Monday, January 23, 2006

Snow Bust

This was supposed to be the four-straight-days-of-skiing weekend, up in Waterville Valley, NH. Unfortunately, we booked our visit (timeshare trade) in May, when it's a little unpredictable how the weather conditions will be. As a rule, however, you can figure that even if there's not much natural snow, at least it will be cold enough to make snow.

By now, you've probably guessed how this story ends: After planning to take time off from work, making arrangements to take the Boy out of school for a couple of days, leaving the pet care in the hands of a friend--we get a record-breaking warm spell. We even drove 90 minutes from Waterville to Jay Peak --figuring they must have snow there--and found nothing but icy slopes. Jay Peak, for God's sake! Where it normally snows more than 300 inches per year; there are resorts out west where it doesn't snow as much.

Picture this: We get to the top of the Metro Quad lift, which takes you to a nice, long green slope. Under ordinary conditions, an ideal run. Now imagine me taking off down the mountain and realizing that it's all ungroomed granular ice with plain old icy bald patches. Now imagine me doing that pizza wedge thing a lot, then finally deciding I need to get off this nice, long slope. So I head down the fall line, with a lot of so-called "positive self-talk" that went something like this:

"Remember, lean forward--you can't fall forward! Lean forward! Lean forward! Slow down! SLOW DOWN! Lean forward! Press your left toe into your boot and curve right! Press! Press! SLOW DOWN! You were meant to get off this mountain. You were meant to get off this mountain! How am I going to explain a broken leg to my boss? LOOK OUT FOR THAT LITTLE KID LEARNING TO SKI! You are NOT going to fall! Lean forward! Look--there's the bottom! You're almost there!"
The Boy had raced swiftly and gracefully to the bottom and was waiting calmly when I arrived, although he admitted that he'd been somewhat scared on the ice as well. We then waited almost 10 minutes for Jim. When he showed up, we learned he had lost a ski at the top of the slope and had to sidle down the mountain to catch the rogue runner, then come down.

Jim's much more fearless than I am, so I was about to announce that I needed a break (say for a week) before going back up. Before I could say anything, he said, "That was TERRIBLE. No way I'm going back up there today!"

Did I mention that's when it started to RAIN?

On the other hand, Jay looks like a great place to go under normal conditions, so we're determined to go back in the future. And we did get to eat lunch in this great, tiny little diner in nearby Newport, VT, called Family Recipe. Best. Baked. Beans. Ever.

Yesterday we took a look at skiing Cannon Mountain, but conditions weren't much better there and probably won't be till the end of this week; we didn't even bother buying lift tickets. Other skiers in the timeshare said Waterville Valley conditions weren't any better. At least my son made friends with the kids in the lobby, so for him it was fun.

So we finally decided to save our precious vacation and pack it up. We're home now--and of course it's snowing. But it will take most of a week to build up enough surface to make the skiing better (especially for the wienies like me and Jim). Even Jay is only expecting a few inches this week. (At Jay Peak, for God's sake!)

But maybe it will be cold enough for the folks at Cannon Mountain to make snow. Because we're talking about going back this weekend...


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