Stuck on land for 2 months, and away from Cat Maudy during a cold Maryland winter, we were itching for an adventure. It was close to 10 years since we last hopped onto our ski’s, so when we decided Tuesday morning that it was “time” to revisit skiing – we grabbed all of our OLD SCHOOL equipment and headed for the nearest slopes at WhiteTail Mountain. We had a few equipment shortcomings, so there was room for improvising. I couldn’t find my ski goggles — so, maybe swim goggles would work instead? No wool socks for Paddy — so I donated a pair of mine. Paddy would leave behind his ski’s – to rent those new-fangled itsy bitsy curvy ones, and I remained steadfastly attached to my long, wide straight boards and 30 year old boots my feet could swim in. We were ready.
We arrived at WhiteTail Mountain by noon, to a relatively empty ski resort. The economy was taking it’s toll – and we were about to stimulate it. I had forgotten how much work it was to drag bags of equipment, boots and my ski’s around with endless layers of clothing…and we hadn’t even begun to ski. While waiting for Paddy to rent his ski’s, I chatted with the nice man working the boot rental desk. “You know, I’ve seen 5 pair of boots this year, just break on folks — that were as old as your boots” he said to me. Suddenly, I felt like an old-timer. “Thanks for the input – I’ve had these for 30 years, so far so good” I replied, and he grinned at me as if to say “you’ll be back”.
After working up a sweat putting on all of the clothing and equipment…we were ready to tackle the bunny slope. Would we even remember how to ski after a 10 year ski sabbatical?
You betcha! After 2 quick runs on the bunny babe slopes…we were ready to move up to the blue. As we raced downhill to the ski lift…I suddenly felt a blast of cold air in my ski boot. Maybe it came unbuckled? I looked down, and sure enough…the plastic had cracked…and my boot fell apart all over my ski’s. Just like that. By the time I ski skated over to the rental center – the other boot broke apart as well. OK OK…time to let go of my old school equipment.
I got fitted for boots, and short (150’s) curvaceous ski’s. They sure seemed pretty tiny. I’m used to ski’s that are longer than my extended reach. Time to find out what all of the buzz was about….and we headed back to the slopes labeled with blue squares.
Jean Claude (aka Paddy) was in his element and racing to the bottom of the mountain…while I struggled with maneuvering on these tiny ski’s with curves – as I kept crossing my tips and having to recover. The rental center insisted I would like these — but I longed for my old boards. My experiment with swim goggles (substituting for ski goggles) failed by the way. They are meant for swimming…not skiing. Let’s just skip the goggles today.
After a few more runs in the blues — Jean Claude suggested that perhaps I had too much weight on my uphill ski. Hmmmm….ski technique. I had forgotten all about that. Oh yeah, weight on the downhill ski. Imagine that. From that point on, there was no more TIP-crossing…my confidence had returned…and I was ready for hot-doggin. Thanks Jean Claude!
After a quick lunch break, we watched the plastic on Jean Claude’s goggles snap in 2. Again, just like that. We’re really downsizing equipment today. Now, neither of us has any goggles. Oh well.
Time to see what the black diamond and double-blacks had to offer. We had the mountain to ourselves, and the conditions were fantastic. With our poles ready the moment we unloaded from the chair lift — we raced down the first black diamond. It was pretty tame…so we decided to try out the double-black. I’m not quite sure how they rate these trails — but I kept thinking “where is the steep part?”. Yes, skiing was like riding a bicycle…and we were having TOO much fun.
After 20 runs in 4 hours…we decided to save some juice…and return the next day for MORE.
DAY 2: WHITETAIL
Didn’t even bother with lugging my old world ski’s this time…I’m all about new school now. Decided to stimulate the economy MORE…and purchased 2 pair of goggles. Our eyes would be very happy.
Jean Claude & I both rented the shorty little ski’s…and I rented boots. We’ve got equipment now! Not sure how it was possible, but we banged out 20 runs in no-time – and ignored all of the screaming ski muscles that had atrophied for the past 10 years. The conditions were ultra-supreme, hard packed with a few inch dusting on top. We’re feeling good…and talkin’ big stuff now. Maybe a car adventure to Denver next week for some Colorado skiing. Just drop everything and go. How cool would that be. Life is short…live it up. Stay tuned!
DAY 3: WHITETAIL
For some reason, we couldn’t get enough skiing. After 10 years of missing ski season after ski season, we were making up for lost time. The DC area weather was about to warm up – and this might be our last opportunity for local skiing.
By DAY 3, we had the routine down to ultra efficiency. We only lugged around our ski bags, which were now carefully packed for goggles, scarves, hats and wool socks – along with fruity snacks and sandwiches for lunch. No need to spend money on overpriced food at the ski resort. We made a beeline for the rental center, and got fitted for boots and skiis. Within 10 minutes, of rental activity – we were on the chairlift heading uphill for our first run.
Being a Friday, the resort was far more busy than our debut earlier in the week, on Tuesday. Busloads of humans had arrived, and kids on snowboards were everywhere. Despite the larger crowds, the slopes were not overly busy, and we only had to wait a few minutes at the chairlifts. The temperatures were clearly warming, and folks we spoke to on the chairlift rides – shared thoughts about heading out west to Colorado or Utah – to extend the ski season. Maybe we’ll do the same. Time to research options.