Feeling the screws of time on Winter Park’s slopes
Grand County, Colorado
The snow fell so hard on Tuesday night in Fraser that when I dusted off one side of the car and then returned from doing the other side I had to do the first side again. I could’ve spun round and round that mulberry bush all night as the heavens rained on us hard.
Wednesday I bounced out of bed early to enjoy the 6.5 inches of fresh pow at Winter Park Resort, where there were no crowds to track it up. I joined a ski gang for laps on the heavily loaded trees at Mary Jane and got showered in cold smoke with every turn, feeling real gratitude for having a life (and now a job) in this valley.
Mountain living is not for wimps, though, and I’ve been suffering some aches and pains lately. While out making laps with a friend on the Cirque and Eagle Wind on Sunday, I crapped out exhausted and had to call it a day shortly after noon (I took a nice long nap by the fire instead).
I guess it’s what comes after years experimenting with gravity, whether hiking, on skis, bikes, or in boats. Hurling myself downhill might be a hoot, but all that pounding takes a toll on muscles, sinew and bone. Just look at all of the knee replacement surgeons hanging out shingles in places like Vail and Aspen.
It’s like the old Cat Stevens song: “Lord, my body has been a good friend, but I won’t need it, when I reach the end.” I think a lot of ski bums think that age 40 or 50 is in fact “the end” and we treat ourselves likewise.
But I hope I’m still testing gravity well into my Golden Years (which are a long way off) and I know it’s going to take some compliance on my part to get there.
I try to heed the advice of Klaus Obermeyer, who I had the chance to meet in Aspen. Obermeyer, who started his famous skiwear line out of a little warehouse a million years ago, still skis nearly every day at age 89. He chalks up his health to the love of beautiful women, not eating any more food than he burns exercising, and swimming, which he claims takes the weight off the joints that get so battered by hitting the slopes.
That’s good news for valley residents who, despite all the recent mudslinging over the rec center now under construction, will soon have a chance to swim at the new facility between Fraser and Winter Park. And I for one can’t wait to test Obermeyer’s theory in the lap pool.
I’ve been doing a lot to take care of myself this ski season, though. It started with a ski conditioning class at Alpine Physical Therapy in the fall. Our instructor, Jeff, put our group through our paces twice each week ” from squats and wall sits to yogic stretching, balance exercises and circuit training combining a little of everything. The course not only meant I hit the slopes running in November, but the workouts strengthened my knees and back as insurance against injury (knock on wood).
I take classes at Mountain Moon Yoga in Winter Park when I can and keep promising to take more, aim to eat three meals a day and try to sleep six to eight hours (though I find myself up late with a pint of ice cream and a movie more than is probably good for me).
Some mornings after a long day on the mountain my aching body cracks and pops and it’s hard to get going, but I reckon if I take care of this old meat suit, I’ll be heeding the call of the powder day or at least be ripping the roy when I’m old as dirt.
” Charles Agar believes that ski bums never die, they just stop renewing their season passes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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