I would like to think that I have an organized and regimented routine when it comes to getting ready and out the door for a day on the mountain. I am always thrown for a slight loop early season or when I go to a mountain other than my local ski hill.
In preparation for a recent trip to Lookout Pass, I set my alarm for an ungodly hour - somewhere around 5am, packed my bag the night before and set my skis, boots and poles in front of the door in hopes of not forgetting anything.
It was a snowy morning, one of the first big snow storms of the year, so I knew traffic would be moving slower than normal. I accounted for that in my drive time. I was backing out of my driveway at the scheduled time of 6:15am in hopes for a 8:00am arrival to Lookout. The drive was slow going but I was only minutes past my estimated arrival time into a quickly filling up parking lot. I quickly booted up and was off to load the chairlift.
It was opening day for the region so there were a lot of stoked locals. We exchanged smiles, gushed about opening day of ski season and the return to what we all consider 'normal'. We all found ourselves talking about how easy it was to get back into our winter routines; gloves, goggles, ski pants and base layers were all in the places we had stored them in the spring.
I skied a couple of runs with one group and then some more with another. I pulled out my cell phone to check the time, 11:05am. I was shocked at how two hours had passed. I was socializing and must have lost track of the time. My legs were surprisingly still fresh and I was bummed that my first day on the hill was ending as I had to get home to previously scheduled engagements. I waived goodbye to winter friends and headed back to my car. Quickly, I exchanged ski boots for my Sorels, helmet for a warm hat and loaded my equipment into the trunk. I jumped into the driver seat, started the car and reached for the radio to get my tunes ready for the drive home.
At this point you might be wondering why I entitled this 'Rookie Mistake' since up to this point my day had gone without a hitch in my giddy up. Well, the rookie mistake came when I noticed the time. It was actually 10:05am when I looked at my cell phone but the time automatically adjusted to Mountain Time as I was on the Idaho/Montana border. My lesson learned was when skiing between time zones, trust the clocks at the lift shacks and hopefully I will never make that rookie mistake again.