Thursday, February 26, 2015

Geezer Outing - Toggenburg

   After skiing the same ski area for a huge number of days during the ski season, one looks for an occasional change of scenery.  For our geezer group, a trip to Toggenburg Mountain in Fabius, New York has become a diversion and even maybe now a tradition.  All of the geezer group of our local area is invited and our expedition numbers can vary from four to ten skiers.  
   Today six of us made the journey.   The drill usually consists of some of us sharing rides, and others coming from diverse locations journeying alone.  We will arrive near the appointed lift opening hour.  Today we were surprised to find the lifts were to open an hour later than usual.   We cooled our heels (and warmed our boots) for an hour with coffee and homemade donuts.
    Although we have skied Toggenburg several times before, we spent the first hour or so exploring vaguely remembered trails.   The early morning 10 F temperature  encouraged our coffee break after a multiple of runs.  Due to the late start, our gourmet lunch at the Foggy Goggle Restaurant was delayed to after 1:00 PM.   We were very appreciative of the warm welcome by the restaurant manager and dined with zestful glee on burgers and paninis served with delicious home made french fries.  Sure beats McDonalds!
    Ski conditions were superb and for the geezers you can beat the price of free lift tickets!  The warmth of the welcome of the Toggenburg folks sends us home with a glow of appreciation and anticipation of a nice nap!
The Intrepid Crew - Roger, Andy, Dick, Pat, Tom, and Yours Truly

Monday, February 16, 2015

Personal Playground

     This was a single digit day of skiing.  Temperature that is.  Minus 2 F at the start and warming up to plus 5 F by mid day.   The snow was beautiful in the sparkling winter sun.   No day to have any flesh exposed either to the natural wind or the breeze created during a ski run.
    In spite of the temperature, it was an amazingly good day for skiing.   Only a few hardy souls were on the slopes.   Very few people for a holiday.   And the geezer group was strikingly absent.   Today, there were so few people that the area seemed like my own personal playground.   Surprised that I was no colder today than some of our 20 F days in the past.  
Mid day and not another skier in sight!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Ruts, Routines and Rituals

  During the ski season I get into a routine.  Six days a week I like to head to the ski slopes.  The seventh day is a day of rest.  There are several elements to the routine.   Rise by 8:00 AM,  shower, breakfast, and don the appropriate gear for the anticipated weather.  Of course I will fill my thermos with my special coffee and bag my usual apple fritter for the morning coffee break.  Out the door by 8:50 for a ten minute ride to the slope over the standard route.   Friday and Saturday breaks the routine since tennis is on the agenda for Friday morning followed by skiing in the afternoon.  A double dose of exercise.   With lifts opening at 8:30 AM on Saturday, all the morning activities are the same but shifted an hour earlier.   Although one might think this could feel like getting into a rut, it is not so.   Every day the weather and ski conditions are different.  Therefore, there is always a fresh perspective on the art of skiing.
    And then there are rituals.   It seems that among our geezer group there is a consistent behavior that borders on a ritual.   Each day there is the gathering at the locker area to exchange greetings and discuss events of the day.  Booting up is completed and twosomes, threesomes and such trek out to the base of the ski lift.  As we await the opening of the lift a light banter crackles through the air.   For many of us our morning ritual is to ski the trails in order from green to black diamond in sequence that rarely varies.   Occasionally, one or another of us plays the rebel and breaks that ritual.
    Depending on the conditions and weather, six or seven runs are completed in time for a mid morning coffee break.   Thus the coffee ritual begins.   There are individual idiosyncrasies   I must have my apple fritter and my thermos coffee.  Others eschew any food while some will consume fruit or nuts.   After an appropriate amount of conversation, it is time for the slopes again.   Some will cut out for the day, while others will return for the late morning into the afternoon runs.
   Thursday past I decided to shake up the crew a little bit.  Because the crew has chided me about my ritualistic consumption of an apple fritter each day, I decided to treat them to a doughnut fest.   Maybe, it is just a way of giving back to all these fine folks that have brightened my ski day for many days over the years.  See the photo below.
     I conclude our ski days have routines and rituals.  However, never do I feel we are in a rut.   Routines and rituals bring order but we are still are geezers with a sense of adventure and break out the routines and rituals on occasion.
Left to Right:  Pat, Dick, Ruth, Tom, Andy, Gerry, Roger, Frank, Phil, Larry, and Bob

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Contrasts - Super Days on the Slopes

  How amazing?  Two consecutive days on the same slope could be so different.   There were sun drenched runs for all afternoon on Tuesday.  The snow was perfect hard pack.  One could chase their shadow down the slope in a majestic dance.  Almost like being a ballet dancer.   A marvelous experience in the brisk winter air of 18 degrees F or so.
   What a change for today!   An eight inch powder snow arrived over night.  Quite unexpected but truly welcomed by the skiers this morning.  Grey skies did not dampen the spirits of those gathered for the first tracks.  Not only first tracks early, but untracked stashes were sustained over most of the day.   Some geezers found the conditions a bit daunting, but most adapted.   The occasional whoops of many were testimony to the delight of having some "real" snow to blast through.
   Ski seasons in the east are marked with many contrasts.   Conditions change markedly from day to day.   Two days of magnificent skiing in a row is unusual. If bad things happen in threes, can't good things happen in threes too?  So here's to a great day tomorrow to complete the triplet.
Tuesday,  Chasing Shadows

Wednesday, Same Slope, Powder Heaven