Well here I am back in another airport terminal starting my next adventure. This time to the great white north and a place called Panorama which holds a special place in my heart because of a particularly brutal memory I have of the place.
It was a mind numbingly frigid December morning. I was shivering. I did not own enough clothing to keep this cold out. My eyes were squeezed shut as the lift swung violently back and forth in the wind, my face as deep as it could go in my coat trying in vain to fend off tiny ice bullets as they drove into any unprotected skin. Squinting my eyes open to see if I was anywhere near the top did little to reassure me as it was 6AM and thus still pitch black outside in those lonely mountains. The light at the top lift shack was like a tiny ray of hope that it did end but even that an empty promise as I knew I would have to get on yet another, longer lift to reach the top of the Super-G that I was racing that day. Not really sure why we had to be on the lift at 6 considering we had to wait for it to be light enough to inspect anyway.
In that moment of hateful elements as I was being tossed from side to side, teeth chattering and wishing nothing more than to be back in the warm bed I had abandoned I thought of how I had never been, and probably never would be again, this miserable in my life. So now whenever I am on the mountain in the bitter cold I think of Panorama, and how it couldn’t possibly be worse than that moment. Or when I am nice and warm under covers, maybe sipping on hot chocolate, I revel in that moment all the more.
Anyway, I digress.
The reason for my trip to this cold dark corner of the world is the second NorAm series of the season. The first were held in Jackson, Wyoming (SL), and Copper, Colorado (GS). I also raced two FIS slaloms at Echo mountain in Colorado before that.
The first slalom races of the season went well. At Echo I scored my first sub 20 result in over a year and at Jackson I amassed enough NorAm points to start in the top 15 for these upcoming races in Canada. I felt that it was some of the best skiing I have done in racing and I am headed into this week with a huge amount of confidence in the event. Panorama is also where I scored my best races last year, as well as acquiring my first top 10 in a NorAm.
I am coming from my home base in Vermont and honestly guys, the snow is a little thin on the east coast right now. Unfortunately it has been unseasonably warm and we are struggling to even blow snow with temperatures very mild during the days, if not hot, and hardly getting below freezing at night.
Despite that Sugarbush and Green Mountain Valley School have done an excellent job in getting their t-bar slalom set up for December. Andrew and I have been ripping that thing up in our tanks and flannels getting all we can get out of it. I actually needed some work on my flats skiing so it was pretty beneficial for me. Here is some video.
Well, I have moved from gate to plane and now I am landing and surprisingly the flight attendant hasn’t yelled at me yet for having my computer out. I’ll be bouncing around the greater part of North America for today and tonight, appreciating those extra couple bucks I saved by not getting a more direct flight. I’ll probably have to spend that money on a rental car and hotel room if I can’t find a ride to the mountain or lodging for tonight. But we’ll see if things don’t just work out first.