January 27, 2012

Dawn Patrol. Double Thumbs Up.

My alarm startled me this morning, it rang earlier than normal.  It took me a moment to realize why I was getting up so early.  Then I remembered… DAWN PATROL.  Last winter, early morning skate skiing adventures were not uncommon – this year, not so much.  My cyclocross season didn’t come to a close until the first week of January and the snow has been less than stellar.  The idea of getting up early to brave the dark and cold is daunting, especially when you don’t know about the snow conditions; but after reading the Meissner Nordic Facebook Page last night, I was determined to make a go of it. 

Meissner Nordic Community Ski TrailsAttention all dawn patrollers and early morning Meissner Nordic skiers. Get your bases waxed (evening temps in the low teens) tonight because the'll be some sweet corduroy awaiting you first thing tomorrow morning. Don't worry about which trails to ski, or chasing down the snocat, because they all will be groomed and Jake will be long gone by the time you get there. I expect conditions to be very good tomorrow for most of the day. I hope you can get out there and enjoy your ski area and what promises to be a fine winter day.Cheers, Dale
Equipped with a headlamp and lobster gloves, I headed out – and I was rewarded.  I skied alone.  No other cars in the parking lot, not another soul to be seen.  The stars were bright, the snow glittered, my face was freezing and I was having the best time.  A little bit of the day that was all mine.  I felt like I just got a VIP pass to “my own private Bend”.

The sun began to rise, the sky turned a purple-orange that no photo of mine could capture.  I’ll leave that to the pros like Heidi and Matt.  The snow was cold, too cold for my wax, but I didn’t care.  I skied until I had to head back – work was calling.  I glided toward the parking lot and in the distance, saw a few silhouettes.  One belonged to Ben.  He and a friend were just gearing up to head out on their own adventure – we exchanged a good morning hug and I headed back to town.  The stream of cars in the opposite direction was constant.  

I smiled to myself, I had had the whole place to myself.