Skiing indirectly dictated much of what I have done in my career. Not only did it bring me out west, but by working jobs that had some malleability in the morning, I could usually get turns in before punching the clock. Now, entering my second ski season at my current employer, things have changed and in addition to the shift in the workplace attitude towards winter that I detailed in my previous blog, I also have to adapt to a shift in my ski schedule as well. I fully realize a majority of this world works in the morning, Monday through Friday and the skier population within that group still finds a way to enjoy winter, but skiing was the centerpiece of my routine nearly 5 months out of the year. I basically planned my week around when I would ski and work conveniently fell into the spaces inbetween. Please don’t take offense weekend skiers, but like a 1%’er who has to move into a trailer park, I find myself now saying, “How do people live like this?”
No longer does the sentence, “I think I’ll go skiing tomorrow,” leave my mouth with the same causal spontaneity as, “I think I’ll have toast for breakfast.” Instead, considering that I will either be out on a dawn patrol or battling the crowds on a weekend, that sentence is going to be preceded with a deep exhale and a little more frustration. Now. my decision to eat toast will require rising at 4:30am, baking the bread myself and/or waiting in line to toast it. At least by skiing Alta this year I won’t have to share the toaster with bagels. And at Alta, I can also rest assured that if someone tries to only toast 3 slices in the 4 slice toaster, they will bear the sharp and vocal anger of those of us waiting behind them in a well organized cue.
Toast metaphors aside, the change in my schedule has some benefits, like more time with my wife… but I’ve been skiing longer than I’ve known my wife. I could argue that without skiing, I would never have met her. To insist that not being able to ski is a small price to pay for sharing a schedule with my significant other is what’s important would be a very legit argument... and one that I will summarily dismiss as misguided thoughts from a fool who has never enjoyed a weekday morning ski in Beartrap Fork followed by the leisure routine of unpacking and drying your gear while drinking a beer back at the house.
There is just a lot of mystery in this season for me, mystery well outside the scope of, “How much snow will we get?” When I had my knee fixed in early 2013, I was told that full recovery would take more than a year, which was correct not only from a physical standpoint, but also mental. The first turns I took last season were some of the most fearful I’ve had in my life as I tested that knee in a whiteout at Snowbasin. This season though, I’ll be carrying a better spirit into my 10th ski season in the Wasatch. A solid year plus of use and a some confidence after my replacement ACL withstood a nasty bike crash this spring have me feeling pretty good about what I can do this year.
The Wasatch spoils us here. Even the guy who skis 65 days in a season, like I once did, can look at the “100 day” skier with contempt. It’s all relative and everyone of us bears a cross up the canyon, so to speak. For some, it’s only being able to ski on weekends, for others, it may be not having 4WD on their rig and getting shut out from LCC on a powder day, and still others might have the unfortunate cross of not being able to afford a sport which continues in exclusiveness. Yet, some of us (probably most of us) who truly love skiing find a way to make it work. Look no further than our neighbors in Denver who have to battle two hours on I-70 just to reach Loveland. They are probably ready to stick a fork in my eye after reading my “woe is me” blog, that is, if people in Colorado even read my blog. If you are from Colorado and reading this blog where I speak about how much I love skiing the Wasatch, ignore everything I said and keep your croissants away from my toaster.