Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Here We Go Again

     The long awaited new ski season in upstate New York is sputtering along.   A day here and a day there with the hopes of a continuous season starting on Saturday for Greek Peak.   With colder and snowier weather anticipated in the coming weeks we should be blessed with relatively decent ski conditions.
     Since I retired in 1996 I have spent an average of over 75 days a year on the slopes.   I am hoping that this year I will at least be able to continue with a respectable number of days.   I read somewhere that the average number of ski days per skier is of the order of a seven to ten.   The geezers that I have skied with over the years have far exceeded that number.   I guess we know that our remaining lifetime is finite so and unpredictable so  "eat desert first" and "ski as long as you can" becomes our mantra.
      So here is hoping this will be another good season on the slopes.

Monday, October 17, 2016

An Alternative Leaf Peeping Trip

     As the seasons change and we now move toward winter a geezer skier might take a leaf peeping trip.   Many of my associates have done that and posted some wonderful scenery.   I recently drove to Long Island at the start of the peeping season and enjoyed the multitude of scenes down Route 17 New York.
     Today I decided that I didn't have to go beyond my local area to appreciate the colors.    Although this was a cloudy, overcast day the colors had a subtle brilliance to them.  My approximate 20 mile over some local roads was an eye opener to the beauty of upstate New York.   When I came home I took a moment to look around my neighborhood from the vantage point of my house.  Literally from my yard I had a leaf peeping time.   Isn't it amazing how familiarity can dull your senses.   It is good to be observant in your routine environment.
     Here a couple of photos from my yard.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What If All Politticians Were Skiers?

     For a month or so I have been in a blogging drought.   Inspirational thoughts have been in abeyance.   Fortunately a prod from on of my followers was the spark I needed to get going again.
    The question I pose in the title comes from my disgust with the senseless mean-spirited political discourse the floods the news.    I recognize that we all have some tightly held political beliefs and prejudices.  However, unless we open ourselves to respectful discussions of the issues, we will fail to understand the opposing view.  
     Skiing is a venue for exposure to a variety of people and views.  I am always amazed how the ten minute ride next to a stranger can result in meaningful conversations.   On occasion. opinions of the state of world are revealed by my companions that are far different than my own views.  And as a result I have a new perspective, regardless of whether I embrace it or reject it.
     Wouldn't it be interesting to require all politicians in a race to ride the lift together for a day.   Perhaps that would expose each of them to a perspective on the others experience and views.   Wouldn't it be useful for them to have discourse out of the limelight and the public where they would not have to play to an audience.
     I understand at one time in our elected members of our two parties often socialized with respectful conversations and mutual objective to do what was good for the country and their constituency.  I pray for a focus on what is good for the people rather than some rigid ideological position.    I recommend that the entire congress have a retreat at a ski resort.   Roommates cannot be of the same party.   The fresh air should clear their heads.
     Thank God that November 8th is only a few weeks away.   And hopefully the Northeast ski season will begin in early December.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Changing Seasons

  Just noticing the change of colors of some of the maple trees.   And the nights are becoming a bit cooler.   This morning we had a dense fog - another reminder of autumn.  
   Most skiers are probably thinking more frequently of the start of ski season.   Typically it will likely be mid December before we have any sort of decent conditions.   This geezer skier is hoping to be able to ski another season.   Back muscle spasms sidelined me last February.  Medical treatment and physical therapy have rid me of the spasms.  However,  I have residual effects that may preempt my navigation of the slopes.   I will attempt to continue when the season comes, even if it means only brief sojourns on the beginners slope.  Meanwhile I will be pursuing all venues to get into the proper shape.
    Good news of this day is that this old geezer was still able to play about 35 minutes of singles tennis and still function well.  As there are seasons of the year, there are also seasons of life.   I always scoffed at the golfers, saying when I couldn't do anything else I would take up golf.  Who knows that may be the time for me.  If not that, maybe I should move to another location with year round fishing.
    Best  wishes to all the geezer skiers out there in the world.  May your ski days be forever and  a day.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Tribute to Pret Goslee -Toughest of Geezer Skiers

