Reminiscent Wednesday

A tree covered with Snow

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The snow covered mountains, are a scene of unmatched beauty.  I especially loved waking  to a fresh snowfall, that seemed to blanket everything around in a clean  fresh covering of white.   The feeling of a fresh start, or perhaps a new beginning.  As if Mother Nature is giving all of her creations a chance to start anew.  The  billowy comfort of a natural blanket to protect and hide all.  Protection from the cold ravages of winters grip.


I treasure the memories of  mornings waking to find, fresh,  light, waist deep powder.  I loved these days more than any other.  I enjoyed going out and walking around making new trails through the snow, reveling in  the  silence.  The feeling of the the powder brushing around my pant legs as I walk along.  The texture of the soft powdery snow, so light, fragile, and wet.  The crisp, clean and clear air, always common after a fresh snowfall.  The simple pleasures and beauty of winters wonder.


Those days always brought back memories of the weekends spent at Indian Mountain, a private ski area in a Local subdivision.  My father designed and built it on a central hill, for the home owners association.  We ran it on weekends, each of us assigned a task or job.  Kel, the ski instructor, Tinaliegh ran the concession stand, Toad (we called him that all the time) and I, the lift shacks,  Dad ran the lift and handled all ski patrol duties. The primary lift was an old Poma lift, where you road a pole with a disk seat on the base, by placing it between your legs, and letting it pull you up the hill.  There were two lift shacks other than the main one at the base, midway and the upper shack.  My brother and I would trade off between the two shacks, watching for skiers who fell and got hung up, or just failed to let go.  If this happened we had a kill switch we could use to stop the lift.  At the midway spot you could turn your skis sideways, and create some resistance.  Then at just the right time, you straighten out and be launched over the midway offload platform.  Toad and I would have competitions to see who could get the most air.   If you were real courageous, you could ride it back down down, dangling  about 50 feet or so off the ground.  I can remember Dad just about having a fit, seeing me hanging up there skis dangling, grinning from ear to ear.  There was also a small rope tow for the kiddy hill, seldom used in my memory. 


We had plenty of opportunity to ski also.  Dad taught me to ski there,  when I was just three years old.  Holding me between his legs as he put his ski’s in a wedge to “snowplow” and show me how to turn and navigate the slopes.  By the time I was 10, I was skiing pretty darn good, and had been running a lift shack for about 3 years.  There were five primary runs, but I can’t remember the names of them.  I’m sure Kel will have them tucked away in her memory banks, she painted the map of the ski area on a four foot by four foot piece of plywood.  We had the run of the place, and knew every nook and cranny.  Toad and I had forts all over the mountain, and would spend hours playing Cowboys and Indians or war games. 


There was a lot of work too, but Dad always made it feel more like fun.  Many times, we would have to shovel snow out of the trees, and drag it on a sled out to the slopes to cover bare spots. Many a snowball fight was started during these times.  There were long nights packing the snow using snowmobiles, because the snow cat would uncover more dirt.  Dad would tie inner tubes behind the snowmobiles, and drag us around while he packed the snow.  He seemed to get a distinct pleasure out of running over small aspen trees and willows so they would slap up through the center of the tube, smacking us in the rear.   That ski area was his pride and joy, and took more hours of his time than we ever knew.


The ride out there was just as much fun as the rest of it.  All four of us crammed into the cab of Sheasta, dad driving.  Singing along to songs on the radio like Sneaky Snake, Guitarzan, Phantom 409, Teddy Bare, and so many others.  The never ending riddle of Sheasta, the intrepid faithful old yellow Chevy, “She has ta have gas, She has ta have water, She has ta have oil”.   Of course there was a litany of other completely ridiculous  things “She has ta have” created by our childish minds.  Dad sitting back with that devilish grin of his enjoying the silly thoughts of his kids.  That old truck plays such a prominent role in many of my  childhood memories.


The ski area is no longer there.  Houses have been built on the back bowls, and a Frisbee-golf course set up on the front slopes.  The lodge is still there,  used as a community center for meeting and gatherings now.  The old lifts are long gone, the only remnants being the huge concrete bases of the support towers.   The memories however are fresh, and will continue to thrive in my conscious.   I will forever remember the love and companionship of my father and siblings from those wonderful, snow filled, fun, days. 

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the walking man said...

Brother, I know I am not "normal" by any stretch of the imagination but I have yet to be able to wax poetic over waste deep snow or the "adventure" found in it.

That you didn't lose me at the first sign of the word SNOW is testament to your ability to convey your heart. Well done sir, well done.

forsythia said...

That was a wonderful service your dad performed for his community.

Shadow said...

lovely memories! and my favourite pet-hate word??? snowplough. i do remember a time i sat down on an icy slope and refused to get up again.....

DayPhoto said...

Curious....where did you grow up? Since I live and have lived in Colorado all my life, I keep trying to place your Colorado place. Sometimes I think you near us.


