By Merisa Sherman
I could feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and hear the laughter of my friends nearby. You could feel the energy surrounding you, almost warmer than the sun, as sleepy people turned to offer each other hugs and mimosas. It reminded me of graduates waiting for their turn to march toward an uncertain but exciting future, fond memories of the past year embedded in their brains but definitely not the focus of the moment. What the next day will bring is unknown but today is about the moment, the joy of what is happening now.
The lift didn’t open until 9 a.m., but we were there with our lawn chairs and breakfast sandwiches at 7:30 so that we wouldn’t miss a single moment of this extraordinary experience. Sure, it was the last day — the commencement of summer and the farewell to a less than stellar winter — but it is so much more that to those of us who made the effort to put our skis and boards on one more time.
You had to carry your skis on the chairlift with you — we knew that. You had to hike halfway down the muddy, rocky headwall, perhaps with a via ferrata style rope descent. You had to skim or walk across a big section of mud at Lift Tower 3 — and we knew that. You had to share the limited snow coverage with a lot of people — and we knew that, too.
But these little things are what make a day like this so special and unique. It brings the people you share them with a little closer to your heart. For when you think that perhaps you might be a little over obsessed or slightly off kilter from the rest of the world, you can look behind you at the long line of people waiting for their turn and know that you are not alone. Whether I know them or not, it is these wacky individuals that are my people.
Whether they ski or ride, people came to Killington on Saturday, June 4 to celebrate the final day of the season, to celebrate the simple notion of skiing in a month generally reserved for picnics and swimming holes. This wasn’t a day to bemoan the conditions, only to be grateful for one last chance on the playground, laughing with our friends and sharing yet another mimosa. We hiked down the rocks of the headwall, cautious but committed, because while no one wants to tumble down like a rag doll, there was snow ready to be skied.
The BF and I were at the mountain for seven hours on Saturday, took two runs and had one of the best days ever. My sister was there (she had neither skied in June, hiked the headwall, skied in mud nor in a bikini top) and checked off quite a few bucket list items. It was super awesome to share the day with her.
June 4 is a special ski day for me: my dad and I hiked for turns that day in 2006 and 10 years later I joined the 200 Day Club on June 4. Another six years later, and I’m watching my sister’s soul fill with pure joy. I’m just gonna say that, no matter the conditions, June 4 is always one of the best ski days of the year.
And so we were there, hanging out at the top of the lift in celebration of this beautiful mountain, the snow that covers her and the friendships that we have made over the years. Killington is a place where misfits can go and find their tribe. A place where we find our ourselves in a world where we never thought we would find anyone. Because we all have this indescribable love for letting ourselves glissé down a mountain in a moment of pure freedom.
To have a corporation understand that need, that desire, that dream of skiing in June, even though the conditions might have been less than ideal for even the most dedicated? That is the second part of what makes this town so special. When everyone else closes up shop and says the conditions are no longer commercially viable, Killington says come on over, you crazy diehards, and let’s see how much mud and rocks you are willing to ski. We cannot help but be grateful.
Well, if this past Saturday was any anything, it was proof that skiers love to ski. If we are willing to ski on snow that is harder than ice, then why wouldn’t we be willing to ski on snow that is no longer there? I love it. I love that everyone wants to get there early and actually enjoy the lifeline and that no one wants to leave when the “Last Chair” sign rolls around the bull wheel. I love every single moment. My dad would have been so stoked for every moment of this day — so I would say Closing Day 2022 was a complete success.
Did I remember to mention the mimosas?
Merisa is a long time Killington resident and you can follow her daily adventures on social media @FemaleSkiBum.