Okay, so winter 2011-12 will go down in New England ski history as anything but the perfect ski season, reminded me of 1978-79. Low natural snow and record warm temps made it tough for skiers. But sometimes you just have to keep the faith, right Red Sox and Pats fans?! If you quit, cop out, blame the snow gods and just stop going, you are definitely not going to get that epic ski day. Not every ski day is perfect, but you have to put yourself out there to get the goods. The snow is not going to seek you out, you have to chase it. My last day of the ski season April 19, #39, was the best.
Mind you, it was in Austria, a big trip I had been anticipating all season long. We had a few days of skiing in the clouds in conditions my husband Greg calls CSS (code for" Can't See Stuff) in the otherwise spectacular Alps of the Tirol and Arlberg, but when the sun came out and sparkled on a fresh coating of 20 centimeters of light fluffy snow - we got our reward. We skied St Anton, Lech/Zurs, Solden, Obergurgl /Hochgurgl , which are all sensational when the sun and snow align. The Austrians invented many of the best ski traditions we know, think Hannes Schneider’s ski school, Doppelmayr lifts, schnapps, and après ski dancing. Austrians were intrepid skiers, and still are, with some of the most modern lifts and amazing terrain in the world.
Skiing is weather roulette, but those who keep an eye to the forecast and seize the day, find the diamond dust on the slopes some mornings, the perfect untouched cord, and even the untracked new powder. One day last week in Solden, everyone slept in due to clouds in town, but we boarded the first gondola to get above the clouds and skied in brilliant blue sunshine and 10 centimeters of fresh snow.
I am reminded of my second best day in 6 inches of powder at Loon in January. First tracks at Sunday River and skiing Casablanca glades at Saddleback are a close third and fourth. I hope your ski season had its rewards. There is still skiing at Jay Peak and Killington this weekend, could be your best ski day yet, but only if you go.
Austria Photos by Greg Burke, Obergurgl (top) and Solden, taken this week.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familysktitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.