Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Letter From 20 years Into the Future

Dear reader from twenty years ago,

It is another gorgeous day today; the birds are chirping, there‘s not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is in the low forties. This is a pretty warm morning for day late January day. I don’t know if we can keep shrugging off global warming considering temperatures have consistently been on the rise.

My legs and lower back are sore today as I sit here drinking my coffee. I went skiing yesterday at Eaglecrest. The ski area has undergone extensive renovations and improvements. Including a new ski lift up the west bowl of the mountain and amenities added to the ski lodge. I plan on going back to the mountain today, however I think a half-day is in order. I thought to myself, “Why not take my time this morning and enjoy a hearty breakfast like steak and eggs or Belgian waffles with fresh fruit and whip cream?” I ended up with a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. Kellogg’s is the largest cereal manufacturing company after the Cereal Wars of 2019.

The funny thing is no matter how old I get I still scan the entire cereal box while I’m eating their delicious product. The present cereal boxes have really captivated my attention lately. They now have short video animations on the front of most major cereal boxes. So while I’m savoring this delightful bowl of sugar-frosted cereal, I can chant, “Theeeerrrrreee Grrreat!” along with the video image of Tony the Tiger.

Now since we’re on the subject of things being great, I should tell you about my day of skiing yesterday. I arrived at Eaglecrest around eight o’clock planning on earning a full day of skiing. The parking lot wasn’t very full because it was a Tuesday. Weekdays are the ideal days to go skiing. There are half as many people to track up my favorite parts of the mountain to ski and shorter lift lines. Eaglecrest’s remodel and upgrade in operating equipment has allowed skiers to get up the mountain twice as fast therefore descending the mountain twice as many times. Tickets can be bought from each parking stall, eliminating long lines at ticket windows. The need for chair lift attendants and cashiers has become obsolete. There is no longer any need to check every ski patron’s ticket or pass. Visitors now pass through a detector at the base of the chair lift that automatically verifies their ski passes for the correct day and authenticity. I needed to have my skis waxed and the bindings adjusted quickly before I could descend the slopes. The indicator lights on my skis were blinking, which told me they needed some routine maintenance. I put my ski boots on, pulled my skis out of the car and locked the door. I looked at my season’s pass to make sure the ticketing sensors surrounding the parking registered it.

As I was walking to the ski rental shop I noticed a woman wearing one of the new graphic ski jackets. Ski clothing designers have begun to create jackets and pants with animated graphic designs. I almost bought a jacket on the Internet the other day that had lighting bolts on the sleeves, except the lighting bolts would actually travel the length of my arm, just as if it was booming from the sky. This particular woman’s jacket had the image of roses blooming from the dirt soil, which lined the bottom of the jacket. The ski rental shop was empty, so I quickly ran to the nearest ski tuner. The machine looks like a submarine torpedo and placed my skis in the designated slots. The tuner is completely automated, you just enter in the type of wax you would like administered on your skis or what boot size the bindings need to be adjusted to and you’ll be ready to ski in five minutes. In addition to waxing, it sharpens the edges of the skis each time. Even though most ski edges are made from titanium composite now a days requiring less routine maintenance.

Skis have come a long way now when compared to skis twenty years ago. Strands of plastic and wood fibers are now woven together over a core of extremely light fiberglass. The innovations in plastic manufacturing have allowed for some exceptionally strong materials to emerge. The plastic strands of the skis provide the strength while the wood fibers allow the ski to flex and give the skier some feel of the snow while skiing. The result is a ski that is incredibly light and durable, allowing the skier to expend less energy while skiing gaining more control and mobility.

The buzzer sounded and my skis are finished. I opened the torpedo and smelled the fresh wax job. The forecast for yesterday was supposed to be fairly warm and dry so I chose the wax accordingly. My boot seemed to be sliding around a little in my bindings the past weeks, so I had the machine make the necessary adjustments as well. The tuning machine adjusted the tension on the skis bindings factoring in my weight and height which the machine measured while I was standing next to it. I was now ready to dedicate my full day to skiing.

I scurried to the lift line and noticed about ten people in front of me. The only noises I heard were the people’s conversations. The lift line operates with complete silence. The cost to refine fuels has become increasingly expensive and although electrical powered lifts are available, magnetic lifts are becoming more and more popular. Ski lifts driven by magnets are not only cost effective and easy to maintain, they are the fastest running ski lift on the market today. A skier riding the new magnetically driven ski lift can expect to reach the top of the mountain in two minutes and forty seconds. Compared to the old rickety diesel powered ski lifts that they got rid of twenty years ago, the magnetic lift provides exceptional performance.

As I was enjoying my swift ride up the west bowl, I noticed the snow production team was still working. The team consists of five people who are in charge of producing the snow for the following day since they work during the middle of the night. I hoped they were making extra snow for the upcoming weekend due to the higher flow of skiers. The production team has certainly become professionals at what they do. They can create the lightest powder snow that you can imagine. Annual snowfall has reduced dramatically over the past twenty years due to higher global temperatures, so without the snow production team skiing at Eaglecrest would not exist. The machines that produce the snow have been designed to create longer lasting snow. This creates a longer winter season, therefore creating a longer duration of operating for Eaglecrest. Eaglecrest has finally been able generate enough revenue so they now do not have to rely on subsidies from the city of Juneau.

Once the chair reached the top of the ridge on the west bowl, I took a moment to take in the scenery. While surveying, I was surprised to see a big red stain on the lower part of the mountain. It looked as if a large slaughtering of some animal took place, dying the ski run blood red. I was later informed that not only can the snow production team make the most incredible and enjoyable snow, but they also make a mixed berry flavored snow for the younger kids to ski on. Now falling isn’t as bad for the youngsters. They can have a refreshing snack while they muster the energy get back up. I actually made a trip over to the platter pole kiddy mountain to have a little sampling of the berry snow. It met all my expectations and I ate so much of it I had a freezing headache in no time.

After I took twenty runs or so I decided it was time to get a bite to eat. Before my last run that I was about to take before lunch, I placed an order for a burger and fries into the ordering terminal located at the top of the mountain. The order was hot and ready for me to eat at the cafeteria by the time I had skied down to the lodge.

After I had refueled with my nutritious lunch, I was able to put another eighteen runs in before calling it a day. I quickly headed to the ski lodge to spend a little time in a relaxation room and drink a beer. It was a hard decision to make on what virtual environment to put on the video walls while I enjoyed my delicious beverage. The relaxation rooms tend to have two to four couches along with a couple of reclining chairs, depending on how many people are in your group. Since I was by myself, my room had two couches and one reclining chair. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to hang out on the black sandy beaches of Costa Rica or in the red canyons of southern Utah, so I chose to lay on a sailboat in the Mediterranean Sea. The room temperature, humidity and smells were all altered in order to imitate the natural environment of the Mediterranean. The wind smelled like salt water, the seagulls were squawking and I passed out for a good thirty minutes or so. After I had awaked, I decided it was time to go home before I became even more groggy and un-alert. I grabbed my gear and headed to the car, which was 400 yards away. The engine running and heated up on the account I had hit a button my key chain while I was still in the relaxation room.

As I sit here in my kitchen drinking my coffee and conversing with Tony the Tiger, I begin to wonder if I’ve been skiing too much this season. My plants are not looking healthy, my sink is full of dishes and my laundry hamper is puking clothes back up and out. Not to mention I need to go grocery shopping, apply for a new job, send my mother a birthday card and clean the bathroom. All those activities aren’t near as fun as skiing, so I guess I’ll go skiing today.

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