By Ashley Lodato
You know you live in a small town when you’re skiing with your doctor, you look up in the sky at the sound of a plane and recognize your dentist, who sees you waving wildly and tips his wings in response.
That’s what the whole weekend was like if you were skiing up in the Rendezvous this past weekend. Around every corner and even in the sky above there were familiar faces. It was actually a little bit hard to get any skiing done because of the socializing that was happening.
And with brilliant blue skies and sunshine blazing following Friday’s sloppy mess, people were in fine spirits. Most of the talk seemed to be light conversation, but after hearing snippets of conversation revolving around topics such as the International Baccalaureate program and the county comprehensive plan, I knew that at least some serious business was being conducted in the world’s greatest conference space.
Sam Naney’s Momentum Northwest youth skiers were out for a Cub Creek-to-Gunn Ranch tour — their final hurrah on skis before transitioning to dry land training and spring sports on the west side. Crossing paths with them were different pods of the local Nordic team, some of whom still have a couple of races ahead of them but most of whom were just enjoying the fast conditions.
Our party was the fifth year of a three-generations trip to the Rendezvous Huts. The senior members of our group referred to themselves as “the tortoise and the terrapin,” and true to the fable beat the faster skiers — who were engaging in chitchat — down to the parking lot.
Speaking of parking lot action, on Saturday morning one skier got a surprise glimpse of a full moon at the Gunn Ranch trailhead a scant three days after the first quarter moon, despite the predictions of official lunar calendars. One well-known local skier believed she saw her friend at the trailhead, and, in the manner of adolescent boys everywhere, thoughtfully shared a bright white full moon with her. Only it turns out it wasn’t her close friend, it was a lesser acquaintance, who nonetheless appreciated the enthusiastic if unconventional greeting.
The only damper on all this fun on the Nordic trails was the news of Winthrop native and U.S. Biathlon team’s Casey Smith, who had a bad crash while gearing up for the International Biathlon Union Cup races in Canmore, Alberta. Casey, who trained and raced with the Methow Valley Nordic Team when he was younger, hit a tree and broke his shoulder, punctured his lung, and hurt his back. He’s in stable condition, but ouch, what a painful way to end the season. Our thoughts are with you, Casey.