Cannon: Homecoming

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 2017-2018 Season, Cannon Mountain, November

Mount Lafayette

Cannon. My favorite mountain. Yet, I have been such a stranger lately. Only five visits during the past two years? It could only mean that my discount strategies have expired. Even today, I refused to pay full price and opted for the half day ticket. Cannon is always good enough for me (even at its worst). But never good enough to pay full price.

Cannon is home. Seems like it always has been and always will be. Yet I’ve skied Jay more times. I have had season passes at Jay but never at Cannon. But Cannon is home and Jay isn’t. Jay has been quite good to me over the years. But it will never be in my blood. Jay is the smart play for reliable trees and powder but… well, there is always a but. Jay is to my mind as Cannon is to my heart.

Franconia Ridge

Before skiing, I stopped by the repair shop for my once per year ski tune. For some reason, I thought I might need it today. It wasn’t my skis that needed the tune up but rather my head. My first turns were a sloppy skidding mess despite the tune and generally soft snow. I wasn’t forward enough, not enough angulation, my stance was too narrow. My mind wasn’t “in it”. I wasn’t going for it like it was yet another epic powder day *yawn*.

But after a few runs, I found some aggression. My hands clenched around my pole grips a bit tighter as I applied forward pressure to my boot tongues and laid an edge that stuck, propelling me forward into the next turn. Not effortless, not like I’ve become used to. But requiring mindfulness and attention, requiring effort and rewarding that effort appropriately. Cannon said “you’ve become soft, push a bit harder”. So I did. And it felt great.

Sunday River: Beginnings

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 2017-2018 Season, November, Philosophy, Sunday River

T2

Every ski season* has an ending and a beginning with purgatory in between. And much like the mountains, our seasons have peaks and valleys, highs and lows. Those who want for consistency and regularity in their lives need not apply. Skiing is an activity better suited to those who enjoy extremes, people who can not only accept but revel in and embrace the worst of conditions**.

Beginnings are powerful. More than just a do over or a redo, beginnings suggest that something even better is coming. We sweep away the hardships of the past and get on with things. And even following a season of many epic days, skiers are still ever hopeful that this season might be the big one.

T2

Dad once commented on my tendency towards extremes. He saw the potential danger rather than the beauty in extremes. But for me, even in the depths of despair, I would suddenly cackle with delight at how wonderful if felt to be alive, to be able to feel, even if to feel terrible. It was still joyous in a way. Amor fati was a way of life for me long before I read Nietzsche.

While a new ski season began for me this weekend, I continue on in purgatory: long having sought a new beginning that remains elusive. There are no highs nor lows, just a constant grind. One might think that burn out would make someone negative. But rather, burn out leaves you hollow and uninspired. The ski season may have begun but I still seek a new beginning.

Locke Mountain Triple

*Ski season here is connoted as a localized season rather than an individual’s personal season.

**Not a reflection or implication of the skiing at Sunday River, far from it.