February 06, 2005

Good vibrations

My favorite thing about Super Bowl Sunday is that so many people stay home and watch football on television. Because that means no lines at the chairlift. Ski conditions were almost perfect today -- sunshine, moderate temperatures, and hard-packed snow -- and yet the slopes were empty. The kids and I arrived first thing in the morning before the chairlift started running and left only after they shut it down at the end of the day. It was so warm that I could take as many runs as I wanted to without my feet getting cold. I was in a miserable mood last week (I hate February! Have I mentioned that?) but it's impossible for me to spend a day outside in the sunshine and fresh air and not feel a whole lot better about life. I'm sunburned, actually, and I can't tell you how good that feels. The great thing about a few weeks of cloudy skies and subzero weather is that when a day like today comes, it feels like a miracle.

After three hours of skiing in the morning sunshine, we met inside the lodge for lunch, and all stripped off layers of clothes; how wonderful to be too warm! The lodge is just a big room with windows facing the slopes. It looks nothing like the ski lodges in 1930s movies; the atmosphere is more like a locker room. Picnic tables are scattered all about and everyone has piles of stuff: wet clothes, boots, snowboard cases, coolers, bags of food. People are constantly taking clothes off or putting them on, and dancing about in their socks to avoid wet spots on the floor.

Every Sunday, we share a picnic table with NeighborGuy and his three kids, marking our spot by piling all of our stuff on it. NeighborGuy and I always joke about the fact that we bring all kinds of healthy food -- and then succumb to pressure from the kids and buy french fries with hot sauce. That smell is hard to resist. So today, when out of the blue, he handed me an apple, I figured he was hinting that I should eat something healthy, so I took a bite. He gave me kind of a surprised look but said nothing while I ate the apple. Later, Boy-in-Black said to me, "Do you know why NeighborGuy handed you that apple?" I shrugged.

He continued: "We were playing with it - kicking it around on the floor - didn't you notice how filthy it was?" Uh, no.

Usually we pair off to ski or snowboard, but we do at least one run as a whole group. Boy-in-Black and OlderNeighborBoy have been boarding for five years, and they delight in showing off -- carving at top speed as close to my skis as they can, hitting every jump in the terrain park, and getting as much air as they can on their ollies. The adrenaline I get from skiing down a slope is only heightened when I'm surrounded by a pack of high-energy teen-agers. After skiing through that energy - the laughing, the teasing remarks, the flashing grins, the rattling sound of edges carving into ice, the whoosh of air as their bodies brush by - I feel ready to tackle the week.


negativecapability said...

my sentiments exactly...only I used to use the SuperBowl as an excuse to go surfing at the choice spots where I otherwise wouldn't dare entering the lineup.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I love reading your skiing posts - they inspire me to get up and DO something. (Well, not at this exact moment since I'm writing a letter of recommendation, doing laundry, and planning to get to bed within the next hour, but in general.) Seeing as I live where there's no snow, I don't think skiing is going to be that something, but I'm thinking about it. I love reading about how you enjoy it.

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

Your ability to find joyful things to do and to relish your time doing them (especially during your worst time of the year) is inspiring--and a good example.

Cheeky Prof said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic day and are refreshed for the upcoming week. Good for you! I've never been a football fan, either, and never really sat through a game until the past few years. Now I get by with snacks and holding out for commercials (which were a bit disappointing this year). Oh, and grading papers.
Have a great week!

Not Scott said...

Apples have always been forbidden, dirty or otherwise.

I'd email, but am concerned that your address is no longer valid. Return to sender and whatnot.

Congrats on the Wild Thoughts essay. As always, glad to see you are inspired, in some roundabout fashion, by the events of the turn of the century.

I have no apple today, but will eat my vegan lunch--rice, mushrooms, banana and water--in your honor.