Altitude Sickness

Troughs of bottomless powder, in mid-May!

For those of you who read last weeks article, I spoke too soon. Monday, May 16, was one of the best days of my life. In another surprise event, Killington was blessed with a dry snowfall that piled up about a foot deep in the troughs.

I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed with the weather up here. Any town that gives me more snow in May than in February, I will stay there forever. They will have to drag me out feet first.

So I spent Sunday night far away from Killington, and knowing that something good was coming (based on skiing a bit of fresh snow Sunday morning), I hit the road to come back at 3:30 a.m. I hit my apartment at 5 a.m., grabbed my gear, and was grumbling and yawning my way up the Superstar crampon hike by 5:30 a.m.

On the way up I did my best to move from mogul crown to mogul crown so as to avoid damaging powder turns for whomever followed me, but the few times I stepped into the troughs, it was deep.  And unlike the deep powder in the woods this year, this powder had no land mines hiding under it. This was clean, and my corners were cut for me.

By 6:15 a.m. I was at the top, and I geared up and hit the slope, so excited to catch turns that I forgot to take my boots out of walking mode. It just didn’t matter. The turns were so creamy, so virtually bottomless (if you unweighted and carved at just the right time, you took honest to goodness no BS powder turns without scraping anything) that all I had to do was let the troughs steer my skis and I effortlessly glided down the slope, hooting, hollering, and blinking away tears of joy.

This is the reason I live here, in a windowless concrete bachelor bunker. This is the reason I get up in the morning. This is what I dream about. This is what I brag to my old buddies about when they get out of their BMW’s with their gorgeous wives. THIS. And they are always green with envy. I can see them weighing their life against mine, and that secretly there is at least one valve, one ventricle in their heart of hearts that beats in envy of my life. And that is enough.

Having skied it once, I got to the bottom, put my skis right back on my pack, my crampons right back on my boots, and went straight back up that hill, texting my manager that I would be missing my first appointment that day because there was a lot of snow and it was “unsafe driving conditions for my summer tires.”

Since my legs were warmed up and I was racing the folks skinning/booting up the long way, I cranked out that climb in record time, with very few pauses. I actually skied climbed the headwall without even pausing for rest. I managed to get my second run for the day in before anyone else got there, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered, as my tracks rom the first run were already gone. Wiped clean. Smoother than a babies bottom.

Needless to say I got some. Oh yes I did. I went and got me some fresh powder turns! First and second tracks. And my legs were solid as rocks. As I write this, I am fist-bumping my legs out of respect for their awesomeness.

The next day was sticky but fun—just as worth the hike—but I skipped out on the second. The rest of the week was unremarkable except for the fact that I was skiing an uninterruped trail in mid-May after the worst snow winter on record.

Today, on my 189th day of skiing for the year, I skied only one run, but I got off the lift with my boots buckled, and skied the whole trail in one line, non-stop. In tellys. I have never done that on Superstar when it was bumped up. My legs are coming along nicely. We’ll see how they feel when I hike tomorrow morning!

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