So there it is, the first bus. My mom dragged me out of bed at 4:00 AM just like every other Birkie to make sure we got there on time. I guess it's kind of a veteran move because fifteen minutes later the parking lot becomes a crazy place filled with nasty things like lines and anxiety. However, if you show up at the parking area before the first bus has even pulled up to be loaded, you get to experience the closest approximation of a moment of tranquility that you can ever get on Birkie day.
Amazingly enough, about five minutes after I got onto the bus, just about everybody I know from the skiing world was soon to follow. In this picture you see Lindsley taking his seat. Seated about him are people like Tommy, Bob, Kevin, Greg...the whole team! Between all of us there were easily more than 100 Birkies represented, so I guess catching that early bus is the only way to go.
Navigating this icy road was probably the worst part of the day. I saw more than one competitor take a nasty tumble while trying to walk along this frozen monstrosity from Telemark out to the starting area. Oddly, the Birkie was dominating my points to the point that whenever I saw somebody fall, my first thought was, "Oh...I hope they didn't screw up their wax job" as their skis went clattering to the dirt. Bodies heal, but ski bases on Birkie day are sacred things.
I don't even know what was in that big tent...perhaps it was a world of magnificence beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I didn't have the slightest interest in even taking a peak...after all, I had the Birkie to ski.