When I say still at it, yes! Just came back from some amazing skiing in Mammoth Mountain, California. A real treat and was still at it for the winter of 2022-2023. A bonus trip came my way with my good friend Eric Durfee. But “still at it” also means that I am still skiing with my friend Eric for over 45 years.
We have had great adventures skiing, and this week was another on our list. The skiing in Mammoth was incredible for May. Mid Winter conditions with so much snow that they believe they will ski until September. I took a 5:15 AM flight out of Pittsburgh last Monday and arrived in Reno at 9:20 AM and Eric picked me up at the airport and we drove the scenic RT.395 to Mammoth. We were in the chairlift by 1:40 after I changed in the parking lot. Boxer shorts flapping in the wind. The week gave us interesting weather as it was usually sunny in the morning and clouded up significantly in the afternoon which made the visibility late in a day a little challenging up top. But we made our way to the lower runs and did just fine.
The great thing about skiing with Eric is his enthusiasm for the sport. 121 days on the snow this year and would have had 14 more if he had not injured his thumb. But he is a student of the game of skiing, and has really worked hard on getting his turns to be more in line with modern technique instead of old school. I am old school too in that I ” A- Frame”, which basically means that I can have my weight on the downhill ski but the inside ski is rather docile. But we worked on a lower stance, a wider stance, and moving the inside knee actively into the turn like the racers do. Eric has it down pretty well and I am getting there. Nice to work on something new at 68 years of age. Generally speaking, Eric and I can ski anything, but working the new technique with the skis that work well with that kind of technique is really enjoyable. We had the wives with us in Oregon recently and that was a lot of fun skiing with Helen and Janet. But to have a bonus week with your friend of 45 years, ripping GS turns, and getting the added treat of some fresh snow was truly memorable.
But the really memorable thing about being “still at it” is that I can see Eric maybe a couple of times a year, but when we get together, it is as if I had never left. Isn’t that the way it always is with a good friend? We take up right where we left off and continue to tell our old stories and make new ones along the way. When you can drive for three hours each way, and stay for a week and not run out of any conversation, you know you have a great friend. We talk politics, skiing, and life in general and he always has some sage advice for me as well as a way to shed some light on topics in a different way than I hear most of the time. They say to have a friend is to be a friend and Eric definitely embodies that sentiment.
So yes- we are still at it. Skiing is a great sport and it gives us an excuse to get together and enjoy the mountains. We are getting older and we realize our limitations, but for the most part, we are in good shape and can still enjoy making turns and look forward to doing it for many years to come. I have made many friends through skiing, and am perhaps one of the only people around my neck of the woods that gets a little bummed out when winter is over. As I sharpened and waxed my skis for the last time this season, I was a little down. But I look forward to the next season and will enjoy the summer activities with the mountain bike crowd. But when those first flakes start to fall later this year, I will be ready for 2023-2024. Thanks Eric for always keeping me in the game. Thanks for reading.
Pat , you are the master of the mountain, on skis or wheels , so great to have a friend that for so long that you can have the joy of skiing !
Thank you Mr. Belch
Looking good Pat.
Thank you Mike.
Wow what a great way to end the season! You guys are incredible true students of the sport, and I love the inside knee thing! Great post!
Thanks Art. Hope all is well?
Yes Pat all is fine here. I’m just an old man on a bike now, and still enjoying it! I hope that you and Janet are fine as well. I hope that Jack and his girl are doing well. I’ll let you know where I wind up next ski season.
Another nice post; thanks.
As a like-minded reader (skiing and mtn biking), am wondering if you’d share non-fiction titles you’ve recently read and enjoyed. Always looking for a good book.
John Dyer Minneapolis
Outlive by Dr. Peter Attia. Really good synopsis on how to live a quality life in your older years.
Skiing fresh snow in May
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Really good Scott.
Great. I am happy for you.
Thanks Rus. Extended the season my a month,
Seeing you and Eric was a real bonus for a great ski trip to Mammoth.
Followed Eric and saw the result of his technique with two carved ski tracks, not one. Looking forward to next year to work on it!
Me too Bill. Good technique. Something for us to work on for sure. Great to be with you and Pat.