School kids across the region got a snow day on Friday. It’s been a long time since I was a school kid, but I took one anyway.
Following both your advice* and my instincts, I left early Friday for Seven Springs. The trip there wasn’t especially rough, with the exception of one squall I drove through on the turnpike and one tiny little skid when I turned into the resort’s entrance.
My reward? The best skiing I’ve seen since my powder day at Snowmass in 2006. I’ve had great days skiing in fresh snow several times since, most notably at Boyne in 2008 and generally around once a season at Seven Springs. But the snow here is usually a little wetter and heavier — and not as prodigious – and while it makes for a great day, it’s not quite the same thing as a Western powder day.
But the 8-plus inches that fell at Seven Springs Thursday was cold, light and fluffy. And although a good number of people beat me to the slopes, there was still plenty to go around when I took my first run at 9:30 Friday morning.
If you haven’t done it, you don’t know. You don’t hear anything — because your skis aren’t digging into groomed carpet or hardpack. You don’t feel anything — because your skis are floating through each turn. And sometimes, you don’t see anything — because you turn through a deep pocket of fluff that explodes over your head.
It makes for a great morning for everyone. People grin stupidly at each other while they ride up for another run. Others literally shout with joy through turn after turn. I found that I reverted into a 17-year-old boy: “Dude. This is epic. I mean, totally.”
I didn’t actually ski as long as I would have on a normal day up there. By the early afternoon, the snow was getting chopped up and a little heavy — and my legs were jelly from skiing as hard as I did before lunch. And all those school kids I mentioned earlier? They started showing up as well, a signal that it was a good time to leave. That’s OK, though — I had three hours of perfect, just when I needed it most.
I checked Twitter while I ate my lunch and found a discussion about sledding Friday night. Might as well make this a full snow day, I thought.
A small group — AAA, Yohe, Abby, Jami and me — met at Frick Park with hot chocolate spiked with raspberry vodka, and without an actual sled. A couple improvised things — cardboard, a plastic bin lid and a trash can lid — sort of worked; the big plastic banner that we, uh, found was much better, accommodating as many as four people for trips down the hill.
And then a friend of a friend showed up with one of those plastic disks — the ones that go really fast while being pretty much uncontrollable — and we all took turns risking death.
We got a Lucha Libre Sledding Demonstration from Yohe. We also got the best run of the night after the Sagers and a friend showed up late. True to form, Josh tried sledding on or in everything we suggested; the highlight was a run down the hill in a Target-bag diaper, which worked surprisingly well:
As you might imagine, there were casualties: Abby’s Thermos, broken by an errant sledder from another group. The sign that we, uh, found, lost pretty much all of its lettering. My ass, from landing on it after the disk sent me airborne. Abby, who found the same dip I did but hit it going backwards, meaning she landed on her head. That was enough to give her what was probably a concussion, along with neck and back pain that kept her nailed to her couch for the rest of the weekend.
I’m not sure what Abby’s overall assessment of the sledding trip would be — and I feel awful that she’s been in so much pain since — but I think she’d admit that we had a good time on Friday night. I know I probably need a sled that at least has a little more padding in the seat — since I evidently don’t have enough of my own — but I’d definitely go again.
*Thanks to everyone who voted and offered comments. Except to the four of you who suggested I should go to Seven Springs and stay there.