Into the throws of winter

I'm a little bit under the weather right now, but as I feel like the season is winding down, I'm trying to get on the two slats as much as possible. Today was up in the air for sure. Woke up with a wicked (Vermont coming out in me) cough and felt weak. Went back to sleep, took Stella for a walk with Elaine and felt worked. Slept for another two hours and then – well, just felt better. Felt like I needed to be out in it. Something mellow. So we headed up to "The Rock" for what I figured would be a few lazy runs on a warm spring day. A good lesson, never underestimate the mountains.

Eldora can seem pedestrian. It's close to metropolitan areas and it just kind of has that feel sometimes. But then…it's not. It sits at close to 11,000 feet above sea level, right smack dab on the Continental Divide. It's the second most northerly resort in Colorado. The wind howls. I had a ski patroller who worked in a research lab in Antarctica tell me once that the weather at Eldora was worse than that in Antarctica. In terms of being a true mountain environment, it's the real deal.

Run one was mellow enough. Sunny skies, mellow turns. Up for another. Suddenly the sky turns dark, the wind starts howling, and then it starts to snow. Snow out of nowhere, hard. Maybe as hard as I've ever seen it up there. Elaine and I are getting pelted. We took a run in absolute white-out conditions. The storm blew in as fast as anything I've ever seen. We took another, and by the time we were at the bottom the cheeks and nose were frozen, the fingers stinging, but we were grinning ear-to-ear. Feeling alive. Winter may be officially over, but don't tell that to the mountains. They are still delivering a punch.

Afterwards it was onto Kathmandu, a local Nepalese establishment that has been open since 1999. Tonight was their 12 year anniversary. Half-price on all food, plus some authentic Nepalese dancing and music. Elaine and I feasted on the meal, but even better was seeing a lot of the locals and getting acceptance. I think we are both a little gun shy about what people think, and it was just cool talking to people and feeling the positive vibe that only a small mountain town can have. I know there is a sentiment about my relationship with Elaine, I think a lot because of the age difference. But the truth of it is, we're just two people crazy in love, trying to live our life the right way. I think some folks hear that she's 20, and automatically put up the red flag. But the truth of the matter is – and I've told her this a bunch – she could be 30 or 50 or 70 and I'd still want to be married to her. The age thing, is to me, irrevelant. Much more important is the person inside.

Enough of that. Today was day 92 on skis. I think some people read this and think, shit, this guy is just bragging about how many days he's had on the boards. And man, I'm super aware of that, so I figure I'll explain something here. You have to understand, last year was shit for a winter. I had the whole episode in September, then leaving to California, and while I came back with good intentions, I just couldn't muster up the strength to get up there. Maybe got in 25 days total. The head was elsewhere, and I probably fell into the worst shape of my life. So this year, it was like…OK, I need a goal. I started riding my bike up to Caribou in August, and did that just about every day to get into shape. And then I said – I can't have another winter like last one. Keep moving, or start dying. So I made a goal, and I stuck to it. Look, I know 100 days is nothing big for a true ski bum. People living and working at the resort do that easily. But for me, it was just a marker to get back on it. Back on the skis, and back on life. Just like setting little goals, hitting them, and then going for bigger goals. It's like the DoJoe. I was scared shitless this year. I honestly thought I was going to get killed in it. But I surprised myself, and it just showed that things are back on the right path. I'm not better than anybody else – not by a long shot. I'm trying to live life and be happy. I wish the same for everybody else too. I saw a couple of my old pilot buddies headed up to Jackson this week and they absolutely SCORED with the snow. A record snowfall. A twinge of jealousy for sure, but damn, I'm so stoked for those guys. That's fucking living in my book, and that I think is what it's all about. So to those guys – I'm stoked for you and I respect what you are doing. Shred it up, don't forget the snorkel and remember – you are indeed living the dream.

Till the next adventure – over and freakin' out.


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