7S: Blue Bird Sky, Spring Corn and Cutting Classes
March 13, 2009
Finally the skiing conditions my wife dreams about. Up bright and early, I put the question to my son, "What's going on in school today, no tests or other important events?"
"No test, my homework is done. Why?", he said.
"Well, I don't think you'll really be interested because we can't find a friend to go but maybe you would like to go skiing with the old folks today." I said with a smile.
"You mean today, right now?" he asks hopefully.
"Maybe you'll have more fun at school hanging with your friends." I say in measured tones just to let the tease sink in.
"No, no, I'll have fun with you and mom, where are we going to go?"
"Honey, e-mail Eric's teacher and tell her we're taking a family mental health day today at Seven Springs for some spring snow therapy." I said to my wife.
"Yeehaw, alright, lets go." exclaimed my boy.
So began the day and about 2 hours later we were pulling into the Springs to a perfect spring day after a sub freezing night. The clear blue skies and sunshine made beautiful spring corn. Their web site said they've been making snow all week and it certainly showed.
We rode the Polar Bear six and warmed up for awhile in Santa's Beard Terrain Park. Actually, my boy lapped the park a few time using the rope tow, wife and I watch. After a half dozen jumps and rails we headed back to the Polar six. Already the snow was softening so we headed to the North Face.
Although there were some very brief ice patches on the back side, mostly the surface was fresh, ripening corn. We carved big turns, spraying kernels and leaving trenches in the snow. I don't know how many laps we did on the Gunnar six but we stayed backside until empty stomachs called us to lunch. We ate on picnic tables in front of the lodge, snow side and in short sleeves. Ahh, the wonders of March skiing, the best month to ski as far as my wife is concerned. I must agree and judging by the smile on Eric's face, I think the sentiment was unanimous.
After we filled our bellies we headed over to the Tyrol triple. The two lifts over there didn't open until 11 so we gave the fresh cord a go. The sun was on the front all morning and the corn was turning to light chowder. There were tricky transitions between the groomed cord and the ungroomed snow making blow and the softening chowder at the bottom. How do you wax for such variable conditions, fast, sticky then sloppy slow respectively? After a few passes on Avalanche we headed for the bumps.
Goosebumps had soft, loose snow in the troughs, easy for this bump intermediate to ski with a semblance of form. The bumps were nice through the middle with deep troughs and soft, edge-able sides. I started from a less aggressive line on the sides and ventured to the middle. I tried to pivot slip against the the backs, let 'em run a bit and pivot slam the next. The first run was shaky but I was able to keep more square to the hill, hands up and pole plants coming through the next few runs.
Kathy and Eric were growing tired of the bumps so we made our way across the front, down Tyrol. I even tried the trees between Avalanche and Tyrol but the snow making blow in was alternately sticky, smooth then fast on the older snow. We took one more run down Stowe and I hit the bump line there for one last go. We got back on the Polar six and over to the back side for Giant Boulder, Giant Steps, which had a few hits for air, and Gunnar. We skied the Yodeler a few times too. We ski North Face once but my boy preferred doing laps on the Gunnar six.
By mid-afternoon the snow was getting soft but no masked potatoes were whipped up. Mom had enough and went back to the lodge for a cup of afternoon java. Eric and I did laps on the six until my legs protested, "Enough!!"
Eric was still game and wanted to hit more jumps and rails over on Santa's Beard so that's where we ended our day, just as it began. Eric in the park and the old fart watching.
By 4 PM our day was done just as the bus loads of high school kids arrived. The Springs was gearing up for the second shift and we headed back down the mountain, sun tanned, smiling face and a warm feeling of a shared love of our sport. I recommend cutting classes anytime the conditions are right for family fun. I grade the day A+.
I recommend cutting classes anytime the conditions are right for family fun. I grade the day A+.
You, my friend, are a very bad influence. Not to your son. To me! Every time I play hooky from work to go find some empty trails I think how much fun my daughter would have...but have never wanted to take her out of school. However, my resolve has been weakening lately and I think you might have just kicked it over the edge.
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
Sounds like a great time!! A day spent with the family having a great time like that is more important than any day at school!!! (Well, maybe not if he had some big exams...)
I cut work, not classes. Called in sick yesterday and skied the Nut. Thought today might be the last good day for a while so I was sick again today and skied Wintergreen.
Great Story! I have a similar one...My parents called me yesterday to "twist my arm" into taking a "mental health" day at 7 Springs also. My Dad wanted to ski the day after his 80th birthday, just to say he did it, as Parkinson's is slowly taking his balance and energy. We were the 3 old people sitting outside on the picnic benches between 12 and 1 laughing and smiling. What a wonderful gift you gave your son today...I've been skiing with my parents for something like 40 years and I cherish every day I've had with them.
I'm glad you all enjoyed my story. It was a fun day. I usually get a 'can I take a friend' from my son when we plan a weekend outing. I understand it's always more fun when you have a friend your age. This was a perfect way to trick him into some one on one with dad, like it use to be before he got too cool to hang.
GRK, I must state this disclaimer; I'll not be responsible for your daughter's school performance. I'm fortunate that my son doesn't take after me at his age, he gets As and Bs. I would never reward mediocre behavior and he understands that days like that are dependent on his good grades. He also must endure a little instruction from the old man.
RobertW, we must have been there at about the same time. We were the three right next to the snow. You may have seen us and thought, how nice it is for those grandparents to take their grandson out but odd that old coot has whats left of his hair in a ponytail. I skied with my mom when she was in her early 70s. She introduced me to the sport. Skiing was the best gift she ever gave me. How great it is to share the sport with your parents. I hope my son will cherish our time together too.
What I often find amusing (I'm a teacher), is when students bring in a note and ask if they can take days off to go on extended family trips. I ALWAYS wish them a safe and fun trip, with lots of life lessons thrown in between. The best teachers in the world are the PARENTS. I have no doubt that some of the most cherished memories in a lot of people's minds are family trips they have taken together. While they might miss out on an exam, some historical figure from an era too far removed and a place far too foreign, what young people learn on their family trip is invaluable. I bet your son remembers this trip and learned more about life than probably what he was doing in the last week of school combined.
Kudos to you for thinking family first. He's lucky to have a parent willing to spend time to pass down something he loves.
Quite revealing Laurel Hill as to why you and I ended up doing a long stretch in a steel factory. If it feels good DO IT!
I'm kinda hoping that if I reward my kids good work with spontaneous fun and show them a world beyond the mills it will encourage them to keep it up and find employment that is a little more rewarding then our choice. Being a steelworker has provided us both with a life long job and a decent living. Too bad we checked our brains at the time clock when we started our day. That's why I love skiing so much: brain required especially when you add steeps, trees and ice.
Of course you realize my post was in jest.Yes indeed we could`ve done worse.