Wintery playground

A slight burning tingle ripples across my red stained cheeks, partially from the cold wind whipping against my face, but more so from smiley so wildly. I can’t stop gleefully giggling like a child on Christmas morning as I fly through the fresh untouched snow, ripping into the delicate powder with the edges of my snowboard.
For most of the year, my free time is dedicated to training, but in the early season while snow still blankets the mountains, some days are reserved for play. Yesterday afternoon, the snow had been rapidly falling since mid morning and with each passing hour the powder was increasingly becoming deeper and deeper. The backside of the mountain was exceptionally quiet and I was more than happy to be alone to roam the hillside like I was the only person left on earth. Every now and I again I would stop just to listen to the eerie, yet calming sounds of nature around me before carving back into the powdery flakes.
Sitting back in the saddle I simply bent my knees and allowed them to act as shock absorbers as I braced for every bounce and bob, just like surfing tidal waves. I felt like a rag doll, yet somehow in control, as I allowed the ride to go on wherever the path seemed to go. On the verge of face planting on almost every turn, I kind of just bounced back around for the next line and kept going, trying desperately not to bail. Falling in this much snow is like digging yourself out of quick sand; you kind of just keep sinking in.  
It’s hard to explain to those who have not experienced it, just how electrifying and energizing the mountain can be. The snow-drenched trees loom as if in a winter slumber, the sparkle of a trillion snowflakes glimmer in the daylight, and the muffled sounds of nature echo against the backdrop creating a breathtaking sprawl of a winter. You really have to get out there to feel it. Whether it’s snowshoeing in the backcountry between the quiet of the trees as you roam for hours in lost solitude, or ripping fresh lines on your board, or tracks on your skis, it’s all just the same kind of play reserved for the mountain.
On the last run of the day, after milking every turn for what it was worth and carving as many fresh lines as I could, I crumbled next to a tree and looked out over the valley. My legs were exhausted, my skin was a mix of hot and cold, and my breath slowly calmed in steamy puffs beneath my nose. The light of day was slowing slipping away and the quietness of the afternoon seemed even more silent. I could have sat there for hours until the moon was the only light in the night sky, but the evening chill reminded me that my day had ended and it was time to return home. Another day with more snow and more adventure would await on the other side of the evening and once again I would play like a giddy, care-free child in my wintery playground.


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