Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Don't Believe The Hype" or "The "Stages of Ski Season Has Started" Realization

Oh, yeah, this is why I ski.
I try to understand enthusiasm, but if one more skier talks to me about El Nino and how it’s going to make every day of the 2015-16 season a never-ending face shot that fills my cranial orifices with High West whiskey flavored snow, I’m going facey them with the business end of a monoboard. Actually, in all fairness no skier has really tried to prop up my expectations for the season with pseudo-meteorology. No, the real culprits have been the marketing departments and media outlets; my favorite people in the world. These are the same people that sent me a Mountain Accord propaganda mag with no less than 7 photos predominantly featuring corduroy. That gets me about as revved up for ski season as a Utah County hot cocoa run.


All criticism of hype aside, it should probably be clear by now that I’ve become somewhat ambivalent about ski season expectations. It’s like the Superbowl, after 2 weeks of promotion, you really just want it to start already. Well, today the season started for me. I got up this morning and decided today would be my first trip up to Alta.


The first moment of ski season awareness was when I opened up my bin of ski gear and was reminded that I wear a knee brace. Even three seasons after tearing my ACL, I guess I just forgot that strapping on the Donjoy was part of the routine. It felt like a buzzkill, and I don’t know why, kind of like when you’re a kid and  you have a kick ass Halloween costume that your mom makes you cover up with a winter jacket because in Wisconsin where I grew up,  30 degrees on October 31st wasn’t uncommon.
Hellooooooo KNEE BRACE!
The second moment of ski season awareness was pulling up to Alta over an hour before the lifts open and realizing that most Altoids won’t charge the canyon that early unless it’s the pursuit of freshies. I don’t think I’ve ever parked as close as I did today. But I wasn’t alone, there were other die hards there in the lot, but what I realized is that there are some strange people in the Alta lot at 8am. One guy could not stop the German soccer chants as he tried to stoke up his ski team. “Zicke Zacke, Zicke Zacke, HOI HOI HOI” and other tired euro-trash garbage. Where the hell was that monoboard? Then there was a guy grabbing a nap in his vehicle while he waited, which really wasn’t that weird, but the fact that his friend kept pounding on his window to try and wake him up seemed like I was in a freshman dorm as opposed to a Wasatch ski resort.


The third moment of ski season awareness was remembering how much a pain in the ass putting my boots on can be. Well fitted boots are well worth it, but you’ll burn more calories putting them on than skiing, especially on that first day of the season. Guess the early start was necessary.

Up until now, these moments of clarity have all been fairly negative I realize, but that all changed with the 4th moment of ski season awareness, the view of Mt. Superior on a clear fall day. Sure, the coverage of Little Cottonwood was still pretty bare, but that doesn’t change the inspiring view. I was now really happy I came up and although I spent my abbreviated ski day lapping Collins, it was worth it. Perhaps the corduroy stoke got to me.

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