Look at this background! No, I'm not standing in front of a photographer's prop: This is a vista from Vail. The mountain closes this weekend, and there's snow not only in the forecast, but in the air. Big flakes falling on Denver, and it's looking like it'll dump. In the city, concern for trees.
But in the works, a plan to get to the high country to close down Vail for another season.
(Sadly, our ski buddy Betsy is down--but not down for the count! Right, Logan?) She reminds us to slow down some. With the great equipment and snow, it's easy to "tip 'em and rip 'em"--in the parlance of skiers. For us, this weekend brings Days 21 and 22 of the season. I'm feeling some fear, given all the ski injuries I've heard about lately. Skiing does blend fear and exilheration. I want to ski safely and get out alive another season. This is the season that brought the new rule about helmets for Vail's instructors, and that feels like a sane progression. It's perilous enough out there, we might as well protect our noggins.
The risk rewards: Skiing these glorious natural settings inspires. Skiing demands awareness. Plus, breathing the rarified air revives body and soul. Of course, many cultures have associated mountains with divinity. I can get behind that notion. Colorado rocks! And along with wearing my helmet, I always send up a prayer to St. Bernard of Montjoux, patron saint of skiers and mountaineers.
(Montjoux = French for "Joy Mountain," right?)