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Coping Mechanisms

Why does winter go so fast and summer so slow?

I ask this rhetorically, of course, because the answer is obvious. Winter accelerates because you love it so much. Summer is a snail because it separates you from winter.

Sometimes I wonder why it can’t be the other way around. Why can’t time stretch when you’re in the middle of skiing and accelerate when you’re doing other stuff? Or better yet, what if you could control time—bend it to your whims, so that winter was exactly as long as you needed and summer was as short as you wanted? It would completely wreck the laws of the universe, send planets spiraling out of their orbits, and turn the sun into a cold and lifeless chunk of carbon, but if it was in the name of skiing, I guess it would be OK.

Dang it, though, the only person who has that kind of power is Calvin, who owns a transmogrifier/time machine. So we’re stuck with the cards dealt us: six months or so of skiing, six months or so of not skiing. And we accept it the best we can.

Every skier has their own ways of dealing with it. Over the last couple summers, though, I’ve noticed three main coping mechanisms common to all skiers:

DENIAL—These skiers subscribe to the theory that winter doesn’t end, it just goes through a warm spell, and you’ll find them at Mt. Hood, Blackcomb Glacier, high in the backcountry, or even heli-skiing in New Zealand and teaching skiing in Chile.

TRANSFERENCE—You’re willing to admit skiing is over for a while, but you switch that desperate need for thrills and body buzz to mountain biking, wind surfing, kayaking, or something equally distracting. Nintendo doesn’t count. Not even 16-bit.

THE JEWISH MOTHER SYNDROME—The operative word here is suffering, suffering because you don’t let go of skiing, but you don’t go summer skiing, either.

Photo editor David Reddick, although neither Jewish nor a mother, rolls in the JMS like a dog in doo-doo. The other morning he moped around the light table for the better part of an hour, sighing deeply and uttering soft, almost inaudible moans. He wasn’t getting squat for work done, so I asked him what was up. “I watched Groove Requiem and Blizzard of Aahhh’s last night. I’ve got a bad jones for skiing.” Poor David. He stares at photos, watches videos, and talks to himself about all the great times he had last winter. Little does he realize how much pain he’s in.

I worry about David. I worry about him, and I pray for him. I pray, too, that winter will get here quick. Not for me, of course. For David.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 23.1, September 1994. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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