Monday, April 27, 2020

Geezer Skier Hall of Fame

     I suffer from interrupted sleep which is both disturbing but sometimes useful.  Ideas will pop into my head during my wakeful periods. One morning I got the inspiration that  we should have a Geezer Skier Hall of Fame.   There ought to be some kind of national recognition for the geezers who have contributed to the sport of skiing over their retirement years.    Perhaps the age for eligibility for this Hall could start at 65 or when we decide to take Social
Security.   Beyond longevity,  criteria for induction into this hall should have some achievements.   What should they be?
      To get some ideas for criteria I did some research on a number of Hall of
Fames.  I looked at the following sports.
      There were multiple aspects of eligibility and criteria for the inductees.   The selection processes were quite variable as well.     Eligibility almost always had an age factor,  a minimum amount of participation, and some levels of achievement supported by stats.   How the criteria factors were judged certainly did vary.   As many of you may know the Baseball Hall of Fame selections are dominated by the Baseball Writers Association of America.   Their votes over the years must reach a certain level of endorsement to accomplish induction.   It is interesting that Golf lays out very specific qualification details, even naming the number and type of events that must be won to get into consideration.     I like the  International Tennis Hall of Fame criteria for eligibility.  They provide for automatic eligibility for the stars who have won multiple majors and they provide opportunity for the lower echelon who have been the road warriors contributing to the sport over a long time.  In closing on this research I have a few words about the Skiing Hall of Fame.  Actually it is a Hall of Fame for snowsports; not just skiiing.    Anyone can submit a nomination form with appropriate supporting materials.  Of course selection will be dependent on the highest levels of achievement on both a  national and international level. 
      In conclusion I should not fail to point out that all the halls require exemplary character beyond athleticism  they excelled in.   For your own edification I suggest you do your own research.
     Now back to the matter of a Geezer Skiers Hall of Fame.  Maybe we should partner with 70+  Ski Club and piggy back on their network.   Meanwhile I challenge you readers to come up with suggestions of criteria and process.  Beyond a minimum age for induction here are a few ideas for criteria.
1.  Having skied at least 10 years after retirement.
2.  Having skied a number of days that exceeds your age for 5 years in a row.
3.  Having placed in the top ten nationally in the NASTAR competition.
4.  Having won at least one Master's race in retirement.
5.  Having served on the Ski Patrol for 5 years past age 70.
    This has been fun to write during my lock down.  Lookin forward to comments on criteria and the selection process.  Stay well everyone.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Rhythms and Routines

   I think it is the very nature of humans to enjoy life with rhythms and routines.  After all we have the circadian rhythm built in to regulate our wake and sleeping hours.   Disruption of our routines can be unsettling.  Here I am today continuing to adjust to the end of ski season transition from one routine to another.  And on top of that with the pandemic I am isolating myself from my usual off season volunteering activities.
      During the ski season I enjoy six days a week on  ski slope.  I awake with thoughts of  preparations for the day.  Breakfast is  followed by loading my warmed ski boots into my bag along with my coffee break fritter.   Also, I make sure I am using the last bit of heat yesterday's hand warmers taken from the sealed plastic bag in the freezer.  Yes, I grew up being frugal  from  living with my depression era parents on a farm.  The daily routing requires checking the weather conditions and selecting the appropriate number of layers.   The ten minute ride to the slope is sweetened with either Sirius musical oldies or Morning Edition on NPR.  Arrival is planned to be by 9:00 AM or earlier to be sure to be one of the first on the lift a half hour later. Locker room banter with fellow geezer skiers is a bonus.
     The morning skiing is appropriately interrupted with a coffee break.  Breaks can last from 15 to 45 minutes depending on where the geezer stories lead.   By noon or so, many of us are ready to head home for our lunch and  afternoon naps.  On the really good days we continue into the afternoon.
   After arriving home in the early afternoon, I have a number or tasks to fill my day.   One task upon arriving home is to record my ski data for the day.   Time of departure and return, weather conditions, ski conditions and number of runs get written on my calendar.   This year I have been using an iPhone App Ski Tracks to record more information which includes speed,  feet vertical and other aspects of the day.   In the afternoon , reading the paper, crossword puzzle solving  and napping are satisfying.   Our evenings are filled with some favorite TV programs, conversation and reading.  From all this you are probably bored by my illustrations so here are some other thoughts. 
       After the abrupt end of the ski season and the conditions of the pandemic, I have struggled to find rhythm and routine.   I think this is especially true now that we have to practice social distancing to prevent contracting a lethal infection.  As we well know the geezers are a vulnerable group.   My current routine aims at avoiding potentially infectious agents.    Fortunately, I am finding an alternative routine to fill my day with at least some meaningful activity both physical and mental.  An hour on a recumbent stationary bike is helpful to get the blood flowing and on good day a 10 to 20 mile ride on an E-bike gets me into the fresh air.   Crossword puzzles stimulate my brain and there is an ample supply of books to read.   Needless to say, a lot of chores around the house are getting done.   Somewhere I read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit or shed an old one.  I think that concept applies to getting used to a new routine.   However, now 38 days into the transition I feel like I just beginning to get the hang of it.
      On the slopes one of the greatest joys is getting into a rhythm of well executed turns while dancing down the mountain.  Perhaps that is a model for the new days we are experiencing.   We need to find a sweet spot of activities and connections that feeds our soul and enhances the appreciation of the passing days, weeks, months and years. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Reliving the Past Ski Season

