I enjoy skiing (another thing my dad taught me when I was little), but I have to admit: the slopes are much better in the Rockies than they are on Mount Hood. Colorado is dry, and sunny days are the norm. If you ever see precipitation on those mountains, it’s in the form of more snow upon which to careen down a run on planks of wood like all the other crazies in rainbow dreadlock beanie hats.
Therefore, the Cascades surprised me with rain, crust, slush, and ice. Snow here is wet, dense, and sticky. What an odd sensation to have the slope grip your skies like mud! Before I moved to the Northwest, I had never experienced skiing in the rain. That was just a foreign concept to me. And it’s sheer misery. Most ski gear isn’t designed to be truly waterproof, and those goggles sure don’t come equipped with mini windshield wipers.
Winters in the Northwest are temperate and wet, so it’s difficult to find a dry day or one cold enough to keep the precipitation below freezing. Furthermore, with our busy lives, we typically have to plan our ski days out a week or so, which makes weather nearly impossible to plan for.
Therefore, when we got on the mountain, we were thrilled to find ourselves with a rare dry day. On top of that, most of the runs were beautifully packed snow – perfect for our rusty legs on our first day of the season. The best skiers praise fresh powder, but I find that simply too much work. Packed slopes easily lend themselves to racing full pelt like a madman while rocking to New Found Glory’s “All Downhill From Here” and really milking that adrenaline rush.
All told, it was an amazing day on the mountain, and we left right as some fresh sprinkles began to fall. We managed 16 runs covering 21.1 miles and clocking a max speed of 34.3 mph. And yes, I brought my camera with me (my little commuter), because I’m a photographer – duh.
I quickly found that when the slopes are that favorable, one discovers new muscles pushed beyond ordinary limits. But the pain was just a reminder of a beautiful day that went against the odds to give us some fantastic fun playing on the snow.