Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thunderhead, Thor, and Lone Star At Brighton ski resort today....

I begin to squat on my way down, the quads contract, the calves tense, the gluts are holding me steady as I lower my center of gravity and begin the assault on the runs. My legs engage like shock absorbers as board begins to wildly go up and down over the bumps. The adrenaline is beginning to course through my body and my focus narrows to what is right in front of me. The shadows make depth perception difficult and anticipation seemingly impossible. A quick adjustment to right to avoid the tree takes me up a small embankment that I lean away from and let gravity and centrifugal forces take their natural course. All is well as long and the board and the snow agree on the outcome, and they do. Conditions are fantastic. More up and down, swing left, mental and physical gymnastics fire off as a steep decline ends in a steep incline, almost like a 'V' and not quite as gradual as a 'U', but the traverse is pulled off flawlessly, I'm airborne, a board grab, and I land, with a few seconds to look up and pick the route, Thunderhead, Thor, or Lone Star...and the easy part is now over.

Ok Thor, let's see the hammer.

I make the turn and briefly wonder if I made the wrong choice. I see chaos. Chaos like a frothy sea in battle with a storm, only God spoke and said "freeze", painted it white, and placed it on the side of a mountain. There are mounds of snow everywhere, some boulders, some trees, it is narrow, and trees line both sides. There are small tree trunks poking up from the snow in places, and uncovered rocks here and there. I stop and try to pick a path. It is mildly steep and I cannot really see past the first set of mounds. Shadows are lurking about, hiding secrets that might save me or hurt me.

My feet are strapped tightly to the board. I am really one with it. My mind thinks a thought, my nerves carry the message, muscles all over my body instantly respond, and the board is just an extension of my body.

I turn downhill. The board, newly freed from the bonds of cutting into the snow, slides over the snow with a building whoosh. I pick a point and the board moves to the right, cutting in the edge and changes the whoosh to a kind of slice and scrape. I get my first view of the rest of the slope, but I don't have time to process. Bank left, slide, bank right, hop, left again, over a couple of bumps, bank hard right leaning deep to keep from launching into a tree like a lost kite. Another jump, a mid-air shift, and cut hard left, right, left, ri-left-hop-deep right. Up and over, twisting, sliding, leaning, jumping, grabbing, turning, slowing, accelerating, flying. A flat spot with a jump, take it, launch, airborne, grab the board, gliding down, re-connect with the snow, sharp right to stop and look back.

Things happen so quickly that you don't have time to look or process, you only have the beginning and the end. The middle is a vertigo blur where you realize you only have fractions of a second to make the decisions that get you through.

I am sweating, the quads and calves are burning. My heart is pounding. My mind is soaring out over the 10,000' mountains, and into the deep blue sky. I am laughing and I only just realized it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I will not accept advertising in the body of comments. If you leave links to spam, goods, or services it will be deleted. If you embed HTML it will be deleted. For any number of other reasons I may delete the comment. I do this for the safety and well being of the readers of the blog.