Thursday, December 09, 2004

"the frolic architecture of the snow"

When I opened the curtains at 6:30 this morning, the wind was blowing hard and the snow was drifting outside in the parking lot. Up at the mountain, only one lift opened on schedule. Thirteen inches of new snow had fallen overnight, and the wind was gusting to 65 mph at the top of the mountain. Snow drifts on the race hill were two feet deep. The start of the slalom was delayed indefinitely, and we stayed inside playing Dare. Not Truth or Dare, just Dare. For example, Nick had to go into the restaurant, approach a stranger, and ask if he could try a bite of his meal. It was a good way to pass the time.

At around 10:30, the chairlift opened and the race was rescheduled to start at 12:15. We all bundled up and pushed out into the storm, which hadn't really subsided at all. At the top of the mountain, visibility was only a few meters in places. We inspected the course at around 11:30, pausing every few minutes to let a snowcat go by and pack down the race hill. (The softer the snow on the course, the worse the conditions will be after a few racers ski. It gets really rutted up, really fast, and it doesn't make for a very fair or safe race.) I rode back up to the top after inspection, and a few of us huddled near the entrance to a mountaintop lodge to get out of the wind for a few minutes. We didn't have to wait long — a coach came out and told us that the race jury had just decided to cancel the race. At that point, I was disappointed, because I really felt ready to go. It seemed like a waste that we had even gone outside in the first place if we weren't going to race.

We'll try to run the GS tomorrow as scheduled, and race slalom on Saturday. I think it's still snowing outside now though.

Writing about this and remembering what it looked like up there today, I was reminded of one of my favorite Transcendentalist poems: Emerson's "The Snow-Storm."

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