Posts Tagged ‘skiing’

(Present Day Ian: I haven’t been blogging much lately. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to share stuff with you. This was a piece that originally appeared on January 7, 2012, a week after the blog went up. Which means that most of you probably missed it. Well, since I thought it was kind of funny, here it is again. Enjoy. ~Ian)

I understand that not everyone in the multiverse is a skier, and since I understand that there may be some confusion when I refer to ski terms, I have compiled this list of trail ratings for those non-skiers out there. Now you will know what I talk about when I describe a “blue” or “black” run. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

~ Ian

Standard American Trail Ratings:

Brown Line: Completely flat. Nothing interesting ever happens on these runs, because there is no challenge. Most skiers refer to the brown slopes as the “shits”.

Hazards: None whatsoever.

Green Circle: Mild difficulty. The “green” runs are easy, and for that reason, are constantly clogged with screaming children, screaming adults, adults going at walking speed, and people who generally have no idea what they are doing. Because of the various people clogging these runs, they are actually more challenging for experienced skiers. Finding your way down a green run is a bit like playing a game of Tetris on snow. In fact, most green runs are equipped with speakers that play the Tetris theme, speeding up as you reach the end of the slope. For this reason, the end of the run is usually the place where the most crashes happen. Watch yourself.

Hazards: Small children of indeterminate gender in enormous puffy board jackets that make them look like pink or yellow marshmallows; snowboarders who decide to sit down RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT to adjust their bindings; massive clumps of adult skiers from Southern California who have never been above a thousand feet in their life and flock together like spray-tanned chickens, going as slowly as possible and NEVER LETTING YOU PASS THEM; medium-sized children on snowboards who fall down in the middle of the run and NEVER GET UP, grannies on snowboards.

Blue Square: Moderate difficulty. Most ski resorts consist of mainly “blue” runs. However, do not be decieved by the rating: blue runs can range in difficulty from glorified green runs to ice-covered bowls that shoot you down the hill at forty miles an hour and leave you a battered, shivering wreck at the bottom of the slope. As always, decide what is best for your own difficulty level before you choose to go down a blue run. Everyone else on the mountain will thank you for it.

Hazards: Trees; rocks; chairlift poles; gondola towers; people going slower than you; people going faster than you; asshole teens on snowboards; asshole sixty-year-olds on telmark skis; blind skiers; deaf skiers; people listening to loud music on their headphones (so they might as well be deaf); snowmobiles going uphill; snowmobiles traversing across the run, just suddenly coming out at fifty miles an hour AND GIVING YOU A FUCKING HEART ATTACK; snow bikers.

Black Diamond: Advanced difficulty. The “black” runs consist mainly of high-elevation bowls near the peaks of the mountain, narrow chutes, Olympic-class mogul runs, and runs that look more steep than they actually are. These runs are specifically for more advanced skiers, and the lift operators will look for the black diamond tattoo placed in a secret place on your body after you take the Advanced Skier and Snowboarder Holistic Orientation and Learning Examination (also known as the ASSHOLE Test). Don’t be afraid to lie about your qualifications before getting in the lift line– if you are an attractive young woman, and you show enough skin, the lift operators may be fooled into thinking that they “saw” a black diamond tattoo that wasn’t actually there.

Hazards: Cornices; powder; small cliff drops; icicles; ice patches; moguls; professional snowboarders on their days off; people who like to ollie over other skiers/riders as they come down the mountain; people who run into you from behind (watch your back); overzealous ski patrol; underzealous ski patrol; chutes.

Double Black Diamond: Experts only. Don’t think I’m kidding– these runs are for only the best of skiers. Only the fabled Octarine Tesseract runs are more difficult than the “double blacks”. Do not attempt these runs if you doubt your courage, or your strength– for death awaits ye with big nasty pointy teeth.

