Sunday, March 11, 2007


I usually prefer Icees.

Skiing was excellent yesterday. We went to Sugar Mountain, which is near Banner Elk, NC. Our chemistry grad student organization paid for transportation and lift tickets and if you helped out with concessions and selling goggles, they even paid for your rentals too. Just a little incentive to get people to help out, which is surprisingly difficult considering the pluses.

I got conned into driving one of the 3 12-passenger vans, but luckily Protege and the talented and lovely J were also in my van. And also some new characters, of which the husband works near me and the wife graduated from dear ol' Clemson, who we'll refer to as their given paparazzi name, Gregber. And a Chinese couple and an Austrian post-doc. I would tell you where everyone sat on the way up and back, and I might've even done it in an interesting way, but I don't have the time or want to right now, but J rode shotgun on the way up and was navigating while she wasn't asleep.

The behemoth of a van had a radio complete with tape deck. No one had any cassettes on them, so we went all radio, all the time. If I had known ahead of time I might've [huh, we had a discussion about this very thing and I claimed to have never heard it. Gregber said that someone said "might could" as in "I might could go get some dinner at Shoney's tonight". And I just used "might have". Is this a regional thing? Am I crazy?] gotten a cassette adapter for J's new shuffle. I think.

We left 6 minutes late which was impressive. I find as I get older, most people get more responsible than say, high schooler. On the road, no breakfast for me cuz we got up at 5:20ish to leave at 6:06.

Get on the road. Speed limit or just 5 over. Another guy in the dept. got a wreckless endangerment ticket in VA for going 77 in a 70 in one of these big vans, so that is clouding my thoughts and restraining my normally heavy right foot. That and it's got some sweet cruise control action which takes all the pressure off.

I'm hungry. I should've made a to-go bagel but didn't. It's okay, I wanted to stop at a gas station and stock up on some portable snackage for the slopes. I wasn't really planning on stopping for lunch to get maximum ski time, but it happened anyway. Fortunately there was a McDonalds connected to the gas station and since it's a road trip the "no eating out during Lent" is put on hold. We're still here so I guess She didn't mind too much.

Back on the road, pass the other van and make it to the lodge in about 3 hours and change. Not bad. Tickets, change clothes, ski pants, ski boots, jacket up, gloves on and then walk over to the nice easy green slope. Crap, I remember doing this but it's been a year. Pizza, french fries. At least I remember that and that mostly gets me down the first time. The next time up I'm watching people and trying to get tips. Oh yeah! Keep your skis together when you're carving. Ah, ok, it's all coming back. Hey there's J on the lift! I'll catch her next time down. She was supposed to get a group lesson but missed the start by 5 minutes, but they're every hour, on the hour, so no biggie.

We ski the green slope a few times, snuggle on the lift going back up, then I ask if she's ready to move to another slope. The middle lift goes to the very top of the mountain but has an easy drop-off and an intermediate drop-off on the way up. If you'll remember from last year's adventure, this is where we had some trouble (also please excuse the spelling and grammar errors in the linked post) so I made sure we both knew when to get off and how. Success! We stayed on this slope for a bit and then I think we ate lunch. Decent food, decent prices. Nothing pro sports/amusement park expensive. Reenergized we got back out on the slopes. A few more times on the harder green slope and then I asked if she wanted to go further up the mountain. It's faster and steeper but no black diamonds, so it's a good challenge. She concedes and we head up. Man it's scary going that fast, but sometimes you just have to do it. It's really scary carving at those speeds but it's the only way to slow down. Pizzaing hurts too much and falling would hurt more, so you have to rely on your technique and hope it works.

I didn't really have any bad falls, but I did fall. One guy that went with us hit a tree! Yeah, a freakin' tree. I guess he's okay, he was still on the slopes after it happened so I guess it wasn't too bad. No bad accidents and every made it off the mountain alive.

Thankfully Protege offered to drive some, so I got us out of the mountains and he took over at the interstate.

Excellent trip and I wish I could ski more often and maybe on some fresh snow created by nature and not a hose and a fan.

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