Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Weekend and Other Stuff

Last weekend (12/19-12/20) was pretty good.  Hawkeye was opened about 11:00 on Saturday, and I jammed a bunch of runs before the cover started getting a little too thin (they also opened up Chatiemac and Straightbrook Glades for those on the rock skis).  The groomers on the lower mountain were great in the morning, and a little skied off by the afternoon.  Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday, except the top was opened earlier, and groomed (slightly), so there wasn't as much worry about rocks on Hawkeye.  Chatie was still "natural snow conditions" (plus some man made on top), so it was pretty amusing.  I left a little ealry (2:00) on Sunday because the light was getting flat and we needed to do some Xmas shopping.  All in all, though, I got a lot of skiing in, and I was pretty happy.

I'm hoping to up the ante on these mountain updates after Christmas.  I'm probably going to get this:

. . . which will make shooting pictures and video pretty damn cool.  The downside is that I might have to start wearing my helmet, but that's a small price to pay for sick first person footage of glades, park, and bumps.  Plus it comes with a couple of helmet attachments so I can do some bike video in the summer (although footage of me on my road bike might be kind of boring . . . maybe I need a mountain bike after all).

To be honest, though, I'm ready for the Christmas season to be over.  The crowded roads, long lines, and general frantic attitude always gets me antsy around this time of year.  It's the opposite of "Island Time".  It's like New York City Time.  Whenever I go down to the city, I always get caught up in the "hurry up and go" attitude of the place.  There always seems to be someone shouting in a line behind me, or yelling at a guy next to me.  I feel like everybody takes on this attitude around this time of year.  They really want their $300 LCD, and they won't let anything (or anybody) stand in their way.  Long Live Consumerism!

Oh well.  I'm trying to internalize "Island Time" in all aspects of my life.  Nothing is so important that it must be done right now, and the consequences of something taking a little longer than I anticipated are never really that dire.  I was waiting in a really long (about 35 minutes) line at the store today, and I just tried to relax as everyone pitched a fit around me.  It was actually quite soothing.  I let my mind wander, blissfully unaware of the conversations and tribulations of everybody around me.  Then some asshole at the back of the line yelled that it was my turn at the register and I was holding everybody up.  I guess he was on New York City Time . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Favorite Ski Movie

While I enjoy a lot of the ski movies that come out these days (including MSP movies, Meatheads, TGR, etc.), and a lot of the ski movies in the late 90's (Sick Sense by MSP was epic, I wish I could find it on DVD), my favorite ski movie remains P-Tex, Lies and Duct Tape, by Greg Stump.  It's the rare ski movie that tells a story.  Sure, there's great skiing and riding, but the difference is that they actually take the time to develop the characters (and a lot of the guys really are characters).  You learn what drives them, why they made the life decisions they did, and how they are now reaping the benefits of those decisions (shots of factory work and paper pushing in between the ski scenes work really well to sledgehammer that point home).  Every time I watch it, it makes me question what I'm doing every day in a cubicle talking about fantasy football and mindless television shows.  In fact, even as I sit here typing, someone out west is out getting after it.  I can't find an embeddable video, but here's a link to the intro.  Watch this and try not to be psyched about skiing:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love this . . .

The Trailer to this year's TGR movie is so great.  I just love the idea of opening your door in the morning and seeing the most beautiful, majestic mountain peaks.  Hopefully, someday it will become a reality.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Other miscellaneous notes . . .

Getting fired did cause me to rethink what I want with my life (in terms of my skiing life).  These last couple of days freeskiing have been so relaxing, I question why I would ever want to return to a life of mountain employment.  Surely, even if we move out west, I can find a job doing something other than ski instructing.  If I can't find a geologist, park ranger, or environmental science job, I could be a bartender, shop tech, or cook.  Ski instructing was great for a few years because it allowed me to meet many of the people who are my friends today.  But I might be past that point in my life (at least at this mountain).  I know everyone now, and I still hang out with the same people, but skiing now is just so much . . . better (see the post below).  I'm more relaxed, I have more fun, and I don't feel burdened by anything.

If Ace and I do decide to move out west, we'll look for jobs in our fields and we'll probably ski instruct for the first couple of years.  It's the best way to meet new people, you immediately get immersed in the culture of the mountain, and you learn all the best places that locals go.  But I'm sure there will come a point when I just don't want to do it anymore.  And, judging by how I feel after these last two days, I'm fine with that.


What an insane week.

I got fired from ski instructing last Saturday (the 5th) for internet postings that were deemed unflattering to the mountain.  Then I spent the rest of the week in a deep depression trying desperately to get my job back (to no avail), only to have to spend a ton of money (which I don't really have) to buy a season pass so that I will be able to ski this year.  Weak.  There are any number of things that I could complain about (but won't), and right now I'm really just trying to put the whole thing behind me.  I would, however,  like to talk about the difference between working my ass off ski instructing and just freeskiing.

When Ace and I were on our honeymoon, the day we got down there, we set up dinner reservations at this place that was really beautiful.  It was on this pier overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the decor was really nice, and everything was free because it was one of those all-inclusive vacations.  We got to the place we were eating and they said that we'd be seated in 20 minutes.  We went to the bar, had a couple of drinks, and soon, 30 minutes had passed.  We walked around the place for a little, had a couple more drinks, looked at my watch, and noticed that 45 minutes had passed and I was starting to get a little hungry.  We sat down in the bar on these big sofas, continued to drink, and soon, 1 hour had passed, and now I was getting angry.  I get really ummm . . . moody when I'm hungry, and Ace was trying to calm me down, but it wasn't doing any good.  I was ready to go crazy when an hour and fifteen minutes had passed.  I went outside to let off some steam, but it was no good.  I ruined a perfectly nice night because I was so wound up.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized that I was still living life like I was back in New York.  It's just not the island way to do things right away, and I should not of expected that.  It took me a little while, but eventually, I was able to adjust to "island time".  Once I made that adjustment, nothing seemed to bother me anymore.  I could look around, realize that I was in a tropical paradise and everything was free, and I'd feel content and happy.

Saturday at the mountain was my adjustment day.  I was so amped up on skiing that I was trying to fit everything in, and ski every run like a crazy person, and eat really quickly so I could move on to the next thing.  It took me more than half the day to realize that I don't have to be like that any more.  When I used to work at the mountain, I always had to be in certain places at certain times.  I had to clinic and teach and help out with other things, so I was never really able to fit in too much freeskiing.  For that reason, my freeskiing was always crazy hard charging runs that occurred whenever I could fit them in.  Even if I was dead tired at the end of the day, I had to go out and do a couple of crazy free runs, because they were so hard to come by.

Now, I'm completely different.  It's just so relaxed.  I don't have to rush to fit runs in.  I have the whole season!  I don't have to worry about being in certain places at certain times (in fact, the only time I even looked at my watch was around noon when I was supposed to meet Ace for lunch).  It's like . . . a vacation.  And that's how I think about the mountain now.  Every weekend is like a two day vacation.  I'm on island time now.  And it feels damn good.