Brand new Vans Encore boots: Outstanding. (OMG I NEVER HAVE TO TIE BOOT LACES AGAIN. YES. YES. YES. And also the backs are really stiff, the boot itself is super comfy, BUT THAT RATCHET CABLE SYSTEM THO) Brand new Smith Venue helmet and goggles: Excellent. Nitro Damage 165W board and Burton Mission bindings: Still kicking ass. WAY oversized generic snow pants and gloves from Amazon: terribad and horriballs, respectively.

Snow report at Whitetail: ICY AS HELL. But I did manage to make it down a black for the first time without falling, and that's from going the first time in six or seven years. I am OK With This™.

I should add: a large part of the reason this went as well as it did was that I have way more leg strength now than I did when I was in grad school. I never really worked out my legs then. The moral of this story is: SQUATS AND LUNGES, PEOPLE. DO THEM.