Earlier this week, I wondered if it would be possible to ski more days this month than I had last month. Thankfully, I am now halfway towards that benchmark. The weather forecast didn’t seem likely to deliver enough snow for earned turns. But several online reports on Saturday suggested otherwise. The Mansfield Stake recorded 8″ up high but I also knew there would be far less down low.
Despite the warming temperatures, there was enough snow to start skinning from the base of Nosedive. I am always thankful to have my skis on the snow rather than on my back during the ascent. It felt great to be skinning again and I was anxious to ski natural snow for the first time in many months. But with only an inch of snow on top of fast grass down low, I knew that I would not be skiing top to bottom.
October turns used to be an expectation. Every other year seemed to bring a big October storm and manmade filled in the gap years. Some of my most memorable powder days were in October. But it has been years since I skied in October. It is no longer an expectation.
But October turns aren’t something to be treasured, either. They happen when they happen. One day changes to the next and suddenly there is snow on the ground where there had been none before, it is time to ski. I used to get anxious and excited before the season began. Now I am nonchalant.
Ten years ago, I crossed the line from dedicated to obsessed. I moved three hours north into the mountains and began skiing from the first few inches of snow until the last snow patch melted in Tuckerman Ravine. End of season turns in June or July became an annual tradition. Excepting when I was injured.
I’ve since grouped all of my season ending adventures into the Because Series. But this year’s entry does not contain skiing content, it is only an announcement of the new categorization. My season ended in April as the result of a broken toe, an injury that would last long into the summer.
I’ll be back in the ravine next year. I’ll ascribe it to whatever particular reason resonates with me at the time. But the real reason is more intricate and nuanced. It comes from that mysterious quality of being human, that inner voice that drives us or doesn’t.
I am not so naive as to believe it is mine to control. I may be conscious of it but I am still just along for this ride, a determined observer. All of the Becauses are just illusions to be embraced.
Opinions regarding the 2014-2015 season will vary greatly, but everyone can agree it was one of the coldest and most bitter winters of recent memory. The cold seemed never ending. The onset of spring skiing was delayed until mid-April with nary any spring skiing in March to speak of. Despite being a winter lover and a skier, I cried mercy. Enough.
Work had also ground me down. Years of accumulated burnout has made week long vacations in the spring and the fall an absolute necessity. Burnout combined with the viciously brutal winter and a subpar ski season had me longing for warmth, sunshine, and relaxation.
For the first time ever, I curtailed my ski season in favor of warmer climes and non-sliding activities. To hell with spring skiing whenever it comes, I needed to get out of the northern New England winter more than I wanted to ski.