Quebec, Canada Tuesday, 9th March, 2.06 p.m.
FELIX Daroux led down the testing run. The younger of the two men, Felix skied through the epinette of sugar maple, birch and spruce. Windfalls, stumps and heavy timber reached out and grabbed at him. Inviting gullies, waterfalls and drainages were by-passed as he threw himself off a rock. Three turns and he was gone.
The other skier followed, letting his skis ride high up the far side of the gully before cranking them back down, spraying snow as he came off the lip. Then another on the near side. He worked hard to slow his speed, just in time to see an old windfall directly in his path. Planting his pole he jump-turned and edged to an abrupt stop. Looking down he saw Felix pushing his tall body up from the snow, laughing.
“Hey Dad, that’s the best high-bum drag I’ve done in years!” Gasping for breath and readjusting his goggles, Felix looked up. “I told you this run would blow your socks off!”
“Yeah!” John Daroux drew out his reply. “For you this zero run is more like the death flight of a Kamikaze pilot!” The skepticism of age toward youth was lost on Felix. Carefully circumventing the windfall, he joined his son.
“It still looks good, Mon ami.” Felix grinned as he pulled his gloves back on.
“Pity there’s so much cloud around,” John Daroux commented, looking up as it began to snow heavily, his large frame matching his son’s. “I must say I prefer Mont. St. Anne on fine days.”
“Come on! Where’s that young, fit father I used to know?” Without pausing, he added, “Hey this is the best run on the mountain and there’s no one else here. Fantastic!” With that he pushed off.
Still catching his breath, John Daroux shook his head at his eighteen-year-old son’s impetuosity. ‘If we keep going at this rate I could have trouble surviving to the end of the Spring Break.’ Pausing a little longer, he smiled. It had been hard to drag Felix away from the slopes of Lake Louise. But he had won this time. Jeanne, his ex-wife, had taken both children with her when she had remarried and moved to Calgary in Alberta over three years ago. Having Felix with him now, as well as for the summer break, was a big concession on her part.
“What the hell,” his lips whispered to himself, “enjoy it while you can.” Propping himself up, he pushed off. His skis floated in the powder as he focussed his attention on following his son’s tracks.