On January 3, 2024

Living the Dream: Thriving in survival mode

Living the Dream

By Merisa Sherman


Last week was probably one of the most difficult ski weeks I have ever experienced in my life. I’ve skied in that much precipitous weather for one day, maybe two. But an entire week of water pouring off the brim of your hood — this was a week with the intensity needed for an Everest expedition rather than a few days of lift-served skiing. 

I would race home every night, anxious to get my gear hung up and onto the dryer so it would have the most time to dry because no one likes that wet bathing suit feel at 7 the next morning. Leather mittens were re-waxed and baked, the rubber ones were pulled out of storage and the ugly gore-tex ones were on hand. We quickly learned the durability of uniform jackets and — if you didn’t already know — how badly down can stink when it’s wet. Morning conversations trended to discussion on how gear was being dried overnight. You could hear a groan when a mitten or goggles still carried moisture from the day before.

Because this was not just simple skiing. Each day you were prepared to do battle with the elements — and the rapidly narrowing trails. There was nothing we could do except survive, to make it through until the temperatures would again drop and then we would see how much snow was left on the other side.

But east coasters don’t just survive in inclement weather, we thrive. You don’t have just one pair of mittens and socks, you have one for the morning session and another for the afternoon and a third just in case you need to come in mid-morning. If there was a gap in your boots, you learned about it last week, that’s for sure. You have extra neckies and hats and baselayers in case the moisture makes it through. But we don’t surrender that easily. There is no bad weather, only bad dress.

And so we skied, all day, every day. No matter how many inches of moisture came out of the sky. No matter that each sit on a chair caused the moisture to creep closer to your underpants. Because the skiing was actually awesome. Soft, moist snow made for playful mornings that turned to moguls by mid day. This was some of the most fun skiing that we’d had all year. 

And then there was the “fast grass.” With this much moisture, the growing patches of grass on non-snowmaking sides of the trails were almost as fast as the snow. It was awesome. You could send it right across the patch, actually getting some lift off while you practiced for Superstar in May. The grass was clean, all the mud washed away underneath the snow rather than on top. We had the best time cruising between the patches and then coming back onto the main trail. 

It was a week filled with laughter, because the sky was crying enough for all of us combined. We did all the silly things we could, because why not? Just being out in the weather ensured our claim to being amazing and thick-skinned skiers. So it was the perfect time to try new, weird things. To go for a walk in the woods with our skis on — until the snow vanished and we’d end up carrying them.

But we made it work. We looked for the Gnar and we were stoked to shred it. Whatever we could find. The gnarlier, the better. We sang, we danced, we did kick turns and whirlie birds. We skied backwards, on one ski and upside down. We skied it all, whether it was white, green or brown. Our team motto was that so long as our underwear was dry, we were good to go.

And so we went. All day, every day. And no one asked to go inside — although we did go inside one day for a quick snack. It was hot out there! Honestly, it was probably one of the most memorable weeks of skiing I have ever had, with laughter ringing out most of the day. I mean, there were a few tears when you would fall in a puddle of water while skiing the grass, but that’s all part of the adventure.

Because we are east coasters. And so we ski. In whatever weather Mother Nature sends us. We are not afraid of a little moist precipitation. I mean, we can be sad that the snow is melting, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it while it lasts.

Kudos to everyone that sent off 2023 with some of the best/worst skiing and riding we’ve had in a very long time. Our grooming team made magic happen moving snow around where they could. We made it through, and now the best snowmaking team in the world has the guns pumping hard and we’ve put away our wet weather gear — for now at least.

Merisa Sherman is a long-time Killington resident, KMS coach, bartender and local realtor. She can be reached at Merisa.Sherman@FourSeasonsSIR.com.

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