Greg Johnson: Perfect Run

Audrey Dwyer
After a long week of work, Greg Johnson finds the energy to get out on the mountain for a perfect run.
Audrey Dwyer

— I got off the couch and was rewarded with a perfect run.

Some days are just hard to get off the couch. Nagging injuries to nurse, less than ideal conditions, hangovers, etc. Excuses can pile up quickly and easily. Luckily for me my excuses only led to a late start.

Last Saturday started out as an overcast day in Steamboat. Spoiled by powder days or bluebird skies, dreary days are tough to get inspired by.

A season ski pass in Steamboat runs $900 to $1400. Working a Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job you hope to get enough days each year to justify buying a full pass. A long work week can wear you out in the winter, especially if you just want to relax all weekend.

An internal debate begins whether to remain on the couch or go through the process of getting a few runs in.You become a slave to the mountain. Once up on the mountain you are never regret your choice. But this time I wasn’t so sure.

I finally dragged myself to the frenzy of the mountain and boarded the gondola at 1:30 p.m. I took my customary warm-up lap down Storm Peak face, Rainbow to Moonlight. The light was flat, patches of ice were on the runs and it was colder than I anticipated. I was going to give the Sundown lift a chance, but already planned to head out for the bar and meet my friends.

On my way up South Peak lift I saw a small glimpse of sun peaking beneath the clouds. The rays peaking through and the realization that the mountain was rid of the Texans on the slopes, gave me a second wind to ski on a bit longer.

I had a last second impulse to go down Rolex. Usually, I avoid this steep run that gets bumped out quickly in favor of West Side, but I had a guiding light pointing in that direction.

The run was empty and groomed recently. The snow was softer on this run and holding an edge perfectly. The little bit of sunlight made it easy to read the run. I aggressively started carving S turns, gaining speed with each turn. The adrenalin of letting the mind go awry and the rush of speeding down the mountain completely took me over.

I held a single edge at the bottom of the run where it is steepest. I felt the G-force as the run ended. I let out an audible, WHEW, to no one in particular as I stopped. I looked back up at the run and felt I fell in love with snowboarding all over again. I couldn’t describe it as anything, but the perfect run for myself.

I stayed a little while longer enjoying the sun. As sunset neared I rode over to a wide open Heavenly Daze run to close out my session. I drove away from the mountain happy with my purchase of a pass for afternoon rides and a reason to get off the couch.

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