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Skiing as a window into modern times

We have wireless internet at the rental house so I get to post! We're in a housing development called sunray, and the nearest city is Bend. The ski area Mt Bachelor is a midsized ski area, nicely arranged with two lodges at the bottom and one at the top of the dividing line between the beginner terrain and the advanced terrain.

I drove in using Suzanne's truck because no one else was hell bent to get to the snow like I was. There are lots of traffic circles around here. The roads are curvy so that you can't see where you are going and nobody can go fast. I found the "back route" to the ski area that I saw on my gazetteer, and it was a well worn skier highway to the mountain.

Once in the parking area I was overwhelmed with the smell of diesel exhaust. There were plenty of cars and truck there, but the busses lined up close to the buildings were putting out a cloud. I went into the lodge, walked around the ski rental places and whatnot, looking for my tickets and a map and a bathroom. I got a few funny looks for my bight yellow perforated plastic clogs.

On the first run I didn't make a single tele turn. I was just finding the edges of my skis again, and feeling the snow, turning parallel in a way that is easy for me. In line for my second lift ride, I was stretching out a little, doing lunges on my telemark skis. A woman behind me asked some questions about telemark skiing and I agreed to do a run with her. She treated me as a teacher, but she was a smoother skier than I. I have developed some bad habits skiing telemark and I don't ski as well as I used to, I think. Every now and then when I'm skiing parallel instead of trying to tele, I feel the old joy of flying or whatever it is about skiing that is so wonderul.

There's this book called Inner Skiing that I read a long time ago. I recommend this book to anyone who skis, but in fact it can extend to any physical pursuit, from rowing a boat to martial arts. Inner Skiing is about feeling your body, about tuning in to your own senses, and feeling your own balance. It caused me to break through to a whole new level of life, starting with trying to feel the tips of my skis through the bottoms of my toes. I think it was the first actual instruction I had on being one with my body. I think in our culture we need more instruction on this.

Riding the quad lifts, in a chair with three other people, is like going to a social mixer. And it's a certain class of people who downhill ski. By downhill skiing I mean any kind of snow sliding that involves riding a lift over and over again. Snowboarding, all that. The people who ski are people with money. Dentists. People who find it sporting to track the relative yields from all their investments. Couples who sold their house in San Diego right at the peak of the housing market, and moved to Bend.

The people who bought their houses just before the peak are buying lift passes at ski areas. They are home trying to make ends meet.

Anyway, in each circumstance I attempt to elicit the same answer, and that is, what do you think is going to happen in this country in the next 20 years? And what are you doing about it? Seems that lots of these people are saving lots of money, but they're not thinking internationally, in that they're still holding dollars and American stocks.

Not that I can criticize anyone's investment plan, considering how miniscule my own savings are. I expect I will have to work until I die. That is why I chose medicine. I wanted to do something that would remain engaging to the end, that would keep me thinking and moving.

So I skied my way over to the North West part of the mountain where there are two fast quads and only intermediate and advanced terrain. I took two lift rides over there, one on each quad, and both times I ended up sitting alone. Lift lines were non-existent over there. I really wanted to ride with people but I ended up sitting alone.

And while I was sitting alone on the lift I felt my feelings and my body and it was good. I feel strong in myself and in some recent revelations. There are changes afoot in my life.

Last week I bought a cheap down coat at Goodwill for $15. I wore it today on the mountain, and it was warm, except when the wind blew. The wind came right through the front of that coat. And wearing it in the wind I wished for my black coat with the hood that stops the wind. To me this is proof yet again that in gear to be used in the great out of doors, it is worth it to buy the best gear full price. A lot of $15 coats will go by while one good piece of gear can be used for twenty years.

I'm tired tonight. Around me Suzanne is sitting by the fire, Nathalie and her child Leila are playing, and others are sitting and talking. Oooops. MOre later.

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