Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Skiing Christmas

On a slow train this morning, as it’s been ever since the Blizzard of 2010. So I’ll spend a little time recapping my Christmas holiday weekend.

Wednesday night Polina and I met at the apartment after I got back from work and she got back from Dark’s and we went to a Cuban restaurant on 46th. They had live music playing, and people were dancing as we walked in. It was a nice atmosphere, but the food was only so-so. Can’t compete with that braised beef at our Carrabba’s near Stony Brook. On our way out we joined the dancers for a few beats until it got so crowded that I was bumping into people.

Thursday we had to get me some ski pants because I stupidly left mine in Yoshi in Princeton. I remembered to get my gloves and goggles, but I didn’t realize that there’s a tub in there with all my heavy winter clothes, including the North Face snowboard pants I bought last year and haven’t ever used. So we went to Sports Authority on 20th to get those on our way back to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where we met up with Katie and hung out with her all afternoon at Polina’s house.

Friday morning we got up at 6:30 to head out to Mountain Top, PA, home of Natasha and Pavel, whom we visited over Labor Day weekend. Along the way we stopped at a grocery store and then the car wouldn’t start, so we had to get a jump from someone. So we got there a bit later than we planned, but we still skied the afternoon session at Elk Mountain. It’s a small mountain, so we spent a lot of time on the lifts, but the trails were nicely groomed, there was lots of powder and very few skiers over Christmas.

Saturday morning we intended to ski just the morning, but we woke up to find that one of our tires went flat overnight, so that took time to inflate. So we got there late and just skied the full day. I went on my first black diamond trail, but it wasn’t that hard because I went really slowly (unlike Polina and her dad, who whizzed ahead of me). It’s just not that enjoyable for me to have to stop after a couple of turns and basically ride my edges down a slope. The blues at Elk were perfect for me – good speed and a few gentle turns. The last thing I need right now is to get hurt and have to miss work or jeopardize plans with Polina in January.

Sunday Polina stayed home while her parents and I skied the morning session and returned the equipment. We had some good bonding time on the lifts, where her dad and I talked about their family history and all sorts of things. It’s nice just calling them “mom” and “dad” in everyday life – more personal, less formal. I just think of them as family now.

After we were done skiing, we went to Pep Boys to get the tire fixed, which took hours because it was the first day open after the holiday. So we ended up leaving quite late, about 5:30, as the snow was really starting to come down. The ride home was harrowing, but we made it back to Times Square about 10 pm. Polina and I suggested that everyone stay there with us, but the parents wanted to get home. They didn’t get back to Staten Island until about 1:30 am, and then had to dig out their front door to get into the house.

I had lots of fun this Christmas, a very different kind of Christmas than I’m used to. I used to go skiing over Christmas back in my old life, but not for the last decade or so. Christmas with my NJ family was a very traditional, home-bound affair with lots of presents and a decorated tree. The only thing I didn’t do this year that I’ve done in years past is visit the Angel Tree at the Metropolitan Museum. I think I’ll do that on Friday before going to Staten Island for the New Year’s party, since I’m off the whole day.