Saturday was the official start of ski season for me. Snow skiing is one of my priorities. And yes, being a measurement freak, I have metrics for whether or not I’ve achieved my goal of ski season perfection. My metrics include, of course, the number of actual ski days I can manage, the number of regions I ski in (last year it was 4 states, my all time maximum), and the number of runs I can do in a day. The last one naturally depends upon the size of the ski resort and the crowd. The runs in the Tahoe area are typically shorter than the Utah runs, which are shorter than the Colorado runs. Obviously there are many other factors as well including weather. How many times do I have to visit the warming hut to keep from getting frostbite? Last year, when I took my dad to Powder Mountain, Utah, our first day out started at 20 degrees below zero. We didn’t do many runs that first day but we sure did make up for it on the following days. When you’ve got multiple days in a place like Powder Mountain, the metrics can be accumulated over a period of time and perfection is something that is slowly realized over the course of a family holiday.
Last Saturday will go on record as my best first season day to date. We’ve had some pretty big storms in San Francisco lately and on Thursday someone at the Food Bank had mentioned that the snow in Tahoe is great right now. Having nothing to do on Saturday, I thought maybe I should just head up there and give it a shot. It would be the earliest I’ve skied yet. I gave my friend Leesha a jingle to see if she’d be up for a day of skiing (she happens to live in Sacramento which is halfway between SF and the slopes). Of course she was enthusiastic, took my bait, invited me up for the night and that was that. I finished up my Friday commitments, grabbed a quick dinner, packed my ski duds and whizzed to Sacramento post rush hour.
Leesha is the friend that people say should be on Survivor. The only thing that might keep her from winning is the fact that she’s not a schemer. She’s just a totally switched on, competent, high-energy, positive attitude athlete from one of my favorite states, South Dakota. She’s on my lifeboat list for sure! I credit Leesha, along with my good friends Rebecca, and Steve, for getting me from intermediate to a solidly advanced skier. We were up at 5:30 AM (actually I think Leesha was up at 4), giant go mugs of coffee in hand headed for Sugar Bowl. The drive is one of life’s little treats. “First on Lift” was our goal and it looked like we were going to make it. Ours was the second car in the parking lot. As we were investigating the price of rentals a sweet young man by the name of Clayton informed us that it was a “general admission” day. For the price of a lift ticket, rentals are free. Bonus! This day was just getting better and better.
Well, we made first on lift. Here’s our picture to prove it.
I think it took about ten more minutes for anyone else to show up. We got a few good stretches, texted our friend Rebecca and giggled a lot.
It was a perfect California ski day. The temperature was a mild 47˚ and no wind. Although we saw people in the café and wondering around the lifts, we never, ever had to wait in line so we lapped skied until noon. We hit every slope on the mountain at least twice and even had time to stop for a quick beer. By 1 PM, we’d done the equivalent of a full day (20 runs) and were ready to pack it in. Double-bonus, when you turn your lift ticket in at 1 PM, you get $13 towards your next ski day. Woot! Vowing to use our discounts in January we headed home and whipped up a big prime rib dinner.
Quantitatively, this was a great day. Qualitatively, it was a perfect day. And when you look at qualitative metrics, there are no degrees of perfect. Things are as perfect as you allow them to be. You can’t really measure soul regeneration, degrees of happiness, or emotional vibration. At one point I looked at Leesha on the chair lift and said, “I don’t think I could feel any happier than I do right now.” Based on those metrics, I’d say my priorities just got clearer. More nature, more time with amazing friends, more physical challenges, more Jeff Herring. This ski season is shaping up to be a cracker.