December 14, 2008
For me the experience usually begins at the summit, the top of the mountain or hill, which I will ski down. I may have just finished a strenuous hike or a quick chairlift ride. Whichever it was, I have been given a gift of height. Now I am standing looking down the mountain and exposed to the elements. I feel the cold air cutting through my windbreaker just enough to remind me of its existence. I hear voices and the distant crack of a tree branch under the weight of the snow. I see a vast white expanse stretched out below me, a canvas awaiting the flurry of the paintbrushes attached to my feet.
At this point, infinite possibilities are open to me and I have the great power of choice. I have a blank slate and gravity will supply me with paint. Every turn I make, whether it be through the powder pillows among trees or into a steep, narrow gully, closes off a wealth of options presented to me to continue in my harmonious embrace with gravity. Sometimes other forces—trees, rocks, or fellow skiers—influence my decision. In this way I continue down the mountain.
When I reach the bottom and look back to examine my work, I note how each turn wouldn’t have been possible without the decisive outcome of the previous one. And I realize that I am the only person in history to ever navigate this mountain as I just did.

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