Altitude Sickness, Column

Skiing every day as long as possible

Two hundred days. That is how many days, as of this writing, that I have skied this year. Of those days, 192 were lift service, and eight were uphill on Superstar.

Last year it took me until June 4 to get to 203 days. I am blowing by that mark and we aren’t even halfway through May yet. However, this year, my ski season ends on June 11 because finally (and after much ballyhoo) my back surgery, a foraminotomy with facetectomy (although that name implies removal of the facet joint, it is misleading, it is simply the shaving away of some of the facet bone) is scheduled for June 12.

The recovery period for this surgery will be four to six weeks of no bending at the waist (except to sit), no sitting for more than 30 minutes, no lifting more than five pounds (yeah, like that’ll happen), and no twisting (which sucks: twisting is my jam).

I promise you, however, that if there is still skiable snow in early July, I will ski it, damn the torpedoes. It’s my simple dream to ski in July.

A word about the current skiing. As of right now it is tremendous, and Superstar is holding up like a boss. I believe that my theory is correct: that the block ice World Cup surfacing has lengthened the season. You will note that Superstar has essentially shrunk down to its World Cup width (or at least the width of the part that was literally hosed down for the second day), and the edges are not retreating very fast. Beyond that we are seeing significant base depth even close to the edges.

Some of the success of this base depth falls to the fact that we have had some cooler than seasonal weather, some rain, some snow, and no days in the high 80s—yet. But some of it is about guiding a big block of ice at the bottom with a low surface-area-to-mass ratio that keeps the pack cool and insulates it from rising ground temperatures.

I sincerely hope that Killington will take a lesson from this (especially since we have a couple of years of World Cup to see if I am right), and hose down Superstar early in its season every year, creating that magnificent icy glacier that will ski us (hopefully) into June year after year.

Finally, I want to thank the gods of snow for two to three days of fresh snow on Superstar this week.

So, having a defined end, my season will close at exactly 231 days, putting my three-year total days at somewhere around 598.  I feel pretty good about that. I think I can hang that one on the wall.

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