Looking through the gear, wondering and waiting
By Merisa Sherman
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … and for the ski bum it can be the most stressful. Every night as I go to bed — then again when I wake up — the first thing I do is check the weather. I check the humidity level and the temperatures and the futures and … and … and … and then it’s the middle of October and we haven’t even seen a frost never mind a little bit of snow. In fact, as I write this, it is a beautiful sunny morning with no chance of winter in the forecast.
But I check the weather anyway. I would say that October is the month where I most check social media, looking for any signs of snow gun checks or those early season rime frosts on Mt. Washington. It is all my ski brain wants to think about, that one driving thought of when will this begin? The cold nights bring dreams of floating down mountains and swaying through the powder. But the dreams only come with the cold … and we haven’t had any.
And so I keep checking the weather reports, looking longingly at my skis. I had to reorganize them last week because my tele skis fell over. They were obviously screaming for attention since I haven’t had them on in over a decade. Those yellow Karhus look super cute in the line-up though. They brought me so much laughter: I love falling on tele because with the heel loose, your skis are never where you think they are and you must giggle while you try to make sense of it all. I love my tele skis.
Behind the teles are my Nordic skis, the beat up rentals that I use for classic and the absolutely gorgeous skate skis. I think they might be my sexiest ski in the line-up. The bow is so big and the skis so thin they look like a fencing foil when compared to my big-girl Alpine skis. So dainty and delicate, they help me to fly, just in a different way. I imagine flapping my legs over Kent Pond and joining the birds as I fly across. And then there are my classic skis — so loved and beat up that I am amazed they still slide. They’ve traveled over rocks and logs and driveways and they are still so precious to me. These are the skis I use on the lawn when there is nothing left or when I’m too sick to barely move. They save me. I love my cross-country skis.
My lone snowboard lies in the back, a beloved hand-me-down from a friend and probably the least used element of my quiver. I love a slow afternoon at Pico, doing laps on Golden while I try to remember how to travel down the mountain sideways. It’s like relearning how to ride a bike, every time is almost like the first time since I only go about three to five times a year. It’s scary, looking down a green trail and not feeling quite right. Until I finally reconnect and I’m off and flying. Well, not flying but at least gliding smoothly and having fun. I love my snowboard.
Up in the front, constantly demanding attention, are my Alpine skis. They fight for my time, and I can feel the energy bound up in the skis so much that sometimes they frighten me. My pretty skis that scream for early morning laps, my all-mountain skis dreaming of turns in the woods and adventures wherever, and my big-girl FX-84s which taunt me. And not the “We already got one” Monty Python kind of taunt, but a challenge. Sure, standing on all-mountains is fun but don’t you wanna lay down some arcs? The taunt to stop playing around and take skiing seriously again, to be panting after the headwall and continue the aggressive charge. Sometimes, I let those skis get rusty on purpose so they are quieter and leave me alone. These skis are the worst drug, the power rush from the g-forces claims every inch of your mind. I love my Alpine skis.
Finally, there are my uphill skis. My freedom skis, the skis that take me anywhere I want to go and then back out of that mess. They are lightweight, they look silly and beat up and that makes them even better. These skis are old, almost a decade, but it doesn’t matter because the glue from my skins still sticks onto them. These are my dream skis, the ones that fulfill my wildest skiing passions and take me to places I never dreamed of as a kid. The ones I always wanted, but never knew existed. My uphill skis are my favorite skis, but PLEASE, PLEASE — don’t tell the others. I wouldn’t want to cause a ruckus.
So for now, we just sit and wait, studying our skis and watching the weather, waiting for either the snowmakers or Mother Nature to get their game on. And then sometimes, we don’t wait at all. See you on the hill soon!