For the past five years, we regularly get together with Diane and Peter from New York during the Holidays. We traditionally share a European-style raclette for dinner at home, and always have a wonderful time. We had randomly met at the bottom of the Mayflower chairlift in 2003 (this would be a long story in itself) and besides having that late December dinner together, we’ve developed a tradition of sharing our New Year’s resolutions and checking our progress, or lack thereof, the following year.
Usually, we simply focus on lofty objectives and wishes, including of course, potential vacation spots, intellectual pursuits, sporting accomplishments and even building projects. This year though, we decided to forgo Machu Picchu or the backyard compost bin and focus instead on our common love for skiing. Again, our big city friends come to Deer Valley, once a year, for Christmas, while my wife and I are the lucky ones who get to live full-time in Park City and ski probably more than our fair share!
If they could, our friends would also like to ski more often, but need to convince themselves that they must set aside more time for that purpose. This is why we helped them formulate several compelling reasons, ranging from technique improvement to a great tan. Peter would love to improve his “bump” technique, while Diane is looking for a patient instructor that could take her into deep, powder snow, something she’s always dreamed of. Practically, this would mean setting aside a few more days during the winter months, in which they’d take these “Max 4” lessons that some of their friends have told them about, that run half a day and are limited to just four students.
This is how we all came to the conclusion that they should also try “spring skiing.” We have always been telling them how fun March skiing can be, filled with light, and abundant snow and is the very best way to fully enjoy the “beach” at Silver Lake, right after lunch. Besides, March skiers are almost guaranteed to come home with a tan that won’t be unnoticed when they return to the office. That was all that was needed to convert our New-Yorker friends into signing up for a “studious” ski week in Deer Valley, early March.
This was leaving us, the two locals, to display the resolve expected of us. My wife has always been a “fair weather skier.” This means that a blue-bird day is the necessary reason for her to get out and ski. On the other hand, subtle cloudy streaks on the horizon have often derailed many of her ski outings. Whenever it snows and I go skiing, she thinks: “Poor guy, he’ll get all wet and won’t see a thing…” Yet, it’s often during those overcast and snowy days that I have the most fun. For years, I’ve tried to convince her that she should at least try, and experience the unparalleled snow softness and the surreal lighting that often makes the experience almost magical. As my argument appeared convincing and met the expectations of the rest of party, she decided that it would be worth a try and volunteered to ski at least five snowy days this season…
I was the only one left to step out and make a pledge. With around 60 ski days under my belt in a typical season, where could I go? I didn’t feel like breaking the 100 day mark but could certainly stretch it to 80, and I also declared that I loved to log as much skiing as possible within one single day. I measure it by just tallying-up the total accumulated vertical drop. There are even special wristwatches for that (I happen to own one.) A full ski day can range between 15 and 35,000 feet vertical depending on one’s ability and how leisurely and substantial the lunch is. I’ve logged around 80,000 feet before and I wondered aloud: “Might I break the 100,000 mark?” My wife looked at me as if I had suddenly become insane, but I remained composed and serious. “I believe I can make it happen,” I added. “Go for 100,000!” chanted the rest of the table.
With everyone now committed to improving their skiing lives, we felt a need for a common pledge that would further cement our individual resolutions. Diane didn’t need much time to come up with a great idea: “My favorite run happens to be inside the Snow Park Lodge, and it’s called the Seafood Buffet; let’s all go there when we’re back in March!” My wife who loves sushi didn’t have time to second the idea as a loud and unanimous “Yeah!” shook up the whole house. We all recognized that it was a fitting instrument to keep track of some impressive New Year’s resolutions.