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Hurts so good

One of my college roommates and a buddy of his road-tripped out last week from frigid Minneapolis with ambitions of cramming in as many turns as possible in four days.After that first day struggling in the powder at Ajax, however, I sincerely questioned whether they would make it through the weekend.On Thursday night, I deliberately drove the two down to Glenwood Springs for preservation purposes. A soak in the Hot Springs, followed by some cold beers at the brewpub across the street helped take the sting out of their tired legs. But after another long day at Snowmass, I assumed the white flag would be making an appearance shortly thereafter.Especially after a late-afternoon hike to the top of Long Shot, which left my roommate’s friend, Jason, sprawled in the snow gasping for air. Later Friday night, after some ribs and beers at the Hickory House, both were popping ibuprofen tablets like they were Altoids. They’d jokingly began referring to the pills as “vitamins.”Saturday morning, I purposefully didn’t set my alarm clock, assuming the debilitated duo wouldn’t be up for the challenge of Highlands. Turns out, I greatly underestimated the resolve of my Northern friends. I walked out of my bedroom just before 9 a.m. to use the bathroom and found both in the midst of putting their ski gear on, voluntarily looking for more punishment.At Highlands, we were greeted by a sublime bluebird sky overhead and springlike temperatures. I had to laugh when John Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good” began pouring out of speakers nearby while waiting in line for our first chair of the day.Maybe it was the beautiful weather. Maybe it was the “vitamins.” Maybe it was both – and a collective willingness to fully seize a perfect day. Whatever it was, my friends skied like Highlands regulars that day -not gapers from the Midwest. They surprised me yet again after lunch when they said when they wanted to drop into Deep Temerity.That run down Garmisch was one none of us will soon forget.As for the pain in my friends’ legs, both understood – better than me – that it was merely temporary.Hurts so good, indeed.


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