Two days into it and no injuries to report. This is very good news! Especially considering neither Drake nor I have any experience skiing powder and that's about all there is up here on this mountain. At times, we are cutting through powder that comes above our knees making it incredibly difficult to do anything other than steer straight ahead and hope for the best.
We treated yesterday as our day to get warmed up on the mountain and agreed we would stick to intermediate trails only. This meant no trips to the peak of the mountain where all the trails are black diamond. We fared pretty well but the powder saps the energy out of your legs pretty quickly, and one fall in the powder for Drake took the rest of his energy.
But Carl called us last night and instilled extreme confidence in us! Spewing out motivational speak like "it's only a mountain" and "go slowly" and "there's nothing you can't do" and "just remember, lean into the mountain" and "don't be afraid to go off trail." We were empowered! There was nothing we couldn't do. Bring it on!
And so we hit the trails this morning brimming with absolute confidence. Two runs on the old familiar trails and we were ready to conquer the mountain. So up the Cornice Express we went. Who cares the storm has moved in. Who cares it snowed another few feet last night. We had Carl's spirit guiding. For a little way, anyhow.
We stood over the lip of that trail, looking down the steep, powdery slope and I knew, now was the time to act cool in front of Drake. No big deal. Just go slow, right? So Drake headed off first, gliding through the powder like nobody's business. And there was me behind, toes curled under, trying to grip the snow, as if it helped. And then, the powder bit, and Drake fell over sideways. Not a problem. Just get up again and try and fetch that ski pole that he dropped 6 feet uphill from him. Only trouble is, getting oneself upright in four feet of powder is a superhuman feat. While he focused on pulling himself upright, I sidestepped up the hill to fetch his pole. 20 minutes later, we were all intact, ready to proceed down the mountain, but boy, were we tired. Another 300 feet and I look up to see Drake face first in the side of a snowbank and all the people skiing around him shouting "are you all right???!!" It's never a good sign when other people are asking that. It's a clear indication that the wipeout was bad enough that you might not be all right. Luckily, Drake was fine. He had powdered his nose BIGTIME, heard his kneecap pop and cracked his goggles landing face first, but otherwise he was ok. And once again, he pulled himself up. This time, he was pretty worn out and we decided to stop at the lodge for a drink and a rest. He planned to go back to the condo, but I convinced him one more run would be well worth it. Good to end on a high note. And so we went back to old faithful, and had a lovely last run before Drake headed in for the day.
And I soldiered on, determined to "get my money's worth." What I ask you, is this: at what point to you know whether or not you got your money's worth? I went to the back of the mountain, dragged my way through more powder and got windwhipped on more chairlifts, always colder when you're on your own. Eventually, my legs began trembling and then I realized, maybe now I've gotten my money's worth. So I headed for home, and the hot tub, and the continuation of the Dr. Who marathon (that we began last night.) What a great day!
Tomorrow, we hit the trails for as long as we like before heading back to Oakland. With any luck, 88 will be open and the drive home will be an easy four hours.