The night before skiing
by Heather Burke/
by Heather Burke/
Skiing on Christmas is a family tradition for us. It’s usually so calm with a chill in the air, and no crowds as most people don’t ski on Christmas morn. I love the time together that we share on first chair, and those perfect morning runs on freshly groomed snow. And I am aware that not everyone has the day off to spend with their families. I wrote this poem for all the ski resort employees who work to make our holiday skiing just right. So thank you to the groomers, lift attendants and all the other front-line soldiers of skiing and snowboarding who work the holidays.
'Twas the night before skiing when all through the resort,
the skiers were all sleeping, with the occasional snore and snort.
Ski boots were lined up neatly next to poles and skis.
Ski outfits were ready for the next day’s promised freeze.
Children had been excited, and hard to get to bed.
But they had to rest up for their big ski day, so their parents said!
As families slipped off to dream about the next day’s first tracks,
the groomers and snowmakers were loading their packs,
to head out on the hill for their long night of work.
They fired up the Bombardiers and were off with a jerk.
The snowmakers headed out into the cold dark night
with stars, the moon and headlamps as their only light.
It would be eight hours of hard work on the slopes,
getting the snow guns lined up, dragging hoses of cold rope.
As the clock ticked through the wee hours,
fluffy, dry snow fell from each snowmaking tower.
The groomers danced up and down each trail,
making perfect corduroy, leaving an occasional snow whale.
The terrain parks must be groomed between each box and rail,
jumps need a smooth approach and landing on the trail.
The halfpipe needs to be buffed from the base to the walls,
so the transition is just right for riders from small to tall.
Along with the first inkling of sun,
the patrol and ski reporter arrived to take that milk run,
and report the conditions to the appropriate folk.
The trails that open, or stay closed for safety, to them is no joke.
It’s serious business making the ski mountain just right each day.
Hundreds of families will be coming to play.
They will be coming with their kids, and gear in tow,
excited to ski and ride on last night’s freshly made snow.
As the snowcats and snow team come down off the mountain,
the first flood of eager skiers turns on like a fountain.
These are the dedicated skiing families, not a single wimp.
As they load the first chair they might catch just a glimpse
of the groomers returning their rigs to the base.
There’s a quick exchange of waves, smiles and gratitude on their faces.
I hope the hard-working snow men can hear the skiers as they cheer
"Thanks for making our Christmas the best day of the year!"