Doodle and arrangement by Tess Wood.
Let's be real, you have plenty of friends on a powder day. Even if you parted ways on the hill, you at least carpooled to get there or attempted a couple texts to rendezvous. You might decide ditch friends if they're too slow, or sneak off to your secret stash just a couple tree lines away, but we're all still comparing notes in the lift line and creating a symphony of hoots and hollers as we make it down the mountain one face shot at a time.
In recent years. I've come to very much appreciate the act of showing up to the ski area with no partners in mind. To be honest, this routine began out of necessity when, new to town and friendless, I was forced to spend a lot of time hitting the slopes on my own. It was a little awkward at first, standing alone on the tram dock, permanently installed in the singles line and working my way around a mountain I knew very little about. But it also afforded me the luxury of skiing any run I felt like, whenever I wanted. I could ski at any speed I chose or decided on a whim to skip the traverse and get in a few more turns.
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa is a fan of the solo shred sesh. TGR photo.
Solo on the tram dock, trying to look "lost in thought" (or anything other than awkward AF), also invited the approach of new friends. Once, I got to explore my new mountain for a whole weekend with some vacationing Australian brothers (HELLO) after one struck up conversation. As a relative "free agent" I was also a lot more apt to be invited to join a group heading out to the side country because it was just little ole me instead of a 6-some of varying abilities*.
And on the occasion when I don't accumulate ski partners I get some solid time to clear my head. Chairlifts are my yoga mat, the rest for my increasingly weary legs a shavasana, and I'm free to think (or not think) to my heart’s desires. It's been a wonderful forced lesson in learning to be alone; something that, for better or for worse, I'm pretty darn good at.
So if you can't find anyone to ski with, don't let it stop you from getting your schuss on. Embrace the solo shred, and I'll see you in the singles line.
*Please note: These were never strangers. I would not go into the side country, backcountry, or any country with people whose ability and decision-making I did not trust. Stranger Danger is real, my friends.
From The Column: From One Bum to Another
The ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division endured incredibly brutal combat in World War II, battling frostbite and hostile alpine environments during their short but violent campaign against German forces in Italy’s Apennine Mountains. Casualties in the winter of 1945 were staggering, but when the ski troops returned home they poured their heart and soul into the newly-evolving ski industry, opening ski resorts, managing ski schools and influencing innovation. Unlike most of Europe, prior
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