The year was 1987 and I was a freshman at a relatively small private liberal university(approx. 1200) in California.
I was finally out of the house and beyond my mother's overbearing, psychotic bi-polar, manic/depressive control.
It was one of the happiest times in my life where I felt the most free.
I returned early from winter break in order to go skiing in Bear Valley with two friends. They picked me up at school in their 1970 VW Camper and we headed out on Highway 4 listening to Cat Stevens, Yes, Fleetwood Mac and the Grateful Dead. It was total bliss laying in the back of the camper as I watched the clouds drift by while listening to some of my favorite music.
We were staying in one of our parents ski cabin a few miles outside of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, redwood trees everywhere.
For the next 5 days we skied. Glorious sunny days skiing in fresh powder that had fallen from the night before, beautiful.
Since we were there during the week and there was a recession tapering down in California, the ski resort was virtually empty.
On some runs I was the only person on the lift, which is something I've never experienced then and since. My friends were much more experienced skiers than I and were skiing black diamond runs for most of the trip.
I remember so vividly riding up the mountain. It was so quiet. Imagine for a moment, there is no traffic, no people, no voices... no one in sight. Snow covered trees, no clouds in the sky, deep pine smells that fill your nose. Heaven.
It was literally the most peaceful moment I've ever experienced and I remember thinking there will never be a more beautiful moment than this moment now, right here...as I glided up the mountain all alone.