Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sounds of the Ski Slope

Can You Hear It Now?
    Earlier this week I was riding the lift alone several times since I had arrived late and my usual ski partners had left for the day.   It was a day of  calm weather and no wind so there were a variety of sounds impinging on my ear.   In fact I amused myself during the lift ride and later on the slope by trying to list and categorize the various sounds of the ski slope.   On the ride up there was the hum of the cable,  the rattle of a board on one of the towers,  the clunk of the safety bar on the stop,  the squeak, squeak,  squeak of the rubber of the cable pulley, and the bump, bump, bump of the cable riding over the tower pulleys.     Also in the background one would catch murmurs of conversations of riders down the lift.
     On other rides I would notice the characteristic whisper of skis riding through the soft snow and the occasional scraping sound on the exposed hard pack.  Occasionally a snow machine would roar up the slope for a maintenance task.   At other times we have suffered the whooshing roar of the snow guns.  Some snow gun designs have a piercing harsh noise.  Other have a more pleasing whoosh with lower decibels.  At the loading station we will hear the hum of the electric motor drives.
    All of the above are the man made sound of the ski slope.  There are also the natural sounds of wind whistling and whirling during the stormy days.   And on the quiet days there will be the rattle of tree limbs, the cracking of ice on the coated limbs and an occasional  bird song.    Springtime will bring the honks of the returning geese.   Other times I have seen and heard turkeys and foxes sounding off and travelling across the slope.
   Recently I have been introduced to the books of Eckhart Tolle on spiritual enlightenment.   He discusses the matter of living in the now.   i.e. Being aware of the present moment.   My revelation of ski slope sounds probably arose out of my focus on the now as I rode the lift last week.   It was soothing experience.   Next time that you have a lonely ride on the lift I challenge you readers to see how many sounds you can identify.

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