Monday, March 03, 2008

Skiing Loon(y) Weekend

The last time I went skiing was four years ago. This past weekend I went and as soon as I punched into the bindings I felt a rush of excitement just like before. As we took the gondola to the top of Loon Mountain in New Hampshire I felt like a kid, giddy with the feelings associated with downhill skiing.

We decided to start with a run on a green slope, to give us/me a chance to get my ski legs in gear. I thought that starting with an easy run would give me a chance to find my rhythm, let me remember to shift my weight onto the downhill leg, get me to keep my shoulders paralell to the slope, have me bend my knees and push my shins against the front of my boots, and keep my back straight.

So, during the first moments down the slope I mentally checked off all these items. Got it, okay, I'm good to go. And off I went. I missed a turn and went right off the side of the trail between two trees, down a fifteen foot embankment, rolling and tumbling and finally coming to an abrupt stop up against the base of a tree. Wham! I smacked up against the tree at my right rear pocket. Later, whenever I rubbed my sore butt I thanked it for the padding it provided.

I got up, dazed, and looked around me. Everything looked so vivid and bright, either blue or white. At first I thought maybe I was in a paralell universe, everything was so crystal clear. I looked down and saw this little skinny piece of metal with a black curved end on it sticking out of the snow, realized it was my glasses and pulled them out. I put them on but they immediately fogged up. My companions yelled to me to see if I was all right and then came down to help me.

My skis, poles, hat, and goggles were scattered around the area like debris from a car wreck. They helped me collect it all and made sure I was oriented in space and time. We then had to climb back up onto the trail, which was a feat unto itself.

After a few minutes collecting myself, checking again for any part of me that might be busted or broken, I put my skis back on and headed off down the hill. I did have some minor aches, pains and strains but nothing like what could have been, had I nailed either of the two trees I went between.

The rest of the day went very well. I was a tad more cautious and, when we moved up to skiing blues, decided to stay a little conservative in order to enjoy the ride. At the end of the day, we went to a hot tub for a welcome soak, which took away a lot of the aches I had accumulated.

In the evening we sat at the bar, the dining room already filled with people, and had supper. I talked to the bartender about the various drafts on hand, a couple of which were local, and chose a beer with a blueberry taste. As she was pouring it I changed my mind and had a Tuckerman's instead. A few minutes later, the beer rep. for the blueberry beer came over and congratulated me for having chosen it. I guess the beers looked alike and he missed it when I changed my mind. In gratitude, he gave me a Sea Dog labeled baseball cap and a Shipyard fleece scarf. I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth; plus, I liked the two items and wore the hat the whole time we were eating. Judy got a scarf and a pair of gloves and she wasn't even drinking beer.

The next day, Saturday, we went snow shoeing up at the Lower Falls in the Sabaday area along the Kancamagus highway. I had never been snow shoeing before. It was a beautiful day. Overnight it had snowed at least 8" and it was still snowing while we were walking. It was so quiet and peaceful. The evergreens and brown trunks of the deciduous trees were in stark contrast to the whiteness of the more than five feet of snow we were in.

On one level snow shoeing is certainly safer than skiing but, on another level, walking a half mile knee deep in snow into the woods on a ridge along side of a river to get to a gorge in order to look at a frozen waterfall presents its own issues. I mean, we watched the snow on the side of the ridge above us develop cracks as we walked. Hmmn. A minor avalanche in the making? I knew it wouldn't bury us, but could it knock us into the river? Nevertheless, while I was aware that things could get ugly in a second and thought about what I would do if, the hike was well worth it. Besides, we left a note on the dashboard of the car saying where we'd gone and we'd also called a friend and told her that if we didn't contact her by day's end to contact the authorities and have them come look for us.

It was an unevenful ride back home on Saturday. I picked Dixie up from where she had stayed, re-grouped, and, after supper, Judy and I went ballroom dancing.

The next day, Sunday, after soaking in the hot tub (I have come to love these), we took a dance lesson, focusing on a move from last week in west coast swing, learned three new east coast swing techniques and had a review of basic foxtrot. Sunday evening we went to a friend's for dinner and a presentation on skin care.

Dixie and I got home around 9:30 pm. Sunday night. After I washed a load of clothes I went to bed. I was asleep in about 30 seconds.

You know, I can't wait to do it all again.