Thursday, November 14, 2013

Going Through the Motions: Just Put Your Skis On!!

I pull my ski socks up as high and smooth as they can go over my long-johns
and reach over to grab my ski pants.
Nah, not those ones.
I want the black ones.

Next, I grab whatever jacket is within reach
(my black Mammut puffy)
and kinda reluctantly throw everything else onto the bench.

All my black stuff.
Too bad it wasn't sunny enough for my blackout lens.

Damn it.

I don't really want to go.
You know,
To the mountain.
To go skiing.

I've tried everything to get out of it.

Vespi & I drove to Pico to see if we could skin from the bottom,
But i ripped my skins yesterday and had no desire to repeat the experience.

I hiked Ramshead with Vespi.

I ate the leftover chili
for no reason
other than i needed something else to do besides ski.

I contemplated the whiskey,
But I had to work this afternoon and I am a dork.
I vacuumed the house.
That's when I knew I really just needed to get my stupid ass out there and go.

Cause the skiing is actually pretty damn good.

I don't really want to go.
You know,
To the mountain.
To go skiing.

And then I am reminded of an interview I gave for Ski the East as the first in Allison Brew Kozar's super awesome Chasing Ponytails Series.

“If you’re ever stressed out,
if you can’t sleep,
or if life is confusing you
just put your skis on
and everything will be fine
and you won't worry about stuff..."

So I buckled up my boots,
threw my ski gear in the car,
Pulled my goggles down over my tear stained cheeks,
And went to the mountain.
To go skiing.
Damn it.

Because then,
at least for a little while,
Everything was...
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You
Love, Merisa

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Skier's Grin Return: It's the First Week of the Ski Season at Killington!!

It is here!!
It is here!!
After what seems likes months of waiting
(cause, like it totally is)
The first days of skiing are finally upon us :)

So, I was kindof a mess on the way there.
The whole Thursday afternoon opening meant I missed the first day in like years and was more than a little pissed off.
A day of skiing and I missed it?!?!

But it was okay.
I can be calm and accept missing a day on snow.
Especially since I was trying to be polite and NOT hike up before the year started.
Serves me right.
Always take snow when you can get it,

So who cares about Thursday
(and not just because we got schmoozed with a free hat)

But because the mountain was open,
Everyone was bouncing in their boots just waiting on line.
People were smiling
And once again,
No one in this town had a care in the world
-- except SKIING!!!!!

So we ride up the gondola
then we hike down the stairway

To hear the all too familiar
Click Click
As my heels attach themselves into my bindings.
I put my mittens through my skis straps
And feel the grips of my poles.
I bounce up and down on my skis,
Sliding one foot forward,
Then the other
I take a deep breath...
Then maybe another one because my heart is pounding way too fast
....and off we go!!!

Winter is Back!!
we are SKIING!!

My first two turns
I am kinda nervous
Will it be sticky?
Will it be heavy?
Will I miss my dad?

And then I realize....
Who cares if the snow is sticky?
nothing really matters
I am sliding on snow.
I am breathing.
I am turning.
I can feel the snow beneath my skis.
I am skiing.
I am alive.

And I am not worried.
Because my dad is with me,
Making his silly short radius turns
Where he looks like he is dancing,
He arms swinging gracefully from side to side
He is here.
With me on every turn.
And Skiing.

And So I start to dance,
And fly
And float
And smile

And finally,
I laugh.

Because ski time is play time.

My Dad wouldn't want it any other way.
It's how I was raised.
It's how I will ski.

I meet up with the boyfriend at the bottom of the triple,
And below the tears in my eyes is growing a grin.
The grin that never goes away
It is bigger than a shit eating grin.

It's a Skier's Grin.

I look around.
And my grin matches Aaron's
And just abut everyone else's in the liftine.

Because we are all back home.

And so we go back up.
And Down.
And Left.
and Right.

While everything feels different this season,
It still all feels the same.
Friends are yelling down from the chairlift as we ski underneath
And we do the same as we watch someone get eaten by a snowsnake.
And we laugh.
And we grin.

The rest of the world seems like a dream
As we are up here,
In the Killington Cloud,
Skiing our lives away.

This magical place,
Where winter exists in October,
This should be the dream world.
And for most people it probably is.

But for me,
THIS is reality.
THIS is happiness.
THIS is Life, fully lived.
THIS is Skiing

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
❤ Merisa

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Screw Apples, Pumpkins and Football. I Have to Get my Ski Gear Ready!!

