My internal compass, the one calibrated by a lifetime of ski experiences across the American West and in other great ranges of the world, is scrambled by British Columbia’s profusion of big mountains and snow. Which way is north? This is which mountain range? And that peak right over there, equally massive and majestic, belongs to a wholly different range? I’m awed—but on a cellular level I don’t understand where I am.
The entire vista is summits and basins, forests and sky. No roads in the distance, no powerlines, only the wisp of smoke curling from the chimney of our log lodge. And snow itself is the only sound—snow falling, snow parting beneath our skis, snow swirling upward on a gust then dusting back down onto itself with a sigh—punctuated every so often by a hoot from one of the other six skiers or the whispering wings of a passing bird. Is this some sort of ski Narnia? Have I gone through the looking glass?