Maxed out 

Good riddance

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So, while hope springs eternal - defined by keeping one pair of rock skis every ready for a real spring day - I'm calling quits on this ski season, an act that begs the question: What kind of season was it?

It was the kind of season you hope you'll never have. By the time you realize that despite those hopes, it's exactly the kind of season you have, it was the kind of season you hope you survive and the kind you hope you never see again but have a dreadful foreboding you unfortunately will.

As a ski season, it shared a number of characteristics with the election we just slept through. It seemed to take forever to get here and once it arrived, failed to deliver on our expectations. Long time locals, ever a stoic bunch, feigned indifference when November arrived without snow. "Don't worry," we said, as the month slipped away and we continued to bike and run on dry trails. "Snow always comes," we said with less conviction as we tore the page from the calendar and realized to our horror there were fewer than 25 shopping days 'til Christmas.

"Told ya," we smirked with a deep sense of relief when half-hearted snow finally began to fall and we knew we'd be able to celebrate the opening of the Peak 2 Peak gondola without having to explain to the world press why the riders queuing up for the maiden voyage were wearing shorts and feeding bears. Did that party, going off without a hitch, foreshadow the disaster ahead?

Excalibur broke; how weird was that? It was up again in a week; how weirder was that? The alpine became a new ring of hell and friends died. Fear gripped Tiny Town as we all wondered whether tourists were staying away because the economy was swirling the bowl, because we had no snow or because what we did have was almost immeasurably dangerous. People who thought they had jobs found out they didn't. Businessfolk who had never laid people off experienced personal growth by performing a totally new task. The food bank became the place where locals shopped.

With the exception of a fatal and quickly aborted attempt, the alpine remained out of bounds and spinmeisters spun new ways to try to explain exactly what that meant to ignorant journalists and overly-enthusiastic skiers. Whistler Bowl finally opened to safe skiing on January 24 th . Weary sliders took their time venturing further afield and many backcountry tourers resigned themselves to yo-yoing inbounds.

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