Tales from a 50-day ski season

What a magnificent ski season it’s been!

I think I’m finally ready to admit it’s over. This means spending some time reminiscing about the things that made this season special. Will you indulge me?

No? You’d rather watch this marmot photobomb a Greenpeace video? Well, let’s watch that first, shall we?

Now. Back to the ski season that was.

I traveled to new mountains and made new skier-girl friends through SheJumps. I’d like to think I would have made it to Berkshire East and Magic Mountain on my own. But knowing that I had a crew of skier-girls there waiting for me gave me extra incentive to explore.11050743_10152846566873043_3117595188167487574_n

I skied in a whole new state when I attended the Powderfall ski-patrol conference at The Canyons in Utah. I hung out with other patrol-nerds, took clinics from PSIA demo-team instructors and relaxed with some of my dearest friends. While wearing gold-lamé pants, of course.

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I became a senior ski patroller. This involves passing two practical exams—one to test my ski-and-toboggan skills and the other my leadership and problem-solving abilities in Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC, the medical part). It also involves a heck of a lot of extra training. I struggled to explain to my non-patrol friends why I spent so many weekends this winter in clinics and other training sessions, and why I spent my free-ski days doing drills meant to help me finish my turns. I can say only this: When I completed my first senior OEC clinic in 2012, I had two simultaneous thoughts: “That was impossibly hard and exhausting,” and “If I see this process through to the end, it will make me better.” Three years later, I know that going through the extra training has made me a calmer and more confident ski patroller, which I know translates to my daily life as well.

I had a 50-day season—my first since my senior year in college, when I planned my schedule at University of Colorado around skiing two weekdays at Eldora and weekends at Vail or Arapahoe Basin (thank goodness for student-priced passes). I learned that having classes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. straight on Monday, Wednesday and Friday made those Tuesday-Thursday ski days even sweeter. I relied on the same tactics this year—I loaded as much work as I could into a four-day work week, and tried very hard to take one weekday each week to patrol. Just like back in college, I found I was more focused on the days I was in front of a computer, and enjoyed the ski days even more for the work it took to make them happen. The downside: I may have neglected this blog a tiny bit (sorry, friends!).

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Day 50 at Killington last weekend.

I just went. Netting 50 ski days while working full-time at a desk job—even one that lets you dictate your own schedule—means just going, and hoping the forecast of freezing rain/gusting wind/bone-chilling cold is going to be wrong. On some days, that was totally the case—one rainy day in Saratoga was a surprise powder day at Gore. On other days, not so much, such as the day in February when the wind chill was -60 degrees.

I had SO MUCH FUN. Photographic evidence below.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Tales from a 50-day ski season

  1. Jesse Kornblum

    You had me at “marmot photobomb”. 🙂

  2. Aww, Amy this was so much fun to read! Congrats on finishing such a challenging set of tests and doing all of the extra work, you must be proud of your work! I’m inspired by your “just go” mentality, I’ve been trying to use a similar mindset for hiking. It looks like you really had a ton of fun, thanks for sharing! Now, on to swimming?

    • Thanks, Amy! I struggle with that sentiment with hiking, too (it’s too late, the trail will be crowded, 40 percent chance of rain showers), and I’m making it a mission to “just go” this summer. Definitely on to swimming now—it would be great to meet up for an OWS sometime this summer!

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