Originally published 1 January 2017
A good day
When I was in college, I skied. A lot. I worked on mountain, and my best year I skied 87 of the 89 days the resort was open. This was a point of honor with me. I lost two days to the flu, and was beaten by one of the ski patrol guys who skied all 89 days. Skiing was my favorite thing by far, but things change.
After college, I lived in Maine. I met Laurie there and we skied as much as possible when we were in Maine. We both had season passes, and while not able to match my 87 days, we still put in a respectable 27 days one year. We skied every weekend and every holiday we could. When we moved south, I only skied once more. We spent Christmas at Jay Peak Vermont in 1993.
Life changed for me. We lived in the south and going skiing wasn't as easily accomplished. To be honest, living at the beach in North Carolina, it was a real chore. It was one of those things that you loved in your youth, but as my life changed I became a father, a husband, and a dweller near the ocean. We did equally interesting and enjoyable things, like diving in the keys, boating and fishing in the sound and ocean, and of course, racing.
I'm also not an young as I used to be. Skiing is quite physical, and with a knee operation two years ago, the possibility of skiing dwindled even further. Couple that with the distance we would have to go to actually ski and the expense to do it.......I had given up on ever skiing again.
Today, I got to do something I didn't expect to do again. I put a brace on my knee, and I snapped into a pair of boards and went skiing. Skiing on a glacier in the Alps!
The backdrop for a good day. Yes, it is this fantastic!
I had done some research. The advice I found was to wear a brace, and also to realize that my days of running bumps, diamonds, and gates were over. No mogul fields, no racing, no expert hills. Ski the normal slopes and just enjoy being out there.
We rose early, headed to the train station, and took the Zugspitzebahn to the top of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. We got on the train, which is a cogwheel train, used to climb very steep grades. The trip to the top was quite a ways and actually took an hour.
When we arrived, we went through the whole renting equipment thing, something I never did before as we always had our own gear. We booted up, took our boards and poles out to the edge of the slopes, and stepped into the bindings. I looked at Laurie and said "you realize, we haven't done this in 23 years". She wondered if we would still be able to do it. We pointed the tips down the mountain and pushed off.
Our first run was only a hundred yards or so to the T bar lift. We managed to make it without falling, both of us a bit unsure as it had been so long. We skied out in front of the T bar and up the mountain we went.
We managed to make it to the top without embarrassing ourselves, and when we got to the top, we headed down our first slope. It was a short hill and we planned to ski down to the lift we just got off of as a test of our abilities. We seemed to do okay, so we decided to ride back up and take a different route down.
Laurie in the lift on the way up!
As the day went on, I found myself getting into a rhythm, remembering things I thought were long since forgotten. I started carving turns properly, leaning in and unweighting one ski then weighting it again and leaning the other direction. I became smoother and more confident as the day went on.
We went down one run all the way to the bottom. We boarded one of the 6 person ski lifts and were going up a new part of the mountain. Laurie pointed at one run and said "that's way out of our league. We shouldn't go down that one." I said "we went down that one 3 runs ago." Things forgotten are remembered.
The place we were at was a fantastic and amazing backdrop to rediscovering something once lost. You could look off into the distance and see for probably 50 miles. The sky was a color so blue, it was almost black. I had an incredible day that I shared with my incredible wife.
I'll hurt like hell tomorrow. But today was good.
Garmisch Slide Show, Day Three
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