From the first step, my skis swished ahead as if rubbing over velvet. The softness this morning differed from the stickiness of yesterday when the snow had just fallen. During the storm, snow adhered to the underside of the skies. I had to stop and stab the clumps with my poles every 10 steps or so. Later when walking, the snow squeaked as if my boots squeezed out moisture with each step.The snow was far better for making a snowman than for a man trying to ski across it.

Overnight, the temperature fell, and the moisture iced through the snow down to the grass where the ski-snaring slush settled the day before. Beneath trees, the snow crunched. Snow that had coated branches during the storm slid off and hardened overnight. With each lap around, the temperature warmed. Mallards and Canada geese alighted from the bright sky onto a pond. My friend, Pete, joined me for a few laps. As we pulled off the trail, the snow again began to stick.