Thank You For Cancelling My Flight, Southwest

Thank You For Cancelling My Flight, Southwest

Skiing

Thank You For Cancelling My Flight, Southwest

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Throughout the past week, Southwest has been experiencing a sort of company wide meltdown. On Thursday alone, the company cancelled more than 2,300 flights nationwide, leaving thousands of passengers stranded wherever they were for the holidays. When I left Colorado earlier in December, flying Southwest to spend time with my family in Maine, I had every intention of making it back to the western state before New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, my return flight, originally scheduled for that very same Thursday, was cancelled by Tuesday morning.

After rescheduling my flight to Monday and coming to terms with the fact that I would be welcoming in the New Year with my parents, I did what any ski obsessed blogger who works from home and happens to be stuck in a cold state with snow and hills would do. I went skiing.

Since I moved to Colorado, I’ve made sure to bring my skis back to Maine anytime I happened to be visiting in the winter, and this was no exception. The Rocky Mountains, and the ski resorts within, are absolutely incredible. They’re big, steep, and deep. They’re difficult yet welcoming. They, somehow, convince you to spend somewhere around six hours sitting in traffic every weekend just to get in an equal amount of skiing. But I owe my love for skiing, and any skills that might come with it, to Sugarloaf, and I’ll be damned if I go a single season without making it there for a day.

In the past, my yearly visit to Sugarloaf had been before any of the major storms, meaning I’d been restricted to just a few trails (usually Tote Road, King’s Landing, and Hayburner, if you know the mountain or are following along on a trail map). This time, despite the lovely rain/wind storm Maine received a few days before Christmas, I was fortunate enough to return to a few of my favorite trails, some of which I hadn’t skied in years. Were the conditions remarkable? No. There were some solid icy spots, the snow wasn’t super grippy, and it was fairly cloudy both of the days I was there, but that’s what you expect on the East, and that’s what you learn to love on the East (I also haven’t had my skis professionally sharpened in… a while, so that could have added to it).

Despite the East’s lack of open bowls and playground-like terrain, there’s always plenty of side hits to be found. If you’re visiting Sugarloaf anytime soon, head to the top of Skyline and go down Sluice Chute. Right where it connects to Upper Spillway, if you head to the right, there’s a little section with a few twigs and branches sticking out of the snow that has the best natural kickers on the mountain, so far at least. Don’t mess up though, everyone on the chairlift will see you (and possibly laugh at you, if the crash isn’t too bad).

It’s hard to remember just how fun the East Coast mountains really are when you’re mostly skiing in Colorado. I’d say they’re less forgiving and faster, yet they seem to feel more casual. You don’t need much of a day-to-day plan on these mountains, and you feel less guilty if you spend an entire day on your favorite trail rather than exploring. You run into people you know much more often (especially when there’s only a few lifts open) and start conversations with strangers more often.

I’m not saying the East Coast is better, I’m not saying you should cancel your trip to Colorado and book a ski trip to the East Coast, I’m just saying you should give the East Coast some credit. Plus, and I’ll definitely get some flack for saying this, in my experience and OPINION, people who grow up skiing in the East Coast are, ON AVERAGE, much better skiers than those who grew up skiing in Colorado.

So, basically, thanks, Southwest. Thanks for messing up so bad that I got to ski my home mountain for a few extra days, thanks for making sure I could ski with my dad, my sisters, and some of my high school friends, and thanks for forcing me to appreciate home a little bit more.

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