Friday, December 7, 2007

"Vail... Legendary."

Today was incredible.  It was my first day back at Vail Mountain.  It was a powder-filled day full of parallels and nostalgia.  Sunday the 9th marks two years since my crash at Vail.  But today, in hindsight, really was my anniversary.  It was a powder filled Friday in 2005, when Fritz Hubbard and I ditched work on a house in Arrowhead to ski copious powder in Vail's backbowls.  They opened Blue Sky Basin around 10:30 and we were right there stomping out first runs, every run.  Then we started stomping out our favorite out of bounds stashes too.  On my second run out of bounds, while attempting to document the sheer beauty of being in the moment that day, I hit a tree buried under the snow and was catapulted into another tree.  Numerous broken bones in my back and more devastatingly, I would come to find out that I broke the ball of my femur off.

Fritz was my partner.  I sent him out ahead while I filmed.  There was no way for him to know that I crashed.  There was no way for him to return back up the trail.  This was a very deep snow year at Vail. (Ended up being the second biggest year in all of Vail's history.)  So the snow would have been up to his waist walking uphill.

Fritz was the last person I was skiing with that day.

Today was my first day back on the Vista Bahn.  My first day back at Vail.  It was very deep today.  Incredible Colorado powder.  

Fritz was the first person I skied with today.  The circle came full circle.  With no conscious effort on a perfect powder day, we again found ourselves ditching work to ski.  Today absolutely contradicted the saying, "No Friends on a Powder Day!"  A statement I've made so many times before.  

Fritz cashed in certain face shots on North Rim, to make our first run together and pick up right where things left off two seasons ago.  Instead of a riveting out of bounds extreme line, we had 10-12" on top of groomer on Northstar.  We ripped along making first tracks.  Each gliding blissfully down the mountain.  Turn after turn, snow billowing off knees, flawless purity.  

My legs burning, blowing up but I couldn't stop making turns.  Giddy and teary-eyed I gave thanks for my health and incredible recovery.  Only six months ago I was still on crutches.  Snow blasting off my knees into my face and goggles...  I gasp instinctively as I choke on a mouthful of powder.  Keep mouth closed, breathe through  nose, pole, drop  knee, roll ankles:  another deep tele turn into the fluff.

At the bottom of Chair 11 we gathered.  Faces alight as only possible on a powder day.  Friends sharing an intimate ephemeral experience.

It was obvious to Fritz and I how healing that run was.  Being back on Vail with my friends Farnham and Fritzie was pretty much what it is all about.  

Let it keep on dumping.  Another powder day awaits tomorrow.  This time Beaver Creek.  

live, love, aloha.

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