Hazards: Broken bones; perforated spleens; abraded testicles; post-traumatic stress disorder; incontinence; paraplegia; quadriplegia; Bleeding Everything Syndrome; other skiers who are being escorted down the mountain on stretchers by Ski Patrol after snapping their necks like a twig; blood patches; scattered limbs; entrails strewn from various trees; large cliff drops; that sinking feeling you get when you realize the peculiar smell that has been following you around for the last ten minutes is coming from your own pants.

Octarine Tesseract: The most challenging of all ski runs, the Octarine Tesseract Runs are so difficult that they ACTUALLY BEND REALITY. Have you ever wanted to ski inside one of M.C. Escher’s nightmares? Well, NOW YOU CAN!

Hazards: non-Euclidean cornices; gravity vortices; temporal anomalies; bowls that are bigger on the inside than the outside; Möbius chutes; secret ice caves that teleport you to various other locations on the mountain WITHOUT WARNING; vomit; tears; hatred; madness; a slow but unmistakeable feeling that the world does not have any order, and NEVER REALLY DID;  the Abominable Snowthulhu.

Gold Star: VIP ski runs. Most people are never allowed to enter these exclusive portions of the mountain. In fact, they are never shown on the trail maps. However, savvy skiers know that they exist. Gold Star runs are always surrounded by “AREA CLOSED” ropes, but savvy skiers know that the ropes blocking Gold Star runs from the public are made of red velvet. Plus there is always a bouncer standing next to the ropes. That’s a dead giveaway. In Gold Star runs, there is always champagne powder– not the ordinary type, but SNOW THAT IS MADE FROM REAL FROZEN CHAMPAGNE. Look for the halfpipe filled with caviar at the bottom.

Hazards: Drunken celebrities; helpful butlers; murderous butlers; coked-out record executives lying in the middle of the run, blitzed out of their minds; Kardashians; very exclusive call girls; the 1%.

Platinum Star: Wait, you actually believe in the Platinum Star runs? Those are only an urban legend!

Pink Triangle: These are the gay sections of the ski resort. Originally imported from swinging French and German ski resorts, certain progressive states such as California and Vermont regularly have Pink Triangle runs. You can tell that you have entered a Pink Triangle run by the fact that loud techno music is playing from speakers on the chairlifts, Gore-tex and fleece jackets have been replaced with baby oil and black leather, and the seven-foot-tall Austrian gentleman who rode up the lift with you is trying to put his tongue down your throat.

Hazards: Regular Gay Pride parades coming down the mountain; Fetish Night (every second Thursday of the month); AIDS; one-night stands; the possibility that you may come to question the foundations of your own sexuality; the possibility that you will be shanghaied into a mob of impeccably-clad gentlemen with nice hair and lisps and forced to sing old Judy Garland showtunes.

Red Pentacle: Red Pentacle runs start on the actual mountain, but once you start going on the run, you suddenly realize that you are going down, down, down, into a fiery cavern filled with magma and hate. Soon you grow to realize that you can’t stop, and as you descend, you go faster and faster, skiing on the frozen corpses of damned souls. Eventually you see it: the vast, vulvoid iron gates of the Nether Realm. They swing wide, and a handsome, smiling man is there to greet you. He wears an impeccable suit, and sunglasses that seem to reflect flames in their lenses. “Welcome to Hell,” he says. “Our Dark Master is awaiting you.” It is only when he turns that you realize that he has a long, pointed tail…

Hazards: Sulfur; brimstone; eternal damnation; herpes; the possibility that you will have to spend eternity with Jerry Falwell.

The Bunny Slopes: In the Swinging ‘70s, Hugh Hefner purchased small portions of every ski resort in North America to turn into a Playboy Mansion-themed amusement center. However, when the financial recessions of the late ‘80s hit, Playboy Enterprises had to turn their ski runs back over to the ski resorts. Even so, the “bunny slopes” still have hundreds of gorgeous, exploited young women, bouncing out of their scanty bikini tops as they go over moguls on their pink diamond-studded skis. For those guests who want to look at a different kind of scenery as they glide down the slopes, the bunny slopes are the place to go.

