A quick journey of COVID, pow, questions and gratefulness

About the time the CBMR T-bars started spinning last week giving access to the renowned Extreme Limits terrain, I took a COVID test in the office. And then another because I didn’t like the result of the first one. Donald might have been on to something back in 2020 when he said, “When you test, you create cases.” Had I not tested, would I still have had a case of the Vid? If there was no chance to see the two lines appear, would I have just had a cold like I thought since my throat was sore and my nose drippy? If the High Lift spins in the night, does Teo 2 really exist? If the red light is on in the morning but the hotline says uphill skiing is probably okay, does a Paradise lift op really care?

“Cases are up because we have the best testing in the world and we have the most testing,” said math genius Donald. The fact was that I did test, and I did get the dreaded double line (twice) to indicate I had tested positive for COVID.  

And it was dumping as the T-bars were spinning. 

My wife was fortunately out of town and had tested negative, so it was just me and the dog to imagine the soft pillows of powder getting the season’s first tracks down Headwall and Hawks Nest. If Mojo dreams of untracked pow does a PAWS cat get its wings?

As reported last week in the CB News, Gunnison County saw a spike in flu, RSV and COVID cases as we moved into high gear for the tourist season over the holiday period. While the hospital is doing fine, more people here have the crud and some of the cruds are probably COVID…we’d know if they tested but then, Lord knows how many more positives we’d tally to skew the numbers. Nationally, COVID is producing new variants that are spreading across the country. Get ready for XBB.1.5!

My COVID bout felt like a lingering cold, but I followed the CDC guidelines and isolated for five days. I did a lot of snow maintenance on the driveway. If I don’t drag the snow off my roof, is it really a snow problem since it changes to ice? Mojo and I took a lot of walks. The neighbors politely tried to not return to the neighborhood and rub in how good the skiing was but if a neighbor is grinning, is it because someone plowed the berm or because there were face shots on the Monument rope line?

Taking the Tao attitude that the situation was a test of patience…sort of like four years of Donald’s math and deduction skills, I accepted the situation. Deep breaths helped as I moved snow onto the growing snowbanks along the driveway instead of the growing moguls in The Glades. If a mogul appears on The Face does the CB Mountain Bike Association gain another storage space by Baxter’s Gulch or does a big Whetstone building get closer to the road?

Honestly, it was not a bad weekend as the days were beautiful and the life tempo more mellow than had I been caught up in the opening frenzy…which I find less and less desirable. Several times I looked to the sky and expressed gratitude to the Universe for being able to live in this beautiful high mountain valley amongst this wonderfully rich community. 

And speaking of, we lost another of those who truly appreciated living here. Annie Coburn “crossed the river” this week and to me she was one of those who particularly embraced what the place added to family. As a mid-timer, peers making the crossing is the inevitable time we are in, and in the Tao space, I am happy Annie was here and that I knew her just a little bit.

Over the weekend I was cleared under CDC guidelines and had tested negative for COVID. Does my positive still count if it is now negative? On Monday, I slipped out of the office about 2 o’clock and scooted up for the end of day High Lift to NFL T-bar lap. There were no lines. Heck, there were few skiers. If a ski run is empty have there been any turns? I actually saw morning groomer lines that were still there on at least one run, so maybe not. 

The thing about the late Monday ski was not that it was filled with fresh snow (although it was still soft) and not that there were any over-the-hood shots left — but that it was open. Having that terrain accessible, for me, borders on the spiritual. The nooks and crannies of the Extremes whisper to those who live here and ski the hill. That terrain being open is one of the things that makes this place special. Despite some previous marketing campaigns, it’s not family-friendly Roller Coaster that draws the tourists or keeps the locals here, it is the steeps. It is the traverses. If a local kid can ride Smoke-a-Bowl Point, should she get busted, or will another Mark Walter restaurant stop serving locals while not telling anyone?

As we head into the heart of the winter ski season, there are no doubt challenges in this growing resort community. But I am grateful for those who live and play here. I am grateful for the ski area and the people who work to get open the places that make this place magic. I am grateful the white snow is falling which will help make the summer green. I am grateful there was only one line on the last test and my symptoms were like a mild crud rather than a harsh beatdown. I am grateful progress is being made on workforce housing. If an electric bus carries a waiter to the Four-way does the school need another classroom?

Checking back in on the political world, the first order of business for House Republicans was to try and defund, disrupt and dismantle government. Their priority was to try and defund the IRS under the deceptive reasoning that the money already approved in the budget is going to fund 87,000 stormtroopers to come after your house. That is a lie. The money is actually meant to hold their wealthy donor tax cheats accountable and get the rightful money owed to the American people while improving agency technology. Is a House of cards built on lies any way to start serious work? No, but it is not surprising.

When is a negative a positive? When it’s on a COVID test! As the days consistently grow longer and the snow consistently gets deeper, it is shaping up to be a good season in a place the relies on seasons. We awoke to another surprise six inches Tuesday, and more is in the forecast. It is a time to be grateful. Happy winter everyone.

—Mark Reaman

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