Monday, December 28, 2015

boxing day

I'll admit that we were both ambivalent about skiing on the day after Christmas.  We knew it was going to be quite cold and we figured that it would be very crowded, with tourists in town for the holiday and with local families on Christmas break.  We both mentally prepared ourselves for dealing with erratic skiers, people who didn't know how to work a lift line and cutthroat lunchtime table-snatching at Alf's.  We even left home a whole half hour earlier than normal, despite the clear roads, just in case the traffic was backed up.

Skied out but still soft

We got it half right.  It was quite cold, in fact: when they started loading the chairs, it was 5 F at Collins base and -3 F at the peak - and that's just the ambient temperature, without factoring in any wind chill factor which was forecast to be around -13 F.  We both dressed for it with our down parkas and I am pleased to report that I seem to have figured out my cold weather outfit.  I stayed pretty warm, all things considered; my feet got cold enough that I had to go in for lunch early but the rest of me was fine, even my fingers for the most part.  I did keep my face tucked into my gaiter/neck-up as much as I could, which is gross because of breathing and freezing and all of that, but which hopefully keeps those two small frostburn patches on my face from reappearing.

Supreme: my happy place

What we got wrong, amazingly, was the hordes of holiday-goers.  There just weren't that many people there.  Sure, it was as busy as it's been but we only rode the singles line once, at Collins for first chair, and for most of the day we didn't have to share chairs with other people.  Alf's filled up right at noon but there weren't dozens of people circling the room, lurking to snatch up tables.  The only time people were really an issue was when ski patrol dropped the rope on Extrovert.  H and I managed to time it well enough that we got a great run out of it: we had to dodge other skiers but managed top to bottom untracked snow (H: "Best run of the year so far.").  By the time we got back on the Sugarloaf lift, Extrovert was swarming with people - and there had to be at least twenty of them in various stages of falling, flailing around in deep snow they didn't know how to ski.  Ten minutes later, the trail was completely tracked out.

Pausing under a dark blue sky

We had some other good runs too, including a softly-bumped Razorback, a more successful Cabin Run now that some tracks had been put in, Challenger (big, soft bumps) and fresh tracks on Rock N' Roll.  It was a very good day, made all the better because we'd called it so wrong on the crowds.  Surely though, we thought, it can't last.

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