At the top of the ski lift we disembarked, our helmeted heads topped with frost, our goggles glossy with ice, our gators covering our noses and lips. My hands, wrapped in thick black waterproof mittens, my fingers palming hand warmers that helped keep in the warmth. I stepped onto my board, glided to a stop, and attached my right foot to its harness, having mastered this trick without having to sit on the snow-laden ground.
I ran with two skiers, and this day belonged to me and my board, that could carve through the as of yet untracked snow easier than my friends with not one, but two sticks attached to their feet. My brother looked at me and nodded, and my friend Monique pointed—we would go straight down headwall, one of my son’s favorite runs, dipping through the trees and cutting through the untarnished snow.
The snow was thick, not too heavy, and half-way down, in unspoken agreement, we stopped at jumping rock, where once upon a time, my son Niko wowed us with his snowboard tricks, catching the sky in ecstasy and then, landing the jump and carving with a grace that astounded us all down the mountain.
I had to take off one of my gloves, reached into my pocket for a handful of his ashes, and flung them off the rock. They caught the air as surely as Niko once had, flying as light as snow, the gray sand carried, carving down the mountain with a grace that defied gravity.
I put my glove back on, and we turned, maneuvered around the rock, slow and steady, dipping back down to the ski lift, which lifted us once again up to the sky.
I sit in my warm livingroom now, looking at the windows at the snow, the cat cuddled beside me purring. I can no longer snowboard--my knees can no longer take the abuse. But still, I remember those days of yore, snowboarding with my children, my son Niko always in the front, gracefully flying down a mountain of white. I miss you Niko.