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As I type, the wind is blowing outside at 444 mph and the temperature is -93 degrees Fahrenheit. And yes, I am sitting in a cramped airplane seat trying to make the time fly as fast as the airplane is – without out much luck, I will add.

I am diverting course from my normal water world and headed to sample a different form of H2O – a form that is quite rare, at least in my part of Georgia. And of course that would be Utah Snow, which I believe the Utah folks call the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” I am not in a position to argue or defend this claim, but only know that so far this year Alta in Utah has received 339 inches of snow – and that is a heck of a lot of snow. [Trivia note: 1” of rain equals ~12” snow.]

And now back to my story. I will once again attach my feet to two carefully crafted fiberglass rockets and let gravity and the snow do the rest.  My skill in skiing is based on Dirty Harry’s famous motto: “A Man’s Got To Know His Limitations” – and I know mine. So you will probably not find me cascading down the mountain like you see on TV. Staying upright is my favorite routine when it comes to skiing.

Prickly Boots, coming soon to a ski shop near you?The highlight of last year’s ski trip was not the beautiful scenery but a close encounter with a local mountain inhabitant of the four legged kind. While cruising along I came across a porcupine out for a jog. Sensing a great photo op, I pulled out my trusty smartphone and starting saving the memory. While in this process, the creature started to take a liking to my black ski boots. Maybe it was love at first sight, but I wondered whether I should really find out for sure. Common sense prevailed and I decided it was time to leave the creature to his own world. And for a brief moment, I would venture to say that I was the only person in the world skiing with a porcupine. We parted company on a friendly note and both got back to our business. I am just hoping that the lonely porcupine can deal with rejection better than I can!

I plan my annual ski trip around the first of March for a reason: I use my ski week to get ready for Spring. After a week in the snow and cold, I am really ready for the warmer days of Spring and the many warm water days to come.

I will say that my porcupine encounter has got me thinking on developing a new line in ski boot wear: Prickly Boots. Well, maybe not!

Until next time.


Jim Lanier is President of Aquascape Environmental. He’s succumbed to the lure of creeks, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands and oceans all of his life. You can read all of his musings here.