Today was incredible. The milky sky above the resort when I was loading the gondola may have led one to believe otherwise, but what a surprise to be found up top. As my 8-passenger car escorted me up the hill, we broke through the clouds and were quickly encapsulated by the early morning sun.
Skiing above the clouds was almost dreamlike. It was as if my skis were floating on air although the sweetly groomed terrain below my feet was preciously firm. Warming up my legs on runs like Rolex and West Side was an unbelievable start to the day. In the distance I could see the Sleeping Giant and he looked as if he too was bedded down on a blanket of fluff.
My partner for the day was ripping the side edges of runs like Two O’clock and lower Three O’clock. There were still some deep pockets of snow to be found in the trees although many of the lines have been well tracked since our last big dumping. But the glimmer of early morning shadows interspersed with seemingly endless views of the valley below made every run an experience. A blissful cruise through our National Forest on a day like no other.
As morning wore on, we elected to drop down into the Morningside area of the mountain. A quick 3-passenger lift ride to the top and we were soon hiking our way to East Face. The powder puffs in this area were massive. Many of the lucky few who ventured there at this time of day were rewarded with wide open spaces and plenty of natural features to fling themselves off. I stopped to take a look at “Million Dollar Rock” (a 30-40ft rock jump for those who fly off the nose). Although I’ll admit my fear of injury outweighed my sense of adrenaline adventure on this day, the landing looked utterly soft. I’m sure by day’s end you’ll see one or two tracks headed off the tip. But for today I was perfectly content in skirting my way around it to live another day.
For those history buffs in the audience, you’ll remember that today is the day when Martin Luther King Jr. was born. I happen to know this well since we share the same birthday. So while you’re out there enjoying the resort today, remember to look kindly on your fellow enthusiasts. Although there may be times that lift lines swell, please don’t forget that we’re all here to enjoy the same feeling of awe and excitement as our brethren. So smile widely and give each other some room to roam. Lend a helping hand when you can and don’t forget Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech of togetherness and understanding.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier