It is 6am. We navigate the canyon for the 45km skate ski course up the canyon. NOAA’s website registers zero degrees for a high temperature, with a wind-chill of minus thirty degrees.
My friend had just emailed me, “… skiing Wednesday? I’ve got to fucking figure it out. I hate so much being a lame Front Range gym rat. I used to snowboard in flicks for gosh darn’s sake!”
The goddess of Warren Miller films braves zero degrees for skate skiing in the Rockies.
At 9,200 feet there is time to respect and appreciate the true beauty of nature and the perilous nature of man.
The pine beetle survives the winter and preys on the forest. Man confuses weather with climate. The temperatures of winter fail to impede the changes to the terrain. The trails are marred by trees dying from the warm temperatures. 9,200 feet is real.
The Warren Miller film star and I stop to watch the snow rest on a branch. We fill our lungs with exhausted mountain air from the pines before we begin our ascent up 17th Avenue and then on towards Twin Twisted Tree. We marvel at the snow clouds covering the divide on the horizon.