Four-letter words

There are all kinds of ways to classify clients.

For today, I am offering two categories:

1) Lovers of snow and ski.

2) All others.

For one week a year, I belong to group No. 1.

Nadine GodwinTranslation: I am writing this column between sessions of cross-country skiing. It also means I am writing with a brain addled (turned to slush?) by the kind of single-minded, inane chat that overwhelms the Annual Ski Week.

My ski partner and I discuss yesterday's snow conditions, today's snow conditions and tomorrow's likely snow conditions.

We use four-letter words a lot: They are "snow" (a good word) and "rain" (on the foul side). The most profane word in our vocabulary, although, is a pale little thing: "ice."

When there is ice on the trails, we go shopping. Otherwise, we ski, and this week, the shopkeepers have not done well at all. Indeed, in a winter with an inordinate amount of rain, it is remarkable how quickly the cross-country trails recover with one good snowfall.

We have benefited from well-timed snowfalls.

We also have been able to ski nine days straight because we don't count on only one ski facility. We have frequented two resorts (Mount Prospect, east of Bennington, and Mountain Top, north of Rutland, both in Vermont), and each day we go where the snow is better.

In an iffy ski season, that flexibility would serve any client well, I imagine.

The Annual Ski Week isn't just wrapped around skiing. For one thing, we drive up and down Vermont, enjoying gorgeous scenery.

During one early evening, the Green Mountains seemed ill-named. Those ridges looked as if someone had spilled barrels of pink/purple paint on them.

On another late afternoon, the sun peeked around clouds to produce bands of color that streamed up mountainsides like flames.

We enjoy charming New England villages (one day we drove down Mad Tom Road in East Dorset to take photographs), but we mourn the fact that other little towns are not benefiting much from tourism or any other source of prosperity.

Pre- and post-ski topics are compelling, too.

There is breakfast (make it hearty to carry us through three hours of mountain climbing and, yes, some downhill rides, as well) and dinner (we have earned that dessert, surely).

And there are heating pads and hot tubs (how could I have so many sore places in my feet and ankles?).

In a way, the Ski Week is a like a Spa Week. Except, while my cholesterol count may be down, I never lose an ounce of poundage. Not everything works out.

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