This is Elaine, the other half contributing to this blog.
This was supposed to be IT! The year! I wanted to go skiing everyday, and I had visions of powder runs dancing in my head. After the two of us, well, I wouldn’t call it competed, per se, but completed both the Power of Four and the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, we made grand schemes. We wanted to do all of the COSMIC races – a series of ski mountaineering uphill/downhill races all across the state. Our dreams ran huge and wild, unrestrained until winter started beaconing to us with a seductive finger, making me dread the 90° days forecasted regularly. Last year’s season ended earlier than many liked, and Dan and I began to feel the chaff of summer all too soon. By the time August rolled around, we were 100% ready for winter. Well, it’s November, three months later, and winter is still not here.
So, we wait. This is the art of being a skier. Winter is based off of what Mother Nature is feeling, and it seems she is not quite ready to bless us with snow. The art of being a skier comes now: remaining faithful in our snow dances, optimistic discussion of when the snow will come, and never, ever saying that we will just mountain bike this season. That is sacrilege.
This time of waiting is upon us. Wait, we do, however impatiently, for the snow will come. In the meantime, we make do with what we have. Last week was an impromptu trip up to Steamboat to skate ski Rabbit Ears Pass, a day at Loveland demo-ing skis, and today, up to the death strip that Eldora is offering. Getting up there early was the goal, and obviously a good thing. The one run that was open, though it had a bunch of racers, was not populated with many other people till about 10, when the hoards began to overwhelm us both. When you spend most of your skiing time in the backcountry, the resort seems less safe. In the backcountry, obviously bad things can happen – and do happen – but often times, decisions are made that take it to the point of bad. In the resort, it’s quite likely that your season can be swiftly ended by someone else, which doesn’t seem that great to me. So at 10:30, we called it a day.
The biggest thing that I noticed about skiing the resort was how much it made all of my technique flaws stand out in an incredibly glaringly obvious way. One of the reasons that Dan and I splurged on a pass this year was because we had been feeling the lack of the resort. Your skills suffer. Even if you only ski for two hours at the resort, say you get a total of 10 runs in, allowing for slow lifts, that is still 10 runs. As I am not Brian Wickenhauser (shocker!), I would have to practically kill myself to get 10 runs in in the backcountry! I’m feeling pretty good with four laps.
So we did drills, and in one of those goofy, we’re-finally-on-skis kind of way, we had a blast. We laughed at each other, practicing exaggerated javelin turns across the hill, one ski skiing, and whirlybirds. By the end of that hour and a half, we felt much better, and optimistic. Just a little bit of practice goes a long way.
Back up for Thanksgiving tomorrow morning after a quick run, and then it is feasting time!
Glaringly bright sun this morning up at Eldora!