Friday, March 23, 2012


     Since my last posting on March 12, 2012 the ski season in my local area has ended.   Friday March 17, 2012 was the last day at Greek Peak ending at noon.   After skiing on the Thursday before, I even missed the last day without much regret in view of the conditions.   Because I am accustomed to skiing throughout March, I am definitely in the the throes of withdrawing from skiing almost every day.   I hate global warming!  If that is what is causing my shortened season.    Meanwhile all my associates are reveling in the warm weather.  On the Cornell Campus today I even photographed the blossoms on the trees in front of Riley-Robb Hall.
    As part of my remedy for withdrawal from skiing I am fortunate to transition to tennis almost every day and even tennis out doors with such balmy weather.   Wife Nancy is a formidable opponent on the tennis court so both of us benefit by having a live-in partner for our tennis adventures.  Another remedy for the transition is to clean all my ski gear and properly store it until the beginning of next season.   Now that all those activities are behind me, I guess I can put the thoughts of skiing to bed and get on with grass mowing, tennis and other activities for the spring and summer.  Probably the thing that prolongs my withdrawal is the pictures of skiing in Utah that my son has posted on Facebook on almost a daily basis since the end of February.   Utah has had some magnificent snowfalls in that period.   However, as a geezer I have to recognize that I am no longer able to master the steeps and deeps that he regularly skis with his companions and family.    I will be satisfied with taking vicarious pleasure in his photos of his adventures.

   I hope that this has been a once in a life time kind of seasons for our local ski area.   I would summarize this season as several weeks of beginning and ending of season scratchy skiing bracketing  a main season of wide swings in slope conditions.   Fortunately there were several days of excellent skiing to keep us going.   I must end with the observation that I am indeed fortunate to have enjoyed 69 days on the slopes this year which is 11 times the average number of days of skiing by skiers in the USA.   Geezer life is good and the season pass for next year has been purchased.   Looking forward to appropriate geezer skier adventures in the off  season.
December 22, 2011 - The Beginning
February 12, 2012 - A Great Mid-Season Day
March 12, 2012 - Beginning of the End of Season

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring - A Rash of Trash

    We are in the waning days of the ski season.   Extremely warm days and nights have devastated the base and more warm weather is on its way.   There is great beauty in both spring and winter.  Winter snow cover can be beautiful white in contrast with the browns and grays of the trees.   Spring beauty comes with the promise of new flowers and the budding of the trees.   Bare patches begin to green up with the increased temperatures and sunlight.
   However, spring does reveal the trash.    I always thought that skiers should be appreciative of the mountain environment and want to maintain the quality of their surroundings.   Unfortunately humankind has people who would rather throw the trash from the ski lift than carry it to a trash can.   I feel a sort of affinity for the ski area which means I expect respect for the environment.   Sunday while riding up Chair 2 at Greek Peak, I was struck by the accumulation of trash under the lift line.   The photo captures some of the worst of it near one of the towers.    It only takes one piece of trash to start a cascade of further trash.   Just like I have said before that little things make a difference, it only takes one irresponsible person to start a rash of trash.     I remember the days when roadsides were extensively littered with trash.   Anti-litter campaigns have been partially successful in reducing roadside trash in part due to serious fines for littering.   I would like to institute a ski area ordinance of $100 fines for  littering from the lift.   The proceeds would  go to support the Adaptive Ski Sports program.   What do you all think?
Trash Under the Tower at Left

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Bad Day of Skiing?

   Is there such a thing as a bad day of skiing for the avid skier?   I don't think so.  Three geezers started out for the slopes this morning after a very warm night and a devastating loss of snow on the slopes.   Everything looked pretty scratchy on the hill with ice spots, bare spots and water ponding at the lift area.   Three of us went up and three came down.   One departed and then it was up to Andy and I to represent the geezer skiers.
   We managed to adapt to the conditions and survived six runs before we allowed ourselves a coffee break.   Actually it wasn't as bad as one might think.  There were paths down the slope we could still navigate without hitting the dirt.   There was even a group of instructors getting training from a PSIA rep.   Certainly a day to tune up your ability to adapt to any conditions.
   Since we were aiming for a full official day of twelve runs, Andy and I went out to the slopes post coffee break.  Larry had coffee with us to give us courage to continue but he retired to his condo in anticipation of his luncheon hamburger.   During the remainder of the the day we managed another five runs until the rain discouraged us from continuing.   To make the day official we awarded ourselves a one run handicap to make our official twelve.
   No, there is really no such thing as a bad day of skiing!
Thin and Bare - March 8, 2012
Water Pond at the Lift

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Skiing Day

   The geezer skiers were out in big numbers today.  Temperatures were to rise to near 60 F and the snow had been groomed to perfection.    With several days of warm temperatures expected, everyone was anxious to take advantage of the waning days of the season in the bright sun and blue sky conditions.   Because the snow turns to glue later in the day, we extended our early morning session late into the morning before we took a coffee break.
   The coffee break was full of lively conversation and had a couple of questions to be answered.   What are the four states in the four corners area of the United States?   The combined wisdom of the geezers was not sufficient to come up with a definitive answer.   (The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, northwestern corner of New Mexico, northeastern corner of Arizona and southeastern corner of Utah.)   I think we guessed most of it correctly when we came up with Utah as the fourth state.   The other question was, how does Craig's List make money?  Answer:  Some commercial outfits are charged for their services.  Conversation also strayed to the question of who has smart phones.   I think only one of the geezers had one so I guess you know you are a geezer if you don't have a smart phone.
   After a long coffee break, most of the group was ready to hang it up for the day.   Andy and I decided to give it another go and spent another hour or so coping with the changing conditions.  By the time we were through our legs were burning from the effort.   Really a great day of spring skiing.  
Gerry -Winter Attire

