It’s a lovely April afternoon. So we go skiing.

DH and I had many plans for this weekend, and one of them involved shoehorning a ski day around work/credentials testing today and work/ballet/groceries/etc tomorrow.  The weather for a quick yet pleasant ski trip looked auspicious for this afternoon, so…we went for it.

Spring skiing at its best.  You’ll have to take my word for it; no camera this time and that was probably a good thing.  While the temps were in the high 30s F, the winds out of the northwest roared through with gusts in the mid-thirties, at least by the official measurement.

I think there were a few stronger than that.  At least one gust pushed both me and DH back into the chair momentarily at the top of the Magic Mile.

Nonetheless, despite the wind it was comfortable, sunny with clouds wisping through the high slopes, and crystalline snow blowing drifts across the groomed areas to provide a bit of wind tillage to even out the surface.  Cloudbanks kept threatening to sock us in, but by the time they hit the ridge just on the west edge of the Mile, they’d break up into clawlike tendrils that briefly resembled roaring dragons.  We watched the clouds, fascinated, on each ride up the Mile.

Then we flew down.  A bit of wind assist, I’d say, and somewhat spooky with the flying shadows from the clouds skittering across the snowfields, alternating shadows and sunlight.  Conditions were icy with drifted powder, but a sharp, crisp ice rather than wet over ice.  The line between crisp ice and slush hit quite sharply.  Not enough to throw us, as it happened on a flatter part of the slope, but it was clearly a quick transition between softer snow and harder snow, and the softer snow was still cold enough to be slick instead of grabby.

Some days the wind on the Mile is just too sharp and cutting to bear.  Then the groom has to be good enough to want to ride uphill huddled over on the chair to preserve body heat.  It wasn’t like that today.  Sharp wind, true, wind strong enough to push me along with my back to it unless I dug in my edges, but still a capricious, warming spring breeze, cold and crisp with promise.  The same gust that pushed me back onto the chair also whipped a small chunk of ice into my cheek just before we got off.

Slipping off the chair was a bit of a challenge, not just because of the wind but because the ramp was a sheet of solid ice, but again, it was crisp and not wet over ice, which is a lot easier to handle.  And once we dropped over the edge and started down, between the wind and the firm snow, we both built up quite a bit of speed.  We started with 15 minute circuits (between riding up and skiing down) and ended with 10 minute circuits.  Not bad for a couple of old pharts who took up skiing later in life.

And then we came home to a warm spring afternoon.  I decided that today was the First Day for Hippie Skirt Wearing.

A clear sign that spring is here.  Hopefully we’ll get more lovely days like this up on the Mile (and maybe I can even sneak encourage the husband to try out Palmer.  He’s done Vicky’s.  Could be an epic spring for Palmer).

Yep.  Ski day #18.  Sweet.

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