Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tumbling forward

After spending term C (Jan. 15- March 15) in Spencer, I've been in Santa Fe with 24 WPI students completing 6 projects on a variety of topics related to safe and efficient urban transportation, water conservation and renewable energy, including a project to preserve the indigenous language of the local pueblo of Pojoaque.  We're down to the last two-weeks and the final results are starting to appear in our newly-minted SantaFedia, the hyperlocal wikipedia which is for Santa Fe what  Venipedia is for Venice.
It's almost the end of April already, yet the ski season isn't over yet.  Together with Peter Small, Alistair McMullen and other ski pals, we closed down the Santa Fe ski mountain on April 1st (should have dressed like a fish...), then Taos on Easter Sunday, then Silverton, Colorado, last weekend.  Silverton's logo appropriately exemplifies the nature of the mountain -- and possibly the meaning of life in general.  It's all extreme terrain, served by a single vintage double chair, and avalanche equipment is mandatory.  The lift operators don't scan your pass, but instead "beep your beacon" before they let you on the chair...  It was snowing all weekend and we enjoyed well over a foot of fresh powder, which hid some of the razor-sharp stones that took a hefty slice out of my Watea skis and forced me to rent a pair of Hellbent K2 powder twin-tips.  The video below shows what happens when you don't listen carefully to the ski-rental technician when he says: "they're set to 8 which is the maximum legal setting.  You can get a screwdriver at the bottom of the chair to set them higher if you'd like..."  I missed the "nudge-nudge wink-wink" part of that piece of advice, so my binding kept popping out in the deep snow, as illustrated by the last frame of the video.  No biggie.  The tree was thankful to be relieved of all the weight of the snow.

Silverton Tree from Fabio Carrera on Vimeo.

Just yesterday, I skinned up Tesuque peak here in Santa Fe and skied down (once) with Peter Small.  It was my first time using skins and I had to borrow a pair of alpine trekker adaptors from Alistair to allow the heel to lift.  It took about 4 hours to do the whole roundtrip, but it was well worth it.  And let's not forget that the peak is at 4,000 meters of elevation and the trek involved almost 1,000 meters of vertical!
I've decided to unite my love for skiing with my yearning for travel and exploration, so this summer I plan to visit South America and ski the Andes with Nick (who is now on a much better trajectory in his life, after some turmoil around his 21st birthday on January 31).
No sense waiting for "the right time".
I will keep tumbling forward as gnarly-ly as I can before I get too old...