"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

An old saying that might in fact apply to something more than your love life. The ski world might also be a love that we need a distance from, to crave more when it does return. Are we avid riders and followers of snow just because we love our sport, or are our desires heightened by our inability to participate in our sport whenever we want?

There's a whole new level of stress that is extremely visible during the months of August and September. By this point, you've burned every image from last year's movies into your head, and you're getting anxious at the idea of a new gear girl being able to grace your wall along with the others. Newschoolers alone shows this stress as the forums are flooded with "f-you's" and hating on every picture that contains unfrozen water or mass amounts of sunlight.

The feeling of time passing too slowly seems to consume us all. The month of September is the last straw for those of us who've been sweating it out all summer, sessioning our PVC, unable to travel to areas of white tables and powdery lines. October provides us with new movies whose quality is at an all time high, and temperatures that are (hopefully) at an all time low. We have been doing the best to get by, but the first chance you have to actually hear the crunch of ice crystals beneath your feet is something that you can't replace- can't imitate.

Seeing as how we rush through three-fourths of our months just to bask in the glory of one, I pose to you this question:

Could we as skiers, have the passion, the drive, to get up by 7 to get to the mountain by first chair, if we weren't cut off from our first love for a better part of the year? Is time off essential to building a successful relationship with the snow- an appreciation of it while it's not around, and proper use of it while it is? The daily commitment of schooling, working, and all the other things that take up our time, are things we grow to hate because they require our attention daily. Skiing, though a way of life, is something that I believe we cherish because of the white-less months we have to go through to see it again.

How many things can you look forward to every year, to be there for you, and to promise the same fulfilling high that it has always given you? Drugs can't even get back to their original peak. Some salivate at the idea of November and their mother's mashed potatoes, some crave lying in bed with their loved one since their departure, while some religiously anticipate March- to horrify and astonish those around them with their moustaches. These things are things we love, yes- because they only occur once in awhile, but there's something that makes our separation from snow and skiing more intense.

Mystical in its own right, snow is something that consumes our attention for years and years, but only satisfies our urges when it feels like it. Snow is your middle school girlfriend. In every definition, the prudeness is endearing, the innocence, captivating- yet at the same time, you hang on the moments where she comes out of nowhere to surprise you, to let you revel in the ecstasy of excitement that is a rarity- a small window of time that you must bask in while it's there. Maybe life's a bitch in that way- that life isn't one huge Burger King, that you can't always have it your way.

I'll be the first to say that I love the winter. I rather be cold than hot any day of the week. The idea of kicking through leaf piles, knowing that they soon will be banks of whiteness, is the kind of moment I live for. I don't count my life in breaths, and I don't count it in moments that take my breath away, rather, by winters. My life is made up of flakes; all different yet compiling together to form instances where I can slip off the chair lift, looking at all below me and know I live for this.

Maybe I'm offending those of you who would trade the world to be in a climate that allows you to see white year-round. As I understand the happiness that this could bring a person, I also know that nothing compares to blinking your eyes, pressing a warm fingertip against your frosted window, and revealing a city of powder. For those of you who can't go a day without it, than by all means pack up your bags and do what you want to do, live where you want to live, be where you want to be. As for me, you can find my eyes overflowing like the riverbanks when the snow leaves in the spring, working various jobs to pay for ski trips in the summer, and becoming hostile with anticipation in the fall. Perhaps I'm putting myself through a lot to enjoy the snow that much more, but isn't the juice worth the squeeze?