Source: Alyeska Ski Resort

The last turn of the last run on any ski day is a bittersweet moment.  If it’s the last day of the trip, it is sad, if not melancholic.

As I come down the mountain on what will be my last run of the day, I go through the same routine.  Partly because I am tired, partly because the beginner runs are easy skiing and take me to the bottom, and partly because I want to be able to imprint the memory of the perfect turns I made, so they will carry me, mentally, to the next trip.

Feet close together, tap the pole, unweight, roll your knees.

It’s also about muscle memory.  I want my body to remember how it felt to have the skis carve through the snow in a perfect turn.

As skis come through the fall line, press the knees forward and into the hill to get the skis on edge.

It is also about knowing that life is short and we never know what tomorrow brings.  As a senior skier, I am closer to the end of my skiing life than the beginning.  It’s depressing but true and makes the desire to carve the perfect turn even more intense.

Feel the edges bite into snow; keep the turn coming across the fall line to control speed.

At the end of every ski day, I want my mind and body to remember the turns, not just one, but a series of linked, perfect round ones.

Body square over skis, or maybe angled down the fall line. Hold the turn long enough to control your speed.

It has to be close to perfect so that even an instructor examiner would smile in approval.

Hands out in front, mid-chest high; feet less than shoulder width apart, ready for the turn.

The last turn was nice and round with the skis on edge that tossed a little snow.  Now time for the next turn, hopefully as good as, if not better than, the last one.

Stay in rhythm. Reach out, tap the snow, unweight, roll the knees.

The process goes on until I reach the bottom, trying to make each turn better than the one before in an attempt to end a day on the snow with a perfect turn.  It may be never-ending, but the quest is reason to head back to the slopes as soon as I can.

Why?  Because at my age, this could be my last day on the slopes. I want to remember that I did all I could do to make the perfect turn.

4 Comments

  1. Marc,

    For this 80 year old your description of the last run of the day with perfect turns, or at least the attempts, brought a smile to my face. Until next year, thanks for the memories.

  2. Michael+Cahn says:

    At 79 years young I always look at my last turns of the season as my summer memories and a peek into how I will look forward to next year! Thanks for making the memory even better!

  3. Will try to carry the nice attitude you described all the way to the end of my season. Fortunately, that’s nearly a month away, given the deep snowpack at Killington’s Superstar.

    But for this 80 yo, the challenge will be to retain any form at all by the time my skiday ends on that bumped slope.

  4. Anthony Summit says:

    I really enjoyed the article. I am always working technique. Enjoying the good turns. Trying to make the next one better. 76, here, believing my skills this year were better that last year, planning next years skills to go to another level.

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