December 9, 2013 1:26pm tngp home winter
T-minus 5 days until we open for the winter!
I'm not going to lie to you guys, I want to go snowboarding. Shut down my computer, gear up, walk out of the office onto the hill and just go shred. I want to lay down high speed turns, pop off features, press the you-know-what out of a box in the park and maybe, just maybe make some "woooo"-inducing pow turns. I want to go skiing too. I want to click in and get to work improving on two planks. And I'm not alone here. Pretty much every employee at the mountain wants to do exactly the same thing. I also suspect those feelings are shared by just about all of you Burkies out there as well. It's December, and we want to ski and snowboard our adventure-seeking, speed-craving little hearts out! And that brings us to the subject of this week's blog: patience, and learning to accept that not all things are under our control.
I had this realization while watching the 2014 World Cup Draw on Friday. As previously mentioned, I'm somewhat fanatacal about soccer. No, check that. I'm obsessed - especially the US National Team - so I was tuned in to find out who we'd be paired with in the Group Stage of the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil. For those of you unaware, 32 teams make the World Cup. They are first placed in four "pots", and then one team from each pot is randomly drawn into one of eight groups. The end result is the you have eight groups, four teams each. What often happens is that you have a few balanced groups, one or two "easy" groups, and then there's usually what is ominously referred to as "The Group of Death". As the draw unfolded, it was looking more and more like two Groups of Death were surfacing. One featured defending champions Spain and defending runners-up, the Netherlands. Fortunately, we escaped that group (sorry, Aussie friends...). And then it seemed as if the heavens would part and we would be lucky enough to be drawn into by far the easiest group going, which included Switzerland and Ecuador. All seemed right with the world, like when the weather forecast calls for a prolonged cold snap and a big ol' early season storm. And then it happened. Honduras was picked for that group, not us. And then it got worse. The second developing Group of Death already contained Germany (where our head coach hails from and where he won the 1990 World Cup) and Ghana (who've knocked us out of the previous two World Cups). The potential story lines just seemed to beg for the US to be drawn there. And, what with fate not wanting to disappoint, we were. Ok, so it's a tough group. We can handle that though, we've been diligent in our preparation and we're coming off a highly successful 2013 which saw us post the best record in the history of the US National Team. We're ready to compete. Then, the fourth team drawn into the group was Portugal. They the team currently ranked 5th in the World, who feature one of the two guys in the discussion of "best player on the planet right now", Cristiano Ronaldo. All the lead up, all the hope, all the hype, all the potential. And we end up with...... this? I mean, Come on Man! Alas, this was out of our control and we're now faced with the challenge of finishing as one of the top two teams in the group, and we must meet that challenge head on. All the complaining, whining, wondering of "what if" must now cease and Klinsmann and his team must focus on the task at hand. Not what they wanted, and certainly not what they deserved, but it's what they were given and what they must deal with.
Now at this point, I'm sure you're wondering (validly I might add) "how the hell does this apply to anything remotely related to skiing and riding?" Here's how:
In the run-up to this season, we all wanted the dream scenario. The "easy group", to relate it back to the paragraph above. Super cold temperatures beginning in mid-November. Snow storms coming through and dropping measurable amounts of natural snow on the mountain, leading to a Thanksgiving weekend or at least an early December opening. In the dream scenario, we'd have been skiing or riding for a few weeks by now. But as with the case of the US National Team, the reality we're faced with is far from that dream scenario. Here at the mountain, we've made our preparations - we increased our snow gun count last year. We upped our available power this year. But the one thing we needed, that little bit of luck to get a good run of solid temperatures.... we didn't get. Well, we had it and things were looking good, and then it got warm. Real warm. And the skies dropped some of that dreaded non-crystallized precipitation on us. So here we are, on December 9th, still waiting with eager anticipation for the mountain to open. But fear not, Burkies, for our patience will be rewarded. It's snowing as I type this and we have an extremely positive snowmaking forecast for this week. The starting line is in sight! Unless either Mother Nature or the snowmaking system decide to go rogue on us, we'll be skiing and riding on Saturday, December 14th from the Summit down to mid-Burke off of the Mid-Burke Express. The plan right now is to open with Upper Willoughby to Lower Bear Den to Lower Warren's Way. High Meadows Pass also looks pretty good, so there's a good chance we'll have top-to-bottom availability with both the Mid-Burke and the Sherburne spinning. Obviously, standard caveats apply there so don't quote me on that just yet. From there, we'll expand terrain to include our beginner area. We'll crank out snow to make sure Steve and the crew can get the Dashney terrain park going. And we'll all remember why we love this place, and these sports, so much. Yes friends, all will be right with the world once again. In the words of the illustrious Axl Rose, we just need.... a little patience.
See ya on the hill,