It’s one of those perfect days. The forecast is calling for pow, so you go to bed early, and get up at the crack of dawn to score first chair. You beat the herd and ascend into the heavens, with not a soul in front of you, to stand on top of the mountain with a bountiful whiteboard of snow beneath. You buckle your boots, click into your bindings, adjust your goggles, and briefly pause to take in a deep breath of the crisp and cool air. You leave your daily worries behind, and descend. Three turns in, the untouched, crystallized water gently billows up to your boots, then waist, and then wraps itself around you like a mother’s loving arms. You let out a loud yelp of joy, as a comforting wave of euphoria washes over you, sending tingles throughout your body. Before long, it’s over—and far too soon. And while you’re already eager for the next, you pause again, this time to give your legs a rest, and gaze back up at the run. To look at your tracks.

The mountain's temporary tattoo. Photo by Bruno Long

It’s a moment that all skiers relish and can relate to. But what makes it all the more special is those tracks you left behind. Whether you linked long turns or short, it’s an impression that, as a skier, you’re able to leave in nature—without causing harm to it. It’s exclusive to skiing, as with the exception of our snowboarding siblings, no other sport allows you to make such an individualistic mark. And you can do it again and again, all season long, thanks to Mother Nature playing Etch A Sketch, producing fresh blank canvases for tracks. But perhaps best of all, the zigs and zags that creatively swoop across the previously pristine slope are your own personal signature. And while many may appear alike, it’s distinctively yours.

So as we all look forward to getting back to being in the mountains next winter, on one of those perfect days that you’re sure to have, take the time to pause a little longer at the bottom of the run to look back, and admire the unique autograph that only skiing allows you to create. —JEFF SCHMUCK, EDITOR

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