For the first time in 13 years, those of us who love snow sports could ski or ride in November in the areas closest to Washington, D.C. They are three resorts owned by Snow Time, Inc. -- Liberty Mountain, Whitetail, and Roundtop. The resorts are also owned by Irv Naylor and family, and Snow Time has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It has survived good and bad times, and plans to keep expanding.
For the opening weekend, my husband and I went to Liberty, about an hour and a half drive from the Washington metro area. I am close to many of the people there and value the historical background of the area -- close to the battlefields of Gettysburg. Many people fought, suffered, and died in that region which is now so peaceful and beautiful. When I ski at Liberty, I believe I am sharing the mountains with the ghosts of Gettysburg. I can almost hear Lincoln's Address, 150 years ago.
Liberty Mountain is now a place for fun, exercise, and rehabilitation, as well as reflection. The opening weekend was perfect, with machine made snow in excellent condition. Eleven trails and four lifts were open, with snow from 18 to 24 inches.
This visit was also an important personal one for me -- I conquered some personal demons. I have been skiing for 50 years, but three years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and broke my hip skiing. The dizziness makes me afraid of the fall line, and I cannot really control my body when I try to turn right.
I could not put on boots without the help of my husband Charles. Everything is an effort and takes place in slow motion, like being trapped in molasses. But, despite this, I was able to ski! I was slow and looked like a beginner, but will not have to give up my beloved sport. In fact, the exercise and fresh air made me feel better.
I write about this because many of my snow-loving friends are facing their own set of problems, but we are not ready to give up yet. Senior and disabled people get even greater joy from conquering the mountains. I have long written about Wounded Warriors and adaptive skiers of all ages. Now I will also keep an eye on seniors as well. I just hope the younger hot shots will be gentle on us when they see us dottering down the slopes. Please give us plenty of space!