My favorite day each year, is the day I see the first snowflakes of the season. At first there are just a few, then a few more, then enough to dust the ground. I go outside, the air just smells different. I look up and to try to trace a flake as it falls to earth.
It is at that moment I realize ski season is coming. In my garage, I take out my gear and do a once over. I see that scratch on my Volkls from late last season, when I was a little too ambitious in the glades. I put on my boots. And then remember how great it feels to take them off at the end of a long day on the slopes, while standing in the parking lot, on one foot, trying not to put my bare foot on the icy ground.
Each year I try to sneak up to the mountain at least once on a weekday. There is truly nothing like starting the day after a huge storm, before the groomers, and the crowds, swishing down and through sparkling, pillowy snow. Undisturbed snow. The kind of snow that buffers any falls, that makes each move a little more forgiving, that quiets the mountains. And for a moment, skiing down the mountain, after the storm, you can feel truly at peace, and the only thing on your mind, is the slope beneath you.