The Ridge


After yet another sunny early-morning dog walk, you head into work and punch the first few letters of the weather guy’s site into your browser.

You click down to the pre-filled address—you obviously don’t have time to type the whole damn thing—and scroll through the day’s forecast.

Your expression is mainly lifeless by now, slightly pissed at best.

It’s reminiscent of your high school crush’s look anytime you dared say hello.

Generally dismissive.

A bullshit storm might roll through late Sunday, the site says, sprinkling a few inches of snow on the resorts.

Then the fucking ridge sets up—and, let’s get this clear, you understand the ridge blocks snow and is bad, but you have no un-abstracted idea of what the hell a ridge is—for what looks like weeks, maybe.

You’re living through a dry ski-town winter, and it blows.

It blows in the sense that the euphoria of preparing for, making it through and celebrating a series of great big snowfalls has been stolen from you.

Powder turns, pictures of the hood of your car, deck, grill and dog buried in snow, and the barbarity of the dash to the just-opened Headwall have been snatched out of your Pabst-grippers.

Instead, it’s January days at the beach so Fido can run around. February hikes to scoured-off mountaintops and March barbecues.

Basically everything you do in the summer, but in a fleece.

Somber is charitable and profoundly undescriptive for the mood in town.

Ski industry types are manic—slathering lipstick on every pig of a storm that creaks and spits overhead and being terminally cheerful through their lying teeth about the 14 (six) inches that just fell and aren’t totally burning off/getting rained on as we speak.

In confidence, they’re a wreck, talking about laid-off friends who are usually employed year-round while sipping well drinks and debating little Tommy’s continued presence at the adventurous-sounding private school.

Most everyone else is no better—those in businesses on the spoke ends of the ski industry wheel are to the point of the year where they’re even turning the Girl Scouts away, and those fortunate enough not to rely on big daddy resort firm are still bumming on the lack of laps.

The only happy people are the ones who got new puppies/babies/broken limbs and/or vasectomies over the winter.

They weren’t going to enjoy the snow any-damn-way, and they take measurable joy in your despair.

You try to talk yourself back into a good place, like a subconscious parent consoling their kid over the loss of a toy.

“Buck up, dude. You’re not drinking sewer water in Africa. Nobody died. You wake up to gorgeous views every damn day and there’s still snow on the groomed runs.”

Maybe you take heart in hearing about what a sick time your cousin visiting from Texas had. Any skiing—even in-bounds, on-groomer turns at one of the resorts rich enough to cover more than a handful of runs—is magical to him.

But that’s not what you signed up for when you moved here.

You refresh the weather page.

That fucking ridge.