The marriage of sun and cold

12 01 2013

The light was shining on the peaks of White Queen but as we rounded the corner, we see Ymir Bowl still in the shadows of a low rising winter sun. The snow was lit up from within, beaming white and golden, proudly showing off those back country ski swoops down chutes and bowls. From a distance, these tracks are effortless, lazy and undulating in their pattern, belying the efforts of the skiers who hiked up the mountains  to carve them. Offset by a winter sky, a pure blue surrounds the mountains, a blue that evokes distant memories of me as a child laying on my back looking up into the endless sky never caring how cold it was.

Oh, it was cold today. -17. That kind of cold that cuts into your lungs, frosts up your eyelashes and numbs your toes instantly. Yet we found ourselves seeking the sunshine in spite of the cold. Wiggling our toes and fingers on the lifts to bask in the winter beams. Solar therapy.

The crystals rise up and swirl and hover, sparkling in the light. Between each snow-cloaked tree, untouched powder begs to be skied upon, as our breath fogs away from us, asking the crystal snowflakes to dance. The cold sucks all moisture away, creating a dry snow that puffs away from our skis. We float on the powder, we ski on clouds.

Our toes cry for mercy, thumbs go numb. Cheeks and noses are rosy. Hot chocolate and tea are mandatory supplies these cold ski days.

Still, we see smiles, hear laughter. Off in the glades, unseen, we hear hoots and hollers of utter joy. The cold doesn’t stop any of us, here on the hill.

The sunshine makes its way down along the slopes, buttering up the snow, gently warming it in slight tones. The packed powder runs are softened up. There is no sound as we ski. Only our breath in our ears.

It is heaven on Earth, it is the never-ending quest of pure joy. It is burning thighs and happy hearts and cold, cold snow.