Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lost Companion

Opening weekend this year was probably one of the best we've ever had. Not only had it dumped an unexpected amount of snow upon us after days of rain, but for the first time ever the Snowsports school was not overwhelmed with lesson requests. This allowed the instructing staff to get out and play on the mountain for large parts of the day. And what a fabulous day it was! Starting with a bit of cloud cover, by noon the sun had broken out creating what would be an ultimate spring season day... only this was at the beginning of the season. The sun later disappeared leaving the winter chill behind, and a bit of news that dampened the entire day.

Our mascot dog had been killed. In what seems like the most cowardly act, someone in the parking lot conducted a hit and run. A couple of snowboarders leaving for the day found him on the road behind their truck and reported it.

Our mascot was probably one of the friendliest dogs in the world, and absolutely loved being out in the snow. I can remember sitting in the morning meeting and watching him walk over towards me, sit between my legs, while giving me the "hey you're back! no scratch my back!" look. Last season we had fun playing catch and laugh at how he'd chase snowballs anywhere. This included up the steep inclined roof which the now deep snow provided access to. He was a bit protective of "his" territory and often let other dogs know this. But honestly, who isn't protective of their favorite stash?

We'll miss you my friend.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

In those brief moments between lessons where a bit of downtime is afforded, but not enough to actually take a free run or five, I like to watch what's happening at the rope tow. There are a couple good reasons for this, most often though you'll see either a former or future student working on trying to slide down the run.

The real entertainment comes from those participating in the "have a friend teach me" category. A smaller subset in particular is of real interest, with one person on skis while another is on a snowboard. Usually you'll hear some choice quotes that include:

"Stand up"
"You have to use the edges and balance. Like this!"
"Just aim down the hill and when you move too fast turn sideways"

These quotes probably lose some of their humor value without the visual aids. To help in that, remember the key difference between the two sports: skiers stand looking down the hill, while snowboards look across the hill. Having a student stand in skis is drastically different than having them stand on a snowboard. The resulting argument and frustration adds to the humor level.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Start of a new season

It's finally begun. The winter season has finally arrived in force, and the mountains have found themselves covered in snow (not to mention the surrounding valleys). The season of flinging oneself down the mountain with slabs of wood/steel/wax strapped to your feet has come again.

This blog represents my attempt at recording the events of the 2006-2007 winter season at a resort. Each post represents the effort of what I see as a team of individuals working hard to provide an excellent environment for the general public to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the posts will be short, some long, some serious, some not. All will be my reflections on what has kept my day on the mountain interesting.

In an effort to keep some semblance of anonymity, I'll not identify the resort, the employees, or myself. Just enjoy the stories and feel free to comment on them.

As for me, I work as a snowsports instructor with AASI and PSAI ratings.