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Saturday, August 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Midstokke: All dressed up with nowhere to go

Ammi Midstokke

I assume that the rest of you also did no less than 80 billion lunges in preparation for the anticipated epic ski season. I spent those awkward autumn bridge months strategizing my work schedule and kid care. I planned which diseases I would fake to justify office closure (eventually swapping out Ebola for measles).

This was to be the Year of the Turn.

By that I mean, after a previous year of flailing about on the bunny hill, this year I was ready to make those smooth transitions. This year, I was going to sink that knee in a graceful pose, careening down the slopes in an effortless dance. I would master the telemark turn. Then, at long last, I’d earn the right for some elitist Tele-skier bumper sticker.

Also in anticipation of snowfall, I auctioned off my left kidney for a season’s pass to Schweitzer. It didn’t quite cover the cost (college consumption of Zima somehow lowered its blue book value).

When the first flurries fell from the sky, I too ogled the snow reports. Winter was upon us.

Or so all of us suckers thought.

Now I find myself standing in the doorway of my garage, looking at the equivalent of 25 percent of Mountain Gear’s 2014 revenue, wondering what equipment is appropriate for this season. For that matter, I am unsure of what season this is. Are white shoes in or out?

In desperation, or optimism, I waxed my skis only to find myself practicing turns on my living room shag while the rain outside was reminisce of an Indian monsoon. I opted for some cross-training and went out for a jog, only to find the road had turned into a sheet of ice that even my cleats couldn’t bite into.

There are a few deniers of global warming who are still hitting the slopes in their rain parkas as they mow the weeds down. Every once in a while I look longingly at my teles, or my fat bike, or snow shoes, or skate skis, and wonder if they miss me as much as I miss them. When I’m not there, I’m pretty sure they talk about selling themselves on Craigslist Anchorage.

To survive this season of limbo, this winter that never was, I’ve taken to some hopeful attempts at maintaining some shred of fitness. When the snow falls or melts, I’ll be ready. I even went indoors to play squash and, in a moment of weakness, I glanced longingly at the treadmill.

As the rain gushes outside, or the sun occasionally graces us with its presence and tease of spring, I wonder if it isn’t all just some cruel joke of the gods. Will a cold snap dump snow on our slopes? Should I be doing more lunges?

Or should I be starting my seeds and preparing for a dry mountain bike season?

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my solution to all things in-between is to implement the Buy-A-New-Bike solution. There is not only a bike for every season, but a bike for every in-between season.

Also, we must adapt to mud. Mud seems to be a key component of in-between seasons, regardless of your outdoor sport of choice.

While this “winter” has turned out to disappoint those of us excited about snow, it has given us some unusual options for February. Many of the trails are clear for biking and hiking. Bloomsday training can be done conveniently in shorts. You can wear your wellies to look for deer sheds.

In the mean time, don’t let the unseasonable season deter you from getting outside. It will make up its mind eventually. Until then, I’m going to keep practicing my turns in the living room with hopes that Punxsutawney Phil is a credible source of weather forecasting.

Sandpoint resident Ammi Midstokke is a nutritional therapist. When she isn’t busy saving people with vegetables, she can be found misadventuring in the great outdoors. Or grazing in the bulk food section. Contact her at:
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