Hazards: Boobs; tits; drunken celebrities; people having orgies in the middle of the run RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT; the vodka-filled sex grotto that’s located just to the right of the unloading area at the top of the lift.

post-season wrapup

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So the ski season is over.

I know. I am ensaddened.

One of the strangest things about this season has been the lack of snow. I mean, if you remember that post I made in January, it had a picture in a parking lot at Kirkwood where there was no snow.

Observe:

MY RAGE IT IS PALPABLE

In any case, the snow wasn’t great this season. Yesterday, it was a bit like skiing on Slurpees. It wasn’t even flavored Slurpee, either: it was just plain.

My goal for the season was to get good at skiing again– good enough to go on black diamond runs. Well, I didn’t make my goal. I know, I know: slightly disappointing. But hey– I had fun sliding down the hill, both on my feet and my ass, and so I qualify that as a success.

Am I going to keep skiing next year? Hell yes.

But all good things must end eventually, and since it’s almost May, then I guess that I will have to bid the ski season of 2011/2012 farewell.

Depressedly yours,

~ Ian

It is no secret that the most undeniably badass people on any ski slope are the blind skiers.

Blind skiers are relatively common: I see one or two of them every day when I go skiing. They’re pretty easy to see: they wear orange vests that say BLIND SKIER in big black letters. In addition, they have a guide behind them, who tells the blind skier information about the slopes below, while holding onto them with ropes, which the guide uses to help the skier down the mountain.

…That was a terrible description, wasn’t it?

Here, I’ll just show you a picture:

I think that the blind skier, to put his/her trust so completely into the hands of someone else, is incredibly brave. I don’t usually say this out loud, certainly not on my lame blog, but I have trust issues. Serious ones.

So I don’t think that I could put my life into someone else’s hands as completely as a blind skier does with his/her guide.

Like I said. Badass.

In any case, I decided to use the blind skier as a central metaphor in a short free-verse love poem. Enjoy.

~ Ian

 

Hold On To Me

 

I am

a blind skier

hurtling unseeing into darkness

not knowing what’s ahead of me

not knowing the dangers ahead

plunging unheeding towards destruction.

 

You are

my sighted guide

always guiding me past the rocks and ice

always keeping hold of my leash

always steering me in the right direction

always guiding me away from the end.

 

And I know

you will always hold on to me.

This is something I was thinking about while I was coming down Lift 4 on Kirkwood’s backside today. I’m really tired after a long-ass day, so please be aware that the following post may not be rational, or coherent, or sane.

You have been warned.

For almost two decades– from the mid-80s to the early oughties– there was a massive, intense rivalry between skiers and snowboarders. It was huge and all-encompassing. Snowboarders saw skiers as elitist, overly-wealthy snobs. Skiers saw snowboarders as fat-headed snot-nosed punks. Both groups went out of their respective ways to harass, insult, mock, and just generally be dicks to the other group.

I came in on the tail edge of this era. Growing up as a skier in the late 90s/early oughties, I got shit from snowboarding teenage assholes for being small, and a skier. It didn’t really go to my head at all– really, I got worse crap from my schoolmates at Westlake Elementary (may their names be forever cursed)– but I don’t doubt that, had I been a snowboarder, I would have gotten the same steaming pile of insults from skiers.

But then, something changed in the mid-oughties. The skier-snowboarder rivalry completely disappeared. It vanished, gone off to the land of wind and ghosts where remaindered books and lost internet memes go.

What happened? Did skiers, realizing that the world had changed, decide to let bygones be bygones and coexist with the snowboarders who now dominated the ski resort scene? Did the former-teen snowboarders, once they reached their thirties, suddenly wake up to find two heaping scoops of maturity in their Raisin Bran?

I don’t think that’s the case. I think that the skiers and snowboarders both realized that, despite certain superficial differences of technique and equipment, their sports were basically the same. The object of skiing and snowboarding is the same: to slide down the hill until you run out of hill, then go back up the hill and repeat until you get sleepy. Yeah, sure, there are differences between the sports. Skis are a lot faster and more stable; snowboards can make sharper turns and are easier to jump with. But these differences don’t matter. We both like to have fun, and we go about having fun in much the same fashion. The number of planks we affix to our feet doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that we like to slide down snowy mountains, and the sliding is a lot more fun when we don’t act like assholes to each other.

