Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hawaiian Shirt Day at Greek Peak

    The Tough Old Geezer Skiers (TOGS) unofficially sponsored Hawaiian Shirt Day at  Greek Peak today.   We are still playful enough to make a display that puts smiles on the faces of our fellow skiers.  Leis were provided by Andy and it was my pleasure to hand them out to anyone interested or (enough confident of  themselves) to wear them.  We even decorated a lift attendant with one.
   We give credit to the TOGS founder Pat Ryan for inspiring and promoting the Hawaiian day.   He keeps us on our toes at all times and we can always anticipate another one of his Irish jokes which he will introduce with, "I've got another Irish joke for you."
   It was a great day of skiing and it was good to celebrate before the rain and warm weather hits.  Farewells were exchanged with several geezers who were hanging up the skis for this season at the end of this day.  However, some of us will be making turns for as many days that the ski area is open.  
Pat, Andy and Gerry Ready to Rock and Roll

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winding Down - Spring Skiing?

Early Morning Line Up

   Here we are at the end of March and still skiing with mid winter conditions.  Most of the geezer group continues to faithfully show up each day for our mid-week 11:00 AM opening hour.   However, a few have stored the skis and anticipate heading to the golf course in a few weeks or taking up fishing on April 1.
   So far we have not really had any Spring skiing.  You know, the sunny days with corn snow and temperatures in the 40's.   Today's skiing was an example of the madness of March weather.  Temperatures in the teens, a ferocious 30 mile wind and overnight a dump of three inches of powder.   Not a typical spring day on the slopes.   For those of us that are die hard skiers we relish these final days of skiing.   If all goes well I can anticipate having skied over three months of days before the spring thaw hits us.   It will be interesting to see how the season winds down this year.  Will we get a sudden warm up with rain and see the snow disappear in a few days?   Or will the skier numbers drop so fast that the area will close in spite of suitable snow cover?   Whatever happens I will mark this season as one of the greatest in recent years.
Would You Believe - March 26?
   All in all I am very thankful for the socialization and exercise for the past several months.  However, there is a time to transition to other activities.  I am beginning to see all the little chores I have put off and recognize that my saint of a wife will welcome my attention directed to joining her on the tennis court.  God bless her for tolerating my addiction to skiing.  

Bob and Andy Prepared for the Worst

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fourth Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

    Yesterday, Thursday March 13, 2014 was the fourth annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon at Greek Peak.  Nearly 50 skiers and companions had signed up for the event but numbers were down slightly due to the extreme weather and road conditions.  Actually only a few geezers braved the frigid temperatures and ferocious wind that morning to ski.

   Our gathering at Hope Lodge was a gala affair where we enjoyed an hour of socializing in the Bobcat Lounge followed by a buffet lunch in an adjoining room.   It is a delight to recognize Pret Goslee as our most heroic geezer skier at age 94.   And also hats off to his younger bride Nita who manages to accompany him in spite of an ailing knee.   Photos below tell the story of our socializing pre-lunch.
Pret and Nita

Tom McCarthy

Instructions at the Bar

Dick, Pat, Bob and Bob 

 Master of Ceremonies Larry Monheim led our program with anecdotes and and introductions. A special thanks goes to Larry for continue to lead the organization and execution of the luncheon.  We are also indebted to Pat Ryan who initiated the concept of the Tough Old Geezer Skiers over five years ago!   It has been a gift of laughter and camaraderie enhancing our lives.
Larry at the Podium

  To my surprise Pat Ryan bestowed the First Flake award upon me.   A copy of a Gary Patterson painting. It is especially meaningful to me because for many years I have had Patterson's True Fear painting copy on my office wall.    Obviously a recognition of my idiotic behavior of skiing on wet grass at the beginning and end of the season.  Or more likely because I have been willing to ski in some pretty ugly rain.  He further entertained us with a great Irish joke spoken in an authentic dialect.
First Flake Award

    Greek Peak owners, Marc Meier and John Stemerman were are featured speakers.   They graciously filled us in on their plans for the area.   They underlined their commitment to customer service and excellence for the experience at the resort.  They also emphasized their plan to move judiciously forward while keeping an eye on the bottom line so assure that the venture can continue to be a long term success both in customer experience and profitability.  Following their presentation there was ample opportunity for questions.   Answers were forthright and complete and there was acknowledgment that there were always opportunities for improvement.   Accolades were given for improved service by the lift attendants and the capital improvements to the lodge and lifts.
Marc and John

