We got up extra early to see mom and Larry off. Their flight home was also through Provo, so Brenda had to drive them all the way down there. Once again, the plane broke, so poor mom and Larry were basically stranded for six hours at the tiny airport until the next flight. Needless to say, they will not be flying Allegiant again.
Tay didn’t bring long underwear with him, so he had to borrow my star-spangled tights from the party as an under layer. Surprisingly, I had thought enough to throw in some old silk long underwear from our Beijing days, and some ski socks so I was pretty set. When Aunt Brenda got back, we loaded up the gear and hit the trail. It was a gorgeous sunday. Sunny, cold, but not too cold. There was a lot of traffic heading up the hill, but it moved pretty well.
We already had our tickets, a RFID tagged card, so we were able to bypass the throngs of people buying tickets and renting equipment. The card system was new to me. I had seen it before in Abu Dhabi’s indoor skiing, but the last time I was out on the slopes in real snow, I had a barcode that had to be scanned. Now you just pass through these reader gates and it beeps and opens up for you. Speeds things up a lot.
Saori skiied with me, Brenda, and David, and Tay snowboarded. Both of us remembered pretty well how to ski given the three years. I said we should start with a green, but David took us immedately to the blues, which turned out to be just the right thing since it was an easy blue with enough grade to remind us how to go fast and how to go slow. It was heaven to ski again. Saori was really anxious the first few runs, but quickly warmed to it. She loved the narrow runs in the alleys between patches of woods. As for me and Tay, we both enjoyed the big wide runs where we could fairly fly along. Tay also remembered how to board, and it was incredible fun to fly along with him, cutting across each other’s paths in sprays of snow.
The slopes were relatively uncrowded and we got in about five or six long runs before Saori called time for a break. Brenda went to join her, since she skipped breakfast, and they held down a table for us at the ski tavern Molly Green’s. One of the best moments of skiing is taking off your helmet, jacket, and gloves, and sitting down at a big table in a noisy, cozy bar for a big beer and a hot meal. Saori got herself an imperial black IPA which turned out to have over 9% alcohol, and I stuck with their local draft IPA. We had an enthusiastic server Robbie who reminded me a bit of the Old Spice guy since he gave us our orders with a side of “Bam!”
We had a lot of time to metabolize the alcohol since the service was very. very. slow. We demolished a massive plate of nachos which Saori and Brenda had ordered before we got there, and then I tucked away a big sourdough bowl of chili (which was unexceptional), and tried a bit of Saori’s bakedboardee onion soup (which was exceptional). The meal plus tip ended up around $26 per person, but I have to say it was worth it.
The two worst moments of skiing are that first hike up the hill to the first lift, when you are overheating, struggling with equipment and icy snow, and the first lift after lunch, when you put back on your sweat-damp jacket, gloves and hat, and freeze solid in the chair.
I was getting tired too. Saori had a few falls, but they were really just slips on steep grades where she slid on her butt a bit and was immediately able to stand up and ski again. I had a pretty major wipe out when my skis got crossed and I tumbled down. Lost my skis. I was aware enough to rotate around and dig in my heels to keep from sliding. Two boarders saw me and picked up my skis and slid down to me. They were a little concerned since apparently it looked pretty major of a wipeout. I was happy I'd gotten the helmet. The problem was I'd hit so hard, I'd screwed up the bindings on one ski, so i had to kick the toe bindings a few times to knock it back horizontal.
Anyway, I took it easier after that and we had just a few more runs anyway since the lifts started closing at 4. We all met up again in the locker room and doggedly made our way to the car, towards home, a lasagna, a Mexican beer, a hot tub, and ultimately, bed.