Monday, December 14, 2009

Ski season, at last



So it finally got here.

Yeah, I'd gotten out in the backcountry. And, yes, Purg was open for a few days with a ribbon of man-made so-called snow. But that's not ski season.

Ski season, to me, is when winter finally arrives to deposit upon us those grand and glorious and deep San Juan dumps. And it's when we finally get up there to romp and ride that manna from the Pacific.

This is no small thing in my life. And my family's lives. And in our mountain-town tribe's lives. This is one of several potent and meaningful annual rituals in our lives. Along with the spring's first river trip, and ... well, that might be about it.

It's that big in our personal calendars. Seasonal rites and ceremonies for we mountain-town folk.

So this weekend we celebrated. Driving up the gorgeous gash of the Animas Valley in a driving snow. Gathering with those many other mostly local fellow snow acolytes. (Only in mountain towns does a blessing of "Praise Ullr!" rouse approval and agreement among strangers in a crowd.) And meeting up with other tribal members to practice our rites: Riding the chairlift, discussing and dissecting lines and powder stashes, cruising and carving and crashing and giggling with wintery glee down what were amazingly good early-season powder-skiing conditions this weekend.

And the kids? Oh, we crossed paths occasionally. But mostly they were off, meeting up with their own neophyte mountain-town tribal pals, finding their own lines. Forging their own mountain-town lives.

Damn good stuff.

Sacred stuff around these parts.

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