by Jen Forsyth
In ski seasons past, I have always wanted to ski 100 days. The closest I have come is 93. I usually come up with the idea about 20 days into my season. I go back through a calendar and try to recount the days I skied, which days I didn't and then start tabulating on a regular basis. This year was different. I went into the season counting every time I clicked boots into bindings.
Last week, as I was nearing the 13th day, I was aware of some of the events that were occurring that day, mainly that it was my 13th day, the much anticipated North Bowl at Schweitzer was opening and it would be my first day skiing mainly off-piste runs with my boyfriend . I will preface this with I am not a superstitious person. I am aware of seeing a black crow, crossing the path of a black cat, full moons, Friday the 13th and just the number 13, in general. But I don't change plans or direction based on any of these events.
Our voyage that morning went as planned. We got a little later start than normal but were still skating to the quad as the eager first chair crew made their way to the top, all making their way to the backside. We followed suite and wondered on our five minute ride to the top, "What shall we ski first?" So many options. The mountain had experienced several diverse weather patterns; epic snow, rain, sun, wind. You name it, we had it.
It was decided, the first run would be one of my favorites, "Misfortune". Two turns off a nice sized cornice and the run lived up to it's name. Battling turns to the bottom, we made my way back to Chair 6 and asked each other, "is it too early to go to the bar?". Our question was answered for us when we realized the bar didn't open until 11am and it was only 9:20am. As we rode to the top, we looked around for what aspect might have better conditions and decided to stick it out for a couple more hours. We glanced over towards a northeast facing run, Siberia, that contained only a couple of tracks and was sitting in the sunshine. "Hmm, that looks nice" seemed to flow from our mouths simultaneously so we unloaded the lift and headed off in that direction.
We dropped in and we were both amazed at how effortless the skiing was; soft, smooth and deep. Our greed for powder took us back several more times to the same area. We were joined by another couple and we were excited to share our secret find with them. Two more runs and it was starting to get skied out and the numerous chairlift rides were starting to take a toll on my cold toes. I was also on a deadline for the most recent issue of the Snowlander and had a couple of interviews scheduled so it was time for me to switch from "research and development", aka skiing, and put pen to paper, or more appropriately, fingers to keyboard. I loaded the lift with the beau and headed to the top with the intent to head down the mountain and do some work. Eleven towers into our ride, the chair stopped. Chairlifts stop all the time so it didn't concern me. Then it started. Stopped. Started. And then stopped. This is how it stayed for the next two hours while the ski patrol worked their way down and started evacuating each chair lift, using ropes and harnesses.
The two hours seemed to go by pretty fast but took forever at the same time. I was happy to get down, warmed up and back to me being more in control of my environment. I have always wanted to be evacuated from a chairlift, it was fun just like repelling. The inconvenience was only the two hours waiting for the experience. During that two hours, the beau and I discussed how this is one of those experiences that can 'make or break' a relationship. We made it through and are able to laugh about it.
But what I have decided for future seasons is to not include the day #13. Like hotels not having a 13th floor, I will not have a 13th day. I will go right from 12 to 14. And if that means I only ski 99 days, so be it. I guess I might be superstitious after all.