I went to college in Boston for a taste of city life, the Sox, and a three-hour ski commute (I was used to seven). But for reasons that still elude me, my classmates felt differently about our proximity to winter: skiing was just too expensive, too cold, and too far.
It took four years, but I finally convinced a crew to trade sloppy nights at Faneuil Hall bars for a weekend in the mountains. A foot of fresh in a snowless winter did most of the work for me, but internally I took full credit. I left out the rain crust that spoiled that same foot of fresh snow, because, well, sometimes details just complicate things. We were heading north dagnabbit, it might be the last shot we had.
After a slippery ride and restless sleep, we rolled into the Jay Peak parking lot. We handed over two-for-ones and college deal coupons, then filled the holes in our wallets with handfuls of the ticket center's free chocolate chip cookies.
'Fashionably late' is still the rage in college, so we casually snagged the second tram (OK, we missed the first). Heading up into a sea of blue skies, I scanned the car and assessed our group. We had assembled a potpourri of downhillers--skiers and boarders whose comfort level ranged from tight tree lines to deep pizza wedges. Still, there we were, four hours from regrettable bar tabs and Saturday hangovers. I knew this was the last time we'd be together on the mountain all weekend, so I basked in the tram's human humidity.
As the car rose above the Face Chutes we were swallowed by the Jay Cloud. The doors opened and ski cattle ambled out into a world of white. We grabbed a stranger to snap a group pic, necessary proof that nine had dared venture beyond Beantown's borders in pursuit of winter, if only for a weekend.
Then we dispersed. Some to bunny slopes, some to groomers, and some to the trees. My pack of nine became four. The day of charging through birch and pine ended with a run down the Dip to a pair of waiting cars and eight smirking compadres. Each of those smiles had a different story behind it, but the theme was undeniably singular: We were all in the mountains, and that made it the best day ever.