It has been an exquisite winter. Rarely does this season match the anticipation that comes in autumn, but this year it has. I remember – I think it was October or November – biking up to Caribou on my daily morning jaunts with Stella, rounding the bend, and seeing the Indian Peaks basked in a light fresh coating of white. The first snow of the year. I get so excited at those first snowfalls, but then winter – while always grand – fails to match the anticipation.
This year is different. It's been an outstanding ski season. It has matched expectations. I've had a number of days that have been some of the best turns of my life. A few early season jaunts at Loveland. A couple mid-season sessions at the 'bou. And then, my hill – well not really my hill – but since nobody skis it I call it that…a few days where snow conditions allowed me to ski it exactly how I envision in my dreams.
We've had harsh winds and we've had bitter cold. It may sound crazy, but I liked that -30° morning. I liked the reality of it. It was too cold to ski – it was a morning to stoke the fire, to ensure pipes didn't burst – it was a morning to enjoy the novelty, however cold it may be.
Obviously a large part of this winter has been Elaine. We are winter people and skiing with her has been a great thing. When we are out there, I feel like we're connected to something bigger – nature, the mountains – it's hard to explain. It's nice to enjoy these bigger things with the love of your life.
February 21. The dead of winter, but we're on the way out now. You can feel it at the place I work. The climbers are starting to come in. Spring fever is starting to hit. I don't want it yet though. I was to ski. I want to feel the stark cold of a bare aspen grove. I want to follow the tracks of coyote up a slope, winding to a peak. I want to ski behind Elaine and hear that ecstatic yelp of a perfect turn, of absolute freedom (for you can only know that feeling if you have lost it – perhaps that is part of the reason this year is so good).
It's not over yet. Tomorrow, another ski day. Me and Stella and Elaine will take a run in the morning. Elaine is attending a wooden ski building class. I'll talk skiing to customers, get them stoked, fuel the passion. February 21. Ski season ends here late – I say July 4 for quality skiing. That's four and a half months. Looking back, that's the beginning of October. There is lots to do, and we're just hitting our stride.