It’s December: Time to pile on the powder | SierraSun.com
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It’s December: Time to pile on the powder

Alex Close
Close Range
Alex Close/Sierra SunA snowbarder tries to air over exposed bushes.
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The snow has finally fallen, or been made … either way there’s some of it on the ground.

There’s not enough, though.

Every year, the Thanksgiving turkey gets eaten, the 12th month rolls onto the calendar and the ski resorts open.

Everyone rushes to the hill, jonesin’ for some powder stashes and big hits.

Every year it’s the same.

Runs are icy, rocks poke through and eager rippers spend more time P-Texing their planks than actually riding them.

Every year it’s the same.

The early-season snow falls. What’s missing is pumped out of those icy cold snow cannons, and despite the best attempts of resorts to spin a couple of lifts, the skiing is just flat out crappy.

I suppose it’s good to get the legs tuned up a bit, make some laps every couple of days.

Although those laps and that conditioning is usually countered by the time spent in the bar pounding beers and wishing the snow would fall.

We put on our snow tires, we strap the ski racks on the roof.

Some of us even make the mistake of tuning up our skis, only to gouge them out on barely hidden shards of granite.

I know I did.

Two days after my tune I was at the table again, dripping flaming P-Tex into a flesh wound that ripped out a chunk of my core.

Oh well, that’s what rock skis are for.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain about the patchy ice between slushy bumps of ground up permafrost.

The twigs and bushes poking through the surface shouldn’t even bother me.

And hell, I’ve got rock skis, the boulders jutting out shouldn’t even cause me grief.

After all, I am out making turns.

I’ve tallied four days already. Who cares if most of the turns I made were chattery, hard packed or slick?

After all, I’ve had four days to warm up.

I needed them, too. You know how they say “it’s like riding a bike?”

Well it’s not.

No matter how many years I’ve been doing this, the first couple days still leave me feeling like a newborn fawn wobbling through the woods.

But it’s like I said, I should be grateful.

If my first trip out was a fat powder day I probably would have over-extended myself and be laying in a hospital bed with my leg tied to the ceiling being spoon fed Jell-O.

So give me those warm up days. Give me those days where nothing off the groomer is appealing because it’s all a death trap. Give me those chances to get my legs in order so that when the powder piles up I can shred it with authority.

Just don’t give me too many more, cause the groomers have been skied off and I’m ready to rip.


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