The storm hit about thirty miles south of Cadillac and for the next hour, I clutched the steering wheel as I gauged my position in the road by the location of the reflectors off to the side. What little traffic there was slowed down to no more than 30 miles per hour. At times, there were just the two vehicles traveling together. I was following Larry and worried when he seemed to sway too far to the right or left. But he never ran off the road and after an hour of driving in poor conditions, we our destination. It had been snowing for a bit over two hours when we arrived and Cadillac was blanketed with five or so inches of the white stuff. They’d get another couple inches before it quit snowing at midnight. But by then, I was safely in bed, dreaming of powder.
Saturday morning was beautiful as we drove out to the Caberfae Peaks. The roads had been plowed, but snow hung heavy on trees and when the sun rose, everything sparkled. Even though this was my first time downhill skiing in the Midwest, I was pumped. I haven’t had downhill skis on since I left Utah and although the mountain had only 475 feet of vertical, I was promised that they had some good steep pitches. At first, riding the lift closest to the lodge, I was disappointed. There wasn’t much pitch and the gentle slope made me wish I had my backcountry skis so I could ski free-heel/telemark style. But slowly I worked my way south and there at the south peak found some nicely pitched runs (yes, runs—there were two of them, one to the right and the other to the left). After a leisurely ride up the lift, I’d stop at the top and take in the view (you don’t get many vista views in the Midwest, so you have to grab them when you can). After a few minutes of looking, I’d kick off with a herringbone style push with each ski, then pull them parallel, heading downhill. In the morning, before things got skied off, I often hug close to the edge where I was treated with ankle deep powder. Other times, I’d go straight down the middle, occasionally shifting my weight on the skis while reaching with my pole, making a slight turn, completing the run and being at the bottom left in a minute or less. Other times, I’d intentionally go slow, forcing myself to slow down, while savoring the moment.
Yes, it would have been nice to have four or five times the vertical, but I still had fun and my legs were tired by the time I decided to call it a day and head home. The drive back was much more pleasant than the one the day before. I love watching the sunset behind a hardwood forests, the trees’ barren during this season. Then, in the low points, fog covered the land, adding a mystical touch. And when I was on high ground and could look up at the sky, it seemed as if I was heading straight for Orion. I was home by Nine o’clock and too tired to sit before the fireplace. After reading a bit in bed, I feel asleep.
And Sunday was a good day. Did you see the Steelers?