Aki, you little brat! The little poodle-mix had just trotted up to the campground ski trail, threw me a quick look, and took off. As I wait for her return, I fume. This was not in the plan. My plan would have me skiing along the lake edge to take advantage of the conditions. If we had stuck to my plan, my skis would be swishing through the three centimeters of powder covering well-packed snow. I could enjoy seeing sun on the glacier before the clouds returned.
After steaming for a few minutes, I take off after Aki. Another skier tells me that she is a half a klick up the trail, playing with an Australian Shepard. That’s where I find her. That’s where I place her on a leash. Holding it in one hand and both of my poles in the other, I ski the packed trail to a place where it almost touches the river.
After stepping out of my skis, I take Aki off lead. She shakes, stretches, and yawns. If she learned any lessons from her time on lead, she is not going to admit it. We head up the river to the lake. Clouds now block the sun and hide the Mendenhall Towers. The flat light makes it hard to see details in the snow. But the conditions allow me to ski in any direction. We are the first to track the lake snow since yesterday’s storm. When Aki peers through a mask of snow that has collected on her face, I can help but smile.