Spring Bliss: 13/21 and still counting

I hurt my knee a few weeks ago. Bad. Figured the season was over.
Virtually cancelled the SkiVt-L party. Burdened my family and friends
with crying and whining.

It still hurts, I feel it throbbing now as I write this. Been sitting
around all day, it’s getting stiff.

But now I’m guessing the pain has more to do with skiing thirteen out
of the last 21 days than having dome myself serious injury. By Sunday,
I hope to make it 15/23.

A timeline:

Wednesday, March 9:
Slammed my knee hard into a tree deep in the Mad River Glen woods. Saw
stars and cuckoo birds swirling around my head as I writhed in the snow
in pain. Eventually dug myself out and hobbled down the rest of the
hill. Took one more run, and the extent of the injury began to sink in.
I was in tears as I worked the gas and brake pedal of the Jeep back
over the treacherous steeps of Appalachian Gap back to my home, where
my wife put me to bed with a bag of ice and a bottle of codeine.

Tuesday March 15:
Still can’t work the brake well enough to drive. Convinced I had torn
important knee cartilage, I am taken to visit with Orthopedic
Nurse-Practitioner (ONP). He suggests that it might just be a bad
bruise. Ice and heat, stretch it out, come back in a week.

Thursday March 17:
Knee bending without pain while executing ski-like moves in living
room. Vickie reluctantly suggests that maybe I can join her and her
sister’s family for an *easy* day at Bolton, but I must promise not to
touch the moguls or trees.

Friday March 18:
At Bolton
I nervously follow the family pack around the daunting terrain of
Bolton Valley. We stop on the way home to get a neoprene knee brace, as
recommended by the ONP. Hope springs eternal — My season has not
ended, My career is not over. Not dead yet.

Saturday March 19:

I join the Mad River Glen ski school’s Rockin’ Chipmunks program. Spend
the day with Steve the instructor, Sierra Salts and her mommy, and my
own 4-year-old son, who consistently beats me down the hill.

March 22-25:
Stone Hut, Mount Mansfield. Vickie highly disapproves, but I ignore
common sense. Mansfield revives me spiritually, and the skis follow
instinctively, all against the better judgment of my higher-reasoning
centers. Brilliant sunshine, good grrooming, remarkable spring
conditions, and even a little late season powder dumping helps ease me
back to form. Thanks to Dan, Scott, Stan, Jim, and a variety of Western
and Eastern Medicines, I start to ski like a kid again, even if it
means turning back into an undead zombie once the sun goes down. I
desperately want to spend another day, but I receive a recall notice
from the home front and depart early to rejoin my darling wife and
child. And to take a much needed hot shower.

March 27:
Easter Sunday. We get up early and rush around like mad chickens,
bundle up the kid and the skis, and just barely make it onto the single
chair at Mad River Glen for “sunrise” services at the summit. Later, we
forego the parades and easter egg hunts and other distractions to ski,
ski, ski. More of those glorious spring conditions — the corn ripened
by 8:30 AM and the skiing just got better and better until we had to go
home for early dinner with my mother and sister.

March 30:
Visit with Orthopedic Surgeon who rebuilt my ACL. get the same general
story as from the ONP: this is a very painful injury that will hurt for
a long time, but one which has no serious long-term consequences:
nothing torn, nothing broken. If it still hurts in a month, come back
for an MRI; otherwise, skiing is OK, if I take it easy. Exercise it and
strecth it.Yeah.

March 31:
I wake up and the sun is shining and the air is cold and the slopes are
calling. I figure the Doctor more or less advised me to go skiing —
Doctor’s orders! Another glorious spring day. Sugarbush North calls and
I answer with half a dozen summit to base runs. Lower FIS is
spectacular. Brambles has been groomed, seemingly just for me. Thee
knee is feeling just slightly better, until of course I stop and go
home where it stiffens up like a two-by-four. I can’t be doing it any

April 1:
I’m the fool as little Justin Clapp, age 5, drags me relentlessly from
one side of Mad River Glen to another. But better to be out-skied by a
kid than to not ski at all. And, oh, yeah: more textbook Spring skiing.
I can’t remember getting so much spring skiing in one spring. the
snowpack doesn’t seem to budge and the sun continues to shine. What a

April 2:
The heaven’s open and pour down a deluge — but somehow Mad River pulls
a couple of inches of fresh from the sky. I only get to experience it
on one run: got on the single at 3:55 PM, skied a glorious silky
cruiser, then voted to preserve the charater of the mountain by
replacing the 52 year old single chair with an exact duplicate. I’m
coming to realize that the sport of skiing carries its own unique style
of logic, a logic not understood by the non-skier.

April 3:
SkiVt-L party. Combined with Saturday, The worst weather days of the
last month. What better way to enjoy it than racing around Mount
Mansfield with a posse of six to twenty equally deranged peers. yes, I
promised Denis a mellow day of relaxed skiing, but I seem to have lost
all perspective as to what that really means. I realize at 4:05 PM,
just a couple of hundred feet down the Bruc3e, that I am whipped — but
there is still 2200′ or so of vertical and Dave Guertin’s three kids
below me. By trails end, I wander into the Matterhorn looking like Mr
Burns of the Simpsons — except much happier.

April 5:
Sugaring Weather has returned, and with it more of that blessed corn
and spring skiing. Will it ever end? Hope not. Emails start to fly as
competing proposals come in from all corners: Scott is skiing TD that
night; Evan is skiing TD tomorrow; Roger wants to ski all day
Wednesday. I send off a quick email to Dennis Bogan, suggesting he come
to MRG. Too late: he was already there. But we never actually hook up
to ski: too much to do, too much to ski. I Ski way too hard down chute
and liftline. More snow had miraculously dropped from the sky while no
one was looking, and freshened up the top layers of the snow pack. My
pleasure centers are overloading.

April 6:
Me and Roger and a bunch of clouds that melt away into — you guessed
it: more sunshine, corn, and endless skiing in the trees of Mount

April 7:
I go to work

April 8:
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you
could attend come outside come outside. See y’all at MRG for FSC.

About Wesley Wright

Born on a mountain top near New York City, Craziest state in the land of the pretty. Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree, Killed him a bear when he was only three.
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