Gregg at Slopefillers put this out on Twitter:
I’m becoming more and more convinced that the only reason some people get “bored” at smaller ski areas is because they’re expecting to.
Read the image for the ensuing brief conversation.
On further reflection I am going to back off somewhat on my disagreement, but not fully.
Bored — My Status Quo
I grew up in Wisconsin and lived here for all of my life except for six years when I was resident in the UAE. My wife and I built a home here and moved into it nearly nine years ago. With few exceptions my close family is all here (with some in Montana and some in Florida) too. My parents own a lake property “UpNort” which serves as the base from which we sortie out of for our ski excursions. A ski resort is about a half hour drive away from that cabin. Guess what? About 90+% of my skiing is done at that resort.
Do not take this article as a knock on that resort. The resort does a great job of keeping good snow conditions they work hard to be the first and last to open and close every season and the staff there is friendly and attentive. The crowd they attract too are skiers of every level and I don’t recall ever seeing any bad scenes due to obnoxious guests.
However, I’m bored of it maybe not so much because it is boring (LOL ask the patrollers at another regional resort about that) but because it is my status quo.
It is rare I do get to other resorts (today as I write this, I will be making an exception to this!). This is probably why I answered with a quick and strong disagreement.
Bored — On Further Reflection
I love that cabin my parents have. We built it, I remember clearing the land, building the floor, pouring the concrete for the pier pads (which are now gone), putting the place back together after the basement construction, and building the chimney chase. Lots of good memories with the parade of people I’ve loved and do love marching in and out of the place. However, it does tie me down in terms of skiing and exploring our region. Instead of taking a trip to the other resorts in our region we default to the cabin and the nearby resort.
I get breakfast, I hit the resort later than I want and in about two hours I have skied around the resort. I take a break by heading out to my truck, turning on XM-Sirius, and eat my brown bag (or in my case green-bag) lunch. During lunch I have some water and head back out for another few rounds. The day finishes skiing the frontside blues and blacks. I try to mix it by varying my lines, by focusing on one skill or another, or by working on some new technique. I ride the last chair, go inside change out of my ski gear, and I might patronize the bar but usually I’ll head straight to the party of the night. That usually involves Filipino food, good friends, and few good beers. Sometimes it is back to the cabin, sometimes we’ll spend the night at our friend’s place.
Repeat every two weeks during the ski season and vary in the summer with a Saturday 40-100 mile bike ride.
Bored — And So
It does seem it really is not so much the lack of ski-hill diversity that is getting to me but the fact I tie myself to one hill. This is a theme that surfaces in my writing from time to time. In the past I’ve likened season passes to eating only at buffets and while it has been a long time since I’ve held a season’s pass anywhere essentially I ski on a season’s pass.
With a buffet you often overeat because you can and you are determined to get your money’s worth and so too with a season’s pass. You count the trips till you your per-trip cost is less than a day pass.
So my boredom really is not something intrinsic to the region I find myself in. In fact, the time I skied another local resort gratis I was full of excitement about this resort (this is the one I’m going to today) and their steeps did challenge me which I’ve since conquered and am anxious to take on again! Plus I’ve not skied in my state or even in MI West of I39 (well, I’ll be west of it today but only by about a mile or so).
Bored — Breaking out of this Cycle
I will never stop skiing at “my resort”. But, instead of buying six pre-season passes maybe I’ll only buy three (like this year). I know I can always turn to Craig’s List if I need to pick up some late season passes. I’ll also start to always buy a pass or two to some other resorts and every year I will strive to visit a ski area I have never been to before. Last year it was Lutsen and this year it will be a trip with my cousin to Whitefish in Montana.
In addition, I will seek out different challenges at “my resort”. There is one headwall at my resort that the resort leaves wild I want to be able to ski that. When there is deep snow I will make the extra effort to get first tracks. I will start to ski the sides of the main black (again, left wild).
Bored — Still
Still, I am craving new sights and scenes. I have a photograph I snapped from a resort near Madison and the scenery thus photographed does not appear significantly different from any of my other photographs snapped elsewhere. The runs are generally of the same character, groomers with slight to moderate pitch and perhaps a few runs with challenging pitch. The refreshing change at this place was a vibrant apres-ski scene.
I do attribute some of the boredom to the region. Mind you no one can do much about the geography or the weather.
Bored — How About You?
Do you find your skiing boring? How do you fight it?