This is not that place,

but it will do for now.

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Snow-fan clouds and contrails; early morning and out the door.

In the dream, I am lost.

It is dark and the wind is blowing. It is hard to tell if the snow on the wind is falling from the sky or being pushed up into it from the ground. As the sun set beyond the canyon’s mouth, as the lights of the city in the distance picked up the inversion layer below, the wind had begun to blow. In the dark now, I can’t see anything but snow and, dimly, trees.

This is not that place.

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These are the men and women in cats with tillers and rakes, their night and workday just closing down.

I have to get down. I have to ski down in the dark. The lift tower and top shack are behind me; work is done for the day. This is not in the dream, this is how it was. It is also in the dream, but in the dream the mountain is weirdly shifting, growing, folding, multiplying chutes and crevasses. New ridges unfold as I ski down, badly, skis sinking in the powder, my movement clumsy, tiring. It is cold.  My skis feel heavy. I know where I need to go, but this way seems wrong.

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Sunclouds from the summit. Clear sky on a Tuesday.

In the dream, I am afraid of the trees. I’m clumsy in the deep snow; it will take me hours to get down if I get lost.  Too, there are cliffs there. That is also the way it was.  But in the dream they are there suddenly, or I am there suddenly, and there is no way down and no way up. The mountain has beaten me, and now I am lost. The winds blow snow through the blackness under the trees.

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The Races off Cape Cod, frozen. Irregular whalebacks, patternless moguls. In Glenn’s words, “sporting.”

The dream comes to me several times, over several years. The last time, things had changed. I flew off the cliffs — but not in fear, in elation. I landed deep in the powder. The dark had receded, edging my vision but not impeding my sight. I wasn’t afraid of the trees — I sought them. The descent ended in the flats, as it really did, and does, along the tow rope between two faces. I wasn’t lost, but I couldn’t find the lifts — skating back and forth, time running out, desperate to get back up rather than to get down.

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Adaptive twin-ski. Some can slide on their own, others with help from a tethered coach. All are welcome; so we learned how to help should the need arise.

This is not that place.

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In the center, Phil talks with the adaptive team. Special care to be taken if a lift evacuation occurs.

This place is small, hard.

The woods are posts and pillars mostly, not as shaggy overall, not shot through with aspens. No scars from avalanches down canyon walls, trees all bent and torn in their wakes. Powder is an event, but not an EVENT.  There are rocks here, not cliffs.

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A chair’s-eye-view of one of the new jet-lance snow guns. Orange anodized nozzle looks trick.

That place is magisterial. Larger in my dreams than it is, but only because they are dreams. That dream is waiting to be punctured now; now, the woods are magnets and my boards can float.

I won’t be flying off any cliffs. But…

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The valley, over- and undercast on a Wednesday, a nice tree-run below, waiting for more coverage.

This is not that place.

But it will do for now.

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