The New Year brings new hope, and hopefully new snow around the slopes of New England. The beginning of the year is also a time to reflect on special moments. For skiers, Auld Lang Syne might sound like old Lange ski boots (had a pair, still feel the pinch in my pinky toe) but it means time gone by.
If you are like me, you measure your time gone by, particularly the winter portion – which constitutes at least a third of the year, in ski memories. It’s fun to wax nostalgic on all the areas you have skied, the skiers and riders you have met, and the slopes you have conquered. With it comes an avalanche of funny and freaky flashbacks, the good and the bad conditions, the perfect bluebird days, and the blue ice, the waist deep pow and the wipe outs.
I remember my first pair of twin tips, Kastle 140 freestyles, yes there were twin tips in the 1970s though I called them ballet skis and loved them with all my being until my brother borrowed them and broke them on a jump. I think back on the first private ski lesson I taught at Smugglers, he was uncoordinated but he improved (and he tipped well). I will always remember December 1986 when I arrived in Zermatt, Switzerland to zero snow on the ground – then it dumped for seven days and I didn’t see the Matterhorn until the end of the week when the skies cleared to reveal the 12,740 foot jagged peak, deep snow and dazzling sunshine.
There was a beautiful April day we got our son out on skis for the first time at Waterville Valley. I loved skiing the Big Burn at Aspen Snowmass, our kids were little but they skied the vast terrain beautifully. I will never forget the Christmas we skied the Canadian Rockies, our flight arrived late so we were shuttled by snowcat in the dark to our mountainside lodging, The Sunshine Mountain Lodge. How can I forget the Martin Luther King weekend at Sugarloaf that was so cold, we felt like the only family out skiing with the lifts and trails to ourselves. Of course, the time my daughter decided to pond-skim at Sunday River is a damp but deeply engrained memory.
I could go on. I hope you have your ski and snowboard memories to reflect upon, and plans to make more monumental trips to the mountains in the new ski year.
Photo of Smugglers Notch Vermont skiing by Greg Burke