Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strange Days Indeed

The last couple of weeks here have been strange weather-wise, as it has been all over the United States.  

Here is a rundown of three days last week.

Day 1: Blizzard.  I did some XC skiing and broke trail the whole time, going through a good 6 inches of snow.  We got 11 inches in 24 hours.  This is a picture looking down-you cannot even see my skis through all the snow.  It was like skiing around in a snow globe, being unable to see the surrounding world.

And the trails.

Day 2: Skate skied 20k over perfectly groomed snow to finish up the season.

Day 3: Ran in a t-shirt and shorts and felt comfortable.  In the mountains with dry air, 50° with sun and a light breeze feels fantastic!  Felt like spring outside.  I drank a beer and sunned myself on the deck for a while like a lazy lizard.

The past week has been nothing but warm weather, with highs near 50° every day.  The roads are all clear of snow, which is nice for running, and it has slowly been retreating for another year.  Then all of sudden winter decides to come back: last night we got a good 3 inches of snow.  Yesterday I cleaned the restaurant's veranda in a t-shirt and shorts in the golden warmth of the morning sun.  Today I will be wearing a winter jacket to work as it is only 20°.  The distant boom of the skit patrol bombing for avalanches reaches me as I write this, reminding me that to not count winter out yet.  Strange days indeed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hurray for Michigan!

This country of ours is pretty small considering the many miles it covers.  I am not talking about the technology that has brought us all closer together-for better and for worse-but the fact that countless guests here at the ranch have been to the small town in Michigan that is my true home: St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, or at least the west coast of Michigan.

Countless examples:

I work with a Hope alumni out here and met a group of 6 alumni who came in the restaurant one day.  Last summer while enjoying some sushi on the patio of a restaurant in Bozeman the guy at the next table over asked me if I went to Hope College.  "Ummm yeah?  I just graduated this past spring."  I was not wearing any Hope College gear.  He replied, "Oh I just recognized you from on campus."

One of the Ranch's groomers is from Holland and lives on a street I used to bike down all the time-who knows how many times I have passed his house.

A couple from Chicago who ate in the restaurant in January told me they used to own a house in the Fire Lanes, about 15 minutes north of me.  We went on to talk about the area and what a cool street Ridgeway is with all of architecture and the brick road itself.

Another couple from Indiana used to visit Warren Dunes all the time in their youth.

Just last night I met a couple from Ontario who had spent a couple of vacations in the St. Joseph enjoying the sun and scenery.

The list goes on.

Every time this comes up it reminds me how wonderful the West Michigan area is.  Lake Michigan is irreplaceable.  It is a verdant fruit basket in the summer, and enjoys (usually) beautiful winters with snow and cold.  Of course there are drawbacks, but nothing too harsh.  The sun does shine a couple of times in between November and May.

Yes, I do believe I will end up there again some day.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I have not posted anything in a while.  I am sorry.  However, life has not been full of exciting adventures to relate to you, the reader lately.  Skiing, working, skiing some more, brewing beer, etc.  There is only so much to say about skiing and the joy it brings.  

While a pause might be kind of "blah" on a blog, life for me has been extraordinary.  Work is winding down while skiing remains excellent and the time to return to Mountain Sky, my summer job, is quickly approaching.  I have already had two dreams about returning to Mountain Sky, meeting some of the new faces, and starting the season.  Needless to say, even my subconscious is saying I cannot wait to return to Mountain Sky and everything brings with it.

I am excited for the changing of the seasons-winter into spring-which brings longer days, rain, and a surge of green to the hillsides.  Nature comes full circle again and begins again new growth.  With it will come new experiences, new friends, and a further appreciation for the beauty of nature and its own new growth.

Until then, skiing will be enjoyed and savored as part of the process of enjoying each of Mother Earth's seasons for what it is.  There is no better time to be alive than now and in the moment, enjoying this beautiful creation we call Earth.