You may have heard there was a giant blizzard last weekend here in the northeast. Maybe the news talked about it? Kidding, of course, because the storm brought historic snowfall to the region and while Pittsburgh wasn’t forecast to get the 2+ feet of snow other areas got, we were still in the storm’s path. And I could hardly contain my excitement!
You see, western PA has been unseasonably mild this winter and, as a gal who loves winter, I’ve been really missing snow sports! So when our forecast predicted 6 inches of snow – and more snow south of Pittsburgh where the local ski resort is! – I was stoked. I pulled out all my ski gear on Friday night and hopped out of bed on Saturday morning, ready to brave the roads and make my way to Seven Springs. I made my Whole30 breakfast, poured coffee into a travel mug and hopped in my beloved Outback. A winter adventure! YAS!
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh roads take a bit longer to clear than Denver roads, it seems. It took me twice as long to navigate the snowy – and HILLY – city roads as it usually does but I made it safely to the highway (or…I think it’s a parkway here?). As I crawled along at 45 miles per hour due to reduced speed limit advisory (and truthfully, I wouldn’t have wanted to travel faster), I made the executive decision to turn around.
Pittsburgh was at the very northern edge of the storm but south, where Seven Springs sits, got hammered with 36+ inches of snow. The skier in me was really pissed about turning around – if EVER there was a day to ski in Pennsylvania, THAT was the day! But the practical, ‘safety squirrel’ (c/o Heidi) in me knew that if the roads were uncleared and slippery in Pittsburgh where we only got 6 inches, they would be much worse in back-road PA where they already had 25 inches on the ground and were getting up to 3 inches of new snow each hour.
So I came home, ran my 4 mile ‘long run’ for Pittsburgh Half Marathon training and resolved to try again on Sunday morning.
Rinse and repeat. On Sunday morning, I bounded out of bed, scarfed down my breakfast, loaded up my coffee and hit the road! The roads were clear and dry and I raced down I-76E…only to find that the highway/parkway was closed 15 miles ahead of my exit. Not to be deterred, I let Google Maps reroute me through the tiny town of New Stanton and navigated through the beautiful backroads. Before long, I turned into the Seven Springs parking lot, giddy with excitement.
I hauled my skies across the parking lot to the slopes; I waited in line for 2 minutes to take the lift to the summit and pointed my tips downhill. WEEEE! Fresh powder! Bluebird skies! You couldn’t have smacked the dopey smile off my face!
Up and down, up and down. I skied all afternoon. The resort was much bigger than I expected with 10 lifts and 33 runs and I rarely waited longer than 3 minutes to catch a lift to the top. If Sunday was a busy day (which I’d imagine it was), I have no complaints! The runs may have been short but the lack of lift lines meant I could just go and go and go.
For a brief moment, I felt like ‘the old me’, like I was living a Colorado weekend, complete with tuning in to the Broncos game on the radio on my drive back home. And I didn’t feel sad or mad, like I probably would have a few months earlier, that this wasn’t my life anymore.
Instead, I felt grateful; grateful for snow, grateful for fresh air, grateful for skiing, grateful for a winter storm to remind me that I can still be ‘the old me’ and do the mountain things I love, even in the midwest. For this chapter in my life, I may not be skiing every weekend but I will certainly savor the experiences I do get.
The weather has already warmed back up and we’re expecting rain, not snow, this week. I’m hoping to catch another serendipitous weekend powder day in Pennsylvania this season but if not, I’m happy to have at least gotten one great day on the Seven Springs slopes.