If ever there was a quintessential backcountry skier’s poem, Lou certainly made it with this one. Happy Christmas to all and to all endless powder turns. -— The Editors
Twas the night before Christmas, all through the WildSnow chalet
Not a creature was stirring, not even a jay;
The boot liners hung by the stovepipe with care,
In hopes that St. Briggs soon would be there;
The skiers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Plumbindings danced in their heads;
And mamma in her puffy, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the hill there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sled, towed by Dynafitted deer
With a yodeling driver, so lively yet chill,
I knew in a moment it must be old Bill.
More rapid than proskiers his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Hold on, Dav! now, Dawson! now, McLean and your vixen!
On, Saucer Boy! on Lindsey! on, Stammberger and Blitzen!
To the top of the deck! to the top of the wall!
Now ski away! ski away! ski away all!”
As surface hoar that before the wind fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the hut-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of gear, and St. Brigger too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and stamping of each Pebax hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Briggs came with a bound.
He was dressed all in wool, from his head to his knee,
And his clothes were all stained, from Teton tea;
A bundle of gear he had flung on his back,
And he looked like Beglinger just opening his pack.
His knees how they creaked, but eyes twinkled merry!
With quads like logs, his fitness so cherry!
His resting pulse, yes incredibly low,
And the beard of his chin was crusted with snow;
The tube of an Avalung he held in his teeth,
The spindrift circled his head like a wreath;
He had a lean face and a taut flat belly;
He had skied the Grand, and NOT on telly.
Fit and fast, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A bleep of his Pieps and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk,
And laying his skins atop of his skis,
And giving a nod, uphill he wheezed;
He sprang to his sled, to his team gave a PBR,
And away they all flew to shred on the gnar.
I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
True to WildSnow tradition Doug and I ventured to a pass near WildSnow HQ on Christmas Eve. Daylight was fading fast and so we chose the skinny skis for optimal uphill speed. We did not thank ourselves for that while descending the slopes of breakable crust and an ice luge two track. But it was Christmas, so we cheersed to the mountains and thanked ol’ St. Briggs for gifting us safe passage with knees still intact.