Well, this past weekend was summit time for me and quite a few other message board members. With Ski Beech and a cold blue sky as a backdrop, we gathered for the 3rd annual SkiNC Summit. Some of you reading may not know what this whole “summit” thing is all about. Well, it is the opportunity to get out of this cyber world and meet and mingle with some real flesh and blood people. A group of people so diverse, well except for the fact that we are predominantly male; that if we were to be thrown together under any other circumstances it might develop into a major brawl. We are experts and beginners, skiers, snowboarders, telemarkers, and snowbladers, park rats and powder hounds, teenagers and AARP members, tea-totalers and hard partiers, locals and Floridians, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents. We all share the common bond of loving to slide on the snow even though we may use different apparatus.
In its first incarnation the summit was a somewhat intimate affair with about a dozen or so people showing up at Hawksnest. If the first summit was like sharing a corner table in a quiet restaurant, the second summit was like New Year’s Eve on Times Square. This year it was to fall somewhere in between.
It was 8 degrees when I rolled into the parking lot at Beech after slinging road grime on uttwintip since somewhere before Roan Mountain and there were already 20 or so hardy souls there. The ‘Bama Boys (K2Josh, PublicEnemyBrad, and LollarAT) looked like they thought it was cold. Some people got geared up and hit the mountain as fast as they could, others hung around for a while talking and laughing it up with people they see every weekend and with people they’ve never met before. Skordie made the trip in his X-Terra that my rack won’t fit. Camogirl and friend were decked out in, of course; their finest camo. Bama Dude, hot in the race for the prize of “Never Posts on the Message board-Always Comes to the Summit” rolled in right after I did. Hnhbaxter stopped by for a while with his family, and MSDOG was there with his son. GreshamB, ridingshockgun, and Markhpnc were early arrivers along with 2slikstix and captaincoldbeer. Zeus and Spec showed a little later. Ma267 was somewhere out on the mountain lost and alone.
Pretty much everybody was out on the mountain by 10 or so. While it was cold on the thermometer, the sun was out and it was really a fantastic day to be out on the slopes, it was windy up at the top but once off of the summit you were sheltered from it. The snow was definitely hardpacked over most of the upper mountain with the exception of Upper Shawneehaw which was a much softer, looser, packed powder surface. I spent most of my time running laps on White Lightning, Robbins Run, and Southern Star where there were no people to speak of and you could really let your skis run. After several runs I came back down to the lot around 12:30’ish and 2slikstix had the grill fired up and filling the area with the aroma of grilling bratwurst and kielbasa. Good stuff with some grilled peppers and onions, and hot chow-chow on the side. Of course, it’s not a party until the cops show up and we were treated to several drive bys from Beech Mountain’s finest; however they seemed satisfied that we posed no threat to society in general and we didn’t have to engage in any actual conversations with these public servants. Spec tried to use his jacket pocket as a cup with less than stellar results, maybe he should have ponied up for the coat with the seam sealed pockets if he was gonna try that.
After I got back out onto the slopes the lift lines were getting kind of long for the quad so we pretty much rode the double on the far looker’s right side of the mountain. We ran into jefferyc in his “Captain America” ski suit for a couple of runs. In what has become the exception at summits the major part of the group skied until just about closing time.
Several of us went over to the Brick Oven Pizzeria afterwards for some food and beverages, courtesy of MSDOG. I owe him a huge “Thank You”, for everything he did to make the weekend a success. We shot some pool and called an irritable MBlacky; berating him, questioning his sexual orientation, and basically having a good laugh at his expense. MelissaM and a friend came up from Asheville just to put some faces with some names, I must say her Midwestern accent (or lack of it) was quite different from the deep southern drawls surrounding her (and she definitely beats out the ruffians that I skied with all day in the “easy on the eyes” department).
We retired to MSDOG’s house and continued with more of the same somehow losing Gresham in the process. I had to leave the mountain by 11 AM the next morning so I decided against skiing on Sunday, the reports I have heard are that the conditions were fantastic.
Thanks to everyone that helped to make this happen, most notably everyone at Ski Beech, MSDOG, and everyone that just showed up. If you didn’t make it this year, plan on making it next year and join us over on the message board.