We're back from snow skiing near Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was a great time. It was also great timing. We'd made the hotel reservations and purchased discount lift tickets at Snowbowl weeks ago. Obviously, we had no idea what conditions would be like, but we were pleased when it began snowing in Flagstaff the week before our trip. It kept snowing too. I actually began to wonder if we'd be able to get up the roads to the mountain. But the snow ended Monday night, the sun came out Tuesday, the winds stopped blowing mid-morning, and we arrived to enjoy ideal slope conditions and perfect weather around noon. Wednesday was incredible too. By Thursday, the slopes would be getting crusty and skied off, but we'd already left for home, with a stopover in scenic Sedona.
Timing is a funny thing to think about. The timing of this trip was pure luck. "I'd rather be lucky than good" is one of my go to phrases, and this was a good example of why.
I love skiing. I like being bundled up and warm with just a few exposed places on my face feeling the brisk chill. I like feeling my legs work to absorb bumps or to turn me and keep me stable. I'm thrilled when I can let go to gravity and just fly down an empty slope for a while (under full control, of course). I like seeing the snow-flocked pine trees lining the slopes and the incredible views from the mountain tops. I like riding the lifts, catching my breath and anticipating the next run. And I really, REALLY like the sounds.
First, I like the sound of snow under my skies (the soft squeaking of packed powder when I move across it, not the harsh scraping of my edges when I hit an ice patch). I like how quiet it can be, despite how well snow carries sound. Most of all, I like the sound of the lift, especially when there's a squeaky wheel on one of the towers. That squeak-squeak-squeak sound swells as the chair approaches the tower, then fades as we move up the mountain. When it's really quiet except for that sound, for whatever reason, my chairlift turns into a time machine. My mind goes back to all of the times I've listened to that squeak while sitting on a chairlift with a ski buddy, bundled up, happy, sometimes cold, always anticipating the next run down. I've done quite a bit of skiing over the years, so there are a lot of memories for that little sound to trigger. I love it. I notice it every time I ski.
When I get too old to ski, I'm going to bundle up, go to a ski resort, and pay someone to let me ride the time machine (up and then back down again). I think I'll start saving now.