By Jennie Acklin

I have to admit this – I haven’t had a buzz in a few years. A skier’s buzz, that is. (Not the one caught at the local taverns!) Those of you who ski, know what I mean. That indescribable excitement early in the season, or before the season even gets started. You can’t wait to get out on the hill to test yourself and your equipment. You. Just. Can’t. Wait.

I started skiing when I was in the fourth grade. My Dad volunteered to be the first-ever school coordinator at Youngsville High School, and we were so very fortunate to have Peek &’N Mountain just a few blocks from our house. My brother and I would walk to the slopes if we couldn’t get a ride. Our whole family got in on the program, and we grew up on the slopes, skiing together, taking ski vacations together – everything was all about skiing! Santa usually brought us something for the new season – hats, gloves, skis, jackets, ski sweaters – something new. And we could hardly wait to get out there and get the new season started!

So over this past summer, while sharing some of those “back in the day” skiing stories with my brother, he and I decided that we should get back out on the slopes this year. Yes, my feet hurt, I wasn’t sure my bum knee would hold up, and we both knew we needed to replace some aging equipment. But what’s better than the thought of skiing a few runs down Yodeler with your brother? We both admitted that it had been a few years since we had made any turns, and skiing this year would require getting our “skier legs” back in shape, but we were up for the challenge.

Once I was sure we were really going to get some snow this year, I threw my skis and boots in the truck and headed downtown for an appointment with Tim at City Garage. Custom boot fitting is his specialty, and what I really needed. I wasn’t sure anyone could help my uncomfortable boot problem, but I wanted to find out.

I was surprised that he told me my old boots were too big, and then I tried on some new, properly sized boots. What a great feeling – I had forgotten, or never knew, that boots could actually feel good! Sold – I was ready to get back out there again. They adjusted the boots and bindings, gave my skis a fresh coating of wax, and I was ready to go.

I was catching the buzz – I had that excitement back in the pit of my stomach. Saturday morning couldn’t come soon enough.

Our first outing wasn’t too cold, wasn’t a blizzard – was just right. We got to it at Holiday Valley on Mardi Gras, and took a few runs to ease into the old familiar feeling. It came right back, as if we had skied just last year. Yes, I was cautious, but it was a rush. This was something we both knew how to do well.

The snow was fantastic – it was great to be out skiing in WNY in mid-December! We headed down Morning Star, and the snow was so nice we skied it three times before deciding to head over to Yodeler. We knew we wanted to hit that before our legs even thought about getting tired. I didn’t count our runs, and don’t even remember every trail we tried. But we skied until we had had enough for our first day.

“Wow! That was great!” was said at the bottom of every run.

“So glad we did this!” was said on every chair ride up.

Our experience last Saturday was one we will repeat all season, and hopefully many more after that. Whatever your reason for not skiing – get back out there. Find someone to ski with – the buddy system is great for helping keep up the enthusiasm.

If you haven’t caught a buzz in a while, I highly recommend it.