The ski season has definitely arrived. Technically, that may not be news, but a recent exchange with a friend reinforced the fact that it was really here. While the conversation– which occurs regularly throughout the winter months– can vary in its specifics, the basic gist is always the same. It goes something like this:
Friend #1 “Did you get to out there today?” (there can be a ski area, a part of an area, a specific run, Highlands Bowl etc.)
Friend #2 “No, I couldn’t. I had to [give reason]” (reasons can vary from work, family commitments, court appearance etc.)
Friend #1 ” Dude, it was [really good/epic/sick! etc.] Might have been the best day ever up there, it [enter why]” (it was knee deep, waist deep, untracked, just opened etc.)
It’s a simple conversation with only two critical components. First and foremost, it must be established that friend #1 got out and friend #2 did not. Also critical is that friend #1 is of the type that enjoys telling his or her friends, in their own exaggerated way, that they missed out on something they seem to believe might never be experienced again. Some people are exceptionally good at playing the #1 role. I’d say they know who they are but yet I sometimes wonder if they even know they do it. I probably shouldn’t name names.
We’ve all at one time or another missed out on some good skiing and knew it. It’s obvious as you head to some other commitment that the two feet of new snow in town should make conditions pretty good. The phone call or text isn’t necessary. But once it gets started, and even if you aren’t the type to gloat, it kind of becomes a fun to give it back to someone later who did it first to you.
It started off particularly early this season. I got the call last Wednesday night. The mountain officially opened to the public the following day but as a charity event for the Aspen Valley Ski Club you could ski on that Wednesday for $35. There was no new snow on either day and the base depth could be measured in single digits. Textbook early season conditions existed– there were rocks, icy spots, snow guns everywhere and the amount of open terrain was quite small. Yet right on cue, my phone rang Wednesday evening. After I revealed that I didn’t make it and was planning to go up in the morning, my friend #1 told me with complete sincerity, in a truly sympathetic tone as though he honestly believed he experienced something special, something that I completely missed out on,”Man, it was reeeaaaalllly good up there.”
I smirked and said,”I bet it was.” And the game begins.