  We departed with full stomachs and stimulated minds and with anticipation of success of our home resort under the new management.   And as always we will be prepared to give both our frank praise as well as our frank criticism.   Isn't that the role of the "Geezers"?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unexpected Encounter

   I departed home for the slope in a light rain this morning.  My wife clearly thought I was crazy to ski in the rain.  Regardless, I still thought it could be a good day in spite of the weather.
   I arrived to an empty ski lodge!  Nary a geezer buddy was there.  Oh well, get the gear on and prepare for the day.  In anticipation of the wet conditions I brought out the old yellow ski jacket that although a Gore Tex jacket, it had long ago lost the resistance to rain.  However, I had recently given it a silicone waterproof spray treatment with the hopes of restoring water proofing.
   By 9:30 I was on the lift being the only person other than the ski patrol in attendance.  The top of the hill was cloaked in fog and the rain was spattering my goggles.  Having the hood of my jacket up kept the water from running down my neck.
   For the first half hour or so, I managed to "enjoy" a run or two attempting to see the snow surface through the fog and rain.   A bit bumpy, but skiable.   A little later in the morning I was treated to an unexpected encounter with a bevy of young umbrella carrying lady skiers and boarders.   I greeted them at the top of the slope and asked the inevitable question, "What are you doing here on this rainy day?"   They were happy to inform me that they were attempting to set a record of consecutive days of skiing this season.  And this was day 54.   Their enthusiasm for the day was infectious.   We chatted for a few moments and they were pleased to let me take their picture.   (Picture below is with my phone camera.  Sorry about the poor quality.) The smiles on these fresh young faces says it all.   There is joy to be had in all things.   Even on a wet and foggy day on the slopes.   They even wanted a picture of this old geezer with them that was taken by the lift attendant.
Young Women on a Mission - 54 Consecutive Days and Counting

      After my encounter with the young group, I skied but a few more runs and then decided the rest of the morning would be better spent with a long coffee break.   The so-called waterproof jacket was beginning to soak through and even though my waterproof ski bibs rarely leak, today they also failed.
     Usually there is gaggle of geezers gathering for coffee. Not so today.  So I took the liberty of calling a Greek Peak area resident geezer to invite him for coffee.   He was wise enough to stay dry but was willing to join me for break.   Thanks, Larry!  After an enjoyable exchange of pleasantries it was time to go home and dry out.   In the parking lot a young man just arriving asked, "How's the skiing?"   I replied at always, "Not too bad.  A bad day of skiing is a good day to be alive."


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Staying Tough as a Geezer Skier

     We are approaching the Fourth Annual Geezer Skiers luncheon coming up next week Thursday.   We hope that we will have a good turn out of the geezer group and their companions.  And we are certainly welcoming all skiers to our luncheon since many of them are geezers in training.   We assume they will remain tough enough to continue enjoying the sport of downhill skiing.
    Along the line of staying tough as a geezer skier one has to adapt in style and behavior as the years go by.  I have just returned from a weekend with a daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids skiing at the infamous Mad River Glen in Vermont.   (Ski It If You Can).  I started skiing there in the early 1970's when I was a beginning skier who was on the verge of being a intermediate skier.   I was young enough and tough enough to survive terrain much beyond my abilities.  Fortunately there was enough terrain that I could ski comfortably.  However, when I got somewhat better, I tried skiing the trail called Paradise.   I survived it but it wasn't pretty.  Steep, narrow and rocks punctuated by ice covered moguls.
   Some forty years later, I am a much better skier than I was the 70's.   However,  I may be tough enough to ski Mad River but I am also wise enough to avoid the  steep, narrow and mogul trails that would be beyond my comfort zone.  Still, I am pleased to say that I can still go to Mad River and ski the blues and greens comfortably and have all the challenge I need.  Since Mad River is a relatively small area, I can ski with my super expert children and grandchildren and always end up at one of the two major lifts for the next run.  
    As I think about the past weekend, I believe that staying tough is both a mental and a physical endeavor.  Stay fit enough to meet the physical challenge and then maintain the confidence needed to negotiate the terrain and conditions on the mountain.
Departure from the single chair.

Easy way down from the single chair.

Great vista and terrain.

Family ready for the day.  Me, daughter, granddaughter, and son-in-law.

Lodge view up the double chair run.