To Blog or to Ski? Blogging has been hampered by the belated but beautiful snowfall we’ve had this week. I bought a season’s pass for Bridger Bowl this fall, but I haven’t gotten as much use out of it as I’d hoped. I thought I was going to be able to sneak out a little more during the week than I’ve managed, and I might have been more inspired to make the drive over the hill had our friend Bill Campbell not lured me up to Suce Creek for some cross country action earlier this week. I haven’t cross-country skiied since I came west in 1988, but I did a fair amount of in in college because, well, it was the midwest and it’s flat. But I kept my old skis, which my grandmother gave me ages ago (she bought them thinking she’d ski around our farm, but decided it was too much work and went back to her snowmobile). They’re nice old wood skis, so when Bill called on Monday and said he was taking the dogs up in the afternoon, I dusted them off (literally), stopped and bought some wax on the way out of town, and decided to give it a whirl.
It was great! Twenty minutes out of town we were at the bottom of the road. Confronted with a foot of fresh powder, the dogs went wild with joy. I strapped on my old woodies, laced up my lovely, beat up old leather telemark boots, and off we went. About forty minutes later we’d skiied up through gorgeous pine forest, dogs romping up and down the hillsides, tunnelling through the snow and then bursting out with a big Broadway-baby ta-da as if to show us how unbelievably clever they were. It was a workout to be sure, but even someone as aerobically-challenged as myself could keep up and have a good time. And then we got to ski down the road … which on skinny little wooden skis with no edges, and four dogs, some of whom didn’t really understand the concept, romping in front of me, well it was as much challenge as anyone could want (although I did collide with my Raymond, my 2-year old dog. He just freaked out and panicked when he saw me coming up behind him … but what’s the fun of skiing if you never fall down and roll around in the snow?).
I love downhill skiing, because I’m essentially lazy and appreciate having a lift to haul my sorry ass up the hill, and because I have a bit of the speed freak in me, and I really love the sensation of flying down the hill, making good turns, that feeling you get when you fall in with the right rhythm and it’s all coming together. But I have to say, as someone who has to work more than I did when I was in my twenties and could ski every day, I really like the option to sneak out of the office and be back at my desk two hours later, having had a great time outside, having gotten a little exercise and some astonishing views of the Paradise Valley, with tired dogs flopped on their beds, redolent with that smell only happy wet dogs give off. I’ve been up there every day this week, seduced by the light equipment, the easy access, the exercise for me and the dogs, the happy faces of my fellow neighbors who have also bugged out of work a little early to catch the last daylight up in the mountains.