Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Food Pantry Help

     A Greek Peak free ski pass for anyone bringing a non-perishable food item today to be distributed to the local food pantry.  This event has been a tradition for Christmas Eve Day for many years now.   For many season pass holders, it is a day to avoid the people crush.  However, for me I find it a heart warming experience to visit the slopes and observe the bounty of food being gathered.  And I always feel good about bringing some food and make a monetary contribution.   I regret that it was raining today.  Unfortunately there will be much less food available this year.
    All this gives me pause to think that a can of food is a pretty small contribution to obtain the equivalent of over $50 of value in  a lift ticket.  Most skiers are fortunate to have discretionary income.  Those suffering from food insecurity are not so lucky.  Maybe for the future the price of free day of skiing needs to increase beyond one can or one item of non-perishable food.  A neighboring ski area has a better idea.  Toggenburg requires food items totalling $5 in value to obtain the lift ticket.  Still a great deal.  Although Toggenburg will not be open this Christmas Eve Day, they do plan to have a similar event on New Years Eve Day.  Hooray for them as well.
    Although this has been a rather dreary, rainy day on the slopes, my heart is warmed by the generosity of the Greek Peak ownership and management.  And thanks to all the skiers that came in with multiple items for the food pantry.  Blessings to all that give and to all that receive.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all.
The Greek Peak Food Crew - Thank You!

A Jolly Set of Contributors to the Food Pantry

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Privilege of Participation

   It is a wonderful feeling to be good enough at something to participate in the activity.  Of course skiing is one of my activities that I am good enough to ski with at least my contemporaries and even many youngsters.    However, I am not so good at singing and although I did sing in the choir in high school,  I never felt confident enough to join an adult choir.   Probably a good thing because my youngest daughter winces when I attempt to sing along with her.  Thus,  until this week I have never had to chance to be a participant in a musical production.  No, I didn't sing!  However, in the production of an original Christmas Cantata written by my wife Nancy Rehkugler, composed by Paulette Fry and directed by Sue Bonne, I was privileged to have an opportunity to assist with the sound system.  I became one of the 50 or so people involved in the premier presentation at the Sunday worship of the United Presbyterian Church of Cortland.
   With training by the sound system guru Tom Corey, I  was able to cut in  and out the soloist's microphones for the two duets.   While it was certainly a very small part of the presentation, I am pleased to say the sound levels were well done and on cue.  Although, I probably did not need to know how to read music, I found my task much easier since I was able to follow the music.
   The cantata was a most worshipful and magnificent event and truly a blessing for me to be a small part of the production that was received with enthusiastic acclaim by the congregation.
    The moral of all this is perhaps, don't underestimate the value of giving someone the opportunity to participate in an activity.
(For background on the cantata go to

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Novice Mistake

    A great day on the slopes after winter storm Damon  dumped a pile of snow on Greek Peak and the surrounding area.  Although the roads were treacherous this morning, I had a safe trip  to the area by traveling at 30 MPH or so.   The new snow had a high water content.  A typical Northeast "powder" condition.  Early runs on the untracked surface were great and even later in the day conditions remained comfortable.
   During my coffee break I watched a family traversing from one lift to another.  Clearly a novice group.   Dad skating ahead carrying a pair of skis.  Mom and two youngsters trailing behind with one of the younger children frequently tumbling in the snow to be pulled to his feet by Mom.   I hope the family was having fun, but clearly it wasn't the best of days for the parents or maybe even the children.  The early days of skiing with a young family can be a challenge.  I hope they prevail and become veterans.
   As a veteran, I find I still can be prone to making a novice mistake.   I decided to take a selfie this morning as I was riding the lift.  Removing gloves to get out my camera was necessary.  Normally I am wise enough to secure my gloves before moving to photography.   Today, however, I made the mistake of putting my gloves on the seat of the quad chair.  Within a second or two a gust of wind blew my gloves to the snow below.   What a stupid novice mistake!  At least I didn't drop a pole.  I managed to keep my hands warm under my coat for the ride up but by the time I reached the bottom the hands were nearly frost bitten.  Moral of the story:  No matter how experienced you are, mistakes will happen.
Ski Patrol on the Snow


Monday, December 1, 2014

Reflections on Opening Day

  Friday past was opening day at our local ski area, Greek Peak.   A welcomed early opening supported by low temperatures the week before and a 8 inch natural snow fall.   The opening day crowd was a mix of young and old skiers eager to start the season, even if there were only two lifts and two trails available.
   Eager to get first tracks, I arrived early and managed to get to the slope before the lifts were admitting skiers.  Not knowing what to expect for conditions, I talked friend Andy into going to the beginner chair and slope first.   Big mistake!!   What a fiasco.   The chairs were covered with about 8 inches of snow and the start of the lift was delayed by about 15 minutes.   The phones were not working and the attendants had to arrange for radios for communication.  Not a good impression about the new management of the slope.   Although we were not at the quad chair lift at the start, it seems there was a delay there too.
  We remained upbeat anyway and finally  got to sit on a snowy seat for a ride to the top.  (I routinely wear a waterproof seat warmer under my waterproof/breathable ski pants as a precaution.)
Grooming was good and at least we got first tracks with better than usual early season conditions.  Normally I would not have gone to the beginner slope, but decided it would be wise to get  the kinks out before heading to a more difficult trail.   After a few runs we were ready for playing with the big boys.  By that time the more difficult trail was beginning to deteriorate.  A choppy surface began to develop with a few "gotchas" here and there.   Even though I routinely work out to stay fit, top to bottom traverse was a challenge.   Different muscles than used for walking and tennis.   As the crowd increased, it was time to quit and take a coffee break.  Enough for the first day.
   With the new year, the coffee service prices were a surprise for the geezer community.  After many seasons of geezer age coffee prices at a dollar, a shocking three dollar coffee is on the agenda.   Ah well, I guess we had it too good for too long.   Not a problem for me.  I have always brought my own thermos of home brewed coffee and will continue that tradition.  And my daily apple fritter energizes me for the rest of the day.
   With special opening for fresh tracks skiing on the next day, Saturday at 7:30 A.M.  I eagerly got off to an early start on the Iliad slope.  However, I had failed to recognize that the first tracks access to the Visions Quad lift came with a price.  Ten dollars for the first hour until regular pass holders are admitted to the lift.   I new wrinkle in the operation of the area.  For early season it was worth it since in that hour there were relatively few skiers and we had a well groomed trail.  However, by the end of the hour the conditions had deteriorated.  I wonder how the standard pass holders felt about that?
     Conclusions?  1.  Glad to have an early opportunity to ski.   2.  With the new management, there is a different feel the skiing at Greek Peak.   3. With change comes welcomed new things but also as sense of mourning for some of the old shoe comfort of the past.   Meanwhile, I look forward to the return of the Tough Old Geezer Skier for this new season.  Thank God, we can ski!