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.