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…and then it was winter. We knew it when the gnarly ski patroller across the street finally put his windshield wipers up.

My own car is making those brittle squeals and groans that only real cold can bring. The  steering is sluggish and the rear windshield wiper got claimed by ice early on- it very well might not be usable till spring.

I realized I may have set a false tone for my relationship with this car in taking it to California first; the only hazards for a vehicle out there are moldy seats and I-5 traffic. Poor saaber probably had no idea it had been drafted for four-wheeled-drifting and hub-high snowbanks as well. Oh well. It’s cold and I like it, no matter what my car thinks.

It’s the kind of cold that makes you sneeze when you open the door, makes your eyes water while you walk to school, and takes the status of the scarf from cute-fashion-accessory to necessary-survival-tool. The other awesome thing about coldness? Inversions.

An inversion means it’s frigid in town yet somehow pleasant up high. It’s basically the universe rewarding you for choosing to go ski- which isn’t entirely suprising to me anymore.

See, ever since the tender age of twelve, when I broke my arm promptly after lying to a race official, I’ve noticed how the universe seems to pay special attention to the karmic balance of skiing. You see a lot of things coming full circle in this sport; there is a rhythm and balance, and it goes deeper than just not looking at the whale.

Part of that rhythm is facing demons. Which is why on Saturday when the temperature dropped and the wind picked up, I looked into the chute that had claimed my shoulder two years ago and shivered. It wasn’t just the wind. I knew I could wimp out and perpetuate the negativity, or pull up my skirt and start the positive swing of the pendulum. I finally just dropped in, finding only consistent, creamy, unseasonably deep pow and finishing my demon run with a dopey grin and my long-lost appetite for more.

Sunday dawned clear, freezing in town, and freakishly warm up high. It was a textbook inversion, and as if to further confirm things, I met my surgeon, Dr. Kelleher, in the parking lot. I swung my arm around like a monkey to demonstrate my shoulder’s new mobility, pointed out my demon run for him, then set off Northward with my pals for the most beautiful tour so far this season. It was cold, clear, and bluebird, with sparkles and general good vibes for all.

And the snow was so delicious that we couldn’t stop skiing. I was so exhausted at the top of each lap that I swore it would be my last, but I was so stoked by the bottom that every time I started back up for more. By the end of the day my legs were begging for mercy and one my skins had given up the battle completely, content to just dangle uselessly from my ski and send me periodically and unexpectedly to my knees. It was almost dark.

We finished up the night with delicious beverages, a curry stir fry, and pie. Yes, pie. Of course.

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