Saturday, December 18, 2021


    In recent days I have been struck by contrasts all around me.  My son posted a bunch of pictures of 20 inches of new powder skiing  at Snowbird on the same day I was skiing on about as little as two inches of frozen granular at Greek Peak.  All of that was snow man-made some weeks ago.   Also around me beyond the white strips down a few slopes that were open was the dull brown and grey of the surrounding terrain.  I did pause once to observe the contrasting silhouette of the hill tops.   For the artistic eye the curves and breaks in the horizon were interesting.  

    Further along the line of contrasts, I recently read an article in the Seniors Skiing blog about small versus large ski areas and East versus West ski areas.   There are innumerable contrasts along that line.   Small local ski areas do not necessarily get the respect they deserve.  My family and now senior friends have enjoyed small Northeast ski areas for decades.   A thousand feet vertical provided splendid winter entertainment at reasonable cost.   By contrast we would make some trips to the mountains of Vermont and even a few journeys to Colorado.    In my retirement and senior years local skiing has dominated my days on the slopes.   I am grateful in my geezer years past 60 to 86 to have skied an average of 77 days a year.   This would have been impossible without the easy access to my local slope.  I am especially grateful for the socialization provided by my local area in the stress of the epidemic.  

      Big, small or in between ski areas all have a niche in our sport.  All have a role to play and while I no longer feel comfortable traveling to the big mountains, I am grateful for the easier terrain  next door.   

Thursday, December 9, 2021

An Eventful Week

    Lots of things happening this week as we approach Christmas.   The local ski area did open this past Friday but unfortunately I was dealing with an upper respiratory infection.  Thankfully not Covid!  Conditions at the slope were a bit sketchy to say the least as reported by my usual companions at the area.  Ended up staying away for the entire weekend due to illness and limited terrain.  At eighty six, maybe I am slowing down a bit.  I can't remember missing an opening day in a long time.  Looking forward to a go at it tomorrow since I can ease into the year on the alpha slope.  Just viewed the webcam to note they are grooming.

    Prior to the past weekend and this week I received a surprise call that my new car had just come in.  Totally surprised that it has arrived so soon.  I ordered it in October and was told due to shipping issues it might be March before it arrived.  Arranged for a pick up on Monday.  Now into a steep learning curve to familiarize myself with all the gadgets and gizmos on this vehicle.  The operators manual is a major epistle!  For now I am working on the basics and not fiddling with the fine tuning of my preferences.    My new vehicle has almost all of the special safety features now available.  I think we seniors need to get all the help we can as we reach the latter years of our driving.   My thought at this point is that  this vehicle will outlast me so I ought to go for the best while I can.  In my volunteer work I use my vehicle quite a bit as I transport Red Cross blood from blood drives about once a week with a round trip of over 200 miles.   Adaptive cruise control makes the journey much easier.

    Eighty years later Tuesday as a nation we paid homage to the armed forces personnel that perished at Pearl Harbor and saluted the veterans of World War II.   Even though I was only 6 years old on December 7, 1941 I have the day seared in my memory.  I awoke to the announcement of the attack on our tiny AM radio playing in the kitchen our farmhouse.  I understood the horror of the situation myself as well as read the distress of my parents.  As I write this, I fully visualize the scene in that kitchen as vividly as if it was today.  From that day on I was constantly reminded of the ugliness of war and at the same time learned that sacrifice of all of us was necessary and patriotic.  As kids we no longer could expect toys.   Sugar was rationed!  No candy.   Gasoline and tires were rationed so limited leisure driving if any.   We as children learned to be innovative in our play.  Also I am proud to say that we contributed to the war effort in many ways too.  We took our pennies and quarters to school to pool our money for purchase of war bonds.   Early in the war there was a need material to insert in life vests.   On our farm we had lots of milkweed growing in our pasture as was true of other pastures.  We picked the pods when ripe, put them mesh bags, and hauled them to school where they were shipped off to be added to life vests.  While it might seem that era was painful, contrary to today's political structure the nation came together as one.   Together we vanquished our enemies.   Post  WWII the armed forces returned to build a better world.  God bless them.   

    As an endnote I am remembering the veterans of WWI that I have had the pleasure of skiing with.     While skiing may be considered a very individual sport, it also brings us together in a community of shared experiences and pleasure.  Yes, quite a week for this old guy.  Happy Holidays all!