This morning I took advantage of the kids and wife being out of town to head into Snoqualmie Pass and attempt my first skiing in 20 years. The Summit at Snoqualmie is nestled into the mountains that comprise Snoqualmie Pass, offering both excellent skiiing (powder even) and amazing views. Skiing is something I've been looking forward to doing since accepted my job offer with Amazon four years ago, and its about damn time I did it.
The rental center opens at 8:30, while the slopes open at 9am. It was predicted to be a beautiful day, following almost a week of heavy precipitation in the pass. Perfect timing to reacquaint myself to skiing. After a champions' breakfast of pop tarts, I was able to get there with front row parking a tad before 8:30.
A nice worker pointed me to the rental place, informing me it was the door I just walked by with the big sign that said "RENTALS" above it (wow am I observant), and by quarter to nine I had signed my life away and was decked out in the Summit's finest. I found a trail map and committed to memory the "super easy wuss hills" and their locations. Lucky for me they were right in front of me.
I made my way to the sissiest of all the lifts, pointed my skis into the "line" to make my way to the lift, and zoom I took off far faster than I expected. I couldn't turn in time, and I crashed right there in the line for the lift. Fortunately nobody around but the lift workers. When one of them stopped laughing she helped me up. I asked her if that was a sign I should head back to the car and she encouraged me to get on the lift. Apparently the folks at the top needed a good laugh too.
So I eventually get on the lift, make my way to the top, and get the feel of it again. Interesting on how a "few" extra pound and aging joints affect your balance on a set of skis. I made the first trip down with only a couple slight falls, second trip I fell once, and after that I was all good.
I did the same run a few times, noticing that the easy hill over had the lift operating but nobody on it. By this time quite a few people had made it my hill, it was 9:30 or so, so I decided to head over to the other lift.
Apparently I should have noted that this second lift takes you a wee bit higher than the first lift. I got to the top, veered to my left, looked down, and said "oh shit." While the bottom half of this hill was pretty level, the first half was much steeper. Damn. Either I take my skis off and walk down like a little bitch, or I break my leg like a man.
Break my leg wins.
Once I got going it wasn't bad, in fact I stayed on this hill for the next two hours as it was fast but I could still slow myself down without killing myself.
A note on snowboarding: until today I've always wanted to give it a try. After seeing the number of people falling, stuck, taking one of their feet out, flipping (wide world of sports style, kinda cool to watch), etc, I really don't think its worth the effort to learn.
My legs started to get sore by about 11:30, and by that time it started getting busy, and between dodging people who like to plop their butts on the middle of a hill (must be the same people that love to stop in the middle of concourses at sporting events, or the mall), and the lift lines starting to get long, I called it a day. I turned my skis in, and the little rental area that had me and two other customers this morning was jam packed with people - a hundred or so with a line out the door. Note to self: buy some skis.
After dropping my gear off, I made my way to the Guest Services area, and picked up a season pass for next year. It's good for the rest of this year as well, which will be at least this week, and my lift ticket today applied to the price. Five visits next year and it pays for itself, and applies to Alpental as well (backcountry powder skiing).
Now off to REI and see what I can find on clearance.