Friday, March 27, 2015

Chance Encounter of the Best Kind

    Is there something special about a ski resort that makes people friendlier?  I've noticed that strangers often begin talking to one another with little prompting.  That was my delightful experience today.
    It was a quiet day a Greek Peak today so when I took my morning coffee break there  were only three of us in the Taverna cafeteria.    I took my place at a table somewhat near a couple who was gazing out the window at the entrance to the quad chair lift.   She glanced over at me with a smile and nod and I returned the smile of acknowledgement.   As I was eating my donut I heard an accent which sounded Irish to me.   I made some comment to that effect and was astonished to hear they were from Australia.   From there we went on to an exchange of pleasantries as if we were old friends from way back.  
    Kevin and Terese are from a farm about 30 kilometers from Melbourne, Australia.  They have been a host family for Australian visitors for several years and now are on a tour of Northeast USA visiting and staying with one of the families they hosted.  They operate a dairy farm in their native country so Kevin and I have a mutual interest in agriculture.   Among other mutual experiences would be the parenting of seven children.  It would take too long to relate here the extent of information exchange that took place of 30 minutes or so.   They truly had enjoyed their stay at Hope Lodge and looked forward to traveling to Niagara Falls later in the day.  Perhaps via Cornell University that was well known and respected in their eyes.,  
     I took my leave to return to the slopes, not expecting to encounter them again for the day (or ever).    To my surprise, as I approached the entrance to the lift, their two children, Kate and Jimmy who were the skiers were talking with the lift attendant about the various trails on the mountain.   I introduced myself and suggested that rather than rely on the lift attendant's directions, I could guide them to a few trails appropriate to their level of ability.    From there we enjoyed an hour or so of mutual appreciation of the art and skill of skiing.   Kate is a competent skier capable of skiing the whole area.  Jimmy, however, had one lesson yesterday.   To my surprise, Jimmy had learned enough to be quite safe on some of the easier intermediate trails.   Obviously a fast learner!
     After leaving Kat and Jimmy, I finished my quota of runs and prepared to depart for home.   As an afterthought, I rightly guessed the family would be having lunch in Trax Restaurant.  On the chance they might want to contact me in the future, I left my card touting this  blog and bid them farewell.
    One would expect that to be the end of surprises for the day.  Not so!  In the cafe at the exit to the restaurant I ran into veterinarian friend Mark who was taking some time off from his practice to get in a few ski runs.   Another chance encounter of the best kind!  
Kate and Jimmy at the entrance to the Terrain Park.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A 95th Birthday Celebration

   Dean the the Tough Old Geezer Skiers of Greek Peak celebrated his 95th birthday on the slopes today.  With wife Nita and daughters Linda and Patricia in attendance Pret enjoyed his special day in the spring sunshine with several runs before lunch and had the energy to hit the slopes again for an afternoon run.   Pret was all smiles and all of us who have the privilege to know Pret were wearing big grins as well.  What a delight share a run with him and his family.
   Pret was the center of attention and a cadre of observers were vicariously enjoying his celebration.  Pret sets the standard of aspiration for all of us geezer skiers!  He is truly our hero!
   All the best to not only a great ski legend, but also one of the finest persons I have ever known.  God bless!
Patricia, Pret and Linda at the lift.

Pret and Linda ready to launch.

Linda, Pret and Patricia - mid run photo op.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Celebration Rituals - Hawaiian Shirt Day

  The last couple of years we have celebrated the near end of the ski season with a Hawaiian Shirt Day.   The idea was the brainchild of Pat Ryan of our geezer group.   One way or the other we have all obtained a Hawaiian shirt or even we may have already had one from a Hawaiian visit.  Some of us got our shirts on line.  In my case a visit to the Salvation Army Thrift Store was the best bet.  Andy is our source of plastic leis that he got from an on line store.
    Today was too cold for shorts or bikinis!  In the past we have had some of the ladies appearing in hula skirts over their ski gear too.   A small crowd today but still a lot of enthusiasm and fortunately some sunshine.    Yes, another ritual added to the repertoire of the Tough Old Geezer Skiers.
Dick, Andy, John, Pat, Midge, and Bob

Bob, Andy, John, Pat, Gerry and Bob

Monday, March 23, 2015

Inside and Outside Fun

    Each day at our ski area is a combination of both inside and outside fun.  Of course, skiing is the main thing on the minds of the gathered geezers but the socialization is also a  major part of the day's fun.   Some days are almost magical  when the conditions are absolutely fabulous.  This has been a great year.  Probably one of the best years for many successive days of excellent conditions.    See the photo for the groomed slope that greeted us last Thursday March 19, 2015.
   A good ski day not only has super slope conditions but also has a large and boisterous gathering for morning coffee and hot chocolate.  The photo below captures one of our larger gatherings last week.   One table is not enough.  Haven't reached three tables yet, but who knows it may happen.    At this particular gathering we were expressing our sympathy to John and Midge seated at the far end of the table.  They live up a mile long lane to their home and were snowed in for several weeks and unable to keep their lane open.  A tragedy they were unable to get out to ski for a while.  (They are back today - hooray!)
    The skiing is scheduled to last into April and then it will be withdrawal time.   Even as an avid skier, I think I will be ready for another daily round of fun!  Tennis time for me and my wife!  And golfing for other geezers!  Life is good.
Post the big snowstorm grooming.

Dick, Gerry, Andy, Midge, John, Allen, Pat, Larry and Phil.
Bob the photographer not shown.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fifth Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

  How quickly time flies!  This past Thursday, March 12, 2015 was the occasion of our 5th Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon at Greek Peak.  Our gathering was graced with a social hour, a great buffet luncheon and a brief program in the Adirondack Room of Hope Lodge.  Special thanks goes to Larry Monheim for arranging our gathering and program.  This event is a celebration of another great year on the ski slopes.   As geezers we probably appreciate each season more than most skiers.   We know that we are privileged to be on the slopes at our advancing age and never know what another year might bring.  I am not intending to be melancholy but more being realistic.  For that reason each day on the slope is a joy to be savored and perhaps at one time to be stored up for the memory bank.
   After our consumption of the fine food provided, our program consisted of a few appropriate jokes and other commentary.   And of course our resident Irishman, Pat Ryan,  aptly related a hilarious Irish joke.  Typically this skier provides us with a joke of the week to entertain us at our coffee breaks.  At such an event we make it a point to recognize special people in our community.   Once again we recognize Pret Goslee (soon to be 95) as our most senior member.  And we too recognize his wife Nita as another one of our skiing heroes.
  Last year I was awarded the First Flake Award in honor of being a geezer most likely to be on the slope almost every day of the week.   This year's recipient was Tom McCarthy.  To our regret Tom on Wednesday became hospitalize with a medical issue and was unable to attend.   We hear that his surgery was successful and we look forward to seeing on the slope next year.  He is a most intrepid skier who is almost always the first on the lift in the morning.   In his inimitable style he will cruise the slope with tenacity.
   We were pleased that owners Marc and John were in attendance at our lunch too.   As a part of the program they graciously heard kudos and gripes from the assembled geezer group.  Our emphasis was on both praise and suggestions for improvement of the skier experience.   In turn Marc and John had an opportunity to inform us of the challenges they face in making the business a success both for them and for us.
   As a community, I believe we parted in good humor with full stomachs and enthusiasm for finishing a great season of skiing.  We look forward to another great year for 2015-2016.   Now is the time to purchase next year's season pass.
Cheers everyone!
Nita and Pret Goslee

Greek Peak Owners, John and Marc