February 24, 2010

#147: Go Skiing at Greek Peak

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I am, as one of my roommates aptly stated once, always up for a good outing. In Ithaca, this usually means that I am the first one to volunteer to run errands (especially when it directly conflicts with cleaning my apartment), and that I am constantly bugging my friends to go out to dinner. Last Saturday, however, I decided to take a slightly longer excursion to Greek Peak (#147) for the day.

I had never been skiing on the East Coast before, and when I told various friends and family members of my plans, their opinions of Central New York slopes ranged from “much colder than you’re used to” to “completely worthless … you may as well ski down your icy driveway.” Skiing, of course, is one of the many things that the West Coast simply does better, and Greek Peak is hardly the crème de la crème of eastern mountains. Needless to say, my expectations for the day were rather low.

Always the procrastinator, I called my mom two days before the planned outing and asked her to overnight some goggles, ski socks and the like. She waited until the last possible second to go to the FedEx store and realized when she got there that she had only brought along one mitten. So, I headed to Eastern Mountain Sports to buy some new gloves. The selection was, to put it mildly, lacking. There were only two pairs of ski gloves, and they were both a men’s size XL. I probably could have fit about three hands in each glove, so I opted for a significantly less warm Gore-tex pair. These gloves were still too large, however, and I looked like I was wearing clown hands as we headed for the slopes.

Despite my appearance, my friend B.’s makeshift outfit completely trumped the ridiculousness of my oversize gloves. B. didn’t have snow pants at school, so she improvised by wearing four bottom layers, including two pairs of velour sweatpants. Instead of ski goggles, she wore what resembled safety goggles from a high school chemistry class. So, clad in our thrown-together getups, we headed toward the chairlift for the first run of the day.

The group of seven that I was with had never been skiing together before (one had never been skiing at all), so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I guess I should have known that I’d be able to predict everyone’s style before we even left Ithaca. My friend C., for instance, behaved on skis exactly as she does in life — she flew straight down the mountain, indulging her “need for speed,” and took great pride in being the first one to the bottom every time. I, on the other hand, am often chided by my family for being the world’s slowest skier (and showerer, eater, drinker, driver, e-mail writer, elevator button pusher, packer, food orderer … you get the idea).

Despite our different ski styles, we made quite a good group, and Greek Peak was surprisingly not a terrible mountain. Though the snow base wasn’t particularly good, there had been enough snow in the previous few days to make for decent skiing. The terrain wasn’t particularly varied, but the runs were enjoyable. The chair lifts, on the other hand, can only be described as decrepit. They all appeared to be made out of rotting wood, and I had to squat to get on the lift because the seats were so low to the ground. C. still has a bruise from a chair lift seat that unexpectedly jabbed her in the leg. The line to one of the lifts actually went uphill, which brings me to my other major issue with Greek Peak: Considering we were on a downhill ski mountain, we spent an oddly large proportion of time awkwardly ski-stepping up hill. If I wanted to spend my time maneuvering through flat and inclined terrain, I would have gone cross-country skiing.

Despite these shortcomings, will I be heading back to Greek Peak? Definitely, albeit with smaller gloves. Am I still convinced that the West Coast is better at pretty much everything? Without a doubt.

Original Author: Jenni Warne