Don't go out the dark we're told. Bad things happen in the dark.
But I find, more and more, that heading into the mountains in the dark with the right group of friends is an energizing and wonderful experience. Elaine and I have been doing more and more night skiing this year…first out of necessity from a lot of work…but then for the sheer experience. Lately, we've doubled our crew, and the laughter and energy and beauty are fantastic.
This evening, a meal of momos and chai was followed by a night ski up on Bald Mountain. Truthfully, conditions were horrid, what with two days of warmth. But, on the otherhand, it worked. No matter how bad skiing is, it always puts a smile on my face. I remember growing up in Vermont, skiing with garbage bags on in the rain and then skiing the next day on what resembled glacial blue ice as the arctic front poured in.
Conditions on this manic Monday were typical Bald. Thirty mile per hour steady winds and firm sastrugi. Yet you were not sure where the firmess ended and the breakable crust began. As such, lots of quick, defensive turns. It was teeth chattering, but it worked. And near the bottom of the pitch, there were actually 4-5 good turns on soft wind blown snow.
Back in 1999 I used to venture out with a group of friends on night mountain bike rides. Those were special days. Fifteen years later, it feels like that again, only this time we're sliding on snow and the forests have been replaced by the high ghost like mountains. So much energy, so much passion, so much beauty in the dark.
This is a good time.