Blech. That was horrible. I really need to stop making thinkings now…

Relax now. Blog later.

~ Ian

So I’m back from Kirkwood, and these are the things that happened…

  • My brother broke his face. Seriously: he ran into a tree in the backcountry and broke three bones in his face, including the zygomatic arch. In all honesty, I’m glad he’s alive– if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, there’s a high chance that he might have died.
  • I got to look at a CAT scan of the inside of my brother’s face. Calum, my dad, and Gabby went into Tahoe to have Calum’s face scanned, and we got a CD with his scan back. I got to look inside Calum’s eyeballs. It was awesome.
  • I played Dragon Age: Origins, which was great, since I got it for Christmas and haven’t got a chance to play it yet. My reaction? It’s AWESOME, and it’s one of the few games that I’ve played where I want to skip the boring combat scenes so I can get to the interesting parts where people are talking. That’s a good thing.
  • I watched Super 8, and invented a drinking game: whenever there is a lens flare, take a shot. (Of course, playing this game would be problematic, because you’d be plastered by the end of the first act.)
  • I skied. But that’s not a surprise.
  • On the way back from Kirkwood, we stopped at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Dublin (California, not Ireland). Which was good, because their burgers are great.

Anyway, I’m back in Santa Cruz now. Business-as-normal can resume.

~ Ian

How I Spent My Sunday

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I’m back in Santa Cruz. That weekend felt way too short.

Most of my day was spent skiing and ignoring the Super Bowl. I had a great time doing both– it wasn’t too warm, or too cold, and the skies were bluebird clear. I skied with Gabby and Jannek (who were technically on snowboards, but hey, it’s just semantics). We headed over the the back side of the mountain, where there was still some powder after a week of no snow. It felt perfect to speed down a hill, then suddenly hockey-stop and get greeted with a blast of powder straight to the face. That feeling is sweeter than sugar and more refreshing than a mile-tall piña colada, honestly.

Oh. I also fell down once. It was on a very steep part of a run that I hadn’t been on since I was actually, you know, good. The snow was a little too loose and powdery, and as I made a turn, I lost my balance and skidded down about a hundred and fifty feet on my side. (I’m okay– and, honestly, it felt good. I made the fall perfectly, keeping my skis downhill of me at all times, and I was able to get right back up when I came to a stop.)

Honestly, today was the FIRST TIME this season that I got to really do everything I wanted. I got to challenge myself on a couple of runs, but mostly just hung out on the slopes with my family. My goal of being able to go on black diamonds again by the end of the season looks like it’s coming up fast.

Project: Stop Sucking At Skiing Anymore is progressing along nicely.

Anyway, that was my day. And it was a good day.

~ Ian

out in the cold

Posted: February 4, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Because I am an idiot, I forgot to bring my camera up to Kirkwood with me.

But trust me when I say that Kirkwood is a place transformed. There’s snow everywhere– not deep, by Kirkwood standards, only up to an average-sized person’s waist, but even so it’s so different from Winter Break. The mountains are covered in powder– the exact same mountains that were brown and exposed when I posted pictures of my ski trip last month. Nearly everything is open, and while I’d like it if there was a lot more snow, it’s not too crowded and the skies are bluebird clear.

Nearly everything was open (except for Lifts 14 and 15, which are kind of the weird, runty newborns of the Kirkwood litter). I spent most of my time today on Lift 2, with a couple of trips over the backside to 3. Hopefully by the end of this season, I’ll be good enough to do the stuff that I used to be able to do– namely, black diamond bowls at the top of the mountain.

Right now I’m relaxing by the fire, enjoying an evening of reading and blogging. Maybe I’ll watch a movie later. Who knows?

Saturdays are awesome.

