In order to ski you have to get to the hill. Nothing revelatory here.
Our Ski Headquarters is a three to three and a half hour trip from our residences. So we spend a fair amount of time in the vehicle on Fridays and on Sundays (and from time to time add in extended Saturday trips). The greatest thing about driving up to the Ski HQ is being together with friends and family. Our trips up usually do not take the three to three and a half hours but are usually longer.
Sometimes the trips back are longer because we are departing from a different than normal location. Sometimes we stay at a hotel in Big Snow Country and that is about a five hour trip back to our homes. No matter if we are driving near or far (e.g. Colorado) we usually car pool. Skiing unlike hunting, it makes little sense for us to travel individually. Sometimes, we stop for a sit down dinner at a roadside tavern rather than road food and often times there is stop at this that and the other place for this that and the other reason.
Obviously during winter, weather can have a huge impact on ride time. One trip up, we went up highway 141 and highway 141 was glare ice. Bad weather & roads do not deter us, we just drive slower and more carefully. My brother was driving and he would get to about 40 miles per hour and any attempt to go faster resulted in a rear end wiggle. So we stayed at 40 mph and that was good. We got to Highway 64 and was relieved as it was snow coated! Usually snow coated roads are a bad thing, but in this case it was a huge improvement.
However, weather is not the only theme of the memories of trips to and from skiing. It is things such as hanging with my brother as my father & wife are peacefully asleep. It is the nights we spent driving around looking for a dinner spot with only Abba’s greatest hits for music, it is the ride back in agony after a ski trip shortened by a shoulder injury (only my skiing was over I hung out at the lodge and took pain numbing beverages), hearing the work stories from the previous and upcoming weeks.
No matter if we are going up in a small or big vehicle (Vibe, Impala, or Suburban) we are packed in tight. None of us are light travellers, and you can find bags of food and drink, cameras, laptops, books, clothes, ski gear, and other needs for the cabin. We manage to get it all in though. We will either listen to sports programming (Badger sports, Packers, sports talk) programming, and music. A great boon to the trip is the arrival of XM-Sirius radio to two of our three vehicles. I rarely use CDs anymore, being a pain and many of them are ripped onto my laptop anyway, so if I want to listen to some of my music I can pull out the laptop to do so. Local radio station music is okay and will do in a pinch, but is often not varied enough.
One other neat thing to watch is the sun. At this time of the year when we leave the ski hill it is noticeably dark. It is neat to watch it get brighter and brighter as the season progresses. If you ride the last chair you have a reliable scale from which you can observe the sun on its return trip.
Is not that the stuff of memories? What are you more likely to remember? The snow conditions or hearing your brother tell about his great week at work? The beer in the main lodge or about how your wife pulled the car out of a skid?