Riding Solo

Anyone who loves snow understands the “feeling” of snow. The feeling of knowing when snow is in the air. The muffled quietude of being on a snowy mountain or hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing in the woods amid the creaking-trees. But sometimes I ask myself why I do this? Why do I get up at 5am on a Saturday, drive two hours, schlep heavy gear on my back, don layer upon layer of clothing including clunky metal boots and then strap two “wooden sticks” (as my brother calls them) to my feet so I can slide down a snowy mountain in sub-zero weather? Why? Because there’s nothing like it, that’s why. There’s nothing like the wind in your face on a beautiful sunny day, there’s nothing like the shushing sounds of the glittering snow beneath your feet and the breathtaking vistas from atop a snowy mountain. People think we skiers are nuts, but they aren’t skiers so how could they possibly know? How could they understand the magic of skiing in the trees or over moguls—or the blood thumping fear/exhilaration that, for me, is intermixed with those adventures? How can they understand the beauty of early season ski days with no lift lines?
Personally I love skiing alone in the early morning to crank out a few quick runs before noon at our local ski resort before the throngs of young children arrive. Some days I feel reflective and don’t want to share my ride on the chair up the mountain and I go out of my way to get a solo ride. I reason that there’s really no need to have to share since there is no line and the chair is running anyway—right? And who feels like making small talk with a stranger at 9am? But then I remember some of the interesting and wonderful people I’ve met on the chair lift. Like Chandler Ward Hamilton, a precocious and adorable boy that was going to be six years old later that day when his father picked him up. A boy I later told Peter would someday be our President. And like Marion, the woman who knew some good friends of mine from Maine whom I hadn’t seen in years. Or like the man who told me he drove 2 hours back and forth from Portsmouth, Rhode Island just to ski Wachusett everyday. These are the human stories that I’d never have learned had I followed my random antisocial instincts. Ski days are meant to be shared after all—so get out there and share your day—share your stories—but most of all, snow lovers, have some fun!!