~ Ian

My Ski Trip

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m back at college in Santa Cruz now, and I have to say: the air is friggin’ thick down here. How can all of you lowlanders stand it?

I have a lot of pictures to show you guys. First of all, though, I’d like to point out: Tahoe had an epic winter last year. The winter of 2010/11 will go down in history as one of the best ski winters in recorded history. It dumped powder nearly all winter, and Kirkwood (where I usually ski) still had snow in JULY.

This winter? Well, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

This is the view outside our cabin on the 28th of December. As you can see, there is almost no snow.

Oh, and it’s not like we’re in the Sierra foothills here. This picture was taken at nearly EIGHT THOUSAND FEET.

Seriously. I’d file a complaint with the people who control the weather, but Google won’t give me their number. So we’re stuck… at least, until the Snowmakers’ Union strike is over.

Moving on…

This is the view from the top of Lift 5, Kirkwood’s main intermediate lift. Over on the right, you can see the camera strap blowing into frame. That is because there were 40 mile an hour winds when this picture was taken.

On the left side, you can see part of a person in a guacamole-colored jacket. This is my dad.

Like I mentioned: there should be snow BURYING the mountain this time of year. Sigh…

At one point, we drove into Meyers to get groceries, and I took pictures.

A lot.

Of pictures.

Jannek, my German brother, down by Caples Lake, taking pictures as well. Sigh… at least the lake is frozen.

Umm…

Who are these strange people? A new breed of suburban gangster from the streets of LA? Dread cultists, the face of their demon god emblazoned on their chests?

No. It’s just my brother Calum and his girlfriend Gabby, modeling their new matching Elmo pajamas and beanies.

I didn’t know they made Elmo pajamas in adult sizes. And I love Calum’s expression here. He looks so embarrassed.

At one point, Jannek went to the pool. When he returned, he found that his wet bathing suit, once as pliable as any other, had frozen into a rigid, folded configuration.

At least it was below freezing that night.

Wait. Did I say that it didn’t snow at all on this trip? Actually, it did. A little bit. Just a sprinkling, though.

Sigh…

Regretfully yours,

~ Ian

I understand that not everyone in the multiverse is a skier, and since I understand that there may be some confusion when I refer to ski terms, I have compiled this list of trail ratings for those non-skiers out there. Now you will know what I talk about when I describe a “blue” or “black” run. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

~ Ian

Standard American Trail Ratings:

Brown Line: Completely flat. Nothing interesting ever happens on these runs, because there is no challenge. Most skiers refer to the brown slopes as the “shits”.

Hazards: None whatsoever.

Green Circle: Mild difficulty. The “green” runs are easy, and for that reason, are constantly clogged with screaming children, screaming adults, adults going at walking speed, and people who generally have no idea what they are doing. Because of the various people clogging these runs, they are actually more challenging for experienced skiers. Finding your way down a green run is a bit like playing a game of Tetris on snow. In fact, most green runs are equipped with speakers that play the Tetris theme, speeding up as you reach the end of the slope. For this reason, the end of the run is usually the place where the most crashes happen. Watch yourself.

Hazards: Small children of indeterminate gender in enormous puffy board jackets that make them look like pink or yellow marshmallows; snowboarders who decide to sit down RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT to adjust their bindings; massive clumps of adult skiers from Southern California who have never been above a thousand feet in their life and flock together like spray-tanned chickens, going as slowly as possible and NEVER LETTING YOU PASS THEM; medium-sized children on snowboards who fall down in the middle of the run and NEVER GET UP, grannies on snowboards.

Blue Square: Moderate difficulty. Most ski resorts consist of mainly “blue” runs. However, do not be decieved by the rating: blue runs can range in difficulty from glorified green runs to ice-covered bowls that shoot you down the hill at forty miles an hour and leave you a battered, shivering wreck at the bottom of the slope. As always, decide what is best for your own difficulty level before you choose to go down a blue run. Everyone else on the mountain will thank you for it.

