Mountain Purist

The hardest part about writing this blog is remembering to take photos.

Sometimes when I remember, my phone’s already dead from searching for reception. Sometimes I remember, but it’s too cold to pull my hands out of my mittens. Most of the time, though, I don’t think of it. I’m too busy skiing.

But, then again, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my days on the slopes. I don’t listen to music. Until this year, my phone was turned off in the parking lot and only carried along in case of emergencies.

While I prefer my mountain days to be vacations from the rest of the world, there’s something to be said for snapping a few shots along the way… and capturing the beautiful days, perfect lines, and brilliant people with whom I share the mountain.

sunny day at Stowe
Crazy, cold, beautiful sky.

Guilty as charged

I feel guilty.

This weekend was busy – I wrote, read, spent time with relatives, ran around my beautiful city with my handsome friends.

Sunday, I alternated between reading, watching LOST, doing laundry, and just snoozing in the sunbeam thrown across my couch.

This was all very pleasant. But… no matter what I do, I just can’t shake the feeling… that I should have been skiing.

To make matters worse, I woke up Monday morning to every ski area in a two hour radius celebrating their new-fallen snow. 7″ at Stowe. 6″ – 10″ at Smuggler’s Notch.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad the snow’s back. We need it. But I wish I was in it, up to my boot tops in fluffy white…

How will I make it to Thursday night race league? By taking deep breaths. By wobbling my way through yoga poses in my bedroom. By walking to the shores of Lake Champlain at lunchtime.

In short, I can’t way to be in the mountains again.

Stowe's Forerunner Quad
One blissful day in November.

Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.

It’s an old Vermont adage, and let-me-tell-you-what it’s a true one. Especially now, in these days of global weirding, riding the weather is like getting on a roller coaster blindfolded: hold on. It’s going to be a wild ride.

56ºF one day, 32º and snowing the next with blowing winds whipping Lake Champlain to an ocean-like frenzy.

Snow in the pines
More of this, please.

While the second January Thaw has come and gone (hopefully for good), we’re still waiting for the snow to replenish itself. We skiers and riders are hungry, salivating for turns. Me, the slackcountryista, especially. I’ll ski anything, but what I really want is trees.

As we wait, I count my blessings – snowmaking, snowmakers, groomers, ski movies, snow flurries that lay a dusting of snow on welcome mats, and reinforcements that Vermont’s riders are of the most dedicated in the country.

With thirteen mostly-blissful days on skis already this season, I shouldn’t complain… But please, Ullr. Bring us snow!

The utmost importance of the moment

Lake Champlain at sunsetBeauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.

Beauty is a sunset over Lake Champlain, a barista that knows your order by heart, six inches of powder in the trees, and parallel lines of fresh corduroy on the trails. Beauty is the smell of snow that greets you first thing in the morning as you step outside balancing breakfast and car keys and briefcase.

I can’t wait to get back into the mountains.

Quote by Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Poets, & Philosophers