Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Day at Greek Peak 2011

   It was a magnificent spring skiing day at Greek Peak.   Lots of sun, blue sky and many geezers out to enjoy the softening snow.   Early morning the non-groomed surface was a bit crisp but with the warming sun the snow softened into comfortable corn snow by noon.   In the early afternoon some areas became a bit sticky but by sticking to the shaded areas one had an excellent ride.   Andy and I had a good day of conversation and burning up the slopes.   We made many observations about the conditions, the state of the world and speculations about the wrap up of the season.   Tomorrow's forecast indicates a snow/rain mix.  We shall see.
   Lift rides provided a chance to observe the different characters on the slope and to take a closer look at  unusual  sights.   Regrettably we did see a skier who had crashed on the side of the Alceme slope near a tree under chair 1A.   The  Ski Patrol was called to carry him down the slope.    At least he was conscious and it looked like a leg injury.   Earlier in the day I saw him really burning up the slope at very high speed.   He was a good skier who pushed the envelope beyond the limit.  
    We also had a chance to observe someones art on one of the trees to the right of the lift.   See the photo below.   I don't know who it looks like but it gets your attention.
    Andy and I documented our presence on the slopes with mutual photos to record for history a beautiful spring skiing day at Greek Peak.   Who knows how long it will last?   Fewer and fewer skiers are coming out so I doubt whether it is profitable to stay open much longer.   I guess it is time for the geezers to ramp up for golf, tennis, biking or other summer activities.
Tree Art at the Peak

Andy - Not the Model for the Tree Art

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Pret!

     Is there any better way to celebrate your 91st birthday than to go skiing?   It was my pleasure to see Pret Goslee on the slopes today celebrating his birthday with wife Nita and friends.  He is clearly the hero of the geezer skiers at Greek Peak.    For the rest of us young geezers (70 and 80 year olds) he sets a wonderful example of living life to the fullest.   And we all aspire to follow in his ski boots on the hill.
Left to Right: Otto, Bob, Pret Goslee (Birthday Boy), Nita Goslee, Ted, Rose, Gerry
Therefore I designate him the Dean of the Geezer Skiers at Greek Peak.   Best wishes Pret for many more seasons on skis.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Have a Brain

Empty Slopes - Rain and Slush

    Today's ski conditions and my reactions to the conditions are proof that I have a brain and maybe even good judgement.  Over the weekend we went to see The Wiz put on by the Newfield High School students.   (A granddaughter had the roles of Aunt Em and Glinda the good witch and did a magnificent job).   One other role in The Wiz is the scarecrow who laments not having a brain.   So like the scarecrow when I went to ski at Greek Peak this morning one might say that I didn't have a brain.   It was raining when I left.   The roads were covered with a couple of inches of slush.   And the ski report said that two inches of snow had fallen overnight but they had groomed.   Not to be deterred I put on appropriate rain gear along with my boots and arrived at the lift just as the ski patroler was loading.   As I unloaded at the top I received an admonition from the ski patrol to be very careful.   The two plus inches of slush had obscured spots that could be treacherous.
    I immediately recognized that it was going to be a tough day on the slopes.   My goggles were already spotted with rain and the new "snow" was about three inches of heavy wet slush.   My geezer life preservation kicked in and I cautiously tested my ability to make turns.   Even with my relatively wide skis, it was a challenge to comfortably make even subtle turns.     I did manage to make a single run without disaster.  However,  the brain cells kicked in and discretion won out over valor.    It was time for an early coffee break, newspaper reading and returning home.   I guess I am still a Tough Old Geezer Skier since I was brave enough to show up.
    Spring skiing surely is a lesson in contrasts.   Yesterday was a magnificent day of spring skiing in bright sunshine with excellent corn snow.   It was a delight to slice through the snow and lay down some good tracks.   Twenty four hours later it was rain, clouds and challenging conditions.   However, hope springs eternal for the spring skier.   I am counting on tomorrow being better.   Meanwhile, I have preserved this old body to ski another day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Skiing

     It is clear that we are into the waning days of the 2010-2011 ski season.   Spring conditions dominated the skiing today with early morning showers followed by warmer afternoon temperatures to give us corn like snow.   The slopes were mostly deserted early in the day but a few skiers showed up for the latter part of the day.  With spring conditions comes fewer slopes open and fewer lifts in operation.   Geezer skier Harold Foster and I has a good time in spite of the marginal conditions.   This is the time of the year for a more conservative approach to our runs.   No sense in having a fall late in the season and getting an injury.
    I noticed that Channel 9 TV was doing some filming today.   Apparently a new law requiring age 14 and under children to wear helmets is going to occur.   A great idea as far as I am concerned.   I have always been a strong advocate of helmets for everyone.   There are still a few geezer skier holdouts who refuse to wear helmets.   I hope that they never take that fall that whacks their head on the hard pack snow.   I know of at least one geezer that took that kind of fall before he got a helmet.   Fortunately his injury was superficial.   The worst fall I ever took was walking out to the lift.  I slipped on some ice and went over backward on the back of my head.    The helmet saved me from a fractured skull.
    As spring comes upon us we will see conditions deteriorate but hopefully the excellent base will hold up until April.   I am preparing myself for a new daily routine sans skiing.   Since I am scheduled to give a lecture tot he Cornell Emeritus faculty in late April, my attention will turn to the academic side of my life.   And there will be a to-do list for home as well.
     Best wishes for sunny spring days skiing on great corn snow for the remainder of the season.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Boring Lift Ride - Wild Idea

