Thanks to the unusual amount of rain and snow we’ve had this Spring, I had the opportunity to head up to Squaw Valley over Memorial Day weekend and get some skiing in…or so I thought. The weather wasn’t good: temps in the mid-50’s, white-out conditions, chain requirements heading up the hill, and my lazy idea of packing for a one-day ski adventure didn’t include heavy-duty winter wear or goggles. Oh, and I’ve never skied Squaw Valley before.  Anyway…after arriving at the resort, getting some sweet but unintelligible directions from my millennial ticket-seller, I headed out to the only lift operating: the one marked “Expert Only” and “No Easy Way Down.” You’ve probably surmised how this ends, but I’ll throw in some details: after getting hopelessly lost in the blinding snowstorm, I began to consider calling 911 when three skiers came out of nowhere down a hill, straight at me! Hoping they were from the ski rescue patrol, I called out to them…only to have them whiz right past me and down the hill in front of me. OK, my only chance to avoid humiliation (and maybe worse) is to follow them…down the “experts only” slope. This route included cliffs, jumps, trees to avoid, all in a lovely, snow-covered unmarked package of mayhem. One hour and several bruises later, I reached the regular route back to the lodge. Shaken and exhausted, I contemplated my options: get back on the lift and try again, or consider what just happened an expensive lesson in skill-level evaluation, and go home. I chose option #2, and I’m alive today to talk about it.

John Young