, still practices law five days a week. The other, a 10th Mountain vet who's also PSIA L3, could ski circles around me.
And, yes, every one of them does annual refreshers, inc. lift evac and toboggan handling, like everyone else.
This is just my third season seriously back on skis since my first knee surgery in 1981. Two more that decade brought brief relief, but with both knees bone-on-bone since the '90s, the only remedy for progressive deterioration and pain came four years ago, six months post-retirement, with a bilateral (simultaneous) total knee replacement.
Resuming skiing -- pain-free -- was an unexpected bonus, a wintry sort of "second spring," as active aging Boomers say.
I'm six weeks too old for that storied generation. But with my new knees, I've got a couple of un-skied decades to catch up on.
Edited by CycleBob - 2/4/10 at 8:10pm