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Worldwide Ace » Twenty Days

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Twenty Days

24 March, 2010 (10:04) | Skiing

It was a stretch, I know. Not simply a long shot, but a long time.

Twenty days.


In a row.

Without a break.

Twenty days on snow.

I’m not sure I realized it until I was in the midst. Days 6 and 7 were filled by an impromptu trip to the mountains, a pair of days skiing the best and worst Colorado had to offer. They weren’t part of the plan, but they were an opportunity I couldn’t resist.

Day 13 was a scheduled day off, but due to Spring Break and the crowds of Iowans, Kansans, Texans and Wyomingians descending on Eldora, I could do nothing less than show up for work and pray that I’d have the time to prepare for the arrival that would mark the final week.

On Day 11 the sickness arrived. I could tell because my voice had vanished by the end of my class. It repeated, with a slight cough on Day 12 and again, adding a runny nose, on Day 13.

I awoke the morning of Day 14 knowing I was mired in the opening lines of a Tale of Two Cities. I was safely hidden in the folds of the Rockies, deep in the center of Summit County, two of my good friends ready to glide along the greatest snow in the country, and yet I was besieged by the cruel torments of illness, fever coursing through my veins, snot pouring from my nose, and what can only be described as a cough so deep that it rattled the depths of Hell itself.

My goals were no longer so simple. Gone were the naive hopes of pure enjoyment; gone were freedom and insouciant delight born of the feeling of gravity-defying flight; gone were the powder dreams and easy love of snow-born glory.

There, in their place, was one primal desire: survive.

That night, after careening down the hills of Breckenridge, testing the waters of my friends and attempting not to burn myself out before the week had even begun, I began a regimen of medication.

For the fever, I loaded up on aspirin and ibuprofen, carefully popping a pair of pills prior to bed and whenever my forehead burned with the fires of a thousand suns. Lying in the hot tub, soaking up the steamy air, I couldn’t tell if I was sweating the heat or the sickness, but it didn’t matter so long as I remained conscious and hydrated.

For the cough, I dipped into a bottle of Robitussin I found hiding in the corners of the medicine cabinet. The box claimed it would suppress my violent urges and sate the itching prodded my core, but rather than stemming my cough, it seemed to instigate it, filling the silence with fits of deep and dry hacking.

For the runny nose, I popped a 12-hour pill called Contac, which promised to provide clarity of nose. Unlike the syrup, it delivered on its promise, dropping buckets of phlegm down my throat and into my lungs.

Still, I pressed on, ignoring the lightheadedness and allowing my aching muscles to continue to carry me along the path gravity so graciously chose.

On Day 17, with the end nigh, I caved. I found myself descending not a mountain, but a couch, my aching and weary immune system driving me from the slopes of A-Basin long before I had even reached the base.

Today would’ve been day 21. The snow that battered the Rockies last night, nearly trapping my companion and me in its crystalline embrace, caused me to preemptively call into work sick. My body is telling me it was the right decision.

Tomorrow, I return to the pale vestiges of Winter and attempt to ride out the last two weeks of the ski season, my twenty days now firmly in the rear view. Soon, Spring will have overtaken my livelihood, banishing me to the warm, soft ground for another 6 months, and for that I feel a bitterness never before experienced.

My cough still nags, my muscles still ache, and despite this, my heart still yearns for the cloud’s silver lining deposited upon this earth.



  • TheOldBear

    Well, at least with Passover beginning on Monday evening, you should be able to find plenty of matzoh ball soup mix at King Soopers or Safeway. Hope you feel better soon.