Column, Living the Dream

Peak: a cacophony of colors and ‘promo’ snow

By Merisa Sherman

We let the dogs lead the way, frolicking and bouncing as is their want when they are just 10-month-old black labradors. A full zest for everything they can possible sniff along the way but always wanting to keep mom in visible range. This young gentleman never ventured further away than a retractable leash would have let him, his orange jacket protecting him as he wandered through the woods. His humans not far behind, we chatted as we walked, discussing the nature of life and the life of nature.

And the walk continued. Further and further we went, walking upward along the path that while beaten was still one of the ones less traveled. We could tell the because our feet were a little bit soggy. Well, mine were anyways as my gore-tex hiking shoes have finally disintegrated and I was wearing my summer runners. My companion was very happy in her waterproof ones, but I had faith in my DarnTuff socks and so complaints weren’t made.

Sherman’s first snow angel of the season!

We took the path beneath the canopy, the sunlight glowing through the yellow leaves and creating a mystical pathway. We walked along one of those Instagram photos that are way too saturated and filtered — only this was reality. Every once in a while, there would be a gap in the trees and we could look across the valley and the mountains beyond, glowing in their cacophony of reds and yellows and greens.

This was peak, where Vermont can sometimes become a veritable dream world and even the locals have trouble focusing on the road. This past week, while pumping gas at Charlie’s, I just stood there and stared at the mountains across Route 4 and stared. Yep, that billboard in New York right before you cross the state line is totally true: even the gas stations in Vermont are friendlier, or better or more beautiful. You pick.

But I digress. We were hiking up the mountain to get the foliage view from the summit. It was the annual KSC/KMS hike and this year it was bitter cold. That walk up to the Ski Club had the wind forcing itself down your throat and it almost felt like January as we gathered to watch Chuck try to figure out how to take a photo with his iPhone 6 and catch up with our athletes, coaches and friends that we haven’t seen since last winter.

But as much as I was enjoying the foliage views, that wasn’t what I was really looking forward to. As we made our way up Great Northern, my steps got lighter and my soul began to sing. I could feel the difference in the air and as we came under the North Ridge Quad we could finally see it. I could barely contain myself as I practically started running up Rime, this time with the 10-month-old puppy behind me.

Snow!! Beautiful, white, man-made test snow that had been laid down for just this purpose (or so I would like to believe). We stopped briefly to eat some icicles that had fallen off the chairlfit, our first icicle pops of the seasons required a selfie, of course! And then snowballs, to be thrown at each other as we regressed into the 5 years olds that we coach. Snow does that, you know. It turns grown adults into the children they were when they first discovered the joy of winter.

I think we took more photos of that patch of snow than we did the entire hike up the mountain. We were reborn, just like the earth will be in just a few short weeks when the natural snow really starts to fall. There is something about promo snow that just makes me the silliest — maybe because a patch of snow that is going to melt in a few days is by definition silly. But this patch of snow, this 50 yards or so of greatness was just for us, made by the greatest snowmaking team in the world.

Taking a few steps into the middle of the patch, I performed my first snow of the season ritual. I laid down in the snow and made a snow angel, swinging my legs and arms around like a child. And then I just lay there, allowing the cold to seep into my body and reconnect for the winter season to come. I let the snow take over my soul, finding my self renewed and refreshed. Here, with the snow am I at peace with the world and everything seems wonderful all over again. I stopped counting my ski days long ago, but I do count my days on snow. What a perfect way to start the season. Happy Winter, Everyone!!!!

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