Dragging his feet, a 10 year-old child criss-crosses a park in the French mountain town of Meribel. Kicking through the fresh foot from the night before, a smile stretches from ear to ear, his white teeth matching the snow below. His family talks, smokes, purposefully ignoring their son.
“Papa, Papa!” he yells, looking down in wonder at what he’s made– First Tracks. “La neige est fantastique! Fantastique!” His father smiles, takes a puff, keeps walking.
60km north as the crow flies, a skier dressed in a black parka and glacier blue snow pants trudges from the Grand Montets bus stop to the Lognan Cable Car, setting a boot pack through the same fresh snow. His freshly trodden path delivers immediate satisfaction. His steps are neat and delicate. Soon enough, countless vacationing Brits will follow these paired imprints towards the ski area to buy their lift tickets, eat over-priced hamburgers, and ski.
Upon boarding the tram, the operator scans his ski pass with a beep and onto the platform he goes, heel-toe, heel-toe in ski boots he swears by. Wiping the moisture from the inside of the glass with his sleeve, he stares through the sheetlike snowfall as the tram jolts and starts. 20 minutes and a two chairlifts later, the skier stands above a meadow sculpted perfectly by wind and snow– undisturbed.
Takes a breath, buckles his boots one extra notch, and pushes off. The snow parts as the skis begin to move, shins press forward. With each subtle movement, snow flies onwards and upwards. One large frozen fragment of water grazes a cheek. Suddenly, he smiles bigger– ear to ear.
“La neige est fantastique! Fantastique!”
The Art Of Skiing: The Worker’s Wiggle