Saturday, March 30, 2013

Slope Signs of Spring

    The waning days of the 2012-2013 ski season are upon us.   The sure signs of Spring and the end of the season are popping up.   Sunshine and corn snow were a delight for today's skiing.  However there were signs of the end days as well.   As shown below the warning signs for thin and bare spots  were in greater abundance than usual.   However, the still is an abundance of snow and very few of the trails are closed.  
   Other signs of spring include running streams and shirtsleeve apparel and buds forming on the trees.   A ski patrol fund raiser brought out the barbecue at the top of the hill too.  Another sign of Spring at the slope is the emptying of lockers and departure of seasonal residents from their condos. Many of the geezers are also hanging up the skis for the season too.   Fishing and golf calls for many of them.  
  I am one of the die-hards.  It looks like I will be suffering the lonely lift rides for a week as we finish the season.   Tennis beckons me.   My wish would be that when the ski area closes, we immediately have warm enough weather for outside tennis.  Another sign of spring - the nets going up!

John - Ski Patrol Barbecue - Great Hotdogs!

Are those buds coming out?

A Belated Birthday Wish

 The dean of our Geezer Skier group Pret Goslee celebrated his 93rd birthday last Sunday.  I regret that I wasn't on the slope to celebrate with him, his grandson and wife Nita.   I did hear from all my geezer associates that were on the slope that he was treated like a rock star for the day.  Wherever he went he was surrounded by well wishers and admirers.   Everyone on  the hill was greeted with a sign at the lift attendants shack announcing Pret's birthday celebration.   The sign was up even on Monday so I was able to get a photo as seen below.
   So, Pret here's wishing you a belated happy birthday and good karma for many more to come.   A search of my photo archives brought forth my photo of your 91st birthday on the slopes in 2011.   See below.   As I saw you today I am convinced you haven't changed a bit over these last two years!   You continue to be a hero for all of us youngsters in our 70's and 80's.   If I get to match your record to date, I have 15 more seasons to go!   All the best to you and your family not only for your skiing prowess, but also for your continued contributions to our community.
Pret - Third from the Left - 2011 Birthday

Public Announcement - Pret - 93

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Junior High Geezers

 When a group of geezer skiers gather for a coffee break the conversation can veer off into all kinds of unusual directions.   Recently one of our members mentioned an encounter with one of his old junior high schoolmates.  In the course of that encounter they apparently reverted back to their junior high years and behaved that way to the extent that his wife stated that to him!
   For whatever reason that comment triggered a spate of jokes and trickery among the group.   I suspect that the people around us really thought we had gone off the deep end.  I will not relate any of the jokes here since this is a G rated blog.   However, I will mention that Pat R. had a magic finger with a lighted end that was an entertaining gadget.   You would be amazed how the alternately flashing light at the tip could enter and leave various facial cavities, as well as coffee cups and other containers.   Perhaps this behavior is simply one more way of capturing our long past youth.    Laughter is good for our health, just as much as a dozen runs on the ski slope.   Thankfully we have both our physical and mental health therapy on a daily basis.
Pat cutting it up with Frank.  The light must be too bright since their eyes are closed.

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Snow than Legs

  This has to be the best day of skiing at Greek Peak for the whole  2012-2013 season.  We had at least four if not six inches of fresh powder this morning.   It was a delight to make first tracks on several slopes at the beginning of the day.   It certainly was also a fat ski day.  My Rossignol S3's were perfect for the snow conditions.  The ride for the whole day was superb.   I even delayed my coffee break to pursue the remaining stashes of fresh snow on the front side of the mountain.
   When I went in for a break after nine runs I discovered that a news conference was in progress to introduce the new owners of Greek Peak.   I can't think of a better omen for the success of the new owners than being introduced on one the greatest ski days we have had for the year.  Good news is that the new owners are long time skiers at Greek Peak and have a commitment to emphasis on the ski side of the business.  Hallelujah!  
   Although there were lots of food goodies at the news conference gathering, the beautiful snow was calling.   Fortified with coffee and my usual apple fritter I heard the call of the snow and rushed to get back on the hill.  With the company of Roger I departed for the other side of the mountain, hoping to find territory for more fresh tracks.   Although it was late morning we were still able to find areas that without tracks.   After a few runs Roger was ready to cut out but I couldn't give up so soon.
   Mars Hill was a ball.   There must have been at least 8 inches of untracked snow in places.   I managed to cycle more times than I was able to keep count.   The only regret was that my body and legs were telling me to quit and I listened.  Yes, I am wise enough to know when to fold 'em and be prepared for another day.   The photo below attempts to capture the conditions.   Son Colin is

Still some places for fresh tracks!
always posting great photos of thigh deep powder in Utah where he has been most of March.   This is my humble answer to his boasting.  Our conditions in no way match Utah but  the slope is sure close to home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Geezer Skier's Culture

