Saturday, April 12, 2008

The deepest thigh burn...

...doesn't come from Spinning.

Last week I was jonesin' to get out on my bike. I was OVER the snow. But I am a new woman today. Today is April 12th. I can barely pull myself up the stairs, and it's a thigh and glute burn that has me grinning ear to ear. The smell of Ben Gay permeates my house now; and I'm going back for more pain tomorrow... :-)

An unprecedented storm and cold-front passed through Colorado. Thursday I played hookey and went skiing. Thought I'd only go for half day with some visiting friends, but the 7" of new light powder snow made it a pretty nice ski day, and they "made me" have some beers afterwards. I had to teach my Thursday night Spin class at 5:30 and when I confessed afterwards about the 2 large beers I was "forced" to consume just prior to class, they cheered me on.

The snow kept coming. All night. Friday was a true POWDER day, the kind of day that causes businesses to put up "Closed" signs when they could be making money, and causes locals to cancel appointments, change plans, do whatever it takes to get on the mountain. The cell phones came out in the lift lines with numerous conversations like, "Dude! I'm telling you, cancel it! You won't regret it! Call in sick! G-E-T U-P H-E-R-E N-O-W!!" We tried it on my husband, but he couldn't get away - and he'll probably bitch about it for years... I'm my own boss, so I didn't have anyone to ask, but I'll have to make up for it next week.

I promised my accountant I'd send her my tax information before the weekend so she could put together my extension. Hope she can still do that in the next 2 days!! Do you think a letter like this would go over well with the IRS?
Dear Mr. Tax Man,
I know I'm a bit late, but you have to know, Friday was a powder day. The kind of day people in ski towns live for. And die for. It wasn't fair to have a powder day when I was s'posed to finish my taxes... But please understand, every other powder day this year, I was working in my home office, slaving away at my computer so I could pay you. Can you give me just a little break? Just a day or two extra? Pretty please?

Fat chance...

Oh well, 10 years from now we'll be talking about April 11, 2008 with fond memories. 13" of fresh, light, cold champagne powder snow, on top of 7" from the day before, and another 8" dumped on top of that during the day. The back bowls had more than that - up to thigh deep in areas. Usually in April any snow fall is as heavy as gelato, and then the sun bakes it to a viscous glue, which then transforms into a slushy mess as the sun beats on it. Usually on April 11th, you're wearing t-shirts under a light jacket (some even forego the jacket), shades, no hat, thin gloves, sunscreen smeared over your face. Some people are in shorts. But yesterday was in the mid-20's. A January-like day. Boot-heater and hand-warmer day. Extra layers. Goggles. A gaitor covering all but the tip of your nose. And a snorkel.

OK, not quite a snorkel day, but faceshots all day. There is nothing quite like an untracked ski run. The light powder parts like the Red Sea as the tip of the skis swooshes through. If your mouth was open as you skied down Genghis or Headwall or Lover's Leap (and it probably was because you had to be whooping it up), you were probably inhaling the white fluffy stuff and trying not to choke. Your cheeks hurt almost as much as your legs from laughing and smiling for hours. The shouts of joy emanated from deep inside you, and there was no stopping it. Not a single person on the mountain could avoid it, you heard "wooooo-hoooo's", and "yeee-haws" and howls of joy from every corner of the mountain, from every powder stash, on every face, down every gully. And Vail's a big mountain.

Tell me, what other sport causes people to do this? What other sport (where you're not spectating, but doing) do you meet so many people and immediately have a bond with them, and chat as if you've known each other for years, with comments like "Can you friggin' believe this? PInch me! I must be dreaming!" OK, maybe surfers celebrating some 20 foot waves in Maui.

The burn in the thighs rises to almost unmanageable levels, almost to the point of causing your legs to fall off. Yeah; like cracking off at the hip. But that wouldn't be good, because you need them to do more turns; someone else might get to that line before you do. So you push through the pain to rush to get to the next lift to go for some more untracked runs before it gets too tracked up. Knowing the special lines, the less well-known stashes can provide untracked powder until at least noon, if you're lucky. You welcome the burn as you drive your skis in wide arcs through the deep snow and then tuck them back under you, popping upward to initiate the next turn and link one after the other. If you were on a bike and you felt this in the legs, you would stop! So something weird happens to skiers on a powder day; I can't explain it.

There's a old saying in a ski town: There are no friends on a Powder Day. And yesterday it was more true than ever. If your friends couldn't ski this stuff, the steep and the deep, then you met up at the end of the day in the bar! First one there buys the pitcher. No one waits for anyone...

I have to say, I rank yesterday as one of the top 3 ski days in my life.

Today was fun too, but my legs hurt so much I could barely turn and the snow wasn't quite like yesterday. Plus it's a weekend and lift lines are huge; yesterday it was only locals.

Tomorrow it won't be a powder day, but it's closing day, so it's like a Mardi-Gras party. We'll have a barbecue at the top (with 2,000+ other people), and dress up in silly outfits. The forecast is for sunny and 50 degrees. What a great way to close the season!

Then the bikes come off the hooks in the garage the next day!

One more thing: Thank God I don't teach Spinning until Tuesday! Don't think I could turn those pedals! :0

[Edited later: The photo at the top was not even on the powder day (I forgot my camera on Friday), but there was still lotsa new fluffy snow. For more photos of the last few days at Vail, including the end of season bash at the top of the mountain, check out my Facebook profile and click on my photo albums.]

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