Skihad BCE Misplaced Snow
The other day, I wrote a story that introduced the concept of C.E. and B.C.E. to the virus and resulting lockdown. Here’s a quick reminder in case you have overdosed on information, as I have.
We think of C.E. and B.C.E. (Common Era and Before the Common Era) as more “inclusive” alternatives to B.C. and A.D. The C.E. / B.C.E. system can be adapted to Coronavirus Era and Before the Coronavirus Era without even changing the initials.
For me the demarcation between the two was March 15. Since I have nothing new to add about C.E., let’s take a short trip back to the gentler times of a month earlier, a short trip that will include several episodes.
The date references to the epidemic itself have been added at the time of writing and were nowhere in my thinking on the dates in question. Nowhere, but they certainly provide a contrast.
Skihad is an annual excursion of excess that seeks to answer the eternal “how much is too much” question.
I actually nailed that answer two years ago when 10 weeks, including a week of driving each way between Washington and the west, turned out to be domestically unwise. This year clocked in at less than five weeks beginning on Thursday February 13, the day after the World Health Organization officially designated the coronavirus as Covid-19.
Skiing is not well-suited to planning as we never know where or when the snow will be good or bad, or if there will be any at all. Yet some aspects of a ski trip are locked in stone like the Presidents’ Day week for my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren (eight, six, three), who are now permanent members of the Skihad team.
The other planning fixture is the multi-resort ski pass. There are several on offer and the one you choose determines most of the places you are likely to go. This year mine was Ikon because it includes an unlimited number of days at Squaw Valley, where my son and his family are regular weekend visitors.
In fact, Squaw Valley was supposed to be the first stop on this year’s Skihad, at least until a couple of days before departure. Departure is a concept that is not usually in need of much discussion, but my departure takes place about 10 days after the departure of skis — both cross-country and downhill — and an eight cubic foot box full of boots, ski gear and whatever clothes I plan to wear. Jackets and ties need not apply. Fedex Ground is the official purveyor of shipping services to Skihad, but I have been deficient in arranging “promotional considerations.”
A couple of days before my departure but quite a number of days after sending my gear to San Francisco, the phone rang.
Apparently, I have a family reputation for a deep commitment to previously made plans. This is also called inflexibility. I sensed anxiety in my daughter’s voice as she asked if I had been following the snow conditions in Squaw Valley. I had. The conditions were not good. Even my weekend warrior son was not planning to go.
Given that she and her family have but one week of skiing each year, she thought it wise to move my first stop from Squaw Valley to Snowbird, about 750 miles to the east of the boxes of gear that had recently arrived in San Francisco. I received much credit for my receptivity to this idea.
The extra driving was 21 podcasts in duration. A podcast is sort of like a light year. It seems to be time, but it is actually distance. Most podcasts are about half an hour long.
As with so many things in life, there is a trade-off between driving your own four-wheel drive car across the country with your gear inside and hoping the car you rent will actually function in snow.
Rental car companies don’t have a category called all-wheel drive so the best you can do is choose some size of SUV and cross your fingers. I got lucky with the “Mighty Ford Escape,” the flagship of the smallest range of SUVs offered by Enterprise. In addition to a family reputation for inflexibility, I am apparently known for frugality.
I spent Valentine’s Day driving across Nevada, just as the Centers for Disease Control revealed that its testing kits were flawed, seriously setting back US virus detection.
Politicians call the parts of Nevada outside of Las Vegas and Reno “the rurals.” In this, they are correct. I was not at all sure how they planned to conduct the upcoming Nevada caucuses. During the two-day drive, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 29,000 and the rumblings about sick people in China had become a steady but muted drumbeat.
The picture gives a pretty good idea of what Valentine’s Day looked like to me.