Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

Lots of smoke; no sign of fire

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By G.D. Maxwell

It seemed particularly odd to be sitting on Dusty’s patio on a blazing spring day and not see a single soul wearing ski gear. Whistler was open; I could hear the distant din of mechanical activity and feel the force of skiers and boarders working on racoon tans and cramming as many final turns as they could into a perfect spring skiing day.

Mountain’s open, Dusty’s is open, people are skiing, the gondy’s not turning? Something in the equation seemed bizarre. It was as though the day’s new sun had popped up over the wrong mountain, clock hands started turning backward… or George Bush had said something that made sense. Peculiar. A bit unsettling. But nothing another refreshing beverage wouldn’t help set straight.

"There’s a different Zen to spring skiing," I said to no one in particular, there being no one other than myself at the moment to say it to.

"Spring skiing challenges a vast segment of the skiing population who fail to grasp that not so subtle point," I answered, agreeing completely with myself.

"Why do you think that is?" I asked, beginning to get just a little uncomfortable carrying on a Q&A with myself but rationalizing that you’re not really crazy unless you begin talking to yourself out loud.

"Because the key to spring skiing is this: Less is More. That’s a concept that scares the Generation of Swine, my generation, to death. It’s as unsettling to a generation who’s bought into the notion that more is more – but nowhere near enough – as watching a Prius come out of a dustup with a Hummer without a scratch, leaving the Hummer a smouldering heap of scrap.

"To wring the most from spring skiing you have to start late. That’s a hard concept for keeners to grasp but it’s the difference between skiing creamy, forgiving, ego-boosting slurry versus skiing rock-hard ice. Not to dis ice but ice just doesn’t dance to the rhythms of the season. Starting late though is anathema to a generation who heard the clarion call Carpe Deim as Carpe Meim and made it their own."

"Whoa, Dude, that’s too cleaver by half," a gravelly voice behind me said. "But only crazy people talk to themselves. I’d watch it if I were you."

"J.J.?" I asked, already knowing.

"You were talkin’ to yourself, man. People’ll stare at you if you do that too often, ya know?"

"Sorry, I thought I was only thinkin’ to myself. What are you doin’ here?"

Somehow, seeing J.J. on a perfect spring day in a setting I was having trouble figuring out seemed, well, seemed perfectly appropos. J.J. unsettles a setting by his very presence, like a tiny, dark cloud in a perfectly clear sky.

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