.by Anura Guruge
Click to ENLARGE.
I don’t ski much anymore. A major departure from prior to turning 50. Coming from a tropical island I got into skiing late. 1977, methinks. I was 23, approaching 24. Went to Italy for a week — as a chaperon for a group of 60 kids. Learned to ski that week. Day 1 I knew that this was my sport. Fell 18 times, on the trot, trying to use my first tow lift. [They don’t have them much here]. 19th time was the charm. You couldn’t get me off the slope.
I used to ski a lot. Evening and even dry ski slopes. But, now I am a warm weather, 1/2 day skier. It has to be close to 32°F before I will think about it. So these days I only ski in March. This was March and Devanee had been going skiing at Gunstock. She wanted to go skiing with me. Hence this jaunt to Loon.
Deanna found that now, late season, Loon has a flat, $29 (for all ages), Sunday afternoon lift ticket. Checked the weather. It was just around the magic 32°F. So we planned to spend St. Patrick’s at Loon.
I had bought stuff from them before, but I had never rented from Lahouts — who are on the main drag, on the way to Loon. I had heard good things about them. We stopped. It was quick and cheap. $20 for my skis and sticks (I had forgotten to load my pistol-grip ones) and the same for Deavanne’s skis and boots. She doesn’t use sticks — as yet. So $40 for rentals. They said that we saved $40 over Loon. Could be. They gave us Salomon skis, the new, shaped one. They put me in 165 cm. [I used to ski 215 cm with the non-shaped ones.] Truth be said, I was not impressed with the Salomon’s. They were OK. They were stable. Very forgiving. Allowed me to easily recover from my one near fall. But, they were also not ‘active’ at all; i.e., responsive. They were like old skis. You had to work to make them turn. That is OK. That is how it was. I know how to do it. But, as I get older I appreciate the new skis that reduce the amount of work you have to do. A few years ago, at Gunstock, I rented a pair of HEAD (Bys) XL 163. Best skis I have ever skied on. Magic. You just had to think. It was like ESP. The Salomon’s weren’t a patch on these.
We got the $29 tickets. So the 1/2 skiing at Loon, without crowds, cost $98 for Devanee and I.
That was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty close to it. The wind picked up and it started to get cold around 3:15. But, no crowds, no lift lines. It was good. Around 3:15 we got to ski ‘Lower Walking Boss’, my favorite slope at Loon, twice, with nobody else. I have had that before, because I have skied Loon on Sundays. Having that wide slope all to yourself is pretty special.
It was a good day. We stopped around 3:30. My legs had had it and it was cold. In my old age I now know when to stop. Most serious skiing injuries happen late in the day when you are skiing on tired legs.
So it was fun. We took the scenic way back, via Campton and Squam.
The only thing that distressed me was the food prices at Loon! $7.59 (or thereabouts) for a hamburger. That is not right. That is exploitation.