Monday, February 27, 2012

Heaven is a mountain after you've stopped throwing up on it

After I threw up the whiskey and fell asleep on a picnic table, skiing at Baker was actually a lot of fun. Meeting up for lunch wasn't a hit- I drank a couple of Gatorades and had a stare down with my bowl of soup- but at least I get to meet up with everyone and get a second chance at the day.
And actually even that second chance had a rocky start. Kelly and Brit offered to join us for a few runs, which was great until I realized exactly three shaky turns in that I had to pee, immediately and with great urgency. (All that Gatorade. I was just trying to rehydrate. Sometimes you can't win.)

Skiing back to the lodge wasn't an option because I'd lose everybody again and wind up spending the whole day skiing alone. Which wouldn't be the worst thing, but it wouldn't be the best thing either.

And taking off my skis and hiking into the woods like you can on the mountains in Vermont wasn't an option because if you take off your skis on that deep West coast powder you will sink into the snow and disappear forever.

My options were limited.  Long story short, I exposed myself. In a white world, when one has magenta pants down around ones knees, one will find it difficult to blend in and be discreet. And anyone at the top of Chair Number 5 at approximately 1:45 in the afternoon, plus a handful of folks gliding by just feet from where I balanced, with great caution and focus, bore witness to the spectacle.

I wonder if anyone of those people had also seen a similarly bright pink spectacle throwing up roadside on the approach, and if so, if anyone made the connection.
(As I write this I suddenly realize, I really don't deserve to have the friends I have.)

It was only my second day of skiing in Washington, my second day on steep trails in deep powder, and my second day back skiing after eleven years. But I started, very reluctantly, to get a little braver and follow my friends down some real runs. Not without great protest and a level of shrillness that I am not proud to associate myself with, but I did follow them. And I did pretty well. Andrew describes it this way:

"I suggest a trail. You say you don't want to do it. Then we drop in, and you yell at me a lot. And then you do great. Then you get to the bottom and beg to do it again."

Oh Andrew, and Chris, and all of you, I'm sorry for my neurosis. Those scars come from years of kayaking behind maniacs, of seeing my fears dismissed and then, unfortunately, materialize, all the swims and underwater caves and unrunable rapids at the bottom of vertical canyons, from all the shit that got kicked out of me on those rivers and all the water up the nose....those scars and...aahh...'trust issues', let's call deep.

Or maybe I'm just a wimp.

Either way, I'm working on it.

But skiing is so much more fun than all of that. So far.
The day was so bright, so cold and soft with new snow, that for a few shining moments in the late afternoon when we raced across groomers, sweeping over clean, silent snow, run after run, the air around me crystallized into almost visible perfection. Speed and wind took over my brain and scoured away any fear or nausea the beginning of the day had seen.
 In fact, it was a weekend of such sweetness that just writing about it makes me ache with happiness. The perfect combination of cold adrenaline and the warm comforts of the wooden cabin, sleeping couches and the starlit hot tub and elaborate meals Brittany cooked to feed all eight of us.
On Saturday night we celebrated a birthday, drank grapefruit and vodka with rosemary and bitters, and played a hilarious, rousing, shouting, gesturing, crying with laughter round of Celebrity. Pop-culture meets charades meets Taboo meets improv. And then dropping off, one by one, and falling into bed, sleep a vertical shot, and even though I tried to hang on a little longer just to linger in that deep-glowing night, I'd already dropped in.
Heaven is a cabin outside of Glacier, Washington. No doubt.

Oh, and one more thing:

1 comment:

Cassandra said...

That pie looks delicious...