Gerry - Spring Attire

Andy - Red Pants - Red Gloves


Monday, March 5, 2012

Snow Feast - Snow Bones

   An over night four inch snow fall gave us a beautiful morning on the slopes at Greek Peak.   There was a veritable plethora of fluffy powder waiting to be skied.    It was like a magnificent snow feast prepared to be consumed by the avid skier.   I had the pleasure of the first tracks on Iliad.   It was an exhilarating ride from top to bottom with my skis shooting rooster tails of snow into the bright morning sun.   For over an hour we enjoyed fresh runs on Iliad and Odyssey.     Like any feast it seems that you can't get enough of what is available.   Sating ones appetite is the primal goal.
    As the day wore on the snow became chopped up by the many skiers and the many ski runs.   So what we were left with was the "snow bones" from the early morning pristine snow feast.   Even the "snow bones" were fun to gnaw on.   The low temperatures kept the snow light and fluffy even after it had been disturbed.   I feasted until my legs could stand no more.   A memorable day on the slopes.   Let us hope for at least a few more for the rest of the season.
Snow Feast

"Snow Bones"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

2nd Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

  Yesterday we had the 2nd Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon at the new conference facilities at Greek Peak Mountain Resort.   Now that we have had the second event we can claim to have an ongoing tradition.   Although the attendance was down from last year's inaugural event, those that did come enjoyed the fine food, camaraderie and excellent program including a briefing by Wes Kryger.
   Prior to the luncheon many of the geezers were interviewed by the Cortland Standard reporter Katie Hall.  A story about our group is to appear this coming Monday in the Cortland Standard along with photos taken by Bob Ellis.   We look forward to her interpretation of the comments we made.
   Once again Larry Monheim served as MC welcoming all to the event and guiding us through our program.   Pat Ryan gave us an identification quiz for the gag nick names of the geezers that frequently appear on the hill.   Geezers tend to have certain idiosyncrasies so it was reasonably easy for us to connect the person with Pat's nick names.   Naturally my nick name was "Fritter" since my morning routine always includes consuming a gigantic apple fritter obtained from the Price Chopper in Cortland.    Pat Ryan concluded his stint at the podium by sorting the attendees by age starting with having all of us stand then having the youngest to sit down first until we identified the most senior skier in our group.   In doing this effort in five year intervals we had to get to 95 and younger to leave our good colleague Pret Goslee as the last person standing.   It was our pleasure to present Pret and trophy recognizing his status as the oldest active skier at Greek Peak!  Thanks to the generosity of Greek Peak, Pret also received a complimentary season pass for the 2012-2013 season.
Pret Goslee our Senior Skier
    I had the opportunity to lead the recognition of our skier friends that had passed away over the years we had been skiing at Greek Peak.   A brief memorial prayer paid our respects and also gave us the opportunity to be thankful for the blessing of being able to ski in our geezerhood.
    The geezers skiers also awarded Greek Peak an Appreciation Award.   The award presented to Wes Kryger was a  laser engraved glass rectangle with the statement,

Geezer Skiers

Appreciation Award


Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Snow Making & Grooming

We especially wanted to recognize Greek Peak's effort to keep the slopes in good condition during the difficult winter season of 2011-2012.
Larry Monheim and Wes Kryger
    Wes Kryger presented an interesting and informative discussion of  the processes and costs involved in snow making and grooming.   I was surprised to learn about all the variables that go into successfully grooming the slopes and also to make good quality snow at a reasonable cost.   Following a question and answer session we adjourned to wrap up conversations and farewells.   All in all an enjoyable afternoon.  (For more photos of the event go to my Facebook album).
Andy, Frank, Roger and Nancy

A happy group!

Bunny and Tony

The Tom Tom's


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snow and Sand

   Wednesday we returned from winter break at Hilton Head, South Carolina.    Beach walks, tennis, fine food and seeing the local sites provided a change of pace from winter weather and skiing.   The beach walks were enjoyable exercise and as well as instructive about how sand and snow have lots of similarities.   Sand blows around objects and settles in drifts much the way snow does.   See the evidence below for the sand drifts down wind from a piece of beach driftwood.
Driftwood - Sand Drift
    Another evidence of the similarity of sand and snow was  obvious one day when the wind was blowing at high velocity down a very wide beach.   We have all seen snow devils on the surface of a road in high wind.   The same phenomena was evident on my beach walk.  I am not sure that the photo below captures the full sight of the sand devils blowing in the wind but the bottoms of my trousers were covered with sand when I exited the beach.

Sand Devils on a Windy Beach
   There are many ways to amuse oneself.   With camera in hand and an observant eye one can appreciate a variety of environments from mountains to the plains to the sea shores.