Photo-free skimania update

Well, the first casualty of the ski trip was my camera: I didn’t check the batteries before we left, and therefore they were dead when I tried to take a picture of the spectacular view from our hotel room. Let me assure you, it was amazing: snowy mountaintops as far as the eye can see, and to top it all off, a gorgeous sunset last night. Since the camera wasn’t working, you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was either that or a pile of snow next to an electrical distribution box.

A few observations about Southern skiers. There is an abnormally high proportion of skiers wearing camoflage hunting gear. There are many, many baseball caps, and plenty of college sports-themed jackets. Only in the South do you ever see skiers partaking in snowball fights. It’s as if these people never see snow around where they live!

So, how did we do today? Out of 39 total trails at Snowshoe, we skied on a whole heck of a lot of them. We’re still making the final tally, actually, and based on the information available to us right now (Snowshoe’s online trail map), we’ve skied about 32 of them. However, there were two runs we could not locate on the online map (Tall Tree and Greenway, if you’re interested), so we might have skied them and not known it.

Southern skiers are also VERY afraid of black diamond ski runs, or even chairlifts that carry skiers above black diamond ski runs. So while the “Ballhooter” lift (I don’t make these names up, people, I just report them) had lines of 20 minutes or more, “Widowmaker’s” lines were nearly nonexistent, even though there were several “easy” options for getting to the bottom from there. In “Western Territory,” which features only black diamond and double-black diamond runs, most of the chairs ascended the mountain completely empty.

So naturally we spent a lot of time today in Western Territory. Nora, for the first time in her young skiing career, fared better than me: she never fell. Well, it depends on what “counts” as a fall. Nora didn’t count when her ski released from its binding seemingly of her own accord, or the most spectacular fall of the day, when she was descending at a blistering pace, then crashed to the ground, did a backward somersault, and was back on her skis without losing speed.

I, on the other hand, had every sort of fall: the good — a fall similar to Nora’s, involving sliding backwards down the mountain on my head for 30 yards, before flipping over and continuing to ski; the bad — catching an edge on a mogul and stopping myself with my face; and the ugly — attempting to come to a graceful stop on the crest of the mogul, but collapsing on my ass at the last moment.

The most surreal moment of the day was when Nora and I were riding up the Widowmaker lift, only to see none other than the King schussing below us. That’s right, Elvis Presley was on the slopes today, complete with slicked back hair and ’70s style white jumpsuit. He couldn’t have been “all shook up,” though, because he didn’t crash once!

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