The days are getting longer, the skies have parted, and the sun has returned to grace us poor, pale folks of the Pacific Northwest who have endured another long winter. Ok, that’s a bit much since the reason many of us live here is because of the opportunities winter brings. But I digress. March means that spring skiing and riding is on like Donkey Kong, and for that I am grateful. Or at least I pretend to be. In any event, few things bring a smile to my face like spending a day on the slopes, basking in the warmth of the great yellow sphere in the sky. Spring in the mountains is kinda like having a huge piece of coconut cream pie after a steak dinner. Sure, you savored the main course, but man, the dessert just made it all better. In case you’re not following along here, winter is the steak, and spring is the dessert. We good? Now that we got that clear, here are some things I will not be doing on the slopes this spring, no matter how awesome they may be in theory.
Skiing Shirtless in Cut-offs: Every year I witness at least a few dudes pulling this off, and yes, I’m a bit jealous. However, the fact remains that bare skin and course, granular spring snow that has the texture of gravel do not mix well when one falls. Plus, it really pisses off ski patrol when they have to go clean up the blood trail you just left down the middle of the run. More importantly, I have a very respectable jelly roll around my midsection thanks to a special winter diet of Jelly Belly’s and oatmeal stout, and no one really needs to see it spilling out of the top of a pair of cut off 501’s. And I mean no one.
Sunglasses and No Helmet: Feeling the wind in your hair while you elegantly schuss your way down the hill in your Ray-Bans sounds great, right? Wrong. See, my problem, or at least one of them, is the fact that I enjoy skiing fast. Now this wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that, as an ex-racer with the scars to prove it, I don’t always make what my better half describes as “good decisions” when it comes to speed. Wait, she actually says that about other stuff too. Never mind. You get the point. Taking a fall at any speed could really mess up your shades.
Spring Powder in the Afternoon: Seems like every year I get suckered into going into the trees or some other off-piste house of horrors late in the afternoon just because someone fed me tall tales such as, “It’s soft, springy and super fun!” or “In the shade of the trees is where the cold snow dwells.” There’s also the jab, “Your knees are shot anyway, so what’s the harm?” And every year I find myself hunched over halfway down the run, soaked in sweat because its 45 degrees, wheezing, and my legs feeling like they were on fire as the consistency of the snow was akin to wet concrete. Would squeezing into a pair of denim cut-offs help at least to cool me off? Asking for a friend. //
Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski industry professional. We seriously doubt he will make good decisions this spring.