Hurtling Down The Mountain

I honestly think I could have won medals in the downhill. Maybe not gold, but I’d definitely have been on the podium.  When it comes to skiing, I am a Norse god. I am the very definition of fluid, harmony, and grace in motion.  That is, as long as I’m on a groomed run named after either a bunny or a Disney character. And, if you squint and ignore the 12 year olds flying past me.  I am the original rock star of the groomed intermediate trails.

If you’ve ever hit the slopes you recognize that coolness factor some people exude.  Those people who have the right gear, not too flashy, simple and comfortable looking.  They never look cold or too hot, smothered in 20 layers of Walmart fleece.  They never slip while slogging through an icy parking lot in ill-fitting boots.  They ski fast and with a simple fluidity, skis close together, with an easy rhythm in any terrain. You hear them talking about runs you’ve never heard of, backcountry excursions, and levels of vertical that are vertigo inducing.

I am not one of those people.  My gear never really works.  My skis are of an “old school” vintage.  In the cold my nose runs with a disturbing volume.  I am either cold or sweating like I just ran a marathon.  My legs lack the strength to go down a long run in one shot.  I wear ill-fitting goggles I stole from my wife.  My gloves are from Costco and my jacket was manufactured before the current crop of high schoolers were born.  My poles are so old I honestly don’t remember where I got them.  They may be rentals that never got returned.

When faced with terrain that tips more towards the vertical, my fluid, carving turns instantly become an awkward snow plow.  Bumps and moguls?  Only if you want to see a grown man cry.  Deep powder?  I have lost skis and spent thirty minutes trying to extricate myself from deep holes, only to repeat it fifty yards further down.  Chairlifts?  Yes, I have fallen off.  I have run into trees, trail markers, other skiers, and a chairlift.  I have fallen on flat cat tracks, in front of the lodge, in the parking lot, and while putting my skis on.

Why would I continue to subject myself to such abuse?  Because I love the sport.  I plan on skiing until the doctors tell me I can no longer continue for fear of permanent damage to my ego.  Or until it becomes a risk to my fledgling mountain bike racing career.

City Snow

We had a pretty good snow yesterday, so I walked around last night and took a few photos. I made some serious rookie mistakes and have little idea what I’m doing.  I’ll probably put the night-time photography off until I learn a bit more. I’m reasonably happy with the composition.  Note to self – batteries only last about 30 minutes in 18 degree weather.

12 Things Learned In 2012

Year end and beginning is for lists. I think it’s a rule of some sort. And if nothing else, I am a rule follower. Thusly, my list of twelve things learned in 2012 (Please note the cleverness there – 12 for 12. Genius) :

  1.  I love Cheez-Its. They are pure brain food. 3 grams of protein and 140 calories per 30 crackers. That’s better than your average “healthy” yogurt. And it’s a genuine, simulated, baked cheese product. It doesn’t get much better than that. The downside is a certain, uhm, cheese-breath after effect. There’s also the fact that it’s virtually impossible to limit oneself to just the suggested serving size of thirty. Perhaps I should invent a Pez-like dispenser that holds exactly 30. Perfect for travel!
  2. You need to get rid of your clutter. We put all our stuff in storage and lived in a motorhome for half the year. I didn’t think it would be possible to survive without eighteen dress shirts, toolboxes of “leftover” nuts and bolts, fifteen year old Rollerblades, twenty-three baseball hats, and ten pairs of jeans that I “might” fit into again some day. But I did. And I was perfectly happy.
  3. Politicians are evil. Not just some, all. Our elected representatives have quickly replaced lawyers as the most hated people on the planet. To quote myself, “If you think your representative is looking out for your best interest, you’re a tool. Don’t be a tool.” Boy I’m impressed with myself. That needs to be on a t-shirt.
  4. Academically, I can hang with the big dogs. Well, at least with the twenty-somethings. Also, I don’t like art history. Also, I’m really, really good at art history. It’s an internal conflict that will most likely require therapy sometime in my future.
  5. It’s possible for me to get in really good shape. The inverse of this fitness rule is that I can return to a fairly squishy state in a frighteningly rapid amount of time. Clearly the year for me is split into squishy and non-squishy periods. For the love of humanity and my fellow beach goers, let’s hope that next year the non-squishy state coincides with bikini season.
  6. Gravity + bikes + a complete lack of coordination = broken ribs. That hurts. A lot. Let’s not do that again.
  7. This year taught me that I enjoy photography. I also learned that I have no idea whatsoever what I’m doing. All those darn f numbers, shutter speeds, uncooperative swimsuit models, and tricky apertures… being a photography professional is hard work. I may have to fall back on my art history career prospects.
  8. I seem to have an uncomfortable obsession with cows. Looking back at the year I realize I’ve taken multiple pictures of cows, written an ode to cows, and bought a cow. I’m slightly concerned.
  9. I can’t do drama. Not the theatrical, off-broadway kind of drama. I mean Real Housewives, Jerry Springer, Tom Cruise break-up kind of drama. Life is too short to waste effort thinking about or dealing with drama. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Lindsay Lohan’s pending implosion. That train wreck is too entertaining to miss.
  10. I didn’t die when I got a flu shot. I broke down and got my first flu shot this year. When I informed the tech that I’d never had a flu shot in my life she looked shocked and said “Not ever? Seriously?”  She actually had me wait for thirty minutes afterwards to monitor me “just in case”. Made me slightly concerned about what’s really in it if I had to be monitored. Fears of government tracking devices and UN conspiracies are now filling my dreams at night. Sigh… more therapy needed clearly.
  11. People are idiots. The world is filled with a frightening amount of lemmings and sheep. Other than for entertainment value, I have no more tolerance for stupidity (other than my own). And when things go south, those idiots are going to come looking for your stuff. And when you call 911 and there’s nobody available… well good luck with that. If you know me, then you know I’m talking zombie apocalypse. Be prepared.
  12. The big lesson for 2012 – stop waiting and wishing for what you want. Life is short and we’re only here once (sorry Druids and Hindus – it just isn’t going to happen). As the old saying goes – if you get hit by a cement truck tomorrow, have you done, seen, and accomplished what you wanted?

There you go.  An award-winning, incredibly insightful look back at lessons of 2012. Next up, resolutions for 2013. Or not. I may go out and just enjoy the day instead.