Stepping out from the cabin everything changed. The warmth of the cabin became a focused heat from its one source, the Sun, so strong it lifted the moisture right off any exposed skin. The air was so cold and crisp it froze the nose and throat just to breathe it.
Before unslinging his skis John stretched out in that elemental blast to the senses, luxuriating in those extremes. He knew that the sun would melt the surface of last night’s snow and the coming evening would freeze it again, building layer upon layer of fresh snow under each shelf of ice. It would make for the perfect avalanche once those levels collapsed under their own weight. The snow would fall over itself to break free from the ice, grinding the crystals into powder, gaining enough speed from its mass and gravity to do that to everything else in its path.
He had left the avalanche beacon back in his suburban home, along with the failings of his business and the bitterness of his wife. When he found that perfect cascade of snow he’d be in its path, the perfect Christmas gift for her and everyone else.