Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Treats vs a Steady Diet

When I lived in Maryland, ski conditions were rare. If I got to ski in Annapolis it meant that a significant storm for that area had brought usable snow that might last only a day. Sometimes we might get a week out of it. Skiing was a treat.

Even if we did not get to ski in our own neighborhood, skiers from the area would make a special trip to western Maryland, West Virginia or Pennsylvania for a better shot at usable snow. Because it was a dedicated expedition, skiing was the main focus of the trip. Whether we stayed in a hotel or camped out, we ate and slept only to fuel and rest ourselves for skiing.

After moving to what we used to consider ski country, I started to experience skiing as part of a more routine daily schedule. I had to go to work, clean the house, buy groceries, and all the other details of a regular life. I did not live in ski clothes for the whole winter the way I would live in those clothes for a whole visit to winterland. Convenience actually makes skiing less convenient. You have to suit up for it and then change into appropriate garb for whatever you have to do next.

Granted, when skiing came to Annapolis I was fitting it in around my workaday schedule. I was younger, so skiing for two or three hours at night didn't wear me out as much as it does now. The excitement of having snow added to my energy. Living in a place where snow is more normal erodes the excitement. It does not come back once it's gone. I have to clear that snow from around my home before I get to play on it.

Another result of regular skiing is a higher standard of skiing. I recall my eager fumbles for the first few years. Every bit of progress was great. I would visit New England and feel like I must not look too bad out there. After a couple of decades living up here I know how I looked. I've seen a lot of other people look that way. The innocence was nice while it lasted. Knowing better is a burden one cannot put down. Indulge the innocent, but you cannot rejoin them. Well, I can't anyway.

I still enjoy skiing in the woods in much the same way as I always did. It's an ancient style of practical skiing. But on the highly refined crack cocaine of modern grooming with performance gear I can't settle for a wheezy wobble. Better to avoid the groomies altogether than remind myself of how far I have fallen. If by luck I happen to get into some kind of shape again I can sneak in the side entrance and try to zip around a little.

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