Who’d have thought it possible, but I skied the season into submission a full month before the last chair stopped at Deer Valley.
The first sign was when my binding broke on my much-loved Atomic racing skis. Fortunately, it happened on the day I was playing around on Wide West with Little Guy and Florida Keys Girl—who was using Wide West as the ersatz waiting room for her knee surgery scheduled for the following month. I showed her how to use the terrain features to create skill drills for herself, and Little Guy entertained us both by imploring us to take “one more run on Devils Backbone!”
It was one of those magical mornings. Mel, Ski Dad, Big Guy and Florida Keys Guy took laps on Solid Muldoon, and Jamie, my new favorite lift attendant, kept telling Little Guy to have fun skiing with his “big sister.” I maintain an overinflated sense of my own youth, and Jamie was definitely aiding and abetting.
Anyway, we played around on the magic carpet, in Candy Land, in the Race Course, and yes, Devil’s Backbone, until Ski Dad and Big Guy appeared at the bottom of the run, hoping to join us. Granted, there was clearly a bit of kerfuffle going on regarding neck gaiters and fogging goggles, but it seemed on its way to resolution. I skied down to them, noting that my left knee was feeling pretty sore, and that the mellow day had been a smart move all the way around. Little did I know, it was probably my saving grace.
At this point, father and son had clicked out of their skis for a moment—and Little Guy, not wanting to feel the odd-man-out ,followed suit. This precipitated me having to click out of mine in order to kneel down and refit Little Guy into his bindings. And I won’t lie, I definitely got exasperated out loud at the unnecessary hang-up. (Little Guy, of course, takes a lot of pride in his mastery of the mechanics of the equipment, but I was in no mood to appreciate it.) As it turns out, I would be digging into some humble pie that afternoon—Little Guy did me a favor. For as I went to click back into my skis, I noticed the heel cup of one binding was twisted at an alarming angle. Ski Dad picked it up to inspect, making some taps and bumps against it with the heel of his gloved hand, only to dislodge (to all of our horror) some pieces of the binding.
I’ll never know what would have happened if I’d been cruising Solid Muldoon at speed—but I can’t imagine anything good.
Dutifully, I trekked into Jans, where the bindings were pronounced dead—and irreplaceable. A bummer—but I’d been ready to demo new skis anyway, so no harm, no foul.
And I would have begun the demo process the following weekend, except that I made the sorry mistake of mentioning the wonky knee to my doctor at a routine checkup. And she benched me.
So, I’m rehabbing the knee—trying to avoid surgery—and daydreaming about the adventures to come next season. In no particular order, here are the things I’d been saving up for the end of the season, which, for one reason or another, will have to wait until next winter.
1. More St. Germain Cocktails
2. A visit to Fireside Dining at Empire Lodge
3. Enrolling in a Mahre Ski Camp
4. Demos of new skis to get myself out of racing skis and into all-mountain models that will float on powder, carve in the groomers, and handle everything in-between.
5. Attending Ski Schule at Sunset Cabin, the Friday afternoon service led by Rabbi Josh Aaronson of Temple Har Shalom.
Still, I am excited for summer—concerts at the Snow Park Amphitheater figure prominently in my plans, as do hiking, and perhaps even becoming an emboldened Mountain Biker on the lush green slopes of Deer Valley. And, yes, long, sun-soaked lunches on the deck at Royal Street Café. The wait for another St. Germain Cocktail may not be that long, after all.