Mandy and I went snow skiing to Crystal Mountain this past weekend. Our friends from Columbus met up with us in Findlay just in time (on Thursday evening) for the snow to be accumulating in full force. The Audi did well in the snow given its aggressive performance tires, which were only track-ish in deep snow with big ruts). However, the 1.5 hour drive to Pontiac turned into almost 4.5 hours.

The trip from Pontiac to Thompsonville was easy since I slept well and the roads were clear on Friday. We arrived in time for ~5 hours of skiing on Friday with almost no lift lines and fresh powder. Several runs I skied were empty and I enjoyed the beauty of gliding silently through nature. I taught Mandy how to snow plow and perform s-turns. She was a brilliant student and was quickly tearing up the green hills.

We stayed in Frankfort on the shores of Lake Michigan in a sweet resort (~20 miles NW of Crystal Mountain). Saturday we skied almost 10 hrs. I tackled every hill except the rough one called Nose Dive to the left of Thor. The Gorge Bowl didn’t chew me up and spit me out this trip. I skied it several times without incident. Mandy continued to improve and successfully navigated several of the blue hills. Woo hoo! (I still remember when the blue hills at Crystal Mountain were a challenge.)

A girl in front of me dropped her ski pole when sitting down on the chair lift. The lift operator appeared to signal to the ski pole and I reached for it. The lift operator didn’t stop the lift like I thought, so I could hand him the pole to hand to the girl. I realized I was late moving forward into position for the chair lift which was quickly coming up behind me. I threw the pole at the operator and scrambled forward. My friend Rusty was prepared early to be received into the chair lift and was already up at the entrance line. My helpfulness caused me to be out of position causing Ben to be over in Nathan’s seat and Nathan to be in Rusty’s seat. When the chair lift met up with Rusty, Nathan was already in the seat and Rusty wound up on his lap. The lift operator didn’t notice and up we went. Rusty started yelling to stop the lift and once it did, jumped down about 6 feet, and road up with the people behind us. They told him this was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I wonder if Rusty could have made it to the top…

Once again the hot tub at the resort felt great after a long day of skiing. On Sunday we went further north to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. We climbed the dunes which were covered in snow where the wind didn’t blow it away. It was cold and extremely windy. We climbed the dunes in the large area surrounded by orange poles. Two thirds of the way up signs noted this area should be avoided since it was susceptible to avalanches. We thought what the hell and continued climbing to the top.