What would YOU do if it were the last day?
One day for anything.
I arrived early enough to park next to the Welcome to Eaglecrest banner closest to the clubhouse for the first time.
I forgot my ski goggles and my sunglasses.
I rode at least once on every chair lift.
On Porcupine, I reminisced about my first lesson from Rick Trostel and staring up at Hogs Back thinking, “He did what? Down that?” And I practiced doing the complete circle turns, the skiing backwards, the snowplows/pizza/peanut butters and everything else I could remember Trostel and Greg Sanvik and the other instructors saying to their tiny, eager, ski bundles.
On Hooter I remembered the tiny girl’s voice I had heard earlier in the year, yelling out to her ski partner father, “Daddy stop, daddy stop… daddy, how come you always stop where I am not?” And she would swoosh right past him in a manner that said, “Just you wait, someday I will be asking for the car.”
On Ptarmigan I remembered when my ski had been ripped from my foot and I had this seemingly two-hour sojourn on the lift dreading how I was going to manage on one ski to unload and get out of the way (I found falling and crawling worked rather well). A Good Samaritan brought my wayward ski on the next chair.
And on Ptarmigan I tried to memorize the alpine ski code before it zipped past on the tower… -1) Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. -
On Black Bear I remembered not warning my lift partner to look inside for the lift pole and having her try to sit in my chair, causing me to jump off the end…which I was rather proud of, by the way.
- 2) People ahead of you have the right of way, it is your responsibility to avoid them. -
I remembered days where the snow seemed heavenly, like you were on clouds. And days when the snow was like glass and angels laughed in your ears as you plummeted at unimaginable speeds. And days where the snow made just riding the lift seem like you were skiing with Jesus.
- 3) You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above. -
I looked for porcupine. I saw ravens farther up the mountain and green trees that had broken free from their snow-frozen shells.
I listened as rain drops excused themselves shyly from my Arcteryx jacket.
- 4) Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others. -
I looked at Heavenly Valley (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, sigh) and Waterfall (OH SH….T). I saw someone’s lost glove. I smelled the aroma of something cooking.
- 5) Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment. -
I thought of what my theme song would be if I had one for skiing… this season it was the wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle song by LMFAO.
- 6) Observe all posted signs and warnings, keep off closed trails and out of closed areas. -
I fell in love with every female employee and their dazzling ski skills… I scowled at every male employee with his dashing daring dos that my significant other fell in love with.
-7) Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely. (That concludes the partial responsibility alpine ski code… can you imagine how safe we would be if it were applied to all facets of our lives?)
I slowed each of my sweeping turns to savor every morsel of snow, ice, slush, and mashed potatoes that caressed the edge of my skis.
I stopped at every hilltop and watched the laughter and smiles as nature tickled the fancy of the diehard alpine and Nordic faithful.
I decided that next season I would have bobble heads of Eaglecrest instructors on my skis… (Nick, Mark, Leslie, Randy, Megan, Al, Jeffra, Tommy, Mackenz, Lindsay, Clayton, Julie, Barb, Lisa, Sarah, Amanda, Greg Doug, Brock, Hugh?) and collect them all!
I wondered how many people had fallen in love here, or broken up here, or had an “AH HA” moment here.
I let out a wooooooohooooooo like those truly enamored with the day do.
I farted (c’mon, YOU don’t? On the mountain? All by yourself?).
I thanked every lift instructor (I always do) as they guided that seemingly special chair made just for me under my tired bum and gently lifted me towards nirvana.
I skied like no one was watching.
I thought of some of the top skiers I met here… Kikkan Randall, Joe Tompkins, Kristen Brandner, the Vandors, Ella Goldstein…
I thought of everyone I met here… Bob, Larry, some German tourist, a chef, a lifer, a good-ol-boy, a Barbie, a townie, a sporty, a nerd, Christians, Buddhists, unbelievers, extraterrestrials, etc.
I got misty.
I looked down at my RTM 84-177 rental skis for the last time, and my 28.5 Tecnica Entry XRT boots, and my 54-inch green poles (I like the longer poles so I can stay farther away from danger while trying to pull my ski partner up from a fall or back from an edge).
My eyes teared up.
I said goodbye to JP, Jesse, Mike C and Mike P, Tim, Kori, Ocean and Rick and the rest of the rental crew.
I bought my last Mountain Lift Coffee Shop white chocolate mocha.
I stepped outside and turned to look one last time at pearly white gates of snowy Sunday bliss.
I had been skiing with Jesus.