Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Couple Things This Week as Winter Returns

A Note About Drinking or, "Mason's Running Inner Monologue Rotation"

The calendar is against me. First of all, calendars are, as I've pointed out in previous blogs, just a construct to make us feel like we have control... and for that I thank them. But my control freak-ness aside, the concept of a 5 day work week within a 7 day shell is frustrating me as I try to cut back on alcohol. The math balance the scales of dry and wet days just doesn't add up. Hear me out.
A completely normal way of consuming
beer when you aren't sure what to drink.

First of all, this is NOT a New Years Resolution thing; it's a getting old thing. I'm coming to grips with the fact that at 41, I just can't maintain a svelte figure the way I used to. As my doctor told me, "Everything gets harder when you get old." (Although, that axiom can't be entirely true or Viagra is just a really well done con.) So I've looked for ways to trim back calories, which has always been more easily accomplished when I reduce the beer intake. So, a few days without drinking can really make a difference when it comes to building up some nice calorie deficits.

Now, before you start the, "Mason, why not just spread your beers out over the week? A little every day wouldn't hurt." So here's one way the math doesn't work out. "School nights" (as I call them) are often the easiest candidates to be dry. Think about it, 8+ of your waking hours are spent in an environment where drinking is frowned upon. Seems like a waste to blow that head start in the race for restraint.

And secondly, I have never finished a long weekend tour in the backcountry or endured a 4 hour bike ride and said, "That one, 4% beer is really going to make all this worth it."

No way! When you do a soggy, grueling tour up White Pine, you are sipping Zirbenz (or my new fave, Snow Angel) on the summit, drinking whiskey while you post your gear at home, quaffing a brew while you're in the shower, and pairing a nice "light" Melvin 2x4 with the whole burrito you get at Lonestar. That, my friends, is how weekend drinking trends for me.

If I tried to meter out my beer evenly throughout the week, let's just say that my ski partners would endure the wrath of my grumpiness. By staying dry on work days, only my co-workers have to deal with my unpleasantness... and they already think I'm a prick.

But here's another way the calendar works against me. Three days in a row without drinking is tough, but I can do it. Some nights are easier than others. (Sometimes, around 8:30pm, when I see the finish line in sight but I'm feeling weak, I think, "Maybe if I brush my teeth and go to bed now, I can make it?") But three days is the limit. Not because I'm an alcoholic, but because of the stupid, awesome weekends and the power of beer.

Yes, I could do Monday through Thursday, there's 4 days, but it's in a row. There is no way. I'm sorry, it is like saying, "To get to Empire Strikes Back, you have to watch Episodes 1-3..."

"Ok, I think I ca..."

"...and the JarJar Binks Christmas Special."

"Padme, NOOOOOO."

Sorry, there's just a limit.

The other alternative is to give myself and "islands of pleasure" during the week, so it's never more than 3 in a row. But that means at least one of Friday, Saturday or Sunday will have to be dry. That just seems wrong. I've done a dry Friday here and there, but it feels like doing your homework on Friday, weekend homework was not meant to be done right away, it's supposed to be done Sunday night in the dark of your friends family conversion van while you drive back from skiing in Upper Michigan.

"This means something. This is important"

"Wait, don't tell me, it's Sam? No,
Steve. No. Ohhhh, snow, that's right. I knew
it was an S"
So that's what's going on in my life, but let's get to the skiing this week, or more accurately, last week.

There was something strange falling from the skies Saturday afternoon. I was up at Alta partaking this sport I love. It's kind of new to Utah, maybe you're heard of it, it's called "lawn and gravel skidding". When mother nature offered the most unusual supplement to this activity, a somewhat soft, flaky and friction-less surface that made my skis travel much more efficiently. Then more came this week. I'm really hoping we get more. I like it! Although, if enough falls, I'll have to find something else to spend my money on since I won't have to spend $70 monthly to mend my bases.

I think I mentioned last week how, unlike some snooty, spoiled skiers who have avoided Alta due to the poor conditions, I try to find ways of entertaining myself during these low-tide days. For instance, 2 weekends ago, I found a sneak around from Catherine's that I wasn't aware of. It's at the bottom and totally avoids hitting that garbage above the road near the cabins. It goes to show, when East Coast Tourists complain about the lack of terrain that's open or wish the resort would expand, there is always a way to find a new route in familiar terrain. 

Anyway, n case you are looking for ways to distract you from the absence of powder (trust me, we have a long way to go), try these little games:
  • See if you can position your skis in the UTA rack just perfectly so that they don't slam against the door on the slightest curve.
  • Try not to get your arm pinched when some tourist slams the bar down on the chairlift.
  • With same tourist, watch them look surprised when you ask them where they're visiting from, even though they haven't spoken a word to you. 
  • See how many people get faked out by the opposing swings of the doors leading into Watson. One pushes in, the other swings out... it gets me at least once a week.
  • Instead of dreading the runout through Corkscrew, pretend your James Bond in the beginning of A View to a Kill (which I totally did when I was 13).
  • Reminisce about last season when you could actually get to Eddies without damaging your skis. This season, your edges get gouged even considering skiing a run like Challenger. That's right, just the intent of skiing certain runs now results in a core shot. It's like a Catholic thing where even the though of sinning is a sin.
  • Enjoy the smug satisfaction that any damage to your skis sustained in Catherine's at least came with the aerobic rewards of herring-boning your way up to the traverse... bootpackers, eat my gravel!

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