Friday, April 9, 2021

End of the Season Thoughts

     Two days ago I wrapped up my 20-21 season on the closing day for Greek Peak.  The Peak was open for 111 days and I managed to log 81 days skiing with 79 days at the Peak and two at Toggenburg.  Many of the days at Greek I was musing about the character of this season.  In many ways it was a good season albeit a strange season too.  We were careful on the slopes and in the lodges to social distance and wear our masks.  To my knowledge we had no infections as a result of our ski adventures.  At least where I was skiing.  For those of us who commonly ski weekdays and mostly in the morning, it was strange to have so many youngsters on the slopes.  With remote learning the school kids were free to be with us during the week almost any time.

    What was missing in this strange year of the pandemic?  I regret to that a whole host of my geezer friends were not skiing for one reason or another.  Truly I am saddened that so many had injuries or health problems preventing them from participating in the sport we love so much.  For many  I am looking forward to their return in 21-22.   I missed the companionship of our mid-morning coffee breaks.   This year I took no mid-morning breaks and skied through the morning and completed my day no later than one o'clock.     A new pattern!

    I spent many hours at Greek Peak sensing the aura of past experiences skiing with old friends that have now passed away.   At various trails I would recall our mutual experiences.   Do other long term  skiers have those memories?   Here are  number of events that came to mind. 

    Bob Jenkins and I were trying Olympian one day and found it to be a real rough ride.  I made it down and waited for Bob.  He didn't show so I knew I had to go back and see what happened but really didn't really want to do it.  He had crashed and by the time I got to his location, he had himself together.   I guess I just should have waited for a while longer.  Bob was a great guy and since has passed away.  I miss his sage advice and great integrity.

    Some years ago a group of us had a kick for improving our skiing by doing Gorilla Turns.  The idea was to bend down, tough the top of your boots and press and tip the ski to engage the turn.   There we were on the slope doing apelike motions which I suspect amused observers.   Several of that crew have passed on.   Marty Stiles for one is gone but not forgotten.  A real mensch who started skiing in his late sixties and became an institution at Greek Peak.  He even qualified to do some instructing.   He had a cynical wit that always entertained me.

    While riding the lift a few days ago my companion and I riding on the Visions Express Quad were approaching the end where it was time to lift the safety bar.   I was prompted to remember our geezer companion Bob Sanjoule who had a thing about when to lift the safety  bar.   He would insist that the bar not be raised before passing one of the last towers.   This became known to be Bob's Rule.   Bob has now passed on but his memory lives in the minds of many skiers that rode with him.

    I could go on for a long time recalling so many memories of geezers past and events we shared but I would like to end on a forward looking note.   This past season has been one of making new memories.   I have had the privilege of getting to know and ski with the next geezer generation.   Yes, there are the sixties something guys and gals showing up to fill the ranks.   Most are hard core skiers of the past who now have a bit more free time.   Generations come and generations go, but the love of skiing prevails in a core population.  I am happy to think that when I leave this earth there will be a group of "youngsters" that might tell some stories about me.



Nancy Rehkugler said...

Gerry, I have no doubt you will one day be a legend, though not for many years yet..!!! People will remember your remarkable record of attendance (every day except Sunday), in all conditions---rain, slow, ice, mud, grassy slope! Love you!

Pat and Bev said...

For sure Nancy.