Column, Living the Dream

My skis, hero snow

 

love hero snow. I love the feeling of safety it provides, like there is no way my edges are going to give out no matter how aggressively I throw my skis out from underneath me. I know the hero snow will be there to catch me.

Maybe it is because I don’t tune my skis very often. I don’t like getting them caught on rocks and trees while I am skiing in the woods, so I sacrifice the sharpness. I’d rather sideslip down the entire Vertigo headwall than tune my skis. Probably a childhood trauma from having skis so sharp they could slice your palm open. I had a teammate do that very thing while I was in high school. Not as cool as you would think.

I have friends that will tune their skis nightly, even if it’s just a quick run through with a diamond stone to smooth out all the burrs. I mean, I have a diamond stone, I just don’t think it would last very long on my set up, plus I like my burrs. I know where each one is and how they affect my turn. They give my skis life and character, they have developed along with myself. Neither of us are perfect, yet together we can make some pretty fine turns.

My dad used to spend hours tuning my skis to perfection before each race. Getting my edges to this degree or that, depending on the conditions and the type of race. He read book after book on tuning and would then spend hours in the ski shop pestering the shop guys on their thoughts. He was a collector of knowledge; to him a perfectly tuned ski complemented a perfect turn.

It is one of the few things my dad and I disagreed upon about skiing. I have always seen skiing as more of an art, you learn the technical features and then make skiing your own. He spent all his time trying to get this PSIA certificate or another while I focused on making my skis part of my body itself. If I could feel the movement underneath me, if I could feel the ski from tip to tail, then I knew I had something.

That’s why I love hero snow. I can feel every little part of my skis against the variable snow beneath me. My shins and ankles are strong enough to pull my tips back underneath even with the heaviness of the snow. Hero snow makes me feel powerful and I’m not afraid to lean back and juice my tails. I love launching into the next turn because I know the snow will catch me.

And that is why I love Double Dipper in the early spring. The consistency of the slope (well, at least until the bottom), means that you can almost close your eyes and let the mountain take over. You can trust your skis to feel the terrain underneath you and not worry too much about anything but getting caught in the rope and guns on the slider’s left. It’s the kind of trail where you can almost lull yourself to sleep, your upper body just falling down the mountain while your skis sway underneath you like a grandfather clock.

I’ve actually lost myself on the Dipper, so zoned out with my turns on a perfect midweek day that when I came to I was almost to the merging fall line with Downdraft. I have gotten it during a regatta rowing crew in college, when your body is just repeating a motion and your mind goes blank while you keep moving. It’s an amazing feeling, probably from a sugar low or something, but for me, it’s the epitome of becoming one with your movements. When your body doesn’t need your brain anymore and it just acts as it should. When you are in the zone and you cannot feel the rest of the world. When your body just knows what to do.

I love skiing. I love the movement, the adventure, the essence of moving your body with nature in such a way that everything is connected. I could never imagine living a life on concrete, where the world beneath your feet never changes except for a crack or pothole. I need to feel grounded, to feel the earth safely beneath my feet and skis. It’s why I love my canoe – I can feel it underneath me, from bow to stern as if the boat has become my legs.

It’s what I try to teach Team PomPom every week — that skis aren’t just attached to our bodies, they are a part of us. An extension of who we are and how we move. I wouldn’t be the same person without my skis. I wouldn’t be who I am. I know we say date your skis and marry your boots, but I have never felt that way. It’s my skis who make me who I am.

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, local Realtor, KMS coach, member of the development review board and town lister. She can be reached at femaleskibum@gmail.com.

Submitted

Merisa Sherman with her skis, which she designed and serve her very well.

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