For most normal people in society,
Fall means trips to the apple orchard,
The carving of pumpkins,
The end of baseball
And the beginning of the football season.

Sure, apple pie and acorn squash are delicious
when covered in Vermont Cheddar and
drowned in maple syrup from my neighbors.

And it is totally fun to run through waist deep leaves
piled up by the swirly winds of late October
And take photographs of brightly colored leaves
Which oftentimes seem to be in an over-exuberant abundance

Looking Home for a New Direction

But for me
- and I presume a few other dedicated souls -
Fall is about one thing and one thing only:
Ski Season.

The are Questions for Mother Nature:
When will the temps change?
When will twig season begin?
When will the snow finally fall?
When will ski season start?

There are Questions for the Resort:
When will the snowmakers begin to blow?
When will my pass be ready?
When will the mountain be open?
When will ski season start?

The are Questions for Me:
When will my new AT bindings get mounted?
When will my boots be molded?
When should I buy that new jacket?
When will ski season start?

The Autumnal Glory of The Vermont Back Roads

The Tension is building and there is only so much stress that I can handle
Cause I am, like, kinda impatient when it comes to the beginning of ski season.

I am trying on clothes.
Different variables of jacket-pant-puffy combinations to get the perfect skier's closet..
(have you not seen my chart for what to wear based on the temps and humidity and activity?)

I am working on a spreadsheet.
There are too many possible boot-binding-ski combinations to keep them all straight.
(this is my favorite and most dorky)

I am making a wish list.
Of pieces and parts that are currently missing from my collection but that will most definitely be possible purchases during the season.

I want to buy jewelry.
We brought in a huge fun artisan jewelry section at Base Camp this year
and for some inexplicable reason I want to buy jewelry.
How that fits in to winter prep I have NO IDEA!!
Lake Kanawake, Harriman State Park, NY

And so the tradition of pre-season futzing continues.
As I write this, the resort is trying its best to push the so far completely uncooperative Mother Nature into letting us ski before the end of October.

Would it just Freakin' Snow Already?!?!

I feel like the kids in SouthTown, USA begging Snow Meiser and Heat Meiser to cooperate just enough to give me one little fix of that beautiful fluffy white stuff.

It is October 20th and we haven't even seen a hint of a snowflake!!

Instead of talking about skiing,
people are turning to real world topics
Like baseball, and football....and health insurance?!

Please, Please, Please, Let it Snow Already!!!

I am ready to ski.
I want to ski.
I need to ski.

I guess I will go paddling.
Damn it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Magic Man: My Eulogy for My Dad, Steven M Sherman


"He was a poet; and they are never exactly grown-up."
-J.M.Barrie. Peter Pan in Kensington Garden 

Enjoying some Killington Powder on an Off-Chemo Week

Someway, Somehow
Against all the odds of Stage IV Rectal Cancer,
My dad seemed to somehow fly above the possible
And wandered into the realm of the impossible.
Not only did my dad physically endure his treatments,
During off treatment weeks he seemed to thrive,
Smiling and laughing and celebrating what life surrounded him.

At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,
My dad was known as "The Magic Man"

But I already knew my dad was magical.
He shared this magic with my mother, my sister and me
Every single day of our lives.

Someway, Somehow
We lived in an Enchanted dream world,
Where fields held dreams
and winters were wonderlands.
Where happily ever afters were always possible,
Even when common sense told us they couldn't be.

And as all of you are here,
I know he must have shared a little of his magic with you.

Someway, Somehow
each one of us became part of his family.
He tried to help each of us to be better people,
Helped to bring each of us faith and trust
And brought us just a little bit of pixie dust.

Someway, Somehow,
My Dad showed you that it was okay
to still believe in magic,
To fly above the possible.
That it was okay never to grow up.

He brought a little bit of magic into our lives,
And for that I will be eternally grateful.
He truly was the Magic Man.

Thank You, Dad.
For Everything

Our Final Daddy-Daughter Ski Day.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Ski Bum's Wedding Blessing: A Reading for the Marriage of Kelly and Tucker

For Kelly & Tucker

May Your Days be Filled with Powder,
And Mountains,
And Snow.

May You Find Joy and Happiness
Wherever it is your skis may go.

May You Make Warmth for Each Other
When You are Stuck on the Lift

May You always have skis, hats,
Sunglasses or jackets as a time treasured gift.

May You Help the Other to Smile,
When the last run has made them frown

May You Find Joy in Earning Your Turns
As Well as Ripping them on the way down.

