It feels like snowboarding this morning. It’s in the light that just precedes the sunrise, barely a few breaths before the sun lifts just a few millimetres, lighting doorways and windows, shining golden light onto freezing cobwebs and filling the house with slanting yellow rays and long black shadows. It’s in the mist that rises from my breath, the cold that pricks at my cheeks and finds exposed skin beneath the folds of my thick dressing gown.
It feels as though we are packing the car, laughing and joking with sleepy excitement, the lift and scrape of boards, one on top of the other. I can almost hear the rustle of boarding pants, the high, soft scraping of thigh against thigh as the synthetic material yields. My mind constructs the itch of a beanie against my forehead, tucking long strands of hair close by my face, lips almost touching a soft scarf wound round my neck. An imaginary checklist runs through my mind; gloves, helmet, sounds, jacket, lift pass. The affectionately named ‘coffee shaft’ would be filled with something warm and comforting, maybe homemade pumpkin soup for a cheap midday meal, or tea to sip as the car winds beneath us on the icy roads, finding the well-worn path to the mountain.
I can hear the throaty lift and dip of magpies calling, the drone of a fert plane a few paddocks over. A thin layer of frost adorns the roof of my car and the sky is a cold, clear blue, just miles and miles of empty space. Within an hour or so the ice would be just a thin crust, easily broken with a snowboard or sliced with skis. Within a few hours the sun would begin to get too hot, the same relentless blue sky heating with the midday rays. Clothing would begin to be discarded. A hoodie would perhaps be left in a pile of snow near a chairlift, beanies pulled off and stuffed into oversized jacket pockets. Sweat would trickle down our backs and the snow would start to melt, flinging up at us and leaving tracks of icy cold fire down smiling cheeks.
My pulse begins to quicken at the thought, a grin spreading across my features. I check the time, wondering if we can make it for first tracks. Then I remember that it’s only March, and the snow is yet to come. The mountains at the moment are bare; cold, brown rock faces, still waiting for the white stuff to fall. All I can do now is wait for the weather to cool. Wait, and begin the countdown to buy my season pass.