Full Circle

So all of us were back from our western ski adventures, and once again at our home resort for what was probably the last weekend of the season. The sun was out and the snow was soft and the crowds were gone. Most people at this time of year around here are itching to get out on the golf course or ride their bikes, and skiing takes a back seat for the spring. But some of the nicest snow conditions are in the spring and if you don’t want to hit golf balls and have them plug on every shot or ride mountain bikes in amazingly wet and muddy conditions, you can enjoy the last turns of the season. I did and with this group of dedicated skiers, we bid farewell to the 2017-2018 season. I already purchased my Highlands Pass for local skiing next year and also my Epic Pass renewal for the trips westward. You see, I get a little depressed with the last turns of the season because it will be another 8 months until I am on snow again and I am not getting any younger. Although, I am inspired by Stan Friedberg’s Guiness Book of World Records achievement as the oldest heli-skier in the world. At 91, Stan can still turn em and it is an inspiration to all of us. Gives me a lot of hope for many more seasons.

Every year takes some effort to get the ski days in. We all start off with the first reports of the opening at Seven Springs, our local mainstay area, and we all clamor to make turns early on one slope and a couple of trails as snow making and cold weather allows. Then we look northward to the Lake Erie storms and make our way to Western New York to take in some of that early season fluff. Then for Janet and me, we made our way to Utah to ski with Mike and Judy Smith and their daughter Shayna and husband Nick for a couples trip that included a harrowing “thin cover” run that rattled Janet. She composed herself and skied well for the rest of the trip but was a little unhappy with me for taking her to “no man’s land” with thin cover in Utah.
Funny thing about skiing is that until you get to the mountain, it is a royal pain hauling all the gear like a sherpa, getting to and from the airport, and fighting the crowds on holiday weeks. Then you have weather. Like when I made my way to the Adirondacks to ski with my pal Mike Smith- the other Mike Smith. . Along with meeting my friend from Vermont, Mark Hutchinson, I braved probably two of the worst snowstorms I have ever driven in on the New York State Thruway. But the turns and days with those guys at Whiteface and Gore were worth every minute of white knuckled panic. I also ran a traffic light in Amsterdam, NY which got me pulled over by a State Police officer. However, after a nice chat between two guys alone in a snowstorm and my contrite explanation of why I ran the red light, he cut me a break and told me to get back on the Thruway and don’t try to take the short cut.

Moving forward, got up early most Saturday mornings to meet at Laurel Mountain with my group there and had some fantastic days until the 78 degree thaw and biblical rains forced an early shut down of Laurel.

Perseverance was the call after slicing my tendon in my knuckle and making my way to the annual guys trip – this time in Colorado. Dr. J and the physical therapy team were cautious about my trip so early after the injury but after returning with 320,000 vertical under our belts, he was relieved that I came back with no injury to the healing tendon. Got to ski with my buddy the singing ski instructor from Vail- Art Bonavoglia listening to his tunes on the chairlift. Always a pleasure to ski with my old pal Art who is really skiing well. Also, got pulled over again in Idaho Springs, Colorado by the local police officer who said I was speeding in the 25 MPH zone. Most people think this is hilarious because I am the most cautious driver they know. A speeding ticket? McCloskey? But again, the police officer was from Pennsylvania and we had a nice chat about the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. He asked me if I was a Steeler fan and I said, ” What is the right answer?” He said he was from Harrisburg and I congratulated him on the Eagle victory. He let me go like the officer in New York. 2/2 in potential citation stops. Someone is looking over me.

Finally full circle back at the Springs with the group that you see above. It takes some dedication to ski locally and to make the time and effort for ski ventures out of state but this group does it and looks forward to every season. So, as I made my last turns for the 2017-2018 circle of ski life, I was a bit forlorn. But looking back, it was a good season and now I switch gears to spring and summer activities, patiently waiting for the cool weather of the fall, the turning leaves, and the first flakes of 2018-2019. Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Full Circle

  1. Paul K. Vey says:

    Patrick, thanks very much for your note.

    I also become a little blue when the snow starts to disappear and mourn the loss of the ski season – a season that always seems to give way, in turns, to the demands of work.

    I was happy to hear that Art is out west. I’m not sure that it hasn’t been 20 years since I last saw him skiing on Avalanche- truly a good guy.

    Hope you have a wonderful spring and summer and that soon the trails dry out a little bit – at least to the point where a bike ride isn’t synonymous with a mud bath.

    All the best

    Paul

    Paul K. Vey , Esquire Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP One Oxford Centre, 38th Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Office: (412) 263-1823 | Fax: (412) 263-4248 PKV@Pietragallo.com| BIO This electronic mail message, and any attachments transmitted with it, contain confidential information, intended only for the named addressee(s). If you are not the intended recipient or the person responsible for delivering this e-mail to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, distribution, copying or disclosure of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP by reply e-mail, and delete all copies of this communication from your computer and network. Thank you.

  2. Judy Smith says:

    You are unbelievable Patrick! Luckiest guy I know…How did you get off without a fee for
    Twice pulled over. You are kind and have the gab gift with quick thinking. A joke or two would do it for me especially with one of your primo accents. Love reading the journey of your season and seasons to come. Happy travels and trails my friend. Look forward to more with you.

    • patmccloskey says:

      We are so grateful to have the Smiths as our pals. We love being with you guys. Tell Mike I am looking forward to the epic ride at PSU. 85 people signed up Wow!!!!!

  3. Russel Davies says:

    You sure had a great ski year Pat, thanks for sharing.

  4. oclv454 says:

    Pat, no reason to hang them up. Grab a Southwest flight to Reno and we’re off to Mt Rose and Mammoth!

  5. Ken Griffin says:

    You don’t have to hang them up Pat. We received a foot at Boyne Mountain in N MI this week and another 4″ in the 24 hour forecast!

    • patmccloskey says:

      Thanks Ken. I will take you up on that some day. It has been a while since I was at Boyne. Did a clinic with Chip Kamin and Peter Batiste back in the day. How about that for a throwback?

  6. Art Bonavoglia says:

    I was on the road driving back to Pa and just saw this post. Came back a little early and could be regretting it with snow on the way, we never get enough Pat!

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