Monday, February 16, 2009

Okemo Summit

Monday February 9, 2009

I awake before the guys and decide to wander around town taking pictures as it is a bright sunny day. When I get back they are up and Donny announces that he is going to stay in and work on Bayside orders.

Lewis and I gather our gear and head for the mountain base. Today we can park in the upper lot. We start with the Snow Stars office to get verification for my lift ticket. I meet Liz who gives Lewis a fan letter from a young student that also contains a nice tip from the student's dad.

We put on our ski boots and leave our Uggs in Lewis' locker. We get my ticket and head to the bunny slope. It is a quieter day on the mountain, Donny would have had more fun today.

Lewis tells me to bring along my poles. At the top of the slope he shows me how to hold the poles and then tells me not to use them for stopping. I have a great vision of this now. I tell him that I will use them for stopping and maybe I am not ready for poles just yet. He takes my poles and tells me to follow his tracks in wedge turns.

I am certain I will careen into something but manage to do a few turns before I use the wrong leg and fall. My knee takes a twisting and is very thankful for breakaway skis. A few more falls like that impress upon me that it is easier to do the turns right than feel the pain of twisted knee.

While practicing on the bunny slope I notice a woman at the top just standing, and standing, and standing. I know how she feels, gathering courage can take time.

After a few more runs on the bunny slope, we decide it will be a good time to pay a visit to the summit and our patrol friends. We take a short lift that has a completely different procedure but again not complicated.

As we exit, Lewis tells me to ski down a slope to the left. I tell him I thought we were going visiting. He says that we are but we need to ski to the next lift. And so we do. It is here that I take the most knee wrenching fall and determine not to do that any more.

The next lift is long and the view stunning. We can see Mt Washington behind us in the distance. When Lewis suggested that Donny & I come to Vermont and experience the mountain I guess I expected just plain snow slopes having only seen skiing competitions on television. But Okemo sports clear well groomed runs with stretches of woods separating them. It really is quite tranquil and picturesque.

As we approach the top Lewis tells me to get ready to stand up when my skis touch the mat. I am slow to do this and almost get that ride down the mountain then and there.

We shuffle ski to the patrol shack, drop our skis and go inside. Feeney is on a wreck, JJ is doing a mock wreck drill and Jim is off somewhere. We chat with the guys eating their lunch and then decide to leave since we know Feeney will be a while getting back.

Outside we consider our options. The runs look really steep although Sunburst is a green. I do not think I can do it. I not too seriously suggest that we could drink hot chocolate in the Summit Lodge until Feeney gets back. Neither of us wants to really do that. I tell Lewis sliding down on my butt would be my first choice but that cannot happen on a public mountain with lots of activity so I decide that I can ski down. Lewis asks if I am sure. I nod yes. I am so far out of my comfort zone I cannot even see it. I think I spy it over on Jackson Gore. Doesn't it know that I'm here on Okemo needing help. Guess I will have to forge ahead without it, after all my turns have improved.

We approach the drop and Lewis offers salvation. He will ski backwards like we have done on the bunny slope and I will hold his ski pole. We will wedge turn together. We commence and are making good progress on the nice pristine corduroy when a ski patrol guy asks if we are okay. I guess not many truly novice skiers land at the top of the mountain. We assure him that we are very fine and not fatigued at all as he seems to think. He says he can get a snowmobile but we are really fine. A snowmobile ride for fun is one thing, but because someone thinks you are fatigued? No thank you. He says he will check back shortly to see if we need help.

We continue. We reach a milder incline and Lewis tells me to follow his tracks on my own. I do and soon we reach the Mountain Road. This is also a nice gentle incline but there is a fair amount of traffic both experienced and learner. The road is also narrower. We need to keep to one side and watch out for skiers and snowboarders. We reach an intersection with Lower Arrow. It is a blue square but will be shorter and get us out of traffic.

We pair ski this to Homeward Bound, the last slope. Lewis tells me to go. He has such confidence in my skiing and lo and behold here's my comfort zone not on Jackson Gore at all but hanging out at the bottom of the mountain. Jerk wad. I take off and actually ski around a few stopped skiers and reach the bottom uneventfully. We have missed Feeney on her way back up by about a minute. I tell Lewis I could use some water and send him to meet Feeney and do some skiing while I head for the Base Lodge.

When he gets back he asks me if I skied any while he was gone. I really might have but I did not feel like getting the boots back together or dealing with falling down and trying to get up.

It's been a good day. I'm done. We head home to get ready for 25 cent wing night at Killarney's. Also I need to make banana pudding. The new house rule is that anyone who stays more than three days is required to make something to eat. I am assigned banana pudding, a great choice. I make a double batch after sending Lewis to the store for more bananas.

Later after excellent hot wings and brew at Killarney's the gang gathers at the house for pudding. It is delicious!! Jim tells me he is sorry we missed everyone today and to come back tomorrow for a ride down the mountain. I do believe him but Lewis has lessons tomorrow and I am not quite ready for soloing just yet.


fiftypercent3s said...

So why didn't Donny want to go high on the mountain? Lewis needed his warm jacket, and I had been using it. His other one, that he used on Sunday, and the one that friend Bill had sent along, were both too thin. Layers might have helped, but big boss of ski patrol Jim's stories shared with us the night before about the two skiers helicoptered out to Dartmouth -- a double femur and a spine compression with temporary paralysis -- made the guy with no health insurance a little concerned.

Ryan (LWM) said...

Ugh...soooo jealous of the snow. All we get here is crappy ice.

b lorenz said...

okemo rocks