It feels like hands are reaching up and grabbing onto my skis. The skis had been gliding freely over the snow covering the shore of Mendenhall Lake. Then, they broke through crust covering an overflow pool. The resulting water on the skis acted like glue on the surface snow. In a few strides, inch thick blocks of icy snow were clinging to the ski bottoms.
Aki had enough sense to avoid the overflow. She glided over the crust. Now I have to slam each ski forward to make any progress. Using it as an excuse to stop, I turn to study the glacier. Fresh snow muffles the ultramarine color of its ice. Clouds that are about to bring us more snow block any view of the Mendenhall Towers between which the glacier flows.
A 100 meters away, people in spandex athletic gear fly down a groomed trail on high-end skate skis. Others, more moderately equipped, push their classic skis up grooved tracks. In a few minutes, Aki and I will struggle over way over to the groomed trail. She will chew away the ice and snow balls that have frozen to her legs and paws while I scape the impeding ice from my classic skis. Then we will find our grooves.