Bring This Memory With You Through The Summer.

Silver Mountain, ID. Not ideal conditions, but it was a magical Last Run. Credit: Bob Ohrt

Like many, skiing has been a very large part of my life for a long time. I mis-spent much of my youth on a pair of skis, but as the demands of life came around, the skiing was abbreviated. 100 plus day seasons went to three or four. Semi-retirement has let me get back to the 20 to 40-day seasons, and the modern equipment allows for skiing with a curtailed version of what was even with the list of injuries accumulated along the way. As the clock keeps ticking, the Last Run of the Season is taking a more meaningful place that deserves remembering; this was it for the 2018 -2019 skiing year.

The last day saw me at Silver Mountain, ID. A really nice under-rated ski area that I hadn’t skied for a number of years. At the base, I was warned by a guy, who looked like he could turn both ways, to not go up due to the awful weather and abominable snow conditions. Not a particularly auspicious way to start the day, but I was going skiing; if conditions were that bad, I could leave. The guy was not far off on conditions, the wind was howling over the ridges, and three or four days of wind blew loose the Pacific Northwest’s finest late spring snow off the groomers. All told, the conditions could be best described as “interesting and deserving of your undivided attention”. It was not bad enough to chase an old idiot away though. 

Most days I ski solo, nobody wants to ski as slow as I do anymore.  Today was no exception. Going into the trees was not a wise idea so just cruised around on the blues and blacks in very light traffic, thoroughly enjoying myself (good thing it is easy to entertain the village idiot). I skied a lot of runs in 6” to 8” heavy snow that was lightly crusted or soggy sticky groomers. As the day progressed, the visibility did get better though, the weather was gathering itself for the next bout.

About 3:00, the body was telling me it was about time to wind the day up and feeling a bit glum at the thought. Fate had me cruising down a gentle low angle ridge called Sunrise, not thinking just skiing. On the left appeared three cleared spots in the trees. I stopped to admire the view at the third opening and realized I was in Heaven. Honest that is the name of the run, Heaven. To make matters even better, nobody else had been to Heaven that day, or at least not through that access. 

It honestly could not have been too much better; it lived up to its name. Heaven had a roll-over cornice accessing three or four hundred vertical feet of mostly untracked wind loaded slope with over a foot of fresh on a moderately steep face. Feeling my weight flow down the hill as my skis came around to support me at the bottom of the turn and set up for the next arc might be the essence of skiing. That little bowl offered up 15 or 20 of those turns in nearly untracked snow, it truly was Heaven for that run.

Did not even stop to look back. Why? This was a very good way to end it, Lord willing the story will continue next season.

It could have been worse, but those last 20 turns made it worth it. Credit: Bob Ohrt

6 Comments

  1. Avatar marc liebman says:

    Bob,
    I can relate. I now make sure I enjoy every day skiing to the fullest. It means I treat each day skiing as it might be my last. it may be morbid, but at 73 about to then 74, the end is closer than the beginning.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot, I’m dyslexic about my age… I’m only 37 about to turn 47!

  2. Avatar Bruce Sherman says:

    Loved the article and…at age 88…related to it in many ways. I had a powder day a few years ago that inspired me to write a poem entitled “Powder Morning”. I’ll forward it.

  3. I can relate as well. At age 75 I had a late season day, April, in upstate NY, very unusual, small area only three slopes open for $10, but sunshine and good snow made it a great finish to the season. Wonderful those tier 2 & 3 ski areas.

  4. Avatar Bill Runner says:

    Wonderful article to close the

  5. My last day with some friends. We went to Gore Mt. NY . I have not ski there since 1967.
    We had about 8/10 of new snow. The best thing was there was no wind. Unheard of,being jest east of Lake Ontario.
    It’s been a few years since I left living out west. The day brought back a lot of memories.

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