My father and I used to be able to spot good skiing. There were no lifts to the top. We put skins on our skis and only quit going uphill when we’d had enough or knew Mom expected us due home. We don’t want Mom to worry, he’d say. There was always more mountains to explore. More fresh snow.
He showed me the slopes to stay off of, and what to tackle. He would laugh when, feeling tough, I’d take my shirt off and fall in the spring corn snow, stripping my skin. It was worse than falling off a bike on pavement.
I knew that was part of reaching the top of the mountain. It was his way of saying we wouldn’t have much, but we’d always have the bush, the snow, the mountains and the rivers.
He favoured the stem christie in the deep stuff. I preferred the telemark.
Once down we would compare tracks. They always looked perfect to me.