Ask me my favorite place on earth, and the odds are good that I'll say Stevens Pass.
If the snow is deep and the chairlifts are running, you can bet the ranch on it.
Since my daughters have been old enough to carry their own gear, we have spent our Fridays on the slopes, as well as any other days that we could sneak away from our routine.
I've been known to skip school, cancel meetings and back out of any commitment that tries to grab hold of my Stevens Pass time.
What's so great about Stevens Pass?
Well, let me explain.
I love being outdoors in the crisp winter air.
I love having fun with family and friends,
I love the chill, positive energy of all the other snowboarders and skiers.
I love our picnic lunches of bread and cheese, oranges and chocolate.
I love the reckless danger of skiing.
But mostly, I love the way a day in the mountains fuels my creativity. I always come home fired up and ready to make and do, to tackle life with gusto. You might think that driving 150 miles of dangerous highway in mountainous terrain; packing, unpacking and repacking a car full of equipment and gear; communicating constantly to keep everyone moving in the same direction, and pushing myself to the limits of my physical endurance and ability to stay warm might be a bit tiring. But quite the opposite is true; I find Stevens Pass to be a powerful source of renewal and creative inspiration for me.
Consider the endless beauty of the mountains and the trees. From the top of each run to the lift lines below, lift your gaze and take in the panorama. Breathe in the extravagant scents, sounds and sights of the alpine forest. Be amazed.
Zoom in a bit closer..enjoy the sight of other folks filling the scene like a picture postcard. Feed off the energy of everyone talking, laughing, having a blast. Notice the way the snow covers the trees; like a kaleidoscope, the boughs tell the story of the ever-changing temperatures, snow conditions and wind strength. Enjoy the power of the low winter sun as it highlights the scruffy line of trees along a ridge.
Appreciate all this beauty with your companions. Talk about it, marvel over it together. Be blessed by your time with them in this amazing place.
I'll admit it - there is a part of me that wants to stay at Stevens Pass all winter long. Many times, I have fantasized about getting a job there, or just living out of my car in the parking lot for weeks on end.
But I don't have what it takes to be a full-time ski bum. Because spending time here builds up in me an exhilaration that needs an outlet. The mountains inspire me and stir up in me the need to create. So back down to my life I must go, to make, to do, to build, to create...at least until next Friday.