Enjoying the Slopes with my Aunt and Cousin

Part 1

Warmer weather hit the Berkshires and Chris and I were ready to really enjoy our “weekend” days (Thursday and Friday). Added to the fun, today I got to share the experience with relatives, including my aunt who also loves snow and mountains. I think a lot of you already follow her, and if not, you should check out her site πŸ˜‰ She is a brilliant writer who takes everyday life and makes it super fun to read about. Anyway, today she joined us on the slopes — virtually. And my cousin joined in later as well.

At the base we met up on Facebook video from my phone. Any video service would have worked, but this was easiest at the time. I popped in my earphone and held the phone as we went to the ski lift and journeyed up. We showed her the slope we planned to hit, a hotel where a relative had stayed recently, our home and a windmill we would see closer in a bit.

This image was actually taken at the end of the run. It's David and Aunt Anne checking out the slopes.
Actually an end-of-the-run shot

She was very patient as I got off the lift and strapped in. We were able to talk even when the video was shaky, then it was time to hit the hill. I went down a relatively easy trail that I knew I could handle. It was a good day for this. Warm, slightly slushy and some patches of ice, but not terrible, and no crowds.

Our piece of paradise is Jiminy Peak Resort in the Berkshire Mountain Range in Massachusetts (answering her questions from her post here). As I went down the mountain, I kept the camera facing away so Aunt Anne could see the run in front of us. She got to see Chris playing around, demonstrating proper snowboard techniques (not my heel-side only stance). I did explain people who do it right mostly point straight down and not keep going side-to-side as I do. haha.

She saw the mountain coaster, the alpine slide and the pool and hot tub in front of our place. Also seeing how close we are to the slopes. When I was nearing the bottom, my cousin’s son, David, joined us for the run.

It was really fun for all of us, and they agreed to let me take the screenshots above. I hope we can do it again sometime.

This was the Ski Tracks app stat summary for our run together:

In her blog post, Aunt Anne commented that I was telling her about toes and heels. The rest of this post is kind of about that. Once upon a time, a bit over 24 hrs ago….

Part 2 of my fun slope days this “weekend”

Yesterday (Thursday) the slopes were unbelievably perfect for a person of my skill level. As Chris pointed out, you could point straight down and not worry about going too fast.

Ice was rare, and the sun was shining. The rides on the chairlifts were like basking in the sun on a beach (but a bit more fun). I heard robins and phoebes and saw some buds on the trees. And even some friendly faces in the woods πŸ™‚

Small stump with a smiley face
If you look closely, that little one has a smiley face etched on it. Kind of reminds me of a tree Gumby.

This is always a bittersweet time of year. Summer temps and longer daylight are wonderful, too, but it’s sad to say goodbye to all the beautiful snow. So we are grabbing all of it we can.

This season I was really working on turning right (toe-side) better.

As you can see in this pic, I’m a rather embarrassing heel-rider. Can you tell which part of the board is closest to my heels?

Bottom of a snowboard

The toe-side turns are kind of starting to happen. I don’t have video from today, but I was able to do it at a much faster pace than in times past. Here are some video clips from last autumn and yesterday. Feel free to mute. Some people like the sound of snow scraping, but it can be annoying if you aren’t in the mood.

Here is a clip from November:

And here is a clip from yesterday (March 14, 2019):

Please note how stiff I was and how flat the terrain was in the first video compared to the second video πŸ™‚ I’m working on relaxing, bending my knees and leaning down the hill before I turn.

If you want to see the entire top half of that run – here it is. Beautiful views at the start:

Jumping back to today. I saw this video of my turns last night. I do see how my right arm is winging out and is quite tense. Today I practiced going down the hill with my right hand pinching the left side of my jacket as if it was in a sling to train myself to not count on it for balance.

Chris noticed I was much more relaxed when holding the phone for my aunt so in my final few runs, I let my right arm hang down, but pretended she was on the other side of a camera and focused on keeping it smooth. It’s really working. Yay!

The Views Here Blow my Mind Regularly

Windmill at hill top
Zephyr, the windmill at hill top
Mountain view
Chris enjoying the view
Clouds and mountain
Clouds extending the mountain view

Yup, God done good! And I’m so thankful to be able to be out enjoying the gifts given.

Perception

When visiting museums, I appreciate the art. This is true. But even more so I appreciate the creativity spawned by the living art around me.

On a visit to The ClarkΒ  I looked at the works of some of the old masters, and I totally appreciated the talent while I was there. Then I moved on.

When the day was over Chris and I realized we missed a really cool part of an exhibit (Jennifer Steinkamp: Blind Eye) and decided to go back to the museum the next day ( a great perk of this museum deal we signed up for) . Since we were in art-mode we watched a movie entitled Renoir, and suddenly, I was seeing things in a different light.

When we went back the next day, we visited the Renoir paintings we had seen the day prior, and suddenly I found myself analyzing the brush strokes, color choices, and I related to the passion of an artist who wouldn’t let go of his gift even if his hands were in excruciating pain. The paintings took me to a completely different realm of appreciating than the day prior, thanks to some time and the film — another beautiful form of art. I think his son would have approved πŸ™‚



The exhibit we missed was a computer rendering exhibit in which the artist used programs like Maya to create magnificent art. I was intrigued by the actual images, while Chris was absorbed by the display itself.



How did the cameras work and show the full canvas? I never would have thought of that if he were not in the room. But it certainly added to my experience. Thanks, Chris πŸ™‚

A few days later we were talking with some of our kiddos, and I was rhapsodizing on the museum experience, expounding on how it was so much more than the art itself. It was about how people reacted to the art, and the history behind it, and all that jazz. Even the walk through the woods between buildings was beautiful.

We saw a tree that had fallen, and I thought it was pretty cool. My imagination kicked in, and I wondered how and when it fell, and I imagined the new animal homes the fall created. A children’s book was niggling in my brain as Chris commented on the amazing support system that naturally occurred under the tree in the fall. At least until rot kicks in. It made a natural bridge with support. Without his eyes and comments, I don’t think I would have seen it, but it made the experience all that much more magical.



CJ pointed out that it’s like that for him on the slopes when he is with friends and students he teaches. He observed that is was really interesting to see the lines they chose to navigate down the mountain. Apparently one friend has a really unique eye, and the lines he chooses bring all sorts of unexpected adventures ranging from new trails on new hills one didn’t previously notice to complete drop-offs (ack!).

My eyes have been opened to the importance of perception and seeing what others’ see. It’s so interesting!As you might have noticed in past posts, I’m kind of into quotes. So I’m going to leave off with this one that I love:

No two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is — in other words, not a thing, but a think.Penelope Fitzgerald