So I've been blissfully on vacation since Wednesday and won't return home until Tuesday. I'm spending my week away skiing in Colorado -- one of my few true releases where I forget about everything else in the world, save the occasional panic attack about really, really, really not want to go back to work and missing the Modern Love Machine and my friends. If you're a skier, you probably understand me when I say how freeing skiing can be when you do it right. If not, just trust me on this.
The view from Vail, Colorado, on Thursday
Unfortunately, doing it right doesn't generally mean ass-cold temperatures, ie below zero. Nor does it mean attempting to ski when there's been so little snow during what is usually one of Colorado's snowiest months of the year that many resorts only have a fraction of their mountains open for skiing. Both of which have been the case today and yesterday.
Why ski when there's a chance of super-cold temperatures and less-than-ideal snow conditions? For the chance that maybe, just maybe you'll have one of those perfect ski days, where the stars align to bring sunny blue skies, soft snow and 20-degree temps. Coupled with sound skiing skillz, those are the days where you feel just a few steps closer to heaven (and let's face it, at 11,000 feet above sea level, you probably are).
Because I ski only about five days every year (the burden of living in the southeast where there's not much decent skiing to be done), I settle for the perfect ski runs, where despite the day being less than perfect everything seems to come together for one trek down the mountain. I can recall many of those perfect runs -- the slope I was on, the shade of the sky, the location of the sun's perch, the feel of the snow under my skis and the song I likely was singing to myself.
After lunch today, we found ourselves staring down the top of one of my favorite runs at Breckenridge. This particular run doesn't go straight down, it looks more like a wave on the side of the mountain with gentle rises and dips which offer the sensation of riding a rollercoaster if you ski it fast enough. It hadn't been open at all this season, but the ski patrol dudes were rolling the ropes back.
The snow was unspoiled. The sun was out. The sky was a beautiful cornflower. I spread my arms out as we flew up and down the rises and dips, humming 'All Across the Universe.' My body moved in perfect harmony with the pitch of the ground. It was as close to flying as I'll ever get without the help of a motor or freefalling.
By the time we caught the lift back up to the top, enough people had discovered it that the snow was already chewed up quite a bit. It was still a good run, but it didn't feel quite the same.
But the one run of perfection was enough.