    I am somewhat obsessed with keeping records of my ski adventures over each season.  In this pandemic time I have had plenty of time to review the past season.  It relieves the boredom and brings back both good and bad memories of the 87 days on the slopes this year.
   Each season I maintain a daily diary entering the following data.
1.  Snow conditions.
2.  Low and high temperatures for the day.
3.  Weather conditions. 
4.  Time of departure from home and return to home.
5.  Number of runs.
6.  Any unusual events for the day.
This year I also have been using the app Ski Tracks.  With the app I have a record of number of runs,  number of vertical feet skied,  speeds on each run,  and a map showing that will show my runs from beginning to end  as well as the miles travelled.   It even keeps track of the length of my coffee breaks.   I can virtually go back and have a guide to my memory of any ski day.
    Over the last few days I have created a spreadsheet compiling my data in a format giving me an complete overview of the season.  Here is a summary.

87 Total Days
31 Days of sun with 10 being Blue Bird Days.
6 Rain Days
The remaining days had varying levels of cloud cover and snow.
Runs -  Total of 940 - Average of 10.8 per day, ranging from 1 to 22.
Vertical - Total of 660,843 feet 
 Average of 7596 feet per day, ranging from 541 to 15,774 feet.
High temperature of the days ranged from 9 to 63 °F  -Average 33.8 °F
Low temperature of the days ranged from 7 tp 51 °F  -  Average 27.9 °F

     I also have my own interpretive record of the slope conditions.  Most days had some level of grooming.  The dominant surface condition was groomed but firm surface.  We had too many days of one form or another of ugly.   Ugly included frozen and rough to sticky goo to mashed potatoes.   Regrettably there were 17 days that I would class as ugly conditions.    In retrospect, in spite of the massive effort by the area to make snow, we had to deal with a warmer than normal season.   Note that we never had temperatures below zero and only four days with lows in single digits. Amazingly 55 of the 87 day had a high temperature at or above freezing!
     If you have read this far, you are probably feeling like this is too much information.  That what happens when your blogger has too much time on his hands.   Tomorrow is my 85th birthday so indulge me with this rant.
     Finally I must say the numbers are only a part of the seasons story.  The daily gathering of the Tough Old Geezer Skiers at Greek Peak was a great social event for all of us.  Countless stories were told and numerous complaints were voiced.  The camaraderie of our group is priceless and can't be quantified.
      I am looking forward to next season both for the both the ski adventures and the socialization the goes with it.  May we all survive this Covid-19 pandemic and live to enjoy freedom from this curse.
     Stay safe and healthy everyone!