Bah and Humbug! A Storm Chaser’s Lament – by David McCue

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Alright, look, it wouldn’t be a party if Eeyore didn’t show up.  Does a silver lining exist without a cloud?  It’s a very fine line I have to walk here, the precipice between any skiing and ideal skiing.  So to start, despite the uncooperative weather, the number of runs open this holiday is a great and astonishing thing; and a welcome change from last year.

But I’m still waiting, for a storm and some powder I can chase and in the winter I arrange things to be ready on short notice for any deep event.  It’s true that you can slide downhill with only an inch of snow beneath you –unless of course you are Candide Thovex, then 20 miles of grass and rock is fine.  Yes I’m grateful for man-made snow, and I’ll ski groomers all day …if I must. But here is the crux, my confession, my need;  I’m ready for a blizzard.  I’m wishing for a 24 inch in 24 hour event with just enough warning to beat the snowplows and road closures.  Is that so wrong?

Hard to say when I became so ungrateful and needy about slope conditions. Oddly it was not always so, it was only a few years ago I posted  on the Skisoutheast Message board that I thought powder was overrated, and I received a barrage of “constructive” commentary.

Now I find myself on the opposite side of that line.  I’m just waiting for the natural coverage to commence. How does that happen?  How does an otherwise reasonable skier become so selfish and intolerant?

First it requires thinking that the weather should care about you; which I do sincerely, since I care so deeply about it.  The weather is my most intimate internet friend.

Gear to go anywhere

But that’s not enough, true obsession requires a positive powder experience; which is to say the first time you have float and forward movement and Einstein appears as an angel on your shoulder and quietly intones “yes, concerning gravity, I think you are correct.”

That is an affirmation you will always choose to chase.

Some powder required

The final straw for me was equipment.  Touring bindings and skins have opened up new places, although it takes me an absurdly long time to get to these places.  Maybe I should just walk to the post office next time.

In the meantime though, until the next storm strikes,   groomers is what we’ve got, which isn’t bad if you can make the most of it.

Here is my advice while we wait:
Take a lesson:  Cut to the front of crowded lift lines with an instructor and profit from an objective analysis of your undoubtedly excellent form.

Ski with your kids:  Nothing happens by itself, ski now with them and they may ski with you in years to come— they may even buy you a lift ticket –ha!

Children are not so picky about “perfect” snow

Case the joint:  make like a criminal and always look to see what you will poach if it does ever snow again.  Although once when I was peering into the woods a patroller stopped and said “I know what you are doing” but he was smiling too.

Talk to strangers:   lifties, surly chair mates, folks barbecuing in the parking lot; talk to everyone, it’s a communal sport based on common obsession, unplug and connect.

I feel better just thinking about it, I’ll check the forecast tomorrow.

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