   Memorial day May 30, 2016 marks the passing of an extraordinary man and an intrepid geezer skier Preston "Pret" Goslee.   Pret continued to ski even at age 95 on his birthday in March of 2015.   I was blessed to be with him and his family on that occasion!
     On this day June 11, 2016 friends and family gathered for a memorial service to pay tribute to this man who led an exemplary life that we could all wish to emulate.   Family and friends (and many ski companions) memorialized his life in prayer, singing and  verbal accolades at the Homer Avenue United Methodist Church of Cortland, New York.   There were stories of his intrepid volunteer work for the community,  his dedication to support of his family, and his world war II service.    And his Masonic fraternity benefited from his 65 years of service.
    Although Pret would be described physically as one of shorter stature and lesser weight,   he was an vigorous outdoors man enjoying not only skiing, but body surfing in the ocean,  and vigorous hiking.   He consistently challenged his family to keep up with him.   Notably, he was a dedicated family man, much beloved by hiss daughters Patrice and Linda.    His devotion to his wife of 66 years Nita was impeccable and an exemplary model of sustaining a long and loving marriage.
Patrice Goslee Fortier, Nita Goslee, and Matthew

Heymering, Linda Goslee Heymering, Matt Fortier

A Table of Ski Companions and Spouses

   Although he was brought into skiing by his daughters after they started,  he attacked the activity with discipline and passion.  At one time he placed 3rd at the National NASTAR Championships in Park City, Utah.  Although Greek Peak was his home base,  he routinely celebrated skiing in Vermont, Maine, Colorado, Utah, and Europe.
    Our gathering today was one of celebration and mourning.   We will sorely miss the gentle but strong man who contributed so much to his country, family and community.   We will long carry with us the model of a long life well lived.
For his skier community of Greek Peak he will always remain the dean of the tough old geezer skiers.   God bless you Pret and whatever heavenly ski slopes there might be, I'm sure you will show them how its done.

Pret in his Glory at the Shore

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More Construction Entertainment-II

   It is off season for skiing and I am still in rehabilitation for back spasms so the only tennis I am into is hitting a few balls with my devoted wife, Nancy.  With the upswing in my status, I decided to take a neighborhood walk.
   It is a beautiful blue sky day with a warming sun and a gentle breeze.   Rather than cranking up tunes or a radio station on my smart phone, I decided to concentrate on my surroundings.   Over the past several months starting last fall of 2015 two new homes have been under construction in our area.   My natural curiosity about construction requires me to periodically observe progress.  So my destinations today on my walk were to check on the status of each new home.   One home is nearing completion.  Although I was not able to view the inside, I suspect things are nearing completion.  Outside the forms are set for the sidewalk from the driveway to front door.   Rather than strict rectangular shape, there is some curving of the walk.  A bit more aesthetic that just plain old straight lines.
     After walking up the hill to the more elite section of our neighborhood I passed by a much more elaborate house sheathed in tyvek  and is soon to have siding installed.  Several workmen and their trucks were present discussing the project.  This particular house probably would have a certain grandeur if there was a more spacious siting.   As I have observed this house rise from a hole in the ground to the present state, I have been struck how this home seems to overwhelm the home next door.   Perhaps after landscaping is finished the new structure will fit into the existing scene.   Meanwhile, I will keep passing by on my walks and enjoy seeing a project go to completion.   The engineer in me is easily entertained.
Home Dominates The Site
 Note the Proximity of the Neighbor's Driveway


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On Being Tough

   Our geezer skier group at my local ski area, pride themselves on being tough and resilient.  Over the years we all have encountered situations that have limited our mobility and reduced the temptation to ski the more challenging slopes and conditions.   New knees and new hips have brought many back to the slopes.   Other ailments have not been so forgiving and unfortunately there comes a time for one to hang up the skis.  All of us would prefer not to have to face that reality.
Many of our crew has expressed the wish that they would ski the last day of their lives, and depart swiftly from this earthly abode.    That would be the easy way out.  And in a sense would be the cowards way.   My perspective at the moment is that being tough in the utmost is to be able to gracefully deal with ones decline by adjusting to what is rather than yearning for what you would like things to be.
  There can be joy in simply being with loved ones.   And they with you.
  Carpe diem - seize the day - whatever it brings.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bolt Out of the Blue