May You Find Freedom in the Spaces
Rather than stare at the trees

May you Have snow up to her belly,
Well, at least, up to his knees.

May you Remember to do Laundry
During the big powder week

May you take the time to cherish nature
When into the woods you go to sneak.

May You find a way to compromise
When one goes left, the other skis right

May You Never be the couple in the liftline
Having that super huge annoying fight.

May You Laugh Right out Loud
At the other's super big Yard Sale

May You Find a Smile Years Later
When once again you hear the tale

May You Help Each Other Up
when you are stuck in wicked deep powder

May You SHOW the other you love them
Each and every single hour

May You Find Peace with Each Other,
When you can no longer ski

May You Make Memories in these Mountains
And May your Love set you Free.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Let the Dreams Begin!! (otherwise titled: Where are my Glove Liners?!)

Time is rolling toward the beginning of August,
And although my friends are still lounging
Basking in the sun on beachy shores,
I am here.
In Vermont.

Where the Dreams Have Started.

The weather in the mountains has changed.

Hoodies return to their place of honor
(at least at the ends of the day)

A day spent paddling in sixty degree rain
Is followed by a wicked cup of hot cocoa
Topped with marshmallows meant for the campfire.

We snuggle together in bed
as the cold wind from the open window
Brushes across goose pimpled skin.

But it is not quite cold enough for me.

So we wait...
until after dinner.

Halfway up the mountain,
The breeze picks up
The temps begin to plummet.

As the sun sets in the sky,
The summer weather goes with it
And I can smell the changing of the season.

We have timed our hike perfectly,
Summiting just as the sun dips behind the ridge.

And I realize

- gleefully -

That is is

As we descend in the darkness,
Guided only be headlamp
And the pull of two leashed dogs,
I add a long sleeve wool base layer.

A second stop makes me throw on my hiking shell.
A third has me pulling my hood over my headlamp.

I can't stop anymore.
I didn't bring any more clothes.
I have to walk faster to keep warm.

I am rapidly losing dexterity in the my fingers,
Dreaming about how nice glove liners would have been.

And that can only mean one thing...


Let the Dreams Begin!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Skiing in June in Vermont

No matter how many days you ski,
how little snow there is,
how many bugs are there,
and how psychotic people believe you to be....

Skiing in Vermont in June

is one of the best experiences a Skier can have.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rain in May is the Saddest Rain of All

I sit in the darkness
on a pillow on the ground
And all I can hear is the rainiest of sounds

It's pouring off the roof,
and Puddling up in the garden
The Sky it is glowing
...and perhaps, so we hope, by at least Monday it will be snowing

But I know,
without pictures, and images and statuses
That the horriblest of horribles
is outside right now happening.

We are so close to June,
I've got the bugbites to prove it
Somehow I thought it could last forever
And that we would never lose it.

But even in the dark,
I know what is happening
The runoffs are full,
and the water is moving

And the sound of the rain,
that in the heat of July I will cheer for
mirrors the ache in my heart
and my dreams that are drowning

For the time is upon us,
the end it is near
winter cannot stay forever,
i know, i know

but we were gonna be open in June this year!!

I feel like the Yanks in 1994,
As the SOX stole the fall classic
All I can do is close my eyes
and hang my head in the dugout

I don't stand a chance
the snow is leaving so fast
I just wanted one more weekend,
one more ride on the quad

But Vespi's not bummin,
she knows her ski time is near
the time when we earn what is left
be it 50 turns or five

We shall ski till its gone,
I will see you in June.
I don't care that this damn rain is taking my snow
V and I will NOT say goodbye this soon!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Trip to Tuckerman Ravine: One Ski Dog's Story

Humans are sooooo slow.
I have already taken my after breakfast nap,
and they are still getting their boots on,
and organzing all the extra stuff they have to bring.
Humans always need so much stuff.

Wait, there's my leash...
it's time to go puppy skiing!!

Oh right, I remember this place.
We won't be skiing for a while.
But it's okay, there are so many different sniffs on this trail.
I can't decide what's more interesting,
all the different people or...

oh great,
a golden retiever puppy is coming up behind us.
please don't jump on me.

We don't have to hike with them,
right, mom?
Cause you love me more, right?
pet ME!!

Another pit stop while they change from skins into crampons,
I will have to remember to keep my paws away from them.
As I sniff around, I remember...
this is the mountaineering trail to the top,
where the super sweet sniffies are.
I remember last time we were here there was a sweet spot to howl from,
I hope that is where we are going this time!!

