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blog: Underdressed tiger pounces on mid-morning powder

Brandy Persson
Vail CO, Colorado
Brandy Persson likes to wake up late on powder days.
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All my friends know that I’m a hopeless morning person. I don’t care if there’s 16″ of fresh powder; I get to the lifts around 11 am or so.

Being my 6th season, I know where all the fresh stashes are. Some of my friends who don’t get around much on the mountain like to claim, “boo-hoo, it’s all gone by that time.” They obviously don’t travel beyond the common front-side lifts.

So I do my thing.

Although the intent to get up early is in place, I ignore my husband running out the door for the 8 am bus, my alarm clock, and my ever-ringing cell phone. I wake at my own accord and drag myself to the kitchen to tuck in a chew and mix a greyhound to take with me to the shower.

Now I’m motivated. Top that off with a breakfast of 3 eggs, 2 pieces of toast and Morningstar sausages, and you’ve got a gassed-up gal ready to ride.

I walk out to catch my 11:28 bus out of East Vail. In the midst of my excitement for the afternoon ahead, I begin to dance to the tune plugged into my ears. I get caught by the bus that creeps up on the silent snow covered road. “You’ve really got the groove there, Young Lady,” the bus driver says to me with a chuckle as I climb up the steps.

I take my seat and can’t help to notice that I’m being noticed by all the people that are heavily bundled up. I picked up this fantastic, bomb-proof, soft-shell at the Blizzard Sale that appears to be a weiner coat. People often comment (especially when going up Chair 36 with sideways snow), “I can believe you’re just wearing that little coat!”

The bus pulls in to the TRC and I’m off like a bullet as I swing my hiney ever so slightly to “Tell Me Baby” by the Chili Peppers all the way down Bridge Street.

The anticipation builds; it’s a powder day and I’ve got it all to myself.

I strap in at the bottom of Chair 16 and lump my way over to the scanner shooting my goofy smile and an excited, “How the heck are ya?” Luckily, they appear to be pretty happy people and don’t think twice (at least not out loud) about the dorky, under-dressed girl that just passed through.

The soft rolling lumps of powder now in my view as I fly through the air suddenly soften and relax my demeanor. It always does. I’m thinking it’s time to switch over to Mr. Clapton or Paul Simon. I’m a fan of easy listening when I’m bounding silently through gorgeous pillows of perfect snow. (Just to clarify: I don’t condone giving up a sense to music; I fully endorse keeping the music level low enough to be able to hear approaching skiers and others speaking to me.)

I slide my rear off the chair just after giving another goofy grin to the lifties and waving. Although my intentions are good, I feel a bit guilty, as though I’m taunting them because they have to work and I’m on a “Get Out of Jail FREE” day. I quickly ride to Chair 2 and I’m up and off again. The wind bites at my face and snow pelts it as if I were a human dart board.

Finally I reach the mouth of Faro trees, a choice first run. Slow is the start and then gravity (our best friend on a powder day) takes hold of me, and swoosh! Through the trees I go! No stopping, no thinking, just reacting.

I envision that I’m a powerful tiger, plowing through the forest with my prey in sight. Full body in motion. Tearing and ripping through the trees, I am a beast. I’m sure that similarly to imagining myself as an otter or a mermaid while I flap through the river, it is likely that I am the only one that views me in such a light.

Wow, I can’t control that stupid grin from taking over my face, as my husband refers to it.

I hop on Chair 7 with some man, and the usual question pops up, “Aren’t you cold in that little coat?” The question is accompanied by a Texas accent. This poor man is bundled up like the kid from “A Christmas Story.” I can’t help to giggle and inquire back, “You got a neck in there?” We laugh together.

We have a nice conversation and wish each other a good day. I realize that I’ve missed my favorite Paul Simon powder tune, “I Know What I Know.” I quickly dig out my Ipod and fix the problem before my fingers freeze up like frozen candy bars from the vending machine at PHQ.

I head out into Sundown for another great line as I glide and giggle and sing to myself. Once again I am a tiger, but my guess is that I probably look more like a pigeon with a broken wing. It doesn’t matter though; the snow hugging my legs like a crying little child and the occasional face shot feels good, hell it even tastes good. I leap and bound through piles of snow, just like the cool kids in the videos. My heart beats heavy, my legs burn in a good way and my lungs are overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the rest of me.

Throughout the day, I move across the mountain and back rightfully collecting my special, untouched stashes. I ignore my phone that furiously vibrates like a bee that’s been captured in my pocket.

This is my day, and I’ll do with it as I wish.

Brandy Persson can be reached at shesends@hotmail.com.


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