So I think I figured out why I don’t like skiing at Boston Mills. It’s not so much that the slopes aren’t challenging or that the runs are too short, but more the fact I enjoy the aesthetic qualities of skiing–the sensation of moving quickly along a slope with the sound of snow sliding off my skis, the aroma of trees and the metallic odor of snow, flakes falling gently around me, the blood bumping through my veins quickly. You just can’t experience this sensation fully at a place like Boston Mills. I guess it is because the runs are so short, the fact that you can see the bottom of the slope from the top. You can see the bottom of some slopes at good resorts like Seven Springs and Holiday Valley; however, the runs are still longer so I can experience some of the other sensations that make skiing to me so gratifying.
It’s weird, but I think the experience of the moment is also what I love about cycling. I enjoy looking at the world on a summer’s day, feeling alive with the blood pumping through my veins as I push myself forward. For me, cycling and skiing has never been about being the fastest or the best, it’s been solely about the experience of feeling that charge of the moment, the thrill of experiencing the world in 3D. You can do the same thing in a car, but you’re caged in. Besides, the natural world is better appreciated when you have to work to see it. Which is also why I love hiking. Or rafting (which I haven’t gotten to do a lot of in my life yet). Put me outside and I’m happy.
At a place like Boston Mills, all I can do is work on improving my skiing form or else I get bored. I just don’t feel that excitement part of skiing that pushes me onward when I’m at a place like Holiday Valley or, even better, a ski resort in Colorado (or anywhere out west, but I’ve never gone to any other place yet). Last night, I spent all my time trying to work on speed and handling bumps. Not that I didn’t have fun in another way, but I just didn’t get that glowing-happy sensation I feel while I am skiing. It was a lot like working on my cycling on my trainer–more work, less pleasure.
Something that really pisses me off about Boston Mills is that none of the skiers seem to understand the skier’s responsibility code. In my first run last night, I almost got hit by two snowboarders (snowboarders tend to be “look out for me” in attitude everywhere you go). The concept of being the uphill skier and needing to look out for the downhill skier seems to be lost on them. Dudes, if I can feel the air from your wake on my face, you were too frakking close to me! One snowboarder nearly crashed into me head on and had the audacity to think it was my fault when he came up from behind me. Whatever.
The kids at Boston Mills are punks. Without parents watching, it’s like an unmonitored playground. Little punks were line-jumping all over the place and they mouth off at you if you point out they are line-jumping. They all seem like they are so entitled to be there and you’re just in the way. Several idiots rolled right over my skis while in line which really peeves me off. I just bought these skis last year, I don’t need to have them all scuffed up. If this is a common occurrence in ski lines, then someone needs to explain to me why people rarely bump my skis at the more upscale resorts. Maybe it’s because people have more control over themselves at the better resorts?
There’s a lot of really amateur skiing going on out there. Yes, I’m an amateur, but I’m a careful amateur. Some of these kids, because the runs are so short, just bomb uncontrollably straight down them and you can plainly see they are out of control. To top it off, these punks who bomb out of control down the runs, never making turns, think they are skiing quite well.
The antics that take place at Boston Mills would never be tolerated at a better resort. The ski patrol or courtesy patrol elsewhere would have taken their lift ticket, especially for line-jumping. The thing that separates Boston Mills from other resorts is that rules are enforced and followed, which makes for a much more polite ski environment. Some of the people at Boston Mills have never skied anywhere else which, I think, gives them a really skewed view of what skiing is all about. I learned to ski at Holimont–a private resort in Ellicotville, NY–so when I learned I was taught properly about how to be a polite and safe skier. Maybe the fact that I was taught at a good resort has really skewed my view of skiing and made it impossible for me to really enjoy Boston Mills.
I also noticed that the ski patrol there aren’t necessarily the best skiers. Last night, I saw a girl in a ski patrol jacket who looked like she was new to skiing! She was making slow, deliberate turns and even I felt like I was a better skier. These are the people who are supposed to help haul you off the slope–any slope, no matter what skill level–if you are injured. At bigger resorts, the ski patrol are expert skiers because they have to go down anything–double black diamond runs, included–and not only that, but they have to figure out how to ski you off what ever hill you crashed your ass on. So I’m wondering if Boston Mills trains and hires their own ski patrol who are not nationally certified… And that worries me slightly. If I injure myself and can’t ski down, and the person who has to help me get off the slope is a worse skier than me, I’m a bit worried. Of course, at Boston Mills, it’s not that far to the lodge, so if you weren’t knocked unconscious, you could probably just walk down the rest of the slope. I guess then you don’t need to have great skiers on the ski patrol.
I know a lot of good skiers who use Boston Mills to practice… And so that’s why I keep trying to make the place work for me because I don’t want to be a ski snob. Until last night, I was tempted to get a season pass there next year to keep my skiing skills going throughout the winter so that when I go somewhere good, I don’t spend the first several hours trying to warm up instead of going straight into good skiing. However, I was so frustrated by the rudeness and the near-collisions I experienced last night that I’m not sure if the little bit of fun I had is enough to make me feel compelled to keep going there. Maybe I am a total ski snob, totally spoiled by learning at a good resort and one winter spent as a resident of Colorado.
My legs feel a little stiff this morning so that means I really did do a good workout on the skis (which is also not something that happens often for me at Boston Mills). I did get a little adventuresome with practicing speed. I purposely took air on some of the bumps (which is effectively like jumping) and didn’t lose balance so it was helping me improve my skiing. I just don’t know if I can motivate myself to ski there enough to pay out the worth of a season pass, though. So I don’t know. Sure wish I lived next to a resort like Holiday Valley! (Or, dare I say it, those AWESOME resorts in that state you all know I love too much… Never bitched about skiing once when I lived there…)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not an expert-level skier. I’m probably more like “upper intermediate”–given the right day and confidence level and I can ski really well. Other times my skiing is a little unsure and sloppy. I’m improving, but I know I still have a ways to go in some respects. At least I can stay upright most of the time (only fell once so far this year, at Holiday Valley). Most importantly, though, is that I enjoy the sport even though I’m not an expert level skier. I’ve had to tell myself that that might be all I ever am–intermediate–and to be happy with that. I’m an intermediate cyclist, too. I guess I’m just one of those people who will always be intermediate when it comes to sports. But, then, I’m not too competitive with this stuff; I just do it because I enjoy it.
Oh well. It’s Thursday and I’m tired. I had to shovel my driveway again this morning. My driveway looks like a flat toboggan chute. I’m really starting to think about getting a snow blower. Except the physical workout of shoveling replaced having to be on my trainer this morning. It’s a toss up over which is more fun.