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!

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