Whoah, i had forgotten how steep this trail is.
Could someone just give me a little push on this section?
Yeah, this one with the rope and no snow?
Phew, I almost went over backwards there.
Good thing my mom was right behind me to help.
Maybe I should thank her by licking some of the sweat of her nose.
Maybe I should just...lay down on the side of the trail to take a quick break.

You guys didn't tell me there was gonna be bouldering!!
It is always filled up with snow here!
I love bouldering!
I can go over here, or over here
wait, I'm stuck over here
gotta go back there

Mom is still behind us, right da?
should i check on her?
I should check right?
okay. phew. I see her.
she's taking pictures.
of course

Come on, Mom!
We're almost to the howling spot!
Maybe there will be snow soon...
but the howling spot, the howling spot
maybe you will yodel with me?
like last time?
Or give me a top out treat?
i like those.
they would go well with all the yummy snow I am eating.

So we keep going, right?
No, taking a break?
the packs are off, we must be taking a break.
some puppy food?
ahhh, I am just gonna lay down for bit in this shady spot.

How was I supposed to know those were fragile alpine plants?!
Nobody tells me anything!
You don't have to snap your fingers at me.
I didn't touch them, I swear...
I just sniffed them.
I got it. I got it.

The packs are back on again,
and we have met up with another human.
And he doesn't have a dog.
He sniffies pretty good though, like canoes or something.
approved for pack membership today,
okay, mom.

I'm gonna go roll in the snow over here.
I see a path through the snow over there.
Over there, up that upper snow field...
Can I be the leader this time??

It's getting steeper.
I can see my mom using her hands just like me.
Four Paw Drive really does work best on these big mountains.
I keep trying to see around my mom, but she won't let me pass.
she is always looking out for me.
Hopefully she knows I could pick a better route than this silly post holey section.
Look, come over here...
this snow is waaaay better!!

Come on, you guys,
the top is just ahead!!
Then we can go Puppy Skiing, right?
Like really fast?
I can catch you,
I promise.
But only if you wait for me sometimes.

Oh, we are gonna hang out here for awhile, aren't we?
Is it okay if I just lay down here and...

Did I miss anything?
Did you guys eat anything without me?
Everybody still here?
Cause I could use a scratch, right there, below my right ear.
Yeah....oh that's the spot.
Can you just smell all the wonderfulness from up here?
It peaceful.

Wait -
Are we going Skiing now?
Really? Now?
Can we go? Can we Go?
Can we go??


Woof! Woof! Woof!
This is freaking awesome!!

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Rut Days of April: The Fear of the End Begins

The snow is solid and hard
The grooming is flat and fast.
The ungroomed is immovable.

The bumps are soft and sunny.
The snow is fresh and sticky.
The corn is stale and slushy.

It rains.
It snows.
It's summer.
It's midwinter.

It is April.

And there are only two months left.

I want the sun to come out.
I want the snow to soften up
so we can hammer out some soft spring bumps.

I want to ski
all day
every day.

But I don't want the sun to come out.
I want it to be winter forever.
so we can ski knee deep powder in the trees.

I want to ski,
all day
every day.

But I am exhausted.

Exhausted from trying to make ski days out of fourteen hour work days.
Exhasuted from wanting to ski and not being able to.
Exhausted from skiing and needing to sleep.
Exhausted from the fear that the ski season will soon be over.

And the tears start to fall.

I want the sun to come out.
I want the snow to soften up
so we can hammer out some soft spring bumps.

I want to ski
all day
every day.

But I don't want the sun to come out.
I want it to be winter forever.
so we can ski knee deep powder in the trees.

I want to ski,
all day
every day.

Soon we will be trading
Hot Chocolate for Margaritas
Dark Colored Puffies for Day Glo Windstopper
Knee High Snow Boots for Cute little Flip Flops.
Warm Wooly Hats for Baseball Caps
Ski Poles for Paddles,
Ski Boots for...

I can't say it.
I am not ready for it to go.
Skiing is my Drug,
I need it.
It calls me.

Sometimes with the beautiful voice of a siren,
others with the evil cackle of a demon.

But I will always answer.

I want the sun to come out.
I want the snow to soften up
so we can hammer out some soft spring bumps.

I want to ski
all day
every day.

But I don't want the sun to come out.
I want it to be winter forever.
so we can ski knee deep powder in the trees.

I want to ski,
all day
every day.

Please, please,
let the snow hold up as long as possible.
I need to get in like sixty more days or so.

I've got some nice, cold margaritas waiting for me in the parking lot.

