Today is November 11, 2013.
It has been exactly 220 days since I last went skiing.
Specifically, it has been 220 days, 2 hours, and 6 minutes since I last went skiing.
I’ve mentioned before that – purely as a matter of self-preservation – when I ski off the hill and carry my sticks into the shop for a summer wax, I stuff my ski season into a little lead-lined compartment constructed in my brain specifically for the purpose of holding Skiing. All of Skiing. How it feels, what it’s like. It all goes into that compartment, and the door gets closed on it, and a set of combination locks worth of the Gringotts’ vaults are spun, and then the whole thing is caulked, just to make sure nothing can get out, no tiny little leak, not even an Atom of Ski Season can possibly escape. And then I saran-wrap the whole thing in about sixteen layers, just to make sure. Because I have to.
This is all very effective, too. Because all I know – the complete and absolute totality of it – right now, is that I Like To Ski. Having said that, I have said everything. I know, intellectually, that I Like To Ski in the exact same way that I know, intellectually, that when I was a little girl, I Liked Pink Ruffles. I remember asking Santa for pink ruffles, I remember that the little girl next door had a pink ruffled dress that I envied. But I don’t actually remember what it was to like pink ruffles. And I remember that I like skiing, in much the same way.
I must like skiing. I have five or six pairs of skis that are stowed in various bags and tubes behind the television, where they have been since 3pm on April 7, 2013. I have a huge backpack with boots in it, and about fifteen technical jackets and tops. I have an extension for Chrome that tells me when Steep and Cheap cranks up a new auction, and I nearly bought a pair of Zeal goggles from it this afternoon, but decided not to because I recalled that I have two pairs of goggles already. My Thermanator boot heater has been tucked into the corner of my closet floor since April 8, 9:35am when I put it away. I must like skiing if I have all this stuff. But I don’t remember liking it.
Roy offers me assurance on this. “You don’t like skiing” he says. “You don’t even love skiing,” he says. “You have some kind of relationship with skiing that goes way the heck beyond love. I don’t have a word for it.”
I think for a moment. “Is it like I am with Huey?” I say.
“Yes,” he says. “Like Huey.”
And yet, it’s still all locked up in that air-tight, waterproof chamber. We should be so lucky to find such a good way of disposing of spent nuclear fuel, it’s that good. And I know, in the same way that I know I like to ski, that it’s an absolutely terrible idea to go poking around in there. I remember telling myself, when I did this, that it was Important. I might have Ski Dreams if I don’t. I’m not sure what would be so bad about having Ski Dreams, not if I like skiing, but I have to trust my April 7 self to know what’s best. So I leave that closet completely undisturbed. I let dust build up on it, no less.
Roy, blast him, has been doing his best to jimmy the lock. I don’t know why he wants to do this. He doesn’t usually take pleasure in messing with my head. But he’s been working and working away at it. Bless his heart, he broke his arm last year and only had about a month worth of decent skiing. His thing is cross-country, but he does downhill too. And right now, he is PUMPED about the advent of downhill ski season. I’ve never seen him like this before. It started when we went out to the hill before Columbus Day and took a scenic chair lift ride. Every since then, he’s been talking about skiing nonstop. I caught him doing parallel turns in the shower week-before-last. I’ve never seen him like this.
It may have something to do with our plans to Go West this spring and take a few turns at Steamboat. We did have to do some major planning for that, so maybe it worked into his brain.
Lately, he’s becoming nearly unbearable. Every morning, it’s “Did you see the snowmaking blog?” and “Did you look at the snow report?” and wanting to lay bets on when opening day will be. We had a strange, warm fall for the most part, but there’s been a nice tidy cool-down for the last week, and yes. My Facebook wall has lots of tiny little land mines scattered through it, as the ski hill posts pictures of the snowmaking starting up, and the light dusting the hill got the other morning. It’s like trying to walk through a yard where six dogs and a skunk have been living for the last week. Or like walking through a lego field at midnight. The thing in the lead-lined hermetically-sealed compartment, Skiing, has started to wake up. I can hear it. I had a dream last night that I was dickering with the guy who runs the ski storage service over the price of storing a second pair of skis.
Now, I have the worst possible news. They’ve made so much snow that they’re going to open the White Ribbon of Death. On Friday. Day after tomorrow, Friday. I don’t want to ski the White Ribbon of Death. I don’t feel like dying, for one. But now the thing in the closet is starting to mess with the locks. It may be impossible to get into the vault from outside, but what happens when the gold decides that it’s time to get out? Friday.
The weather here is so unpredictable. They may open on Friday. And Saturday. But Sunday is supposed to be warmish. And what after that? I know, from past experience, that the simple act of clicking my ski boots into my ski bindings causes every lock and seal on that closet to vanish in a puff of smoke, and that once it’s out, it doesn’t go back in so easily. If I ski on Friday, and then the weather goes to shit, and it’s the middle of December before I can go again, there’s no way I’ll be able to cram the monster back into the box. My April 7 self is saying “Be careful. Don’t let that out until it’s really Ski Season.” and I have to trust that.
But the monster is starting to rattle the door.