    I have been pondering the nature of the culture of geezer skiers.   What is it that creates a particular culture or cultural behavior for a group of senior skiers?  Without consciously creating a  culture our group of skiers has become unique culture in the past several years.    
   A bit of internet research generated this list of features of a culture from the website  In an abbreviated form they are Artifacts, Stories, Rituals, Heroes, Symbols, Beliefs, Attitudes and Rules.  Our Greek Peak geezer skier group certainly exhibits elements of a particular culture in each of the categories.
  At least one artifact is the Tough Old Geezer Skier name tag with our first name.   These tags are sported on jackets, helmets and the like.   Not everyone participates in this way but still these tags are a part of the culture.   Stories do abound about geezer skies of past and present.   I particularly remember Marty Stiles who started skiing in his mid sixties and continued to be a fixture at the slope until his untimely death.   He was always learning new things about skiing and forever tinkering with his gear.   At every gathering of the geezers either in a large group or in pairs on the chairs, stories of ski experiences past are frequently exchanged.   And many of those stories get repeated maybe too often.
    As to rituals each of us has some kind of ritual idiosyncrasy.   Some of us keep written logs of our ski days with varying level of detail.  The morning coffee break is a ritual of rest and relaxation after a prescribed number of runs on the slope.   Each morning there are the ritual arrival time for the various skiers, followed by appropriate greetings, a check of the posted ski conditions and exchange of the gossip of the moment.  Everyone has some kind of pattern of preparation for the morning ski.   As one might expect almost everyone at our age will make a preparatory bathroom break before exiting to the slopes.   In the bigger scheme we now have the Annual Geezer Skier's Luncheon established as a ritual after three years of the event thanks to the leadership of Larry Monheim.
    We do have our heroes too.   Pat Ryan is our founding father for the Tough Old Geezer Skier designation.   We salute his development of this appellation that we wear proudly wherever we go.   Of course we honor our most senior geezer hero Pret Goslee who at 93 sets the standard for all of us younger folk to emulate.  
    The most evident symbols of our culture are the 70+, 80+, or 90+  decals on our helmets and out name tags.
      In the areas of beliefs, attitudes and rules we have wide variety of views.   Our common belief is that skiing is good for the body and soul.   Mostly our attitude is one of optimism looking forward to another satisfying day on the ski slope.   There are no written rules but concern for the care and well being of our fellow skiers is tantamount.   Of course there is the unwritten rule that six runs constitutes an official day.  However, that rule can be broken if the conditions are horrible.  Then as little as two runs can count as an official day.
     In summary it is difficult to describe the complexity of the geezer skier culture.  We come from a wide range of life experiences but share a common bond of both survival and the love of skiing.  As I reflect on our culture I am sure that I will be editing this blog.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Not Spring Skiing

   A cold day and excellent groomed slopes and it is mid March.  Certainly it was not spring skiing.   What a bonus to have such excellent conditions for this late in the ski season in upstate New York.  We even had a bit of sunshine early in the day but unfortunately the light failed later.   As I write we are receiving a dump of new snow and if the forecast  holds we should have four to six inches for tomorrow's runs on the local slopes.
   The skiers on the slopes this morning were predominantly geezers.   The general public was obviously gainfully employed and absent.    Thank heavens for the working folks continuing to fund our social security!
   Although the skiing conditions were excellent, a coffee break after an hour or so in the cold was appropriate.   We had more than a quorum this morning.   We even needed to pull two tables together to provide enough seats.   See photos.   Conversation was lively and the stories swirled from one side of the table to another.   It is notable that when the number in the group exceeds  four or so, that multiple stories are in progress simultaneously.   The groupings are fluid much like a school of fish that coalesces and breaks up as they swim in the sea.  
   As the story telling wanes the group breaks up and we adjourn to the hill for another round of skiing.  Other geezers have remained on the hill and when we encounter them we get the usual chiding for taking time for coffee.   See photo.  However,  I think I make up for that by staying past the lunch hour and even taking a shot at skiing Hercules.   Greek Peak geezers will understand the significance of doing Hercules.  Most of the time this slope is closed or covered with an ice face.  Not so today.
Gaggle of Geezers -Larry, Tom, Dick, Roger, Bob, and Pat

Elly and Hank Host-Steen - Honorary Geezers

The Stalwarts Staying on the Hill - Cliff, Pat?,?, Pret and ?
   Here is hoping that Spring on the slopes will be delayed for another week or so.   For the non-skiers hoping for an early spring, your days will come and don't curse the skiers and the weather too much.   April and the tulips are coming!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Snow Pi

   Today is Pi day.  Yes it is 3.14 or in the calendar sense 3/14.   Math fanatics are all celebrating in one way or another so I thought I should join in with their fun.   Even my daily newspaper crossword puzzle has a Pi theme.    So as a skier on the freshly powdered slopes I thought it appropriate to add a Pi signature to some virgin snow.   Thus a stop on the Odyssey slope at Greek Peak to add Pi to the winter scene.   See the photograph below for verification.   Yes, I made a Snow Pi(e).   I wonder what kind of Pi(e) I could bake to consider it a "snow" Pi(e)?   Oh well, I think I will just bake a white cake with white frosting for my dessert to charge up my energy for another day on the slopes.
Pi on the Slopes

