On January 14th, watching the evening news and reflecting on this winter of our discontent, Davinius could hardly believe that it had been 52 years to the day since “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In” had set the scene for the “Summer of Love” in 1967. Back then, it was perhaps, “the last purely idealistic hippie event” with the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Dick Gregory and Richard Alpert! But hey! You can still BE HERE NOW!, you can still GIVE PEACE A CHANCE! Peace and “being here” reign supreme at the Alturas Lake ski area where most trails were ginzu groomed flat on this most auspicious anniversary and classic tracks reset from the bridge to the lake. At Park Creek the trails were fine tuned on Sunday. Enjoy…
At Park Creek, official groomer and first man Adam got everything copacetic for classic skiers with excellent tracks set on all ski trails on Monday, January 7th. He was heading out to touch up skating lanes on the 8th. At Alturas Lake, new groomer Chad rolled through deep new snow on the ski trails there on Monday, only getting lightly stuck at times. And finally, while he waiting for things to warm up outside on Tuesday morning, aging groomer Davinius prepared to take his turn on the Alturas ginzu by eating lightly heated bacon and cheddar scones and meditating on the words of the ancient Chinese poet Su Dongpo on the occasion of his 982nd birthday.
“The voices of the river valley are the Buddha’s wide and long tongue,
The form of the mountains is nothing other than his pure body.”
On Friday, the trails at Alturas Lake were in excellent shape as new groomer Chad displayed an uncanny knack for laying down corduroy after only a few days of tutelage under aging expert groomer Davinius. Davinius had mixed feelings about not being in total control of the ski grooves himself but was still proud of his young acolyte’s excellent progress. He and the pretty girl from the village took advantage of his semiretirement from grooming to ski the trails to the Alturas Lake shore on the 4th, the birthday of Marsden Hartley, the American Modernist painter, where they harvested ice cubes from “The Ice Hole” for their evening cocktails. They were accompanied by their faithful cat “Kitty Boy”. At Park Creek, praise was also due second year groomer Adam who touched up all the trails for the enjoyment of this weekend’s anticipated ski enthusiasts.
The trails at Alturas lake were groomed twice at the very end of 2018. On the 30th, as old groomer Davinius was just finishing smoothing out 5 inches of new snow from the night before, a swirlling, roiling, ominous black wall of cloud raced up the valley consuming the landscape, the trees and the ski trails in a blasting smear of sideways snow that enveloped the groomer and the day’s last skiers in a frigid vision of impenetrable, indecipherable whiteness. After 20 minutes the blue sky suddenly returned and happily, everyone limped to the highway. By the next afternoon, the birthday of Henri Matisse and the last day of the year, only a snow drifted post impressionist memory remained of the monster storm, as regroomed corduroy and classic tracks returned a sharp edged reality to the trails. At Park Creek, Adam also got everything re-groomed for skating with classic tracks down on most of those trails.
On Saturday, December 29th, 2018, one hundred and two years after the publication of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Davinius sped through several inches of new snow at Alturas lake with the ginzu groomer laying down corduroy and classic tracks behind him. Hurtling along at 12 miles and hour he felt a kinship with Stephen Dedalus… “He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and… veiled grey sunlight.” Alas, after all the trails were groomed and looking good that afternoon, another 5 inches of snow fell overnight. As the clouds receded and the sun reappeared on Sunday morning, Davinius headed back to the ski area thinking that sunshine would make the work pleasant, until his anti hero spoke again… “You can still die when the sun is shining.” “Ahh well, that may be true”,he thought, “but here’s to life and sunny trails!”