Hazards: Trees; rocks; chairlift poles; gondola towers; people going slower than you; people going faster than you; asshole teens on snowboards; asshole sixty-year-olds on telmark skis; blind skiers; deaf skiers; people listening to loud music on their headphones (so they might as well be deaf); snowmobiles going uphill; snowmobiles traversing across the run, just suddenly coming out at fifty miles an hour AND GIVING YOU A FUCKING HEART ATTACK; snow bikers.

Black Diamond: Advanced difficulty. The “black” runs consist mainly of high-elevation bowls near the peaks of the mountain, narrow chutes, Olympic-class mogul runs, and runs that look more steep than they actually are. These runs are specifically for more advanced skiers, and the lift operators will look for the black diamond tattoo placed in a secret place on your body after you take the Advanced Skier and Snowboarder Holistic Orientation and Learning Examination (also known as the ASSHOLE Test). Don’t be afraid to lie about your qualifications before getting in the lift line– if you are an attractive young woman, and you show enough skin, the lift operators may be fooled into thinking that they “saw” a black diamond tattoo that wasn’t actually there.

Hazards: Cornices; powder; small cliff drops; icicles; ice patches; moguls; professional snowboarders on their days off; people who like to ollie over other skiers/riders as they come down the mountain; people who run into you from behind (watch your back); overzealous ski patrol; underzealous ski patrol; chutes.

Double Black Diamond: Experts only. Don’t think I’m kidding– these runs are for only the best of skiers. Only the fabled Octarine Tesseract runs are more difficult than the “double blacks”. Do not attempt these runs if you doubt your courage, or your strength– for death awaits ye with big nasty pointy teeth.

Hazards: Broken bones; perforated spleens; abraded testicles; post-traumatic stress disorder; incontinence; paraplegia; quadriplegia; Bleeding Everything Syndrome; other skiers who are being escorted down the mountain on stretchers by Ski Patrol after snapping their necks like a twig; blood patches; scattered limbs; entrails strewn from various trees; large cliff drops; that sinking feeling you get when you realize the peculiar smell that has been following you around for the last ten minutes is coming from your own pants.

Octarine Tesseract: The most challenging of all ski runs, the Octarine Tesseract Runs are so difficult that they ACTUALLY BEND REALITY. Have you ever wanted to ski inside one of M.C. Escher’s nightmares? Well, NOW YOU CAN!

Hazards: non-Euclidean cornices; gravity vortices; temporal anomalies; bowls that are bigger on the inside than the outside; Möbius chutes; secret ice caves that teleport you to various other locations on the mountain WITHOUT WARNING; vomit; tears; hatred; madness; a slow but unmistakeable feeling that the world does not have any order, and NEVER REALLY DID;  the Abominable Snowthulhu.

Gold Star: VIP ski runs. Most people are never allowed to enter these exclusive portions of the mountain. In fact, they are never shown on the trail maps. However, savvy skiers know that they exist. Gold Star runs are always surrounded by “AREA CLOSED” ropes, but savvy skiers know that the ropes blocking Gold Star runs from the public are made of red velvet. Plus there is always a bouncer standing next to the ropes. That’s a dead giveaway. In Gold Star runs, there is always champagne powder– not the ordinary type, but SNOW THAT IS MADE FROM REAL FROZEN CHAMPAGNE. Look for the halfpipe filled with caviar at the bottom.

Hazards: Drunken celebrities; helpful butlers; murderous butlers; coked-out record executives lying in the middle of the run, blitzed out of their minds; Kardashians; very exclusive call girls; the 1%.

Platinum Star: Wait, you actually believe in the Platinum Star runs? Those are only an urban legend!

Pink Triangle: These are the gay sections of the ski resort. Originally imported from swinging French and German ski resorts, certain progressive states such as California and Vermont regularly have Pink Triangle runs. You can tell that you have entered a Pink Triangle run by the fact that loud techno music is playing from speakers on the chairlifts, Gore-tex and fleece jackets have been replaced with baby oil and black leather, and the seven-foot-tall Austrian gentleman who rode up the lift with you is trying to put his tongue down your throat.

