Okay... now that the season is fully over, I can go ahead and say what I've been whispering about for months while knocking on wood, without worrying about the consequence of a thaw or an epic rain storm: we had a really nice winter this year! Given, we didn't get quite as many one or two-footer snow storms, but the pendulum also didn't swing the other way with a significant warm-up either. Winter was consistent in the way I remember it from childhood: cold from November to March, with weekly snowfall of 3+ inches on average.
Playing outside in the winter is how we New Englanders continue to thrive and get the most out of this beautiful place, year round. Almost everybody I know was out and about seemingly more so than usual this year, both here at the mountain and elsewhere; skiing, riding, hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, you name it! With all these memories being made, I'd like to ask folks: If you had to pick one memory from this winter as your absolute favorite, what would it be?
For me, it was skiing on a frigid January day with my aunt and a few of my cousins; especially my cousin Nathan, who was visiting from Georgia, and hadn't been skiing in over a decade. The last time Nathan planned a ski trip to New Hampshire was in the winter of 2005-06. He was on his way to the airport in Atlanta when he was struck head-on by a drunken driver, putting him in a coma for an extended period of time and leaving him with considerable paralysis and brain damage. Needless to say, he was out of commission for a long time and didn't know if he would walk again, let alone ski. When I got a phone call from my aunt requesting a comp ticket for him that day, I said, "He can have ALL of my tickets!"
So there we were, out on the slopes this winter, and every time I looked at him that day, a wave of emotion washed over me as I marveled at what he'd been through physically and mentally to bring him to these warm moments in the cold air. All the physical therapy, the obstacles, the goals set, crushed and surpassed... What an accomplishment, and what an inspiration.
The family flew past us down the steep headwall of Stonebar, and I could see the apprehension in Nathan's body as he began to make slow turns in his cautious wedge. I skied up to him and showed him the secret of mastering steep pitches on skis: point your knees up the hill, and if you're more comfortable using the entire slope to get across between turns, feel free. I saw confidence return to his skiing immediately, and as he slid down the flatter part of the trail toward the Tiger lift, his smile was everything. That was my favorite moment of Winter 2018-19.
What was your favorite moment this winter? We'd love to hear from you! Email us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, send a Facebook message, or share it on your socials and tag us using #gunstockmtn!