Counting the Days.

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 10/27/15 •  3 min read

Last year I skied 88 days. I know, because I kept track using my favorite app (more on that later). It was a banner year for me, beating out my previous record of 85 days in ’13/’14.

I’ve counted my skis days for probably 20 years. A lot of people I know do. It’s something we share on the lift: oh, I’m at 50 days; I’m at 25; I don’t think I’ll make 30 this year. It’s actually kind of cool to see the days pile up, and beating last year’s number is a fun goal for me — albeit one that gets increasingly difficult as the numbers get higher. Limiting my skiing to weekdays and non-holiday periods, along with the shorter season we have here in the east, does pose a bit of a challenge. Nonetheless, counting days has a dark side, too. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that it’s become a personal point of pride. Yeah, I’ll boast to a stranger on the lift, it’s my [insert number here] day of the season, knowing the poor guy only gets out a few times a year. Truly, I’m a terrible human being.

I’ve been thinking about counting days a lot lately, as the new season begins. On the one hand, I’m fairly goal oriented. For example, this past summer I set my sights on biking a thousand miles (I actually came in at 1,413), and it got me out on days that I might otherwise have blown off. Which is a good thing, because sometimes the best days come when you least expect them. But on the other hand, is quantity more important than quality? I mean, some days are so good they could honestly count as two. And yes, there are some days you almost wish you’d stayed in the lodge and drunk hot chocolate (I know: a bad ski day beats a good day at the office. But really, that’s not always true).  At what point does it become like punching a clock (can you imagine) instead of going out just for the love of it?

I know some people who track not only their days, but their number of runs and vertical feet, too. There are plenty of apps for that now: Ski Tracks or EpicMix, for example. No, I haven’t gone down that road — I kind of think it’s a little obsessive. And while the one I use — SlopeSquad, the favorite app I referred to at the top of this post — does track vertical feet, I use it simply to keep track of my days.  (For a more in-depth look at SlopeSquad, go here for my interview with the developer).

So will I continue to keep count? Probably. I still think it’s fun. But maybe I won’t be as obnoxious about it as I’ve been in the past. Maybe when someone says to me (in March), “This is the first time I’ve been out all year,” I’ll just smile and say, “You picked a great day for it, too.”