The alarm went off at 3:55am but it wasn’t hard to get out of bed. Looking out the back door I noted that the patio furniture was freshly buried. More than a foot of snow had fallen overnight and that was down here in town. High in the Wasatch several feet had drifted in, filling gullies and ironing talus fields wrinkle-free.
It was dark when Ian and I started breaking trail uphill and just light enough to see without a headlamp when we peeled our skins at the top of the first run. The stump and rock-covered ground was still only a few feet below and I made tentative turns.
After yo-yoing over ridges we zagged up into the clouds, our zigging trail hidden in the fog below. On top of the peak we waited for the clouds to break. Eventually they did, turning the sparkling snow searingly white.
I dropped in, still cautiously, and heard that fingernails-on-blackboard sounds as my ski edge scraped over rock. As the gully narrowed the snow got deeper and I was gliding down though powder as it billowed around my legs and chest.
For the first day of the season it was remarkably deep and I think set a personal record for tiredness of hip-flexors. A vertical mile of trail breaking will do that, I guess. It must be ski season because my pedal-bite scabs had all disappeared (presumably into my socks) when I peeled off my steaming boots.