OK, OK, so maybe I'm a little wimpy this season.

Whack your shoulder into pulp, undergo hours of surgery followed by months of rehab and maybe you'd be a tad wimpy, too.

No excuses, though. New Englanders don't whine, or at least shouldn't.

We take our lumps, get back up, and keep going.

So after all this surgery and rehab, the Earth spun through fall into winter, and it was time to strap on the boards and hit the slopes.

Green looked good, but nobody would go along with that idea.

"You want to ski what?" friends asked in disbelief.

It was hard enough to lure them onto blue terrain of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Mount Snow, Stratton Mountain Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort.

They would relent, however reluctantly, and come along for the day.

Finally during one recent trip to Mount Snow one said, "Enough of this crying and complaining, we're going to ski the North Face."

"Eesh," I thought. "Eesh."

Mount Snow's North Face has the steepest trails on that Southern Vermont area. They face north, and on this day showed the effects of a rain storm that had hit a week before, followed by a very  hard freeze. In other words, the base was really firm.

But up we went, then down, over that really firm trail cover which had pretty much been scraped clean of anything loose.

The trail was Chute, or Challenger -- something starting with "ch" anyway.

Muscles tensed up at first - never good - then relaxed into the rhythm of linked turns down the fall line, edges biting, body rising and falling, poles planting.

"Hey," I said, "this is OK. We're not doing it again, though."

And we didn't, that day.

Maybe tomorrow.

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