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Fresh powder, azure skies. It was a perfect ski day. The pristine slopes of northern Utah had beckoned me.

As a youth I frequently caught the city bus to the beautiful resort Powder Mountain. This particular day would change my outlook on life.

Very early in the morning as the powder was being brushed from the chairs and the warmth of the sun was upon my face, I noticed an amazing freestyle skier who had mastered the moguls on the black diamond run Main Line beneath the lift. As the day progressed and the moguls became more carved it became very apparent to me that this skier had skills the like I had never seen. Nearly effortlessly, he cut his path. His knees bending extending taking the shock like the running of race horses.

Many laps later, we shared a two-chair lift to the top. I asked this avid skier how he became so talented. He looked at me and then back at the slopes as if contemplating the question– trees reflecting in his goggles. He remained silent for several minutes. I wondered if he would answer before we reached the top. Then came the outlook changer: “If you want to become a better skier, you have to surround yourself with people who ski better than you.”

The message, I recognized, would take me much higher than those powdery slopes.

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