Eric S. said...

The Walking Man, what is they say, Write about your passions. The mountains, and everything about them are mine. The snow plays such a integral part in that.

Besides, I have so many great memories from the snow. Thanks.

Eric S. said...

Forsythia, LOL, I think his greatest service to the public was keeping us occupied and out of trouble. That was no small task.


Eric S. said...

Shadow, you crack me up. I have seen many a person not willing to continue skiing. Really it comes down to who's teaching you, and how good they are at teaching, not skiing.


Eric S. said...

Hello dayphoto, I grew up in South Park, Fairplay and Alma to be exact. 10,000 foot + in elevation, with plenty of mountains looking over our shoulders.

I think your down on the eastern foothills and plains from your pictures, Which I love by the way.


AngelBaby said...

Wonderful so wonderful, I want to go and do that too. It just sounds like a dream. You must have had a great childhood. What a lucky person you are, not many get that. Thanks for sharing this.

Love and Blessings,

Ponderer said...

What wonderful memories Eric. I spoke about those just this morn with me dearest. Dancing with shirts frozen pried from the clothesline, snow tunnels and igloos, backyard skating rinks. A child deserves to play in the snow at least once, as for us adults, well the white shite keeps falling :) Cheryl

Eric S. said...

AngelBaby, Thanks. I believe I had a blessed young childhood. Partly the advantages of being the youngest, always protected by the big sis. Mostly because we were always able to go with Dad on just about all the jobs he had. He made a point of including us in everything.

The skiing was one of his passions, something he learned in Germany while in the service. He passed that love on to us, along with many others, like reading.

Eric S. said...

Hey Cheryl, thanks. Yep all children should be able to romp and run in the snow. I can remember many a snow cave dug by my brother and I, and lone hours skiing, tubing, or ice skating.

Your poem this morning was wonderful. Added to my reminiscent mood. Have a good day young lady.

Leon Basin said...

Cool bog! How are you?

Eric S. said...

Hey Leon, Thanks doing just fine here. I jumped on over to your site. Pretty nice, I'll leave you a comment before long, but have added you to the blog list.

June Saville said...

I have never felt the delights of fresh powdered snow ...
you can't have everything.
June in Oz

The Muse said...

I love reading your words about your family....
As I have said before...
you bring your readers with you...that is a gift.

Lilly's Life said...

Wonderful memories Eric. You do love your mountains. Cant you move back there? It does snow here but perhaps once in 30 years where I live anyway. Although our snowy mountains are only a few hours away. I got used to snow in the UK though.

Muse is right you bring your reader along with you. I did so love the car story - your Dad so reminds me of Des. Oh the singing and games we would play. Thanks Eric I always seem to step back into my own childhood when reading your stories - great times and lots of happy memories.

Jane Doe said...

A wonderful post. You captured the beauty of a fresh snowfall well. Though I'm not much of an outdoors person, I love winter, especially when it snows. I love the silence it brings.

Tara R. said...

That makes me almost wish I lived somewhere where it snowed... almost. Lovely memories.

Allison said...

You , my internet friend, have talent far beyond anything I could ever wish for. The way you write is something I wish I knew how to do. Your words keep me captivated, just like "the walking man" stated in your first comment here. You need to be heard all over. Your words could teach children sooo much, you have a talent in your writing that you need to share with the world! I am so glad I found you on this internet. You have taught me a whole lot, just in my way of thinking, about writing certain things. In your story I can FEEL that walk in that new mountain snow (which by the way I love as much as you do apparently LOL)
Keep up this beautiful work, you my friend are truly an inspiration to many,
I am so glad I found your blog!

Eric S. said...

June you don't know what your missing. It makes for a fun and frolicy good time.

Eric S. said...

Hi Muse, Thank you very much. I appreciate your words.

Eric S. said...

Hey Lilly, Well the wife's health reasons were the main cause of us moving to a lower elevation. I have a few of my own, but nothing serious. I would love to move back, but I suspect I would be doing so alone.

I could see Des and my Dad having a great time laughing and joking. They would have had such similar personalities. By the way when are we going to get another guest post from Des.

Eric S. said...

Hello Jane Doe, thanks. The silence after a fresh snow is my favorite part. It gives that feeling of solitude, of being all alone and at peace with the world.

Eric S. said...

Tara, you're too funny, LOL. You never know a good snow may boost your spirits, may. Thanks.

Eric S. said...

Wow Allison, I'm smitten. You boost my ego where it probably should not go. I might have to get a bigger hat, NAH. Thank you very much for your kind words, they mean the world to me.

We share the same love of the mountains. You show yours with the beautiful pictures you post, and I with my memories I like to share.

Kel said...

Oh yes, indeedee! I miss the South Park snowfalls too: The transformative magic of the virgin snow; That special silence; The cold so biting the skin inside one's nose pinches up tight; and being able to track you boys really easily when it was time to call you in for chores (*wink*).

