The rain is coming down hard, heavy, horizontal and very loud. It is that same time every October when there is a race to see who can offer the first skiing in America for yet another winter. Since Arapahoe Basin is at the highest altitude and with large snow-making machinery in place, it is nearly always the first each year.
Now that the higher altitude northern resorts can blast man-made snow earlier and earlier in October, the people who live within driving range of them can get a couple of extra weeks of bragging rights. I have a grandson who is 17 years old and lives in Boulder. When I talked with him on Monday, he said some of his friends are going up a few days early and camping out in the chairlift line so they can really have bragging rights for the first 100 riders. Youth. I’m not totally sure I miss it!
There was a time in the 90s when I would have been near the head of that line, and that fire in the belly for me is still there after all of these years because I know what I’m looking forward to.
I know that a lot of people are visiting gymnasiums this time of the year so when the snow does come, they will be in good enough shape to enjoy that first day of freedom on their skis. By now, in October, you either have or have not gotten out your last season’s equipment and made a decision whether you can make another season full of fun and frolic on the snow on them. Or, will your deep-seated psychosis make you visit your favorite bank to take out a mortgage on your car or house so you can buy all of the newest and the latest?
I know that a lot of people get stoked on going skiing by watching a ski movie in the autumn, some of which still bear my name. As most readers know, for the last six years, I have had nothing to do with the ski films with my name on them. There are fortunately some things that cannot be changed and my old ski films are still hanging around, unchanged, after having been copied from 16mm film to Beta and VHS tapes and then to DVDs, and now to computers and social networking options for free. I am happy that there are still some of them around in various forms of computer stuff that are all about fun and games on the side of a hill.
Unfortunately, for me, right now my skis, boots, and poles are in my garage in Montana and so I can’t get them out and at least do a few kick turns on the grass in front of my house to make sure I can still do one. Why don’t you put your boots and skis on and do the same thing in your backyard? It sounds silly, but a lot of the stuff we do on skis is really silly. On the other hand, you might enjoy the feeling of buckling on those boots you just could not live without a week ago. Why not wear them while you are making your winter reservations and buying your season passes? Do you really care if your neighbors see you making kick turns on your skis in the dark?
In the meantime, that rain is falling and making snowflakes at a higher altitude, so all I have to do is go to that altitude and try out my new equipment that I just paid for with my latest bank loan. This storm should be over in Montana, Idaho and Colorado by Halloween, if not sooner. So it is catch-up time for anyone who will ski this winter.
A final warning: years ago a friend of mine was doing kick turns on his newly mowed back yard lawn. He still had last spring’s wax on his skis and the skis got heavier with each kick-turn. He thought he was really out of shape, but his spring wax had four pounds of mowed, cut grass stuck to the bottom of each ski.
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