Like all good Americans, I’ve been spending most of my waking hours watching the Winter Olympics. The competitions are great, but what I really love are the backstories of the athletes, many of whom have had to overcome astonishing circumstances to compete in Sochi. One of the dudes who medaled in Slopestyle Skiing is from Indiana. Think about that. A skier from Indiana. Talk about perseverance.
Consider me inspired. So when a freak storm dumped a foot of snow across the mountains of Western North Carolina, my ski buddies and I were determined to hit up our local resort. Even though every newscaster on TV was urging everyone to stay home – for god’s sake – just stay home.
All due respect to Southern newscaster weather paranoia, when the snow falls, you don’t stay home, you go skiing. So we drove the streets that everyone warned would result in sudden death, laughing at all the poor souls that were huddled up with blankets and fear in their homes. Before we even got out of the neighborhood, we came upon a three car pile up at the bottom of a slick hill…and immediately turned into a four-car pile up when we slid sideways in comically slow motion into a Honda Element that was stuck in the middle of the road. We bumped that Honda out of the way, bouncing off just enough to slide further down the hill into a ’94 Chevy Blazer, which we pushed into the third car at the bottom of the hill.
If this were a slopestyle competition, I’d call the move a “switch 180 with a tail bumper grab.” Flawless execution.
Luckily, nobody was hurt in the accident, because, like I said, we were moving at about the speed of a curling stone. Coincidentally, a college girl broke her leg while sledding the hill next to our four-car pile up. So maybe those Southern newscasters aren’t so paranoid after all. Maybe those of us raised below the Mason Dixon line really should just stay at home if there’s a threat of snow.
Or maybe not. Most (read: smarter) people would’ve seen the four-car pile up as a sign and turned back home, but we’re not like most (smart) people. We persevered. That skier from Indiana probably should’ve just become a farmer, or whatever people do in Indiana, but he persevered. He kept pushing, building a terrain park in his backyard out of turf and PVC pipe. We kept pushing onward after the accident, driving a blistering 35 mph to our home hill and shredded the best powder the mountain has seen in years. We poached slopes that haven’t been skiable all season, skiing in complete darkness away from the lit runs on the other side of the mountain. We got wicked crazy on the last Chinese Downhill, and drank Oskar Blues Old Chub in the parking lot after the lifts stopped running. There was only one concussion in the group the whole night. I call that a success.
Again, we probably should’ve called it a night when we got back home after midnight, what with the angry looks on our wives’ faces, but we didn’t. We persevered. We strapped on our cross country skis and kicked into downtown, skiing right down the middle of the road on several inches of fresh powder until 2am. We only stopped once, to get a beer at the only bar that had the balls to stay open during the storm, and toasted our Olympic-style perseverance, as well as our favorite athletes over in Sochi.