Our winter sport involves all manner of movements — up the lift and down the slopes, over moguls and across traverses, down steeps and along cruises. But for many New England devotees of the sport, the most significant movement is … to the past.
Because part of the appeal of skiing is less about movement than about memories: Making first tracks after a midwinter snow dump. Conquering a forbidding trail. Watching your child take her first chairlift ride. Snuggling with your sweetie on the lift and maybe stealing a warm wintry kiss. All to a Barbra Streisand mental soundtrack: The way we were.
Which is one reason why, after five inches of the kind of snow that Coloradans describe as champagne powder, I made my way to Black Mountain, the way things were … a very long time ago. Actually 54 years ago.
That was when, with my parents and little brother, I first ventured into the White Mountains. We stayed in a cozy inn on a New England hill. It snowed overnight. We drove up to Black Mountain, then as now a wrinkle in the granite of New Hampshire. I took one look at Whitney’s Hill and thought it was the North Country version of San Juan Hill, formidably hard to conquer. Today it looks like an anthill, and I’m no Rough Rider.