Monday, March 11, 2013


  The vagaries of life are certainly connected to timing.   Being at the right place at the right time can change the course of ones life.   In the stock market making a wise move at the right time can have good consequences.  Even if they say you can't time the market.   I can think of dozens of times in my life that the timing of the event had immense impact on my life.    And if you don't think timing effects you, just think about the recent change from standard to daylight saving time.  Our sleep cycles are disrupted and even our digestion may be affected by the change in time of our meals.  As the Bible passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 points out there is a time for everything.   For example, a time to weep and a time to laugh.
   You may wonder how the statements above relate to skiing.   On the lighter side, today's ski adventure was a splendid example of the importance of timing.   Since we are into the spring ski conditions, we have cycles of freezing and thawing that introduce a whole range of ski surfaces.  Overnight  the soft snow of Sunday was frozen into icy bumps.   Our first run at Greek Peak rattled our teeth.  The second one did the same.   For many of the geezers this morning one or two runs were enough.  I managed to stay out for a third run before I retreated to the coffee gathering in the lodge.
   The extended coffee break was a great relief.   We enjoyed many stories for over 45 minutes and reluctantly broke up to go our separate ways.   As an inveterate optimist, I chose to hit the slopes once again.   I had little expectation for improved conditions.   However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the snow softer.  And as the morning progressed the conditions continued to improve.   Timing is everything.   How fortuitous to have taken a long coffee break.
   The rest of the morning and into the afternoon proved to be a delightful day on the slopes.   Maybe it was the case of waiting long enough for things to get better!   I am glad I was wise enough to leave before my body gave out.   Also on the last run, I could feel the snow beginning to get a bit sticky.   Timing, timing, timing!   I'll try to be wiser about my day tomorrow.
   And to my geezer friends, I am sorry you didn't stay around after coffee.   Too many lonely rides up the lifts and you all missed some later day good skiing.   Even Hercules was tolerable,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Third Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

  Our tradition of a geezer skiers luncheon is now well established.   Today was our third one with over 40 in attendance.     Our gathering started at  12:30 PM at the  Bobcat Lounge of  Hope Lodge at Greek Peak.  I didn't make the early session!   I was on the slope looking for skiing companion Roger P. who I thought had a crash on the slope since I didn't see him come down on our last run.   The good news is that he didn't crash but slipped by me into the lodge when I wasn't looking.  Oh well, I got in a couple more runs for the day as result of my search.
   Our luncheon starting at 1:30 PM was a great time for fellowship, food and folly.   Master of Ceremonies Larry Monheim entertained us with observations on senior moments we all had experienced one time or another this year.   Our senior moments included forgotten boots, gaiters, poles, passes and distractions getting on and off the lift.   Thankfully we can all laugh about these lapses and continue to enjoy our skiing adventures.   Many thanks to Larry for organizing our event!
   Our very senior group got an update on the future of Greek Peak from Wes Kryger.   As the ski area goes through bankruptcy and restructuring our senior group remains optimistic that our longtime play at Greek Peak will continue uninterrupted.   Let's hope the new buyers will give high priority to the ski community!
  Here are a few pictures of the assembly.   Apologies to those I was unable to name in the photos.  If any of you reading this can help me with the names I'll edit this post. A complete album appears on my Facebook site for those who participate on that social network.   Here is hoping that all pictured will join us for the Fourth Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon next year!
Nita, Pret, Jack and Carol

?, Gene, and Joe

Baldies - Pat and Andy

Bill, Roger and Bob

Evaline and Larry Monheim

Al and Gerry in the Center.

A Tasty Dish.


Dick, Pat, Andy and Bill.

Everybody Needs a Hug!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Silent Song

 On my way home from a doctor's appointment in Syracuse I skied at Song Mountain.   I arrived there about 1:00 PM expecting to see a reasonable number of skiers on the slopes.   I think I was the only geezer there.  However there were only a handful of other skiers as well.  What a surprise to see the slopes so empty.  
  I skied Song only one day this year when just the beginner chair and slope were open.   Today, however, the whole mountain was covered with excellent snow and conditions were wonderful.   It was fun to explore a whole host of trails new to me.   From right to left facing the mountain the slopes range from greens and blues to some interesting black diamonds.   Many of the slopes were partially groomed and some of the intermediate slopes had some soft moguls.   There was about two to three inches of fresh snow to play with and some of the non-groomed areas had four to eight inches of  eastern powder.   The fat skies were the best choice for the day.  In two hours of skiing I only repeated one slope once.   Lots of fun to ski a different trail on each run.
An Empty Slope - Mid-afternoon!
   It was a silent day since I never found another skier coming to the lift at the same time I was loading.  The only social encounter was a brief conversation with a Fort Drum soldier as we both examined a trail map billboard.   I don't enjoy skiing on crowded slopes.   It is also weird to ski deserted slopes.   It was a silent Song!