To call skiing a timeless activity is certainly an understatement: according to some archeological accounts, 10,000 year-old paintings of skiers have been found in various snow filled regions of the world such as Scandinavia, Russia, and China. Passing from one year to the next, skiing has been a gift of travel and sport for countless generations from our earliest ancestors to the ingenious Norwegians credited with the invention of modern skiing during the late 18th and 19th centuries.
As snow floats from the December of each year’s end into January of the New Year, it is interesting to think of all of those previous generations, for whom the threads of skiing stitched together a quilt of winter adventure and recreation throughout the world. Also, it is always pleasant to think of how the anticipation of a new year coincides with the excitement of forthcoming flakes and the peak of ski season. Apropos to this anecdote is that fact that this paragraph is being written as a dense low pressure system descends on New England which may bring feet of snow to the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine (for those in the Rockies, Tetons, Wasatch, or Cascades their fill of the white stuff has already arrived).
During this particular winter of 2016-2017 it looks as if everyone in North America will be able to ski smoothly from one year into the next. Making the arrival of the New Year that much more wonderful, in addition to time spent on the slopes, is the good company of friends and family.
Similar to those early depictions of skiing and its innovative mode of winter mobility, individuals and their families previously used skis to travel from one village to the next and to migrate throughout various regions in search of new areas with improved surroundings, especially during the height of winter. This timeless theme is not so different from today’s powder hounds and skiing families who spend the bridge of time between December 25th and January 1st seeking, traveling to, and praying for ideal conditions: at least a minimum base of twenty-four inches, freezing temps, and light fluffy frozen crystals that stack layer upon layer of snow creating days of whoops, hollers, and ear to ear grins.
While our ancestors didn’t have to contend with global warming, rising lift ticket prices, and other modern day difficulties challenging the every day joy of alpine sport, it does appear that November and December of 2016 are at least acting like their old selves and are delivering plenty of snow to various parts of the United States. As it was in the past, all skiers are hopeful and optimistic that this white blanket will cover not only the end of December but the New Year to come as well.
Skiing possesses that special quality of connecting past, present, and future. A timeless sport, the same as it has been for hundreds of years, skiing has glided from one year to the next in the company of all of us who appreciate its deep connection with the mountains and sense of sturdy tradition. Like the current weather patterns that have sent folks packing their cars for overnight drives to a local or distant hills, when the clock strikes 12:01pm the morning of January 1st, it is likely that another cover of snow will have fallen making 2016 a memory of yesterday, giving way to a great new year of skiing and camaraderie to come.