The Moon's Night

January 22, 2000

I remember writing a piece a while back in which I described the night as belonging to the wind. As I sit and think of my last evenings skiing, I decided that Friday night belonged to the moon.

It could have belonged to the cold, but the moon won out.

The night was not one of special lunar experience. There was no orange glow or harvest moon, or eclipse, just a very brilliant orb, that cast it's rays on a hill draped in white.

It was also very cold. I had to add a polar fleece top to the collection of clothes I had worn the night before, and still I was cold. Knowing better, I should have worn the Eddie Bauer 30 below parka, but I guess I opted for a bit of North Face style when I should have been covered in goose down. Shows to go you, sometimes frumpy is better than style.

This was a night of watching and listening, more so than the night before. I think what happened was that the previous night's cold caused the snow to compact into a very dense base. Thursday's silent ride through freshly fallen snow turned into Friday's scrape, scrape, scrape, across an unforgiving icy slopes.

I enjoyed it none the less. Watched the daughter race down the slalom course and grabbed a few pictures to boot. She, being cold, went home early with mom, and I was left with my thoughts and noisy, sometimes squishy slopes.

Squishy comes from the sound of the ski when it does encounter the powder.

I talked a couple of scared 12 year olds off the advanced hill and showed them how they could begin to navigate the hill by starting at the lower half. One of them had been crying at the thought of trying to navigate the slope.

Lots of silent rides tonight, alone on the chair lift. I stayed primarily on one run and each lift ride I turned behind me to watch the moon. Although the slopes were bathed in artificial light, somehow I ascribed it to the moon.

Someone had made a small jump which caused the skiers to land just under the moving chair lift. Often the would fall, with powder flying. I scored the falls.

Goggles lifted, and mouth uncovered I would shout "6.6" or "5.9"

Occasionally someone in the chair behind would yell out another set of numbers. I reserved the high numbers for the loss of 2 skis and billowing powder. No one got above 6.9.

Usually they laughed.

On the run they call Everest, I particularly enjoyed watching the cast of powder being thrown as skiers and snow boarders traversed the slopes, leaving trails of snow in each turn. I wished I could watch my own powder trail.

Sometime after we left the hill on Thursday, someone had altered the shape of the Free Fall wall. About 10 feet of snow had been piled onto the top of the old wall, which made it impossible to get a running start and a true fall off the front edge.

That part disappointed me - The plunge and tuck was not quite the same without a bit of falling. The new pile of snow was so steep that you had to climb up it sideways, inching your skis a little bit at a time.

All in all, even though it was only 2 degrees, I had a chilly, nice time.

I smiled frequently at the moon.

Tonight they are calling for fresh snow.