Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Reflections of a former "The man"



The day had been the kind of day that makes a guy happy he chucked the whole money, power, success and urban rat race thing to become a ski bum. The crowds were midweek thin, the snow was perfect, soft and plentiful with relatively unmolested hidden lines of boot-high powder beckoning. Sun and cloud played hide-and-seek, casting shadows and light across the high alpine bowls of Whistler Mountain. Seldom was heard a discouraging word save yelps of happiness morphing into muffled exclamations of resignation as ski tips crossed and faces met slopes. The rye on the chairlifts didn’t hurt either.

As Seppo mighta said, "Yust a’udder day in paradise."

Having committed the strategic mistake of parking at Base II, I had a sense of foreboding. Days this good deserve, nay, demand après at Dusty’s. After all, the sun had finally won its tug-of-war with the clouds and was drenching the ever-inviting Creekside patios with heat, light and the acrid smell of stale ski clothes, spilled beer, congealing nachos and early whiffs of desperation emanating from All The Young Dudes prematurely resigned to their status of losers in the evening’s ultimate shagathon. Where else would a guy wanna be?

While I momentarily weighed the stay, drink, take the bus option, duty called and I couldn’t get the picture out of my mind of Zippy the Dog standing anxiously, legs crossed, at the door each time a car drove by the house, hoping it would be me to release him from his exile-on-the-couch for a squirt and frolic. Hedonism 0: Duty 1. Rats.

The ski down to the Village side was, as usual, more video game than alpine reality, an exercise in carefully threading my way through the confusion of human gates. I made a humanitarian stop along the way when I saw a terribly confused couple consulting a trail map… on Lower Olympic… within sight of the bottom. I had to satisfy my curiosity. What in the world could they be hoping the map would tell them when they were close enough to the end of the run to hear the din from the Longhorn patio? It was an eye-opener when it turned out they were apparently spatially dyslexic and thought they were coming down to the bottom of Blackcomb. It was pointless to explain their confusion to them so I just told them they’d gotten their hands on an old map, that we’d switched the names on the mountains last season and if they kept going the way they were going they’d get to where they wanted to be. Where’s Search & Rescue when you really need them?