By Sam Grubb
One of the few pleasures left in old age is the reminiscing about past adventures. Recently I’ve been reliving a ski trip from 30 or 40 years ago. I’d love to share it with you. Four of us guys took off after work one Friday in a motor home. We had no real plan, just a week of skiing. We were all beginners in our second year of learning the sport. So we drove all night and ended up in Boise Idaho that morning. We started skiing the minute the lifts opened and didn’t stop until they closed. If we liked the conditions, we would stay another day, if not, we would climb into the motor home and drive most of the night to somewhere else. We spent a couple of days in Sun Valley, then moved on to Grand Targee and finally to Jackson Hole Wyoming. The morning that we arrived in Jackson Hole was our 8th day on skis and we had not missed a day all week. By then our muscles were not sore, they were numb. We drove up to the area first thing that morning. If you’ve been there you know the view. You can see all the way to the top from the lodge. It is a beautiful and magnificent sight.
Now Martin and I were a bad influence on each other. We had that testosterone thing going between us, and we had spent the entire week pushing us into runs that we had no business being on. At this point the rest of our crew demurred and decided to take the day off. Martin and I just looked at each other and without saying a word the decision was made. We were too worn out to even try a warm up run, so we climbed up on the tram that takes you to the top at over 10,000 feet. Once there they dump you off and there you are on top of the world with a fabulous view of the valley and town below. The other thing we saw was this incredibly steep slope that led down to where the chair lifts were a couple of thousand vertical feet below us. There was nothing to do but go for it. It was a warm day so the snow was soft, which makes skiing more difficult. We were both terrified. So we came up with a plan. We would ski across the face, fall down, take our skis off, turn them around put them back on and ski across the face again. This took about two hours, and we were jelly by the time we reached the chairlifts and the groomed runs. Unless you’ve done this you have no idea how exhausting it is to do that, especially at that altitude. To say we were worn out, wouldn’t tell it all. We were literally quivering.
There were two trails leading down from where we were standing directly under one of the chair lifts. There were a steady stream of skiers going right over our heads. One run looked easy and the other looked harder. I noticed off to the side a green dot sign on the harder looking one, and a blue dot on the easy looking one. (Green means easiest run). So I started in the direction of the green dot. Martin hadn’t seen the signs and he blew up when he saw me head for what looked like the steeper run. He yelled at the top of his lungs, “Grubb, you dizzy bastard, where are you taking me now?” The looks on the people on the chair lift were priceless. I think some of them knew the feeling of being in totally over your head. Well, we finally made it to the bottom with nothing broken, but even small movements were painful. I don’t think we had a single muscle that didn’t hurt, and we were weak and shaky from the experience. We staggered to the motor home and began the 20 hour drive home. This was at about noon on Sunday, and we both needed to be at our offices on Monday morning. We did make it back, but it was a couple of days before we could do much besides occupy our chairs.
Was it foolish? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Absolutely!