     Lift rides can be boring when you don't have a companion to talk to.   Almost all geezer skiers were gone at the end of my skiing day at Greek Peak so my thoughts on my latter lift rides wandered off to fantasies of how lift rides could be used to promote skiing and social networking.    I think I have a great idea that ought to be commercialized!   Television and other venues are frequently touting match making activities for singles who are looking for mates.   They all have schemes for getting couples together to explore mutual interests and possibly romance.    And apparently there are speed dating set-ups for singles to meet a variety of individuals.    How about using the lift ride as a speed dating arrangement.   A six to eight minute ride on the lift by a couple is adequate time to get acquainted and to determine if there is any mutual interest that can be pursued.
      The logistics of speed dating would need to be managed so that no person rode up with the same person twice.   Perhaps we could issue numbers to the participants and have two lines that merged at the lift entrance to interface the individuals.   Maybe a ski area could do a promotion on this kind of event and discount a bit to get new and returning skiers back on the slope.  Probably one would need to do some skiing ability matching as well.   Since the participants would have a skiing interest to start with, they would immediately have something in common.   I think I will franchise this idea and see if I can sell it to ski areas.
      Since my wife as a pastor is an accomplished pre-marital counselor, perhaps I could generate some business for her.    She could even become the female equivalent of Marrying Sam from Al Capp's comic strip Lil Abner.
     Lift rides can be boring but with a little imagination one can amuse themselves with any number of activities.   When I am not off into the wild ideas it is also a joy to simply observed the surrounding nature, the light play on the snow, and gyrations of skiers of a whole range of abilities.   And who knows, one may have an extraordinary revelation!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainy Day - Empty Slopes

Empty Slopes
     A rainy day at Greek Peak.   This old geezer skier was foolish enough to venture to Greek Peak this morning with the hope that the rain would taper off.   Not to be!  No one in the locker room, no one at the ticket booth and no paying customers in the parking lot.   After a chat with the attendant at the Greek Peak Ski shop, I got myself together to head for the lift.   Upon arrival at the lift I heard from Dale that the Ski Patrol had gone up and I was free to load.   With the rain beating down, I hunkered down on the lift,  keeping my head down to keep the goggles clear.    After a wet ride up I skied off the ramp onto smooth, semi fast surface.   The first run was a comfortable ride on a soft semi crystalline surface.    Visibility was marginal.    Still not wet enough and smart enough to quit, I took two more runs before I sensed that my old Goretex yellow jacket was beginning to soak through.   I'm sure that Dale was happy not to get out the shack to load me anymore.  Not the greatest ski day, but as they say in Minnesota at Lake Wobegon,  "It could be worse".   To make it even more an official day I actually bought a cup of coffee at the cafeteria,  ate my apple fritter and read the paper.   Not a total waste of time when you still can enjoy your fritter.   I hope this day was not a harbinger of Spring skiing this year.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Geezer Skier Do's

Pat Before
Pat After
Gerry Before
Gerry After
   Yesterday Pat invited me to join him at the local spa.   He had heard that they do magic transformations for elderly gentlemen who are follicularly challenged.  Since we both fall into that category it seemed like a great thing to do.   So we made the trip and we were amazed what they could do for us.   At one time I had a crew cut but I Pat suggested we go for a more modern do.  You know, the spiky do that the youngsters and rappers go for.   We hope that all you geezer skiers will take note and let us know whether you like our transformations.   Would you like to buy some of this magic elixir?
(Note:   If you really believe this story, we have slightly used Brooklyn Bridge available at a discounted price).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teacher Teaching Teachers

