With Thanksgiving holiday shenanigans over, today was my ski season opener. I went with a lot of apprehension and worry, but it all worked out great.
I missed the last 2 weeks of last season in April due to an achilles tendon injury from a weird fall 2 months before. Tendinosis, I found out, is really hard to overcome. Months of PT and rest got my tendon working again, but with still an achy feeling nine months later, I was dreading putting my heel in a ski boot. Providing rest for my tendon, I had some bone spurs on my toe removed that required a month of inactivity. Chisels, saws, and planer fixed the spur issue and months of tenderness went away, leaving just the pain from arthritis and lack of cartilage. Again, I didn’t know how my toe joint, now bigger than normal, would fit in my performance fit ski boot. Did I mention tendinosis caused thickening of the achilles? So with left foot 2.0, I tried on my boots. My toe screamed as it bent round the corner into my stiff, tight boot. Once in…… Pulled it out and decided that wasn’t happening again. So I got new boots. New ski boots are one of the most stressful parts of skiing. At least my skiing.
So I tucked my worries into my ski pack, put on my new “Cabrio Design” boots and loaded the chair. It was sunny, excellent grooming, slippery wax - and it felt great. Not only did my newly altered foot work pain free, this was the best out-of-the-box (minor toe punch included) boot I’ve ever skied. Wheeeewww. Thanks to Glenn Plake’s work with Dalbello to make a boot that matched his love of the old Flexons. And thanks to Brandt at Sturtevant’s who heard my sob story and with his first grab, had the right boot.
On to today -
With limited options - Luckyshot, Iceberg, Green Valley, Snorting Elk - we ripped what we could. Six inches of new overnight hid the rocks for two hours and the snow was excellent. Then slowly, from the lower aspects up, the snow thickened, packed hard, and the rocks grew. Other than Valley Bowl Right, and C3 Chairline, it got pretty tough. Or, were my wimpy summer quads turning to mush. Some of both. By noon, rocks were growing everywhere on the backside traverse and Luckyshot. Lower Green Valley was thickening, and Iceberg was rocky on top and solid potatoes down low. We grabbed a few more runs in Grubstake Trees, dodging said trees and rocks, and wore some lines down Chairline. Although they feel fine now, the quads were done.
Best first day in years.
The next 3-5 days will be an onslaught of frontal systems. Alternating snow, and lack thereof, will be the plan. Timing will be the difference between snowy, maybe windy, and cloudy and dry. Pick your day, watch your forecast 6 hours before, and take what you get. What you need is snow, snow, snow. Things are pretty rough and won’t hold up to much skiing without new snow. Rumors are that Forest Queeny will open wednesday and maybe Chair Six on friday.