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 😉 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 🙂

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 🙂 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.

Starting my Year off Right – On the Slopes Again

Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak
Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak
Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak

According to my Ski Tracks app, January 16 marked my 13th day on the slopes this season. Thank you Jiminy Peak! Pretty good when you consider last year I went seven times before slipping a disc in my back. And half those times were icy days that made the slopes not-so-fun.

Now, as I approach the one-year-mark of my 2017/18 season’s demise, I’m finding myself extra thankful for slope time.

Last summer I wrote about our new place in Massachusetts. We had a feeling we wouldn’t regret getting a place at Jiminy Peak, but we also didn’t realize how great it would actually be. Before we got the place, we talked with friends and locals and heard about the great grooming there. Sure enough, thanks to a bit of cold, snow guns, and grooming, we were able to hit the slopes November 17, 2018.

Since Chris and I can work from anywhere with an Internet, it’s really easy to set up an office slope-side. Check out my view as I work 🙂

desk and snowy view

You can’t see it in the picture, but there are some trails we can see from our window so when I look up, I can see skiers and boarders coming down.

My job allows me to choose the hours I work so I’m trying a new schedule out. Generally I work four 10-hr days, but I’m testing a five-day week. I generally work ten hours on Saturdays and Sundays, which isn’t a problem since the slopes are busier on those days. Then I work for four hours in the morning, and three hours at night. In the morning time, you will often find me working in front of this fire:

Fireplace at Jiminy Peak
Fireplace at Jiminy Peak

In the early afternoon I hit the slopes with my favorite snowboard buddy.

Chris enjoying play time on the beautiful hills at Jiminy Peak.
Chris enjoying play time on the beautiful hills at Jiminy Peak

I work for a few more hours in the evening then either wind down in the hot tub or in front of the outdoor fire as I watch the skiers and boarders. Chris will sometimes grab extra runs then as well.

Happy Chris at slope base
Fire Pit at Jiminy
hot tub at Jiminy Peak

Of course, we aren’t always there. Often we are back in New York, enjoying the beauty of snow there as well.

Snow through Window

The east coast hasn’t had much snow this year, but the slopes have been fine. My last two days there were amazing. I didn’t want to stop. And now we have a load of fresh snow thanks to the latest storm. I can’t wait to get back out there…

Windmills in Winter

We had a glorious night snowboarding a bit ago. At the top of the hill, I sat down for a minute to listen to the windmill and enjoy the snow fairies dancing around me. How awesome is this view and the sound of the windmill in action?

Windmills at Jiminy Peak

I’m a bit late on this post, but it was for Nov 30.

Thankful for Opening Day of Snowboard Season — In November!!!!

Opening Day at Jiminy Peak

It’s November 17. Not even Thanksgiving, and Chris and I got to hit the slopes. Last year was less than stellar as I slipped a disc in my back on Valentine’s day and had to sit out the rest of the season (yes, I slipped it putting on my snowboard boots, which makes me not-quite-so-hard-core, but  ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ).

But that all aside, we hit the slopes today, and it was amazing. Walking back to our abode, I commented to Chris that there are just moments that hit you once in a while. Moments in which you are reminded you are blessed beyond blessed, and it would be a crime to not acknowledge that. And we are that. #sothankful.

Opening Day at Jiminy Peak
Opening Day at Jiminy Peak

So for those of you that know and love me (thank you for that). This is the year. I am finally going to get comfortable with turning right. I know I say every year that I will learn to turn right, but last year I actually did it, and I think that doing it on opening day is a good sign that it will only get better. I know  I’m flailing a lot, but I’m adding this video as a baseline so I can hopefully see improvement. By the end of this year, I will do it naturally. Right? (Please say yes.)

Figuring out how to turn right and go toe-side.

Snow Surprise Saves our Season

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Three. That’s the pathetically low count of times we were able to go snowboarding this past year. We’ve been spoiled enough to average 5-7 times a week for the past few years so it’s been a bit rough this year. With the move and our travels and such, we just haven’t had time this year. Our deteriorating muscles and expanding bellies attest to the fact that this is not an ideal situation.
Now it’s the time of year where you can get annual passes for next year, and snowboard for the rest of this year as part of the deal. As much as our hearts are with Swain, it’s too far away now that we have moved. So we planned to get passes for Greek Peak. And that was exciting.
We were supposed to go last weekend. Timing was critical since the snow has been rapidly melting. To our great disappointment, I was ill and couldn’t garner the strength to hit the slopes (all good now. It was just a nasty cold).
Then this east coast storm came down from heaven and gifted us with fresh powder the day before my weekend (I work Saturdays through Wednesdays). Greek Peak got 28-inches of fresh powder, so we grabbed hotel room and planned a two-day slope getaway. Wahoooo!

As I wrapped up the work week on Wednesday the 15th, Chris pulled our boards out in the hallway, and they looked really happy in their escape from our basement. The entire visit was perfect.
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December 23, 2016

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March 16, 2017
We had been there the day before Christmas Eve with Hudi and Zeb, so happy memories assailed us as we pulled into the parking lot and got ready to hit the lift. It was windy, but the temps were in the upper 20s F. Much better than the near-zero-degree-F temps of last weekend. A face guard, helmet and decent coat kept us warm so the air that did manage to hit our faces actually felt invigorating. And I got to wear my new snowboard boots that I picked up in Utah. So happy memories of time with CJ and Zeb there as well.
My boots and Chris about to go down the hill. Beautiful views.
The views were amazing, and there were enough bumps and jumps and powder pockets to keep Chris entertained while I boarded on the side, practicing my s-turns and squiggles. My snowboard was so happy it started doing some tricks I’ve been working on for years. All by itself! It just seemed to flow, bless its little board heart.
If you look closely at my board, you can see that I had a Wapuu on for the ride as well 🙂 (actually there are two, but one is under that snow on the front of my board)
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When we got tired (definitely as out of shape as we thought we were), we headed back to the hotel for an in-room picnic and movie-time. No rush, no fuss. We knew we were going back the next day.
And that day was super fun. It was St. Patrick’s day so we got to listen to Irish music as we loaded onto the lift. The sun was shining, the wind had dissipated, and the skies were super blue. Paradise. After a few hrs of boarding we headed to the car for a hot chocolate break, and I soaked in the sun.
I don’t know if we will get out again this year, but that getaway already gave me a lot of things to dream about for next year. That snow storm was such a gift.