Maxed out 

In spring, when a ski hill turns to mush

Spring is a wonderful time of year. Naturally, it’s a whole lot more wonderful when it actually comes in springtime instead of the middle of winter. Especially at ski resorts where, ironically, winter – snow, and lots of it – is crucially important to whether you have what can generally be called a good year as opposed to what many people have recently been muttering as they examine the bottoms of their skis after a day on the slopes. What they’ve been muttering is: shite!

So the true millennium season may, barring late snow storms of mythical proportions, go down in the books as The Year People Who Live On the East Coast All Finally Decided to Join Their Friends In Arizona Because It Didn’t Snow in the West. Also known locally as The Year of the Rock Ski.

I was pondering this the other morning and decided I really had to get back up and ski. Truth be known, I was whining about needing to go skiing. It sounded uncomfortably similar to a junkie whining about needing a fix or a Captain of Industry whining about needing federal and provincial subsidies to "level the playing field." Let’s face it, all whining sounds about the same when you come right down to it.

Like all Quixotic adventures, I felt I needed more rationale than just, "I wanna go skiing," to justify what was a patently irrational act. That’s when I remembered I still had most of Whistler Bowl and Shale Slope to go if I was going to map and name all the moguls over four metres high before they melt into slush.

I tore the office apart trying to find where I’d stashed the list of 200 additional mogul names I’d come up with after I’d exhausted all the Canadian Prime Ministers, famous Canadian explorers, wacky B.C. Premiers, easily-recognizable first-nations-native-aboriginal peoples, prominent union heads with no proven ties to organized crime – both of them – everyone I’d gone to school with my whole life, and the complete database of Whistler-Blackcomb passholders, past and present. That pretty much took care of naming Blackcomb’s moguls and about half of Whistler’s.

I’d saved the entire executive of Intrawest for the largest, gnarliest, most ice-axe worthy moguls near the entrance of Whistler Bowl. I’m sure any of you who have gone into the Bowl recently know exactly which mogul I have in mind for Joe "Kahuna" Houssian. I’m not sure whether I’m going to formally name it "Hey Joe" or Houssian’s Drop"; I may run a contest if I can’t make a decision next time I screw up the courage to ski its north face.

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