Back on Skis, A Month of Ski Bumming, Mountain Grandeur
02/11/2012 32 °F
February 5th 2012- Excerpt From My Journal
“First takes on the mountain.. My commute is two blocks.. I can walk everywhere from my house. On the mountain, I step into my skis, and snap in. I hear the sizzle of my edges catching on the corrugation of groom... My body acts on its own, and I'm planting the pole, arcing easily into the next turn. I haven't lost much in 2 years... A beautiful azure sky, that only the west produces, there's the crisp white of snow, and here I am... I love it when a plan comes together…”
This plan HAS come together nicely. Over the course of the next month, I’m going to expound on the finer points of being a ski bum. Every day has its own rhythm to it, and as I look out over the northern Idaho mountain ranges stretching to the horizon, I think to myself what a beautiful place I have landed.
I have rented out the basement of a furnished house here in Kellogg, ID. My landlady is very sweet, and loves to ski as much as I do. It’s a block away from the grocery store, and two blocks away from the gondola, which takes me up to the mountain. “Location, location, location…”
Some of you might remember my last skiing adventures from two years ago, when I was living in a small cabin on side of the gulch in Wardner. So far, the biggest difference between 2 years ago, and today, is that there is much more snow this year. I’m told last year was an epic year for snowfall, but my life’s journey had me chasing other adventures.
After working on the ship for the last year and a half, I need a break from eighty hour weeks, and being handcuffed to the clock. Last fall, I began formulating another plan to come to Idaho, to veg out, to ski, to relax for awhile in a place I could temporarily call my own. I'm enjoying cooking my own meals, reading books, and spinning the globe on my coffee table. I'm waiting for the day when I become inspired, and ready to plan and execute my next adventure. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will, and when it does, it will be a very good day indeed.
Today was probably the most beautiful day I have ever skied. The mountain was shrouded in hanging clouds. While riding the chairlift through this thick cloud, I looked out and saw a lone pine tree standing tall, it’s branches covered in a fine coating of snow. Beyond it, was nothing. There were no landforms visible beyond it, and this simplicity of landscape was beautiful. A quiet beauty.
Suddenly, a break in the cloud appeared and I could see the top of the mountain, a halo of blue sky above it, and muted sunshine breaking through to highlight the upper trees. The tall pine trees coated in thin snow, stood silent, and comfortable. Lin Yutang compares old pine trees on a mountainside to that of old men. “Like old men, the pines understand everything, but it doesn’t talk and therein lies mystery and grandeur.“
To me they are silent, beautiful, gnarled, and strong. Happy enough to sit through the years, keeping a quiet repose, and good company to those who venture out to enjoy them.
The mountains of northern Idaho are old mountains; they seem to have been pounded down into the earth by some giant hammer. When I reached the top of the mountain, I stopped to look at the distant purple mountains. They were surrounded by horizontal streams of light to dark gray clouds. The spectrum of color was amazing with purple, gray, dark gray, white, pale blue and green in long bands from earth to sky.
In this magical mountain landscape, I put my skis to use. In the night, two inches of soft powder had fallen, giving the mountain fresh snow to soften the tracks of the past week. I explored the mountain, and found the conditions fantastic. Some of the runs felt like I was gliding on silk, and I laughed aloud when my heart burst in happiness at the simple pleasures of using gravity to ride down this wonderful mountain on two shaped boards.
The Ski Bumming 2012 Project is off to a good start.
"Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” ~ William Blake