My favorite (among so many) snowy times, were those days when a great, wet, snow storm would softly land in the Park ~ no wind, just great big, fat snowflakes falling thickly. I always enjoyed making my way down to the corral, amongst the horses, to put out the night's hay. It was almost alway's dusk, or later if I had sports practice, so it was always dark and I would try hard not to turn on the flash light so that my eyes would be adjusted to the gentler light.

I would put out the hay and then crawl in to a "mini-fort" I'd built in the hay stack, and lay there, warm in the insulating hay, listening to the horses scuff and munch, and watching the snow fall. Deliciously isolated away from the world, except for my dear ponys.

I also have many really good memories of the days at Indian Mountain ski area with Dad and you guys. It was alternately fun, and vexing, running the ski school as the only instructor.

I had two year's worth of being ski patrol there also, after getting my certs from the program over in Breckenridge. Dad bought the two of us special parkas, deep red, that we carefully hand-lettered "Indian Mountain Ski Patrol" above the front pocket, and hand stiched "Ski Patrol" patches (a nice big one on the back, and smaller ones for the shoulder). I was so proud of that damn parka.

Before the land sales folk bought the used snowmobiles for us, and before he'd saved up enough money to buy the old army snow cat (and the winter'd been a relatively dry one), there were many a night that he'd wake us kids in the wee hours of the morning ( 1 or 2 ) and bundle us all into the truck to head out to the ski area because the snow was falling and we'd need to strap on our ski's and tamp down the snow around the lifts to "capture it" so's it wouldn't blow away by morning.

Dad taught me how to drive in the snow on those county roads going back and forth from town out to the ski area in Sheasta.

Dad taught me how to operate that ornery, former army, two-track snow cat. So that I could help with the snow packing. I got into more than one tight spot with that bloody thing let me tell ya!

Yup. Good man ~ good times.

Thanks for the dip into the good memories wee bro.


Eric S. said...

Humm, you had to track us down, naw, never I seem to remember that hay fort for some reason. Just a little tick in that cog of memory.

Oh yeah, I remember side stepping with the ski's, packing the snow, seemingly forever. I also remember those old red parkas. You could see you two from miles away, LOL.

Kel said...

If the parka hadn't been stolen from the back seat of my VW bug I'm sure I'd still have it hanging in the closet.

However, the person that carefully broke into the VW, jimmying the window and leaving hardly a scratch, only took the parka, my emergency blanket, flares, and trove of compressed energy bars ~ he/she/they left the little tape player, music tapes, books, and expensive designer sunglasses ~ So I figure the thief was desperate for warm clothes and food (it being winter then) and was stealing from need, rather than maliciousness or greed.

I mourned the parka, for a long time, but had compassion for someone so desperate. They took care to break in carefully (to cause as little damage as possible), rolled the window back up afterwards so the snow wouldn't blow in, and only took what was needed ~ desperate, but conscientious.

Hmmmm . . . could be fodder for a short story, eh?

Eric S. said...

That is wild and interesting. My imagination is already headed to an interesting cold and dark place. Ohh my big sis, you are a life saver. This is perfect fodder for a new site I'm developing.

tashabud said...

Hi Eric,
We had a snowstorm last week where the shrubs in our backyard looked just like the one in the picture. I wanted to take pictures, but the days were overcast and would not have produced good ones. By the time there was sunshine, the snow almost all melted from the trees.

Your writings always make me appreciate the snow, the cold, and the mountains. Just too bad that your wife's health would not allow it. As long as she's healthy down there, in the lowlands, it is worth the sacrifice on your part, eh?. That's what I call true love.

I like how you and Kel, through your blog, talk and reminisce about your younger days--the good old days.


Eric S. said...

Hi Tasha, I hope you enjoyed the snow. It seems strange to me sometimes that I miss it. I can remember days when it was a burden, but not too often.

I think Kel's comments make this blog so worth the effort. I am constantly surprised at how much more we communicate now than ever before.

Thank you dear friend for your kind words. Did you get my invitation? ;)

Kel said...

Yeah . . . this has been amazing for me too. Thank goodness you started this blogging stuff . . . we might have taken a ridiculously long time to "get talking" (if ever ~ being western folk) if you hadn't.

I am especially interested by your stories of the years after I left the Park, and we started out on separate lives. You've done so many interesting things, that I never knew about, never heard about.

It's shocking, more than a little embarrassing actually, to realize how little I "know" my own flesh and blood wee bro.

Your writing is 'illuminating' in so many ways.

Eric S. said...

I know what you mean dear Sis. I am "talking" more than ever before through this blog. Not just to family and friends, but to anyone who will listen. Being a true Virgo, and wall floweriness to a fault, this is a real awakening.

I've said it before, there was far more than geographic distance that separated our family. ages and involvements took their toll as well.


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