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“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” ― Mario Andretti

I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day! Around here it was uneventful. No flowers or Godiva chocolates ☹ Not complaining, just stating a fact.  

On Sunday I had the skiing date. Well, it was not really a date, I should just say: I went skiing with a friend.  There was not a word or gesture of romance, and I am happy about that.  We are definitely perfect as friends.

I left home very early Sunday morning and stopped by his lake house, that it is half way to mountain.  He had been staying there since Friday. He showed me around and from there we drove to the mountain.

It was a beautiful drive.  We talked and joked as if we have known each other forever. There was no lack of topics to talk about.  He has lived in many other countries and has many stories to tell, but he was also very interested in listening about me and my stories.

Hunter Mountain is a beautiful area located in the northern Catskills Mountains.  As far as skiing is concerned is neither the best best nor the worst I have been to.  It was very cold, and towards the end of the day there were some ice patches on the trails.

“A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.” ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

He was such a gentleman in every way.  He was concerned about the fit of my boots, asking the rental guys to have me try different ones, even though I had brought my own.  He wanted to drop me off near the entrance and then go park, but as faith would have it there was a perfect spot right there where he was going to drop me off. He carried my skis for me. At all times he was concerned about my comfort level.  It didn’t feel too much.  I felt taken care of.

Speaking of comfort level, why do I love skiing?  Everything about the sport is painful.  The tight boots on the slopes, walking liking Frankenstein’s monster across the parking lot.  Carrying the heavy skis. Wearing the many layers of clothing. The expensive lift ticket, well, everything is expensive on the mountain.  The long lines to get on the chair, long lines everywhere really. And let’s not forget the cold.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ― John Muir, The Mountains of California

Still,  I adore it!  Being on the mountain feels very freeing, and yet so challenging to me.  I forget about everything.  My only thought is to get down the mountain, and then go up again.  I fear the speed, and yet I love it when, by chance, I speed up a little.  Those few moments between gaining speed, and then feeling like I am totally out of control are priceless. 

Getting back to the day.  He has been skiing forever and is a great skier, so he was able to teach me a lot.  He corrected my form, we did some drills, he gave me tips.  He was so much better than most of the skiing instructors I have had in the past.  In the end I noticed some progress.  He said he did too. 

He said I can go skiing with him any time I want.  He is at that mountain every week. I am not sure I would make the same trip again.  It was too much for one day only.  Total driving time of almost 5 hours.  Perhaps I will go back for a couple of days.  For day trips I am searching for places closer to home.

I made a friend and I skied.  Life is great!

“Do not compete with others! Pick a high speed for yourself that suits high ideals and try to catch and surpass that speed!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan