After another great powder day skiing in Utah’s Wasatch mountains, I was soaking in my backyard hot tub enjoying the orange-pink alpenglow hues on the surrounding hills. I had spent the day charging ahead of the maddening crowd with good friends, outflanking the competition, seeking untracked runs while searching and destroying pockets of pow. My soaking was a fitting respite from the dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest war that is the new age, powder day at our crowded, corporate ski resorts. I was complacent after enjoying some of my favorite old haunts and ski lines by thinking outside the box and trying new and different strategies for survival and optimization. Zig when they zag. Evolve or lose.
My brand new puppy Eva was out in the backyard with me, exploring the trenches I had stomped for her in the virgin snow. A soft, black cattle dog nearly 8 weeks old and only two days removed from her mother, siblings and heated barn bedding, she knows only snow and has never seen or smelled the ground. She is fascinated with our us, our house and with the heat that comes up magically from a vent in the floor.
As she snuggled the pure powder and pounced on imaginary leaves and mice, I saw her look up quizzically with a flake frosted face and follow a shape across the evening sky. I looked up as well and saw our local Barn Owl glide by, with his silent four-foot wing span fully extended and his head down, not twenty feet off the ground, considering and calculating. I jumped from the tub, in all my naked-isity, and scooped up young Eva from the fresh, white snow. I stashed her quickly back into the safe warm house. She needed more time to grow and learn, experience and analyze this Darwinian world. We will both live and learn and evolve to see another powder day.