An early morning skin up my old haunt gets the blood flowing, the muscles moving, the soul awakening. It's windy today, adding an element of nature to the foray. Mellow at first, then around the bend and the slope steepens. Click up one on the heel lifts and get after it. Quick left-right motion bringing me up the ancient road bed, higher and higher, till I reach the old mine. Near the top, a snow white camouflaged bird, watching me and my dog. Next time, maybe I'll bring a bird feeder and give it breakfast on a regular basis. It's scoured to rock here, and a glance over the shoulder reveals the divide to the west, raging, white, invisible. Up still, past the turn off to one of my favorite local descents, and then a fork in the road. I choose the route less traveled, the "path" to the very top of the mountain. Steeper still, click the lifts into the highest position. A final push around dead pines and baby aspens, over the ridge to the summit. James Peak looks anihalated in white, below the ant-like cars head up the hill for a day of sliding – and I do mean sliding because the wind will have scoured the resort. You feel above it all up here, and you are. Rip skins, latch boots, and then it's down. Tricky manuevering at first, around trees and wind crusted snow, and then onto a narrow jeep road, past the scoured section. And then, a nuking desent, Altai Mountain skiers style, with Stella in a dead sprint to keep up. A few rocks near the bottom to launch, a sharp right turn, and then the glide back to civilization. Health of mind, health of body summed up on one simple one hour mountain ski.

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