more than two decades of ski writing, ski teaching, and ski publishing by Lito Tejada-Flores

Ski Writing

        Sci ed Amore

           late spring ski touiring in the San Juans












After all these years

what can I give you?

powder snow in winter?

corn snow in spring?



Gray dawn over the San Juan mountains

Gray clouds fill the sky

blow through narrow gray passes

Gray rock: gray walls, gray cliffs

crumbling ridges, sagging summits

Even the snow is gray

No day for skiing

but here we are: day two

of our home-made Haute Route

across southwestern Colorado

Packing up the tent, traversing

for miles to the likeliest looking col

trying to cross into the next drainage

ski down into Waterfall canyon

It doesn't look good:

too steep, too narrow, the snow

too variable, almost rotten

nasty cliffs & black rocks

down below the hard part

Pretending I'm not worried

I take photos

while Linde sideslips into the top of the funnel

Her first turn is too quick, too nervous

but she gets them around

I can't even focus the camera

She makes another, another

leap and land, skid and scramble

to something like an edgeset

She's OK

She's going to make it

She's going to make it

She must be smiling

but all I can see are red pack, red parka

against gray snow

skis hopping & swivelling underneath

Somehow she's doing it

She must be smiling

It's not as bad as it looked--

My turn now

& I discover it's worse

even harder than it looked

Snow surface frozen in ridges & lumps

Steeper too than it looked!

What's wrong with me?

How could I have encouraged her to ski down here?

Christsakes she could have killed herself!

No way to stop if you fell

No rope to rappel with, but still

we could have climbed down broken ledges

of rock beside this snow funnel. . . .


you didn't fall


you're all right


you made it!

I ski out of the funnel

almost dancing with happiness

on this steep shitty snow

ski down to Linde waiting

kiss her

(she thinks)

for no reason



How can love be written in rock, ice, snow?

Absurd, I know

Love on windy passes, windy peaks?

Love in deep powder, in sinuous

skiers' tracks?



I ski better with you, less well alone


Of course,

it's true snow's lighter, sky bluer

when we ski together



I ski a braver line, more dashing, bolder

in front of you & always

more gracefully, smoother, lighter on my feet, following

just behind you.


Love written in snowcrystals, spindrift?

Love on slopes & summits

Love in couloirs & cornices?

Absurd I know

But it's so



Each track tells a story--

This skier panicked, nervous, desperate

This one a racer born, mad, impatient, hates to turn

This curve so subtle, finely drawn

carressing mountain's curve

This skier floating, skimming

just barely, the surface of the snow

dancing on a curved steel edge

This skier happy, this one sad


& our tracks?

Everywhere we go, figure-eights

always this obsession to cross & weave,

two tracks braided into one

eights of love

eights of love


What can I give you

after all these years?

Powder snow in winter?

Corn snow in spring?