Hazards: Regular Gay Pride parades coming down the mountain; Fetish Night (every second Thursday of the month); AIDS; one-night stands; the possibility that you may come to question the foundations of your own sexuality; the possibility that you will be shanghaied into a mob of impeccably-clad gentlemen with nice hair and lisps and forced to sing old Judy Garland showtunes.

Red Pentacle: Red Pentacle runs start on the actual mountain, but once you start going on the run, you suddenly realize that you are going down, down, down, into a fiery cavern filled with magma and hate. Soon you grow to realize that you can’t stop, and as you descend, you go faster and faster, skiing on the frozen corpses of damned souls. Eventually you see it: the vast, vulvoid iron gates of the Nether Realm. They swing wide, and a handsome, smiling man is there to greet you. He wears an impeccable suit, and sunglasses that seem to reflect flames in their lenses. “Welcome to Hell,” he says. “Our Dark Master is awaiting you.” It is only when he turns that you realize that he has a long, pointed tail…

Hazards: Sulfur; brimstone; eternal damnation; herpes; the possibility that you will have to spend eternity with Jerry Falwell.

The Bunny Slopes: In the Swinging ‘70s, Hugh Hefner purchased small portions of every ski resort in North America to turn into a Playboy Mansion-themed amusement center. However, when the financial recessions of the late ‘80s hit, Playboy Enterprises had to turn their ski runs back over to the ski resorts. Even so, the “bunny slopes” still have hundreds of gorgeous, exploited young women, bouncing out of their scanty bikini tops as they go over moguls on their pink diamond-studded skis. For those guests who want to look at a different kind of scenery as they glide down the slopes, the bunny slopes are the place to go.

Hazards: Boobs; tits; drunken celebrities; people having orgies in the middle of the run RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT; the vodka-filled sex grotto that’s located just to the right of the unloading area at the top of the lift.

Learning to Fly

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

I like skiing. A lot, actually.

There’s a simplicity to skiing that I really and truly enjoy. The whole point of the sport is to slide down the hill until you run out of hill. It sounds simple enough when you put it like that, of course, but in reality it’s far more complex. Since I haven’t skied for… five years before this season, I’m basically limited to groomed runs, more specifically the kind where you have to avoid small children sitting in the middle of the run and crying. But when I get better…

I’m already fantasizing about what I’m going to be like when I get better. My mind is filled with images of open bowls filled with deep powder; steep, rock-walled chutes where you can do nothing but go inexorably forward lest you be crushed against the sides; wide backcountry peaks, where I can weave in and out of trees as I fly down the mountain; cornices that drop down onto long mogul-filled ridgelines… It’s incredible.

Because that’s the thing about skiing. To the non-skier, everything looks pretty much the same. Yeah, there are runs that are steeper than others, but when you look at the mountain from below, everything looks similar. But to ski on powder takes a completely different skill set than skiing on ice, which is again totally different from mogul skiing.

Today I went on my first intermediate run in years. It was hard– a lot faster and steeper than the run I’d been practicing on since Christmas, with ice patches and sudden steep parts that kept me on my toes. But it was fun– the most fun skiing that I’d had in a long time. I didn’t do that great, but at least I had enough practice that I didn’t power-wedge my whole way down. I got a good head of speed, and at the point where the run merged with the bunny slopes, I was flying– and the wind blew in my face, and I braked to a stop at the base of the mountain, skidding thirty feet and kicking up whatever meager powder was left there. It was an adrenaline rush– and I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. My body practically pulsed as I got on the chairlift to head back up.

I have a long way to go before I’m as good as I was. But even so, I feel like I can make it back onto the black diamond runs by the end of the season. And after that… who knows?

I’ll show my readers (all five of you guys!) some pictures from this trip after it’s done. I’m heading back to Santa Cruz on Sunday, and then it’s going to be all linguistics and dining hall food again. But right now, I’m on top of the world, and it’s incredible.

~ Ian