Eaglecrest is the little mountain that could. And as a little skier that could, and did, discover the joy of tumbling willy-nilly down soft, powdery hills with no one to see you laugh but yourself and those you show a GoPro to later, I am still riding the bandwagon of the Eaglecrest Ski Area.
I am even in love with Eaglecrest, days before its scheduled opening.
It’s face tossing aside long patches of snow like locks of golden hair.
Lean paths gracefully extending out and around an Ansel Adams’ landscape, treating all who venture near like family, invited to embrace her beauty much like a loving mother welcomes her young to bust open the bedroom door on Saturdays, jump up and down on the bed and shout “Let’s go! Get up! The day is here.”
Parents, children, aunts, uncles, governors, mayors, bakers, lovers, ex-lovers, runners, hikers, snowshoers, skate skiers, bikers, walkers, photographers, readers, writers, mathematicians, firemen, peace officers, that little old couple around the block... whew, and so many more!
Yes, the word is out.
But the word has been out for years.
The tiny hotel desk drawer has been flung wide open to expose the word in all its glory.
It reads like chapter after chapter of a godly map on the path to everlasting life.
Much like the Hobbit, its prophets have slain giants at Kicking Horse (B.C.), Red Mountain (B.C.), and Revelstoke (B.C.).
As you wax your edges this morning, Eaglecrest Ski Area’s golden ring of pleasure runs is facing the No. 1 ranked snow blower Mount Bohemia (Mich.) in the final four of Powder Magazine’s Ski Town Throwdown.
On the other side of the bracket two others vie to rid the world of evil ski gear: Crested Butte (Colo.) and Stevens Pass (Wash.) will send forth a champion challenger.
Is it any wonder that three of the four finalists are born and bred to wear original XtraTufs and oilskins?
Let it rain, brothers and sisters, let it rain, because there will follow the snow!
Take a knee, brethren.
Bend down and give thanks.
Close your eyes.
You have found Nirvana.
Marvel as the pastors of the mountain lead you to ski boots and skis, and put you on a path to salvation.
Lift your eyes up toward the crowning glory across Pittman Ridge.
Take those first believing steps past Stickleback and Dolly Varden.
Cast aside the temptations that would have you ignore Sourdough, Sneaky and Trickster.
Embrace the lessons of Marmot and Drifter.
Sing out in breathless harmony to the fulfillment of your body becoming weightless in Most and Waterfall.
Give thanks from the edges of the ski area boundary.
Wonder at the sight of angels who live on the far bowls and mountain faces that your ski instructor promises you will one day be able to ski.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.