Saturday, October 24, 2009

What I think about ski season

So I was asked to write about something related to the sport of skiing... this is what I came up with:

Bzzzztt. Bzzzzzt. Bzzzzt. It is not so much of a sound, but a small vibration in the car door. It causes you to stir every couple of minutes, but your mind doesn't comprehend what is going on. You slowly fade out of consciousness for what seems like an eternity. Suddenly, you hear a sharp, high pitched tapping noise that rattles you out of your daze, only to enter a world of confusion. You are in a cocoon, tightly wrapped by the warmth surrounding you, while you can feel the brisk air trying to sneak in; your nose is exposed. Eyes opening ever so slowly again, as you peer out of your dark solitary confinement. Shadows appear before you, but everything is fuzzy and bright. Sunlight reflecting off of a million different facets.

Tap. Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap. A muffled voice in the background. You mumble something inaudible that even in your head sounds odd. The time has come, you must make your move. As you start to stir, your vision gets clearer. You see the shining facets of ice crystals, you feel the frigid air rushing around you as you stretch and move your snuggled limbs. Finally, your hand emerges from your cocoon to be greeted by a rush of cold air and the scraping of those crystals. Shaved ice cascades down onto your face; cold and crisp. The light is brighter and the source of the tapping becomes clearer, just in time to hear it one more time.

Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap. The inaudible voice becomes clearer as your mind focuses. “Its time to get up man, its a powder day.” Your murmurs under your breath go on unheard as the source of the tapping moves on down the line. You can hear the sound of tapping coming from further away, as you lay there trying to guess what time it is and how much snow is actually out there. From the scrapings your fingernails have made on the glass, it is almost impossible to distinguish the amount of pure fluffy goodness there is out there. It could be an inch, or it could be a foot. Either way, your alarm told you it was a powder day.

The noise around you becomes louder as cars drive by, people are shouting from car to car, and the stereo next door to you starts to play a little bob marley. You wonder why nobody ever blasts vivaldi or choplin at this hour of the morning? The steady beats coming out of the subwoofer thump as you get dressed, layer after layer; you bundle up expecting the worst. The ice buildup on the inside of the window leads you to believe you have slept well, breathing in and out consistently enough to create a crystal fortress on the inside of your car. You take a deep breath as you gently push open the door and recoil from the falling flakes as they swirl about and end up in your lap. You know they won't hurt. They will barely be felt as you step out of the back of the car, blending into the outside world, where people are moving and talking and getting ready for another day. You wonder where their energy comes from. Some people are just morning people. Some people are not.

You reach for the sky... BIIIIIIIG Streeeeetch. You stare absently into space, dreaming of what the day will come. When you first heard the tapping and the knocking, you were tempted to ignore it all. Now that you have seen the outside world after emerging from your cocoon, you are energized. You draw from the energy of the people surrounding you. Bob rocks on, as further down the line some new rapper makes his debut in the parking area, blending ever so well with the skynard and the metallica combining melodically in the air. The day has been brought upon you, and you are ready to greet it with arms wide open. A few steps away from your car, and you realize that the day is going to be good. The snow erupts from the bank, plummeting into your boot as your take your first steps away from the home away from home. You know what today will bring; monotony.

Another day of the same old stuff; deep snow, legs burning, and a smile so big you won't be able to contain yourself. This is day 14 in a row of this same old routine. Sometimes things get changed on you; your alarm is earlier or later, or even a different sound all together, your windows don't ice up as much as they did today, or your head hurts from the night before. Most of the time you wish you could just relax for a day, but then the snow falls again; pushing you to continue on with your adventure. This is ski season, and this is freedom. When you emerge in the parking lot, you are there to start your day. You don't have an office, you don't have a boss. You do the same thing day in and day out; you are a creature of habit. Wake up, Get dressed, Ski all day, Apres Ski, Bedtime, Repeat. Calendars are good for keeping track of powder days, not dates. Irons are better used for a fresh coat of wax on your skis than a shirt with a collar.

You are awake, alive, and feeling energized. Your body tingles as you make your first turns; powder enveloping you like a great wave in the ocean. Snow crystals float down your collar and turn to water droplets as they melt and drip down your spine. Your legs burn as you get deeper and deeper into the snow, but with each turn they are strengthening. At some point you may not be able to get out and ski, but your memories are so vivid of the days that you have been skiing that all you will need to do is close your eyes and imagine. It does not matter where you are, or what season it is. Whenever you want to return to this moment, you can. And you will. Frequently.

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