The morning is early, still dark. The sweet aroma of coffee wafts upwards as you fill your mug. Your skis, boots, and backpack with extra layers and food rest by the front door. As you step outside to clear the fresh snow off your car, you take a moment to revel in the sounds of the mountain town morning. Someone nearby scrapes ice from their windshield. Trucks come out of nowhere to grind their plows against the pavement, letting out periodic beep-beep-beeps to signal their backing up. From the local ski hill echoes the dull hum of groomers as they crawl up and down the slopes, like a herd of cows slowly grazing the hillside - so wonderfully calm and mechanical. All of this noise only registers in the back of your mind, for if you hadn’t taken the moment to notice it, you’d have thought it to be dead silent.
You drive a few blocks over to pick up your friend and ski partner for the day. As you discuss the day’s avalanche forecast, you join the string of red taillights weaving out of town. The conversation wanes, and you both sit back as if settling into your seats at a movie theater. The mountains display their brilliant edges against a painted sky, and the first hints of dawn project a faint golden-pink glow upon the high slopes of granite and fresh snow. You’d give anything to be up there dancing in the pines and twirling like the exposed trunks of the whitebarks.
From somewhere in the back of your daydream, you hear the music coming through the car stereo, and your friend turns the volume knob upward. Horns begin to fill your ears, and a tension is created from the notes introducing the song. Out of nowhere, the warm soulful voice of Otis Redding cries out into the morning, sending shivers up and down your spine.
Sunlight spills over the tallest peaks in the east, the ravens spread their wings to bathe in the enlivening warmth, and two friends roll down the highway towards another momentous day in the mountains.
Additional photo credits: Alex Bogner