I Got Skis!

This past week has been an exciting one.  I’ve been able to get out and ski several times, and I’ve been learning some new techniques.  It might surprise you, but despite the fact that I work at a ski resort within spitting distance (almost literally) of the ski slopes, I don’t get to ski every day.  If I work the afternoon/night shift and I want to ski, I have to show up early.  If I work the morning shift, I have to ski after I clock out, and sometimes I have commitments elsewhere.  I haven’t been able to ski as much as I would have liked this winter, but I’ve gotten some good days in.

It's hard to get a good picture of skis. This is the best I've gotten so far.

A huge part of what has made this past week so exciting is that I have finally acquired my own set of skis.  A patroller gave me an older set of his, and despite my offer to pay him, insisted that I keep them.  They are Volkls (we pronounce it “vol-kol,” but Melissa informs me that the more correct way of pronouncing it is closer to “veul-kol.”  I digress), and are 168 cm long.  Volkl is a German company, calling the Bavaria area home.  I’m quickly discovering why so many of the patrollers I work with swear by them.  In addition to being German (which implies careful attention to detail and excellent engineering), the skis are highly versatile and let me cut through powdery snow as well as icy snow easily.  The skis are a bit longer than the rentals I’m used to, but I quickly discovered that the extra 10 cm or so didn’t make much of a difference. 

To explain how it felt to ski on a high-quality set of skis for the first time, I’ve invented a metaphor.  Picture this.  You’re a new driver, and the vehicle you’ve learned to drive in is a Dodge mini-van.  Then, one day, you switch to a vehicle like a Mazda Miata, which has a bit more power, a bit more zip, a lot more maneuverability, and is REALLY REALLY FUN to drive.  That’s what this was like.  Suddenly, using the ski edges to turn made sense.  I was getting the little “hop” between turns that all the experienced skiers talk about, and I wasn’t even thinking about it.  On the first day I used the skis I couldn’t stop grinning, and I did every run that was open.

Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful day as well.  Sunny, bluebird skies during the day, and then beautiful clouds in the afternoon.  The snow wasn’t as nice though; it was crusty and icy.  I didn’t feel like pushing it like I did the day before, so I stayed on the easier and intermediate slopes and just took it slow. 

There was a beautiful sunset on the way home too.  The picture is blurry because I took it with my cell phone, while driving.  Not too safe perhaps, but hey, a sunset like that is too good to pass up. 

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About Ethan Zook

I'm 27, and happily married to a pretty girl named Melissa with a little boy named Elijah. From the Shenandoah Valley, currently hanging out in Richmond, VA. I love exploring the wild places around the area. I write two blogs; Mountain Ramblings is about my personal explorations in the mountains and valleys that I live around. In Mountain Rescue Blog, I write about issues faced by rescuers in mountain environments both locally and around the world.
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