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

#OmniTen Weekend: The Video

Way Back in December, Columbia Sportswear sent me and nine other ski bums to the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah for a RealWorld style weekend of product testing, a little bobsledding...and of course, powder skiing!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Killingtons or A Powder Day in March

Most everyone knows One Killington.
We experience it every day,
the rush for first cabin in the morning,
the dodge ball scene in the afternoon,
and the infamous tailgate parties that fill bay after bay.

As the sun comes,
so does the red bull type behavior,
from seeing how few turns it takes to fly down Superstar
to throwing random 7's off the Bittersweet headwall
From top to bottom runs down Low Rider through the bumped up woods,
to fist pumping at the Pickle until someone gets fist pumped in the face
everyone has a One Killington.
and it is awesome.

But there is another Killington.
One where you can hear a ski drop and lose it softly in the snow.
One where there is no race for the powder,
but a peaceful enjoyment of the fluff underneath your feet.
It is the quiet Killington.
The one that barely anybody knows.
No one except the groomers,
the snowmakers...
and the skinners.

Our alarms go off around 5:45 to 6:15 in the morning
depending on how far from the mountain we live.
Slowly but surely, the cars pull into the parking lot.
Some mornings there might be one or two,
while on full moons there can be a whole full row.
The scene might look similar to most,
just skiers unloading gear from their cars,
the sound of boot buckles clicking.
But then there are backpacks,
and headlamps...
and skis that are put on at the rear of the car.

It is pitch black as the skiers make their way up the hill,
single file,
we stick to the side of the trail,
just along the edge close to the treeline.
Headlamps rock back and forth.
it looks like a line of zombies coming out of the darkness.
There is some small chatter as we begin our journey,
but it quickly recedes as the pace settles in
Shoooooo, Shoooooo
Shooooo, Shooooo
the skis slide across the freshly falling snow with each stride,
and a single track is left,
with pole marks on either side.
This is the Skin Track.

like ants on a hill,
the group meanders up the mountain
without talking
everyone seems to know
where we are going.
An understanding about where the good snow will be this morning
And the fact that there will be enough for all of us.
There is no race,
but instead a mutual journey,
an experience shared among friend
the exact opposite of no friends of a powder day.
Here, we need friends.
To share the joy
to share the adventure
but also to help share the rescue
because we are alone.

Out here in the darkness of the morning,
there is no patrol to rescue us at a moment's notice.
Out here there is only miles and miles of untouched powder,
quietly awaiting those brave
- and perhaps slightly insane -
enough to make the uphill trek to earn it.

A snowshoe hare passes us,
for we are just animals in the woods,
no headphones blaring music,
or screaming teenage boys.

Just humans skinning silently through nature's snow covered glory.

We push still further onward,
the increase in elevation brings with it an increase in the wind
and the snow begins to drive down our throats,
making breathing increasingly difficult
as we round the final turns to the summit.

But we know it is there.
We turns our heads to the side
or pull our chins down
to try and catch some air at our own speed.

And still we push onward,
willing ourselves with the notion that
no one
no one
no one
will have skied what we will be skiing.
Open fields of snow,
our own private bowls of snow.
And we wonder:

How deep will it be this morning?

Arriving at our destination,
we are all quick to open our backpacks
pulling out the big down puffy jackets
that will secure all the well-earned warmth that we created on the way up.
before it is lost.
and our sweat freezes,
and we freeze.
and that would definitely suck.

But we are quick.
Softshells become puffies.
Hats become helmets.
thin touring gloves become mittens.
Skins are stripped off.
Alpine Touring Bindings get locked into position
Boits are clicked from tour mode into ski mode.
Goggles are pulled down...
and it is time to ski :)

And Ski...

it is the glory of groomies,
where we can cut fresh gooves into perfect lines.
Other times it is binding deep blower,
with just enough fluff to make it all worth while.

But this morning,
this morning it is hitting right below the knee.
every turn.
It is gorgeous.
It is sexy.
It is...perfect.

Knee Deep Powder on the Eighth of March?
Thank You!!

Hmmm, do we have enough time...
Maybe one more skin before the lifts open?
We've got an hour.

Then the other Killington takes over.
And ours is lost to the night.

But we'll be right back after breakfast.
Cause there are chairs to be ridden,
and gondolas to pack.
Friends to laugh with and avoid in the trees,
high speed turns to make,
and way, way more powder to shred.

And I hear the sun comes out ;)

And who would want to miss that?

May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You.