On February 10, 2021

The need to ski it all

By Stephanie Geiger of Pittsfield
Merisa Sherman skinned up Summit Glades at Pico. Fresh snow blanketed the trees and the trails.

By Merisa Sherman

It has not stopped snowing for weeks.

Every morning, I wake up and look outside the window only to reach for the shovel. Every day, I’m shoveling. It might just be a few inches of fluff, but it still has to get relocated before it freezes solid and makes my walkways a mess for the next few months. The stairs have to be cleared and the car brushed off, every morning, almost without fail. We even bought a new shovel this year, a fancy ergonomic one because… well, we have been shoveling so much that it felt like we deserved a reward. I laugh to myself now as I look out the window. The kind of laugh that is filled with excitement, confusion, exhaustion and, oddly enough, fear.

The excitement is intrinsic and always comes when fresh snow falls in Vermont. Just a few inches of fluff can open up an entire new world of adventures each day. Early season, we get stoked for a new trail to open or a new line that will finally be deep enough to shred. This season, however, the snow is so deep that entire new areas are open for the taking if you’re willing to work for it. And, oh my goodness, have we been working for it. Hours of breaking trail in deep snow not to  mention all the lift service turns and the miles on the snowmobiling. For the first time EVER, I was able to stick my entire 48” ski pole all the way into the ground!! We had to spend five minutes looking for a lost ski in the powder! These things do not happen on the East Coast and we have to enjoy every minute of it! Even though it has snowed every day for almost a month, my heart still skips a beat when I look out the window.

Then there is the confusion. Specifically, why is it still snowing? We live in Vermont and all this snow doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially the way climate change has been working out the past few years. We’re skiing sections now that we haven’t even dared to dream about in over a decade. I still have nightmares about the 2016 season with that depressing 86” inches of snowfall. Or that season when it rained every Wednesday—for months. Perhaps this is our community’s reward for being so diligent with caring for each other over the past 11 months. Or maybe it’s just our turn. I’m not a meteorologist, but I’m pretty sure they cannot figure it out either. The why doesn’t really matter so much, it’s just … confusing.

By Merisa Sherman
“For the first time EVER, I was able to stick my entire 48” ski pole all the way into the ground!!”

But oh my goodness, am I exhausted. There is no time for a break or a day of simple groomers to let my legs recover. It’s been non-stop, every day, do all the things. Since it snows every day, we should be getting used to it by now, but the hunger is still guiding my thought process. Fresh snow needs to be skied. Therefore, we have to push our bodies to keep up with the pace of the snowfall. No fresh snow must be left unskied. I am literally crawling out of bed each morning, pushing my legs to get to where I am going today. I want to ski hard, I want to ski it all… but oh my, does my body need a break. My hip is screaming at me, my knee is crying, my throttle thumb is numb… but my ski bum soul cannot justify not skiing when there is fresh snow on the ground.

As East Coast skiers and riders, we have work to do. We must ski it all before it goes away. As always, there is the constant fear of the snow melting or freezing or the weather just turning everything to junk. While we twisted souls might actually enjoy skiing those East Coast standards, we also celebrate the snow when it does come. We have to ski it all now. What if it rains tomorrow? We have to ski it all now. What if the wind blows it all into these big immovable piles and leaves everything else bare? We must ski it all now. What if Covid shuts down the resort and all this gorgeous snow just sits there for months while we just look at it? We must ski as much as we can now because it might not be available tomorrow.

And so, I drag myself out of bed again this morning, anxious to know how much skiing I will need to do today.  I am tired but I am stoked. I have spent years training for this winter, and I will not let this great gift be wasted. Because while I am still excited, confused, exhausted and fearful, I am also extremely grateful that Mother Nature has sought to bless our wonderful community with so much snow. And while I might pass out each night at 9 p.m. from sheer exhaustion, I will drag myself out of bed again tomorrow morning, too. Because it’s supposed to snow again tonight.

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