   It was a glorious skiing day at Greek Peak today.   Sunshine, blue sky, beautiful grooming and moderate temperatures ruled the day.   PSIA teachers this week have been  working with ski instructors seeking certification so we had splendid examples of how to ski with grace and skill.   During our geezer lift rides we had a chance to watch their form and technical competence.  It was great to have the ski population dominated by excellent skiers.   I think my skiing was vastly improved today by observing how it should be done.
Emily Gregg Giving Them The Word
   I was pleased to have a brief conversation with Emily Gregg, one of the instructors, during her briefing of her group late morning on the top of the  hill.   See photo.   Since my son-in-law Terry Barbour has been a trainer and a member of the US PSIA demo team in the past  I thought she might know him.  Sure enough she is not only acquainted with my son-in-law but also is a friend of my daughter Tange.   The PSIA network is a close-knit community so one shouldn't be surprised.
   Best wishes to the PSIA people and their efforts to become quality instructors.   Many of us geezer skiers have benefited from their instruction.   And to the teachers teaching teachers congratulations on reaching  the highest levels of ski instruction skills.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hope on the Slopes

  On Saturday March 5, 2011 Greek Peak Mountain Resort hosted the 6th Annual Hope on the Slopes.   This event raises money for the American Cancer Society through the efforts of skiers who commit to skiing as many runs as possible to get their sponsors to make greater contributions.   It is both a joyful and touching event since many of the skiers wear armbands with the names of loved ones that have been lost to cancer.   The joy is shown in the survivors ceremony.  Recognition of the ones that have survived the cancer diagnosis is especially moving.     As a two time cancer survivor, I can identify with anyone who has benefited from improved cancer cures and care to give us continued hope.   I would hope that this year's event was very successful.

Being Counted

Entry Lane

Keeping Track

    The Hope on the Slopes event had entertainment, demonstration skis, competition, bands, wine and cheese, snow sculpting and dog sled mushing.   There were activities for all ages and abilities to participate in.   As a technophile, I was impressed with the system set up to record the number of runs by the skiers.    The skiers were given a chip to attach to their bibs and at the end of each run they  skied through a finish portal that read their chip and recorded their run.   An impressive way to assemble the data for the day.   While photographing the set up I met the Sales Representative Nikita Dorcinvil from  I didn't learn whether he was donating his gear and time for the event, but I hope so.   And if he did, I guess I can give him a plug in my blog.
Sensors Under Horizontal Finish
    Many thanks to all the hard working folks that enable Hope on the Slopes.   Unfortunately, probably a high proportion of the geezer skiers or their loved ones will have cancer.   I am most recently saddened by the death of my college room mate and long time friend David Ludington due to a brain tumor.    And I have a daily prayer list of friends who are in treatment for cancer.   I am sure we all look forward to the time that cancer will be less of a nemesis for humankind.  Meanwhile thank you to all care givers, researchers and organizations that are fighting this disease.

Friday, March 4, 2011

1st Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

   Yesterday we had the 1st Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon at Hope Lake Lodge of Greek Peak Mountain Resort.   Most of us think it was a smashing success.   About 67 people were in attendance.  The gathering time served to exchange pleasantries and to get to know our fellow skiers and their companions better.   Thanks to the organizational skills of Larry Monheim the entire event went smoothly from reception to program to food to the open forum presented by Al Kryger.

    Larry acting as MC warmed us up with some humor and appropriate remarks.   I had the opportunity to define the categories of geezer skiers from the Aspiring,  to Apprentice to Bona Fide Geezer Skiers.   It also was a time to acknowledge the wonderful spouses and companions that may not ski but act as supporters of Geezer Skiers.   It was also a pleasure to recognize Pret Goslee at age almost 91 as our most senior skier in attendance.   We all aspire to following in his ski boots at Greek Peak.  It was my pleasure on behalf of our group to acknowledge Patrick Ryan as the 2009 Founder of The Tough Old Geezer Skiers.   We wear our name tags as badges of honor due to Pat's inspiration.   We are still working on an appropriate identity for the senior ladies skiers.   The consensus seems to be that they would also be satisfied to be identified as geezer skiers on the slopes but "what happens there stays there".  

   Pat Ryan continued our program with the award of the Sainted Wife's Award to Ruth Bushnell for her support of husband Allen for over 58 years of their marriage and 7 years of courtship.   We also chose to have a respectful moment of tribute to those skiers who have passed on.   It was good to remember their joy of skiing during their lifetime and the many good times we had with them on the slopes.

   Following a blessing led by my wife Rev. Nancy R. we enjoyed our food and fellowship into the remainder of the afternoon.   Al Kryger's summary of the developments at Greek Peak was appreciated as well as the opportunity for a question and answer session.

Andy, Marion, Frank, and Ed

Bob, Dick, and Pat Ryan (Founder of The TOGs)

Gerry, Dick  and Pat

Roger Pellerin and Marion Cutting

Jack and Carole

Larry (MC), ?, Tony

Don Schaeffer

Frank Bonamie and Rev. Nancy R.

Mary and Charles Wilcox
    Thank you all for you interest in this event.   We look forward to the 2nd Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon in 2012.   Suggestions for the program, possible awards and operation of the event are welcome.  If you would like another take on the luncheon go to my wife's blog   Enjoy!