My brother (a life long ski buddy) recently sent a group of us several pictures of a ski day we had shared. The pics reminded me that there are certain ski days that are etched deeply in the memory banks and never fade. Ski experiences that regardless of where you are and what you are doing, you remember vividly.
The heading on the e mail Greg sent the group was “5 Years to the Day,” and all he said was “We had fun. We skied Goat and the Goat Woods.” Despite my shock that 5 years had passed, I knew instantly the day to which he was referring. It was late in the ski season, particularly for the northeast – mid April – but the east had been blessed with heavy March snow, and Stowe in northern VT still had a deep base.
I cannot quite remember how it all came together. I suppose Roger and I, restlessly trapped in the Boston area, had been watching the weather and checked in with Greg and Rick, our VT resident spies. They no doubt confirmed there was snow left, and I recall discussing we needed to wait for the ideal day. That came and Greg let another buddy, Stef, know it was a go. We southerners made the 3+ hour drive, and we all converged in the Stowe parking lot mid-morning.
The weather was stunning – one of those rare 50 degree spring VT days with blinding sun and no wind. By the time greetings had been exchanged and the banter had commenced, the snow was perfect corn. Amazingly, we were not confined to snow making trails. The “Front Four” – Goat, Starr, Liftline and National – were covered wall to wall with soft, perfectly sized moguls and, yes, there were even some woods off Goat to be skied. We pretended we were young again, attacking (as best 60+ year-olds can) the best Stowe has, and the trash talk would have made 15 year olds proud. I literally can still visualize the lines down Goat and Starr and taste the parking lot beers that closed out the day.
The boys on Lower Goat
I have thought of that day both during hot stifling days in summer and while sitting fireside in the deep of winter. I have tried not to overthink why it is so firmly deposited in my few remaining memory cells. I suppose it was the combination of good friends who are all superb skiers and the rarity of finding some of our favorite trails in the country in such good shape shining under incredible weather. To the snow and sun gods, Greg, Stef, Rick and Roger – thanks! I will never forget you.