On May 29, 2024

‘Shiffrin Gold’

Courtesy Merisa Sherman - See the Shiffrin Gold peeking out from between the moguls.

The K Cloud had its way with us this Memorial Day, with a fog so thick that you didn’t realize you had gotten to the bottom of Superstar until you saw the two bright orange slow signs ahead in the mist. It was like being in a whole other world, our world, where only the craziest of ski bums came out this past Monday.

The rain held off until the final hour, letting us twirl on the playground under the cold but dramatic sky. You could see maybe 5-10 turns ahead of you, just enough to know when the glowing white was turning into more snirt (dirt-snow combo famous in spring skiing) or when it would just be rocks breaking through.

You had to hedge your bets, hoping that there would be just enough slush to lift your skis up and over the rocks. Sometimes you would win. But others, you would undoubtedly  lose. I had a pretty devastating tail skid today that wasn’t quite on fast grass or slush. But that’s what P-text is for… I mean, you already drilled holes in your skis for the bindings so what’s a little extra base groove?

In the fog, you knew exactly where to go. The contrast between the glowing white snow and the yellow of the World Cup Snow was hightened in the limited light of the fog. The white snow gleams in the limited light of the fog, the brightness from reflecting more light than anything else around it. It was so easy to see the mounds of light like a beacon, a safe haven from spinning your skis or board around in the beautifulness.

Then there is the World Cup Snow. The snow that they made back in November for the Women’s World Cup. That they then injected water into and let freeze, in reality creating one Superstar length ice cube that then condensed under the weight of 30 more feet of manmade and natural snow throughout the winter. Remember how you put rocks in the tumbler thing and hard, polished gemstones came out? It’s kind of like that. Hard pressured ice cubes that will leave a 2-inch deep gash in your forearm if you aren’t careful.

The World Cup Snow is yellow, a harsh contrast from the glowing white of the fluffy snow. But it cannot be yellow, because “yellow snow” is a whole other experience… Although I wouldn’t eat the World Cup Snow either.

So what color is this magical snow that enables us to ski through Memorial Day and sometime after? Someone in the parking lot suggested amber, but amber is more transparent resin than the harshness of a rock. Another suggest ochre, a natural rusted clay, but everyone thought they were saying okra and that the snow wasn’t green. Yet another said it looked like beige or taupe, but much too dirty and aggressive to be either.

But all these colors must have a color wheel, so I geeked out for a few hours to determine what color our snow must be. I held up swatch after swatch to images of Superstar, but none seem to have both the tone or the harshness of this rock hard snow. And then I was going around the beige color wheel. There is pink beige, brown beige, orange beige, gold beige — wait! GOLD beige?

While the swatch didn’t quite match, I knew we had a fit so I brought the gold idea back to the team. Apparently, our tailgate group doesn’t just analyze skiing and riding while we replenish ourselves with grilled cheese and jam. We also have intense debates about colors. 

But there we were, with gold being the color we wanted it to be — but still not being quite right. And then, as if in a dream, it all came together as we just yelled out yellow colors. “Saffron!” “Chiffon” (apparently, some of us are a little mixed up between color and fabrics, but we’re going with it. “Chiffron” was next, a bizarre combination of the two aforementioned colors/fabrics. “Shiffrin” came the next answer and we all looked at each other as if we had been the stupidest people for the past few weeks. 

Shaking our heads, we all said the color at the exact same time: Shiffrin Gold. And it was decided that’s what color the World Cup snow is. Of course, Shiffrin Gold!!

Since Mikaela Shiffrin is one of the reasons we get to ski in June, then of course we should be naming the snow after her. I don’t know if Panttone or Benjamin Moore have picked up on it yet for color of the year, but here in Killington we will continue to ski the Shiffrin Gold until it finally decides to melt. Hope to see everyone Saturday on the Glacier for one final turn of the lift — and who knows, maybe we will be skiing patches of Shiffrin Gold into July?

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, town Lister, member of the Development Review Board, Coach PomPom and a local Realtor. She can be reached at Merisa.Sherman@SothebysRealty.com.

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