Oct. 19, 2020, Sandy
Preparing for Rebecca's Private Idaho
this summer in the Uintas. At
almost 45 years, still finding new
ways to enjoy riding.
SkiersSummit was supposed to be about skiing. The idea for this blog germinated during a web design class I took at the community college almost 10 years ago. In spite of skiing's prominent role in my life, I've always struggled to stay on topic and be consistent with my posts. So I think the best answer for my blog inactivity is to allow myself to break out of any self-imposed topical restrictions and just write. That being said, I still want to keep the name; not just because I paid for it and it has a nice ring to it, but because skiing formed who I am. My underlying need to express myself, on any topic, is somehow rooted in my lifelong marriage with the mountains. So SkiersSummit stays a thing, but hopefully the few readers I have won't fault me for deviating from the title's inferred topic.
The calendar says it's pretty far past the date where I can draw a bucket full of "what I did on summer vacation" from the metaphorical well, but in spite of the restrictions imposed on us by Mother Nature's viral wake-up call, I actually had an eventful summer. Foremost on the list of summer activities, discovering more methods of two-wheeled happiness with my gravel bike. I hope to compile that and my thoughts on a two-month training endeavor for Rebecca's Private Idaho in this blog before the real core of ski season starts.
Given how warm our September and October have been, I just haven't felt that transition from summer to ski season (really the only practical seasons in my life), but today, when I went for my afternoon ride, the feeling was there. There was a light but consistent breeze, and a thin filter of clouds that made the sun a diffused presence instead of a celestial being. That atmospheric shift reminded me that, if I'm not working, I need to be getting ready for skiing — either stretching, prepping (and shopping for) gear, reviewing backcountry skills, or just getting my body to move in ways that differ from just spinning the crank on my bike. That means binding my legs with thera-bands, playing with a stability ball, and doing awkward twists and squats in the basement. Not as fun as biking, but necessary to keep this 44 year-old body upright and out of harm's way.
Then there's something new to factor in for the 2020-21 ski season. As if the growing popularity of skiing hadn't already brought enough unwanted company to the slopes, now there is the unwanted company generated by a virus. Many see the outdoors as low-risk refuge from Coronavirus contraction, but unfortunately, this has had a direct, negative impact on the spaces we love. Fear of a pandemic and an economic downturn aren't doing anything to decrease outdoor recreation. The evidence has been noticeable at campsites, National Parks, and trailheads. I essentially called my ski season to a close last March, but based on stories I heard, Coronavirus also drove up the amount of people in the backcountry. While that was mainly due to resort closures, I'm sure even with some resorts operating at reduced capacity, there will be many, myself included, not thrilled with the prospect of waiting in a lift line with a bunch of Typhoid-Robs from Boston. So I'm also not relishing the expected saturation of the Wasatch Backcountry.
All these things, combined with this summer's drought (a sobering reminder of just how quickly our mountain-scaped backyard could be changing for the worst) portends one of the more interesting ski seasons in my 15 years in the Wasatch. So rather than shouting on Facebook in a fruitless attempt to drain the black X-Files brain oil from my mind, I'm going to blog in a manner where I balance reality, opinion and hope. That could include the topics of skiing, but just as easily include, if the nation's course worsens, posts from my bunker while sipping amaro and waiting out the storm. Stay tuned.