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April is the Cruelest Month

John Rowland

Posted on April 21, 2018 14:55

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In the spirit of T.S. Eliot's line, the end of another ski season is at hand.

This time of year always has a tinge of sadness to it as it signals the end of another ski season for most skiers in most areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

Throw in the passing of yet another Winter Olympiad to add to the sorrows of the sport's enthusiasts.

Naturally, some higher-altitude resorts in the Northern Hemisphere may keep a small part of their total terrain open in bigger snow years for hard-core ski bums, perhaps until July, but the conditions can be extremely marginal. For the super intrepid, glaciers also provide some recreational possibilities. And too of course, the ultra-committed can go ski in the Southern Hemisphere, where a new season awaits.

So while another season may be over for most of us here in the north, many (some bombastic and exaggerated) ski stories were surely born; some of the uglier ones may be conveniently forgotten, but others will undoubtedly live on.

Most every skier of any ability has at least a few of these sagas.

One of mine is the time I inadvertently ended up on the West Face (Jonny Moseley's Run) at Squaw Valley in California.

 

Chute 75 (center); West Face (just to left)

 

It was a beautiful day; clear, cold and fast. With no soft powder to speak of, I mistakenly found myself on this pretty steep ungroomed face, in a field of moguls (bumps) up to my shoulders (there's the exaggeration part).

Another such embellished line can be heard in the movie from way back, Downhill Racer, where Robert Redford's character says, "I'll be in ruts up to my knees."

Sometimes these ski stories can sound like fishing tales, when a 5-pound fish magically becomes a 20-pound catch as the narrative is re-told.

We've probably all done it at some time (age, weight, golf handicaps, etc.).

Anyway, while moguls are not my favorite terrain, I can usually navigate them enough to survive.

But my big problem on this particular day was that I was riding a pair of 210cm Rossignols; longer skis designed for Downhill/Super-G-type racing, i.e. high speed. And since colder snow generally makes for added speed, this only made a bad situation worse; a not-very-welcome element in a sea of big moguls, where technical skills are typically more practical than pure, raw speed.

To visualize this precarious situation to non-skiing folks, a suitable metaphor might be to picture an elongated Corvette trying to meander through the narrow cobblestone streets of some quaint European village; having to control one's speed/direction so as not to harm person or property -- very difficult -- very dangerous.

Fortunately, I managed to survive all the trauma despite being in way over my head.

Besides teaching me a valuable lesson, the experience made for an interesting memory.

So to all skiers out there, cheer up.

Ski season's just a few months away . . . where more good, bad and ugly personal stories await!

John Rowland

Posted on April 21, 2018 14:55

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Source: Denver Post

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Authorities say a woman has died after injuring herself while skiing in Squaw Valley.

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