The lifts have long since stopped turning but the east coast ski season is still far from over. After two years on the late season disabled list, it is with great pleasure that I am able to extend my season through spring and into summer.
I often wonder why I do it. Why punish myself for a few short runs totaling less vertical than that hiked to and from the skiing? Some might answer for the love of skiing or the passion of earning turns. But that rings hollow to me. There is something much more primal at work in this regard.
The truth is that there is no reason nor logic. There is no concrete premeditated thought process driving me to ski to the bitter end. There is something unconscious and primal pushing me towards such things. I do it because it’s there. And because I can.
My 2005-2006 Ski Season began just over eight months ago on a snowy October 23rd. During the Summer of 2005, I had predicted that October 23rd would bring the first significant snowfall to New England and that I would be skiing that day. What I could not have predicted was the amazing amount of ups and downs my season would take. From epic early season hike-to-ski powder dumps to an injury that put me on the Disabled List for almost three months and then right back into the powder in March and onto some phenomenal late season skiing on the Presidential Range, the season was a wild roller coaster that I hate to see come to a close. Most people will remember the 2005-2006 Season as terrible at best, but I end the season with many fond memories. And I picked a fabulous day to end the season.
Perhaps the worst botched forecast of the year occurred this past week when forecasters suggested that Saturday had a 40% chance of rain and 50% for Sunday. By Saturday, the forecasts had been changed to mostly sunny with highs in the low 80s for both days. But I am glad for the screw up, as I had committed to attending an outdoor party that got postponed due to potential rain. Sweet!
My first ever June turns were had at Tuckerman Ravine. The big news in the Ravine today was a car sized rock falling off the headwall and nearly decapitating a skier. I was just clicking into my skis in Left Gully when a commotion of yelling and screaming could be heard from the Ravine proper. I could not see the action due to the gully, but when I reached Lunch Rocks, I was told that a car sized rock fell off the headwall and split into two pieces. The two pieces tracked in various directions with one hunk gunning for a person climbing up Chute. The rock looked to be heading straight down at first, but then started turning towards the bottom of the chute. word was the guy jumped at the last second and saved his life by two feet! The ravine cleared out pretty fast after that humbling experience was witnessed by most of the people up there.
The heat today was oppressive. The hike up to the bowl was easy enough. But once in the bowl, the sun came out and started baking everyone and everything. Even with minimal acceptable clothing for skiing the ravine for my standards, I was over heating. Having decided a warm up on the bottom part of Chute was in order first, I booted up below Lunch Rocks and began my ascent. While hiking up, a “river of snow” started sliding down the bowl next to me. How weird, cool, and concerning all at the same time! I only hiked up to the chock of the Chute as I wanted to conserve my energy for the hike up Left Gully. I clicked in and began making turns on the ridiculously wet snow. Making turns and stopping became a minor issue because the ski edges were cutting and sliding rather than digging in. It was okay skiing but left something to be desired.