A Return to Skis

The lifts are about to close as I skin up the groomed slope of Buttermilk Mountain outside Aspen, Colorado, on a February afternoon. The last skiers and snowboarders whiz by on their way back to their cars after riding chairs all day. A father and his boys make one final lap through the mini terrain park as I pass by on my slow upward path. I feel heavy, laden with piecemeal equipment that is far from the latest, lightest, greatest stuff on the market. That’s OK. As a beginner ski mountaineer, lightness isn’t the most important thing anyway. The first step is to learn efficiency with the basic tools.