Essay-A Fresh Experience

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Essay-A Fresh Experience

Postby Chris Smorul » Thu Nov 01, 2001 10:31 am

A Fresh Experience <BR> <BR> I have often read about the wonderful powder skiing that is so abundant in the western United States. Living in New Jersey, I have never had the opportunity to ski on fresh powder. Last January, I was able to live that dream and ski on a carpet of freshly fallen powder at Shawnee Mountain. I remember that day not only for the best skiing I ever had, but also as a day in which my life had changed. <BR> <BR>I awoke excited on that crisp January morning. The weather report called for a snowstorm overnight and I was not disappointed. A thick blanket of snow covered my front lawn. I quickly dressed in my thermal underwear and ski clothes. My excitement grew as I loaded my skis onto the rack and my boots into the car. <BR> <BR> The sun was beginning to rise over the horizon as I began the hour-long drive to the ski resort. I stopped along the way at a diner to eat some breakfast and gulp down some coffee. I watched through the restaurant windows as the rising sun cast its light on a picture postcard landscape. I hastened my breakfast and was soon back on the road for the final fifteen-minute drive to Shawnnee Mountain. Pulling into the parking, I noticed that I was the first skier to arrive. I parked my car and watched as the Shawnnee Mountain Ski Patrol made its run down the mountain then got my gear together and walked to the base. <BR> <BR> I purchased my lift ticket and proceeded to the empty lodge in order to don my ski boots and check out the posted snow report. The snow makers had laid down a nice base before the storm had hit the previous night. Rather than grooming the mountain again, the crew had mercifully let the five or six inches of new snow lay atop the groomed, corduroy-like base. I clicked into my skis and headed for the gate at the deserted F lift. <BR> <BR> I was still alone in line when the attendant dropped the rope at the lift. I boarded my chair and began the one thousand foot accent to the summit of Shawnnee Mountain. I gazed enviously at the twisting tracks the ski patrol had made earlier. The air was so cold that my breath began to freeze on my moustache and beard. This situation only made me smile. I knew that the snow would be light and dry at this temperature. As I prepared to get off the lift at the top of the mountain, the liftie at the top waved to me while flashing a knowing smiled. <BR> <BR> I chose Bushkill as my first run. The trail was a wide blue cruiser. Bushkill started out steep but leveled out for a bit mid-way before plunging over a short wall at the bottom. I thought this trail would be best in this kind of snow. As I stood leaning on my poles at the top of the trail, I looked with awe at the scenery before me. The sky was so blue that it hurt my eyes to look at it. The snow on the trees reflected the sun’s rays as if a trillion diamonds had been dumped on the mountainside. The trail was a smooth white ribbon that undulated with the changing terrain that lay beneath it. I pushed off with my poles and charged headlong down the steep beginning of the trail. My skis carved across the fall line without a sound as I wove long helixes down the face of the slope. I accelerated towards the flats where I narrowed my turns in an effort to maintain my speed. My eyes began to tear from the combination of my velocity, the crisp morning air and the overwhelming joy that had consumed me. Approaching the wall, I crouched into a tuck position and braced myself to go airborne. As I flew over the edge, my spirit was as light as the cloud of white smoke that I had left in my tracks. <BR> <BR> I made many similar runs that day. Around 4:00 P.M. my legs started giving out so I reluctantly made my way to the lodge to take off my gear. My mind was still carving wide turns as I loaded my equipment into the car. As I drove home through the slush and crud I felt as though something inside me had awakened. I had undergone a metamorphosis. No longer was skiing merely the act of skidding down a mountain with two boards strapped to my feet. It had become almost spiritual. It transcended my soul to a higher place and left me with a peace of mind I had never felt before. I will never forget my first powder skiing experience. It was more than the best skiing that I ever had; it was a rebirth of my spirit. <BR> <BR>Chris Smorul
Chris Smorul
 
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