Winning Winter

It has been months since I’ve been able to sit a write, partially due to a computer failure, and mostly due to a long stretch of work and life business. The high and lowlights from the Chill:

• Patriots win Super Bowl LI with impossible comeback. Down 28-3 with 2:00 left in the 3rd quarter, it looked bleak (and that was being optimistic). But some textbook mental toughness and Tom Brady being the greatest ever, they complete the most fantastic comeback in Super Bowl history. Legendary.

• I have been dealing with a Lyme disease diagnosis and have been through several rounds of anti-biotics. I was very sick and my right knee was wildly engorged and immobile for about a week before I went to the doctor and asked to be tested for Lyme. I spend a fair amount of time in The Hudson Valley, the Lyme disease capital of the world, and have pulled ticks off of my skin at various times, so I have been somehow expecting this affliction for years and have likely had a relatively mild case of it for quite a while. While the AB treatment was effective in resurrecting me from bedridden cripple, my knee has never fully recovered and I recently visited the preeminent expert on the disease, Dr. Zhang, who prescribed me herbs in pills and acupuncture. It is, unfortunately, something I will likely have to monitor indefinitely.

• Our president is a disgraceful embarrassment, hellbent on destroying our government, our environment, our health, our science, our education, and our Truth. All of this for the price of enriching himself and corporate profiteers. It is simply horrifying and we probably have not seen the bottom yet.

• But Skiing! Big snow and great skiing in Vermont and Utah! A couple of storms brought the goods to Vermont just in time for our arrival in February and we were able to enjoy a few days of skiing. Magic Mountain was nearly perfect and for the first time in 3 years, Black Chair was carrying people uphill. I even got to ski the never-open lift-line trail, Black Magic, which is as challenging as anything on a New England trail map. We spent a few hours on Sunday at Okemo with Ivy and she was actually managing to keep herself upright on her own skis, which was a dramatic improvement from our previous attempts and made me incredibly happy to be sharing time on the slopes with her! Monday (Presidents’ Day) we went for a family hike/skin/snowshoe on Mt. Ascutney, which was closed for years but has recently been acquired by the town and reopened with a free rope-tow and backcountry access. It is a perfect place for our family to explore with the kids in backpacks and I hope to spend more time there in the future!

And then Utah! Last winter, as I came to the realization that my ski season was truly sad and unfulfilling, attributable to a new baby and some of the consistently worst conditions the East has ever seen, I proposed that Alaina and I treat ourselves to a Western ski trip next year. After roping our parents into babysitting duties, we planned three days in the most accessible spot with some of the best mountains to play in: Salt Lake City. Snowbird is as steep and burly as any lift-served terrain in the world; Solitude and Brighton have endlessly varied terrain; Powder Mountain has zero frills and infinite vibe. All three days were 50 degree bluebird days with soft spring corn. While I may fantasize about storms of snow, the carefree weather that we received was truly ideal for this easy escape and perfect date trip.

Luckily, two days after we returned from our trip, a gigantic blizzard pulverized the Northeast and set up Stowe with four feet of snow, just in time for the annual Stoweravaganza. Saturday involved a backcountry tour with blissful, effortless turns through the trees followed by delightful apres-ski pizza and beers and music and friends in the greatest classic ski house I’ve ever seen. Sunday was Ivy’s day, and she skied with me, which is, again, as much happiness as I will ever experience on the slopes. I feel like I get to begin my ski life all over again, sharing this activity with her, and hopefully she will love it even a little bit as much as I do!

• It is now officially Spring and I can feel the warmth approaching rapidly. Windows are opening and spending time outside doesn’t require battle gear anymore. We are shifting modes and new activities are on the horizon. This Winter was challenging, painful, exciting, euphoric and beautiful. I look forward to tomorrow and every day I have remaining to enjoy this life fully!


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