Skiing three different mountains on New Year’s Day has got to be some kind of a good luck charm, don’t you think? My neighbor Dave wanted to ski with me for a day and help me practice my side slips and turns on steeper runs (after reading about my panic attack on Hidden Treasure.) Looking over the map at day’s end, I realized he had taken me to uncharted territory — skiing three different mountains in one day and on New Year’s Day no less!
We started on Bald Eagle Mountain and took Little Stick stopping along the way to practice the side slip technique for steeper slopes or when too close to the edge to turn safely. Dave made a perfect zig-zag on the hill maneuvering his skis by leaning forward and backwards. Unfortunately, mine looked more like a snow angel but eventually, I got the hang of it and felt more secure in steeper terrain.
A new mountain! We headed to Little Baldy Peak on a nice long green run – Deer Hollow that leads to the new Mountaineer Express chairlift. We worked on “patience turns” and Dave showed me how to read the fall line of the run like a golfer reads the greens to putt. You could call it the Zen of Skiing as I started to get the feel of the snow and the skis instead of always being concerned with forcing my next turn.
Flagstaff Mountain was next so we headed up Carpenter Lift and scooted across the “beach” at Silver Lake Lodge to the Viking Lift. It was practice time and we took a mix of greens and steeper blues and I found myself hooting and hollering feeling more and more in control on steeper runs and with increased speed.
Finally I was told that I must be tired because I was planting my poles opposite of what I was supposed to and I had reverted to my lean back ski stance. Have you ever felt like a little kid who knows he has to come in but just can’t stop playing outside? That was me but I knew it was time to go.
Heading back to Snow Park, I was treated to “animal house” on Lucky Chance. No, not the classic movie, but a series of houses that have whimsical statues of animals adorning their decks, yards and rooftops. We saw raccoon, elk, bear, and moose as well as a totem pole with a bald eagle’s nest atop. These sights made for an interesting run.
Studies have shown that good luck charms boost confidence which actually help people perform better. Professional athletes have superstitions like Wayne Gretzky putting on his pads the same way every time and Brian Urlacher eating two chocolate cookies before every game. Maybe there is something to the three peaks on New Year’s Day. Our rational minds will tell us that my skiing improved because my friend (former ski instructor) took me out and gave me some pointers and tips. But, I am going to hold out on the thought that there is something to the spending the first day of the brand new year standing on top of three different mountain peaks.
How many people get to do that in their entire lives? I think a new tradition is born.