    There is only one word to describe the 2015-2016 ski season for the Eastern United States.  Horrible!  Probably the consistently poorest ski conditions in history.   A season entering with a whimper and slinking out with a whimper.
    For me that has only been a part of the story.   Following skiing in bitter cold on Saturday morning February 13, the next day the14th I was struck like a bolt out of the blue with a left hip and back pain that stays with me to this day.  The onset of pain was swift and unrelenting.  The optimist in me said I should tough it out and things will get better.   For a while I still could hobble out on the slope and even find some relief in skiing where I didn't need to walk.   Even played some tennis (albeit with pauses to stretch out from the muscle spasms).  Regrettably I had to submit to the medical profession.  An initial visit and early Physical Therapy helped a tiny bit.   However, pain continued to escalate especially at night.   Severity of the pain hit me so hard one night that  a trip to the emergency room was called for.   At least they hit me with some of the good stuff there to give me much needed rest.   I was released after about a day and half of observation.   Meds in hand and tests read, I was back home with a regimen of meds and PT hoping to improve the situation.
    Fast forward to now leaving out all the frustrating details, I have no definitive diagnosis,  palliative meds keep me sane with the pain, and we are desperately striving to get to a specialist.  Would you believe, weeks of waiting to get an appointment?   Readers:  I apologize for the rant, but somehow venting through writing relieves anxiety, anger and frustration.  (That nagging pain gets stuffed down for the moment).
     Somehow, I'll get through it.   The cards and prayers from friends and acquaintances keep pouring in.  The greatest blessing I have is my dear wife Nancy who gives me extraordinary support with her love and care!  No doubt about it.  I am the luckiest guy in the world to have her beside me.
     Finally, I have no idea the of the prognosis for my condition.   I will continue to pray for both a miracle and if not a miracle for the courage and peace to live with whatever the outcome.
    Finally again, tough old geezer skiers, remember to enjoy every day you have on the slopes and be prepared for the inevitable day when you will need to hang it up.   Enjoy the moment wherever you are.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sixth Annual Geezer Skiers Luncheon

     Another annual geezer skiers luncheon is in the books.  Yesterday at Hope Lodge Greek Peak Resort we celebrated another season of skiing, coffee breaks, and shared wild stories.  Although attendance was less than last year, we would like to think that quality beats out quantity.
   The combined memory of our group exceeds hundreds of years of skiing experience and by all standards this season had to be the most unusual season we have ever weathered.   And weather is certainly the operative word.   The wild cycling between snow rain, warm cold has been devastating.   Ski conditions have challenged the most intrepid geezer.  In summary, most of us have skied about half the number of days we normally would.
  In reference to the above, it is fitting that WBNG-TV interviewed many of our tough old geezer skiers on our luncheon day.  They even outfitted some with GoPro cameras.  Haven't seen the footage, but it should be interesting.  Unfortunately this geezer was out of commission with a bad back and couldn't participate.  An especially big disappointment since lead reporter, Haley McCrory, wife of my grandson Tamdan was in charge.
    So back to the luncheon.   The buffet was great.  Plenty to eat.  For the program our esteemed MC Larry Monheim kept us on track with a joke or two. Skiing related of course.    The First Flake Award  was  bestowed on Andy Moyer in honor of consistently being the first geezer in the locker room each morning.   (Someone has to take attendance!)   Wes Kryger, President of Greek Peak brought us up to date on the progress of the business and plans for the future.  Geezer feed back and suggestions for improvements on the hill completed the event.  
   One can only be honest in noting this season had to be one of the worst in history.  We are truly at the mercy of weather.  I grew up on a farm and as a child experienced boom or bust years in agriculture.  The ski business similar.
Here is a joke related to farming:
A farmer inherits a million dollars.  A neighbor asks him how long he intends to farm?  Answer:   Until the million dollars is gone.   I guess the Greek Peak owners hope that this doesn't happen to their investment.
   So, as tough old geezer skiers, we will look forward with optimism for a splendid 2016-2017 season.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Geezer Skier

