I spent a year living in Southern California learning how to surf. During the colder winter months, I had the dream of pulling a double—skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon. It is, quite possibly, the perfect day, made even more perfect because the two adventures are diametrically opposed; There aren’t many places where you can shred powder and waves within a couple of hours drive of each other. It eluded me while I lived in SoCal because, you know, work, but since living in the Southern Appalachians, I’ve gotten to enjoy a different kind of double—ski in the morning, mountain bike in the afternoon. Logistically, this is much easier to do in here because our skiing is isolated (and largely manmade) and there’s killer mountain biking everywhere. Still, it’s a hell-of-a day that leaves your legs wrecked and your soul recharged.
I’ve knocked out a handful of doubles over the last several years, but so far, this year, it’s eluded me. Again, work. But I’ve found the next best thing: ride today, ski tomorrow. It was 50 degrees and sunny earlier this week in Asheville. My local trails were dry and I carved out an extra hour during lunch so I could put in a quick, 10-mile ride on sinuous singletrack. The next day was brutally cold at my local ski hill for Whiskey Wednesday. The snow guns were blowing as we hit the slopes in record numbers for a post-work ski session under the lights. It’s surreal to go from perfect biking conditions one day to arctic skiing the next. It’s almost as odd as bagging both adventures in the same day. You shouldn’t be able to do this—riding singletrack one day, skiing the next. Life shouldn’t be this good. And yet…
Of course, beer made it all the better. After the bike ride, I went with something sessionable—Oskar Blues Pinner at my favorite neighborhood lunch spot. I still had work to do, after all. But I was worked after three hours of skiing blissfully sketchy terrain. The only thing to do in that situation is begin rehydrating with a series of IPAs. I chose Highland Brewing Company’s newest beer, simply called, Highland IPA, which is by far the best single IPA they’ve ever produced. It falls in line with the modern West Coast mentality of being fruity and citrus forward thanks to a trifecta of hops from the Pacific Northwest (Chinook, Citra and Centennial).
There are no scientific studies to prove the regenerative properties of a good IPA, but after a few of Highland’s finest, I could feel the energy and power moving back into my legs and I began to wonder if I could carve out enough time tomorrow for another mountain bike ride. Ride today, ski tomorrow, ride the next. Life shouldn’t be this good.