Kyle Banerjee skiing off a cornice

I was a latecomer to skiing -- I didn't go out for my first time until I was 41. One of my friends who thought I might enjoy it had been bugging me, and he was so intent that I try it that he brought me some skis, boots, and poles and then said he'd drive me to the snow.

I loved it and luckily for me, practically all my buddies who like to ski are instructors. That means I have constant access to expert advice on technique, gear, and other things you need to know about.

More importantly, they love playing in the snow and were interested in getting me to a point where I could join them for the fun stuff. They opened my eyes to a whole world I'd been missing.

There are many styles of skiing, but I love just going out in the backcountry. Cycling may be my favorite activity, but my favorite place to be is climbing a slope miles from anyone else. When you're out there, the snow deadens the sound and the rhythm of movement combines with your connection with nature to give you a real sense of inner peace.

Snow camping

I enjoy many activities in the snow and particularly enjoy snow camping. When it's well below freezing, you can sleep in the outdoors without being eaten alive by bugs and you can safely keep food in your tent. The only drawback is that answering nature's call in the middle of the night isn't as fun if you have to go in deep snow, high winds, and temps hovering around 10 degrees (all of which are common in the mountains during winter). Camp conversations have included animated discussions on whether the tent vestibule does or does not constitute an appropriate latrine...

Climbing above Illumination Saddle

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how easy it is to get away from it all. The picture on the left is a buddy climbing near the 10,000 foot level of Mount Hood which is only about a hour and a half from Portland, Oregon -- an area where over 1 million people live.