Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Finally, though, we had a good dumping of snow on Monday and Tuesday. I was itching to hit the slopes. Unfortunately, time would be tight. I had a meeting in the morning and would be participating on a panel in the evening.
Nevertheless, I managed a quick drive up to Bridger. I skied Alpine, the easiest slope, which is still sunny in the early afternoon (parts of Bridger get dark a bit early).
True confession: I'd always considered skiing a bit decadent. A bit like golf. Yes, you're in the great outdoors but you're getting in a car and driving in order to go down a hill they've developed. Expensive gear is important. I get it.
But I'd skied as a kid, and have fond memories of ending a day at Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan, following my Dad down an empty tree-lined trail back to the hotel. I think this is one reason why I like skiing the Alpine lift at Bridger.
I've been skiing regularly here, but I'm hardly up to regional standards. The "expert" hills I'd skied out in Michigan would at most rank a blue spare here. And so that's what I am--a blue square with occasional flashes of black.
It's pretty. And pretty empty--especially on a Wednesday afternoon before Spring Break. And silent. And there's nobody there. The emptiness can be haunting, both on the ski hill and more generally. I remember driving from Montana to DC a little more than a year ago: going through passages where cell phones don't work, there's very little traffic, and a lot of animals are running in front of your car.
It gets my adrenalin pumping, as does skiing. And seeing fresh animal tracks on your deserted mountain trail and hoping they're from a dog and not a mountain lion. And wondering what would happen if you fell and broke an ankle.
I like the silence. It's nice not to hear people's voices. I love the fifteen-mile ride from Bozeman to the mountain. Once, a couple of years ago, I made it from my balcony to the top of the base-area lift at Bridger in just one hour.
Anyway, here are some shotz:
I got back to Bozeman in the late afternoon. I really wanted to head to the sauna, my usual post-skiing activity this year. Instead, I participated in a panel at MSU's Procrastinator Theater. The panel was connected to the showing of a film called Education Under Fire.
It was a fun evening. There was a nice and interested crowd--some people told me afterwards they'd driven up to 45 minutes to get there. With me on the panel were two other professors at MSU, a local Baha'i representative, and Rabbi Ed, a representative of Bozeman's Jewish community.
I was tired and my legs were sore--I'd really needed the sauna--but it was really rewarding having the chance to talk to people. Indeed, it means a lot to me that people from Bozeman and not-so-close environs would make an effort to come to events at the university.