  One day this week I was inspired by the events of the day to muse on a day in the life of a geezer skier as I experienced it.
    Some ski days are special and some days are more routine.  The morning ritual at home consists of the usual physical preparation for the day.  Bathing, shaving if necessary, and the usual breakfast of a  mini-bagel and two cups of hot water.  No coffee at breakfast!  One of my former colleagues, long passed away now when he was in his mid nineties inspired the hot water regime!  He was a hardy individual that I wanted to emulate.  Post breakfast and a morning devotional it is time to prepare to travel to the ski slope.  
    Preparation means assembling appropriate clothing and gear for the day.  Ski boots get packed into my bag as they come off the hot air register along with my warmed socks.  Hand warmers stored in an air tight bag from the previous day are placed in the mitten pockets.   Mid morning coffee has been made and goes into the thermos.  De-caf only!   Also the most important item for the mid-morning break- an apple fritter is stowed as well.  After donning all the gear, it is time for the 10 minute commute to the ski area.
     On the particular morning of inspiration this week when I opened the garage door, I was dazzled by the winter scene of my driveway.   On this particularly bright, sunny and brisk morning the new fallen snow sparkled like diamonds.   A most brilliant display that twinkled in the early morning light.   The scenes of the countryside were equally dazzling.   With the satellite radio tuned to the symphony channel, I enjoyed the sound of Beethoven's Piano Sonata.   The music enhanced my appreciation of the hoarfrost enveloping the weeds and trees.  There were beautiful shapes and shadows from the sun's caress of the environment.   In the still air smoke rising from the chimneys hung in sun etched clouds, gently rising into the atmosphere.
    Noting the temperature of about 15 degrees F as I arrived, I enter the lodge to join the assembly of geezers.   The booting up ritual involves exchange of friendly banter and a check of the trail report.   Geezers in my area are first track people.  We are on the slope ready to ride right behind the ski patrol.
   On this sunny day, with the need for more snow we are greeted with the roar of the snow makers.   Often making it hard for us to hear as we travel up the slope.
For some of us there is the ritual of skiing a series of trails in sequence and even keeping track of the numbers of runs.   On this day, with the sunshine and sparkling snow it was a simple pleasure to enjoy the views both close up and across the hills.
   The morning ritual continues with a mid-morning coffee break.   The geezers will gather to get their "senior" coffee and or cocoa.   Conversation ranges from the serious to the mundane to the ridiculous.    Often we are catching up on the condition of some that are dealing with ailments,  volunteer work of many, and of course the latest jokes.
   Post coffee, we are on the slopes for additional runs or in some cases, calling it a day to go off to other activities
   For me the day typically ends in the early afternoon.   The geezers disappear and we all go home to prepare for another day on the slopes.
  On my return trip home, I typically tune into the 40's music station for entertainment of my youth.  I love the old tunes and the big band sound.  Not only do I know many of the lyrics, for the ones I don't know the enunciation of the words are clear to this old brain.
   Depending on the day, the remainder of the day brings other rewarding activities.   Volunteering for various needs fills some of the afternoons and maybe a nap or two can be fit in too.
    Life is good for the geezer skier!  Accolades go to my wife, who tolerates my skiing absence.   Her warm embrace upon my return warms the tough old geezer skier beyond description.  
   May all you geezer skiers out there have a magnificent ski season and life.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Skiing - The Good and The Ugly

    Fourteen days of skiing into the ski season and one would expect to be in prime form.   After one day of skiing in December, January 3rd marks the beginning of non-stop skiing hopefully until the spring shut down.   What a strange season!  Only occasionally conditions have been considered good.  For the most part only man-made snow has been available.   Although the grooming has been quite good, the surface remains quite firm.  Sharp edges are necessary almost every day.  However, in contrast today we had a new challenge.   An overnight rain and warm temperature produce a "wet groomed packed powder" the consistency of wet cement!
    I would like to pride myself having the ability to ski almost any type of surface.   However, at what cost?   While the "wet cement" was skiable, the combination of the consistency with the stick-slip variation in slipperiness was a great challenge.   It was ugly.   None of my geezer group on the hill.  Based on how my knees felt after a couple of hours on the slopes, I know why they weren't there.
     I guess I still have the old tenacity of the farm boy in me.   If you want to ski every day you have to accept the good, bad and the downright ugly.   At least I got a workout and will not have to use the treadmill for exercise.