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Day 7, January 10

The day is off to a bad start when I still haven’t fallen asleep at 1 a.m. because my lungs have decided that it’s a great time to protest how hard I’ve been going. Or maybe it’s the dry air up here. I’m wheezing and coughing to the point I’m worried I’m keeping the entire household awake. Forget about the entire household; I’m keeping myself awake. Around 2, I take four pillows into the condo’s smaller, carpeted bathroom, make a bed by laddering them up on the floor, crank the baseboard heater up and hang a damp towel above it. My boyfriend tries to come in the bathroom and for some odd reason is weirded out by my little arrangement. We have a whisper fight about it, and finally he gives up and finds me a blanket.

My arrangement works pretty well, however, and I stop coughing and sleep on the bathroom floor in my bed of pillows until morning, when I whisper make up with my boyfriend so I can wish him happy birthday without it sounding sarcastic. I cook breakfast for everyone, fried pork medallions and eggs with spinach, and try to rally the out-of-towners by application of black tea and coffee. However, at 8:50, they’re still puttering around, so my boyfriend and I ditch them for first tracks, taking the short groomer to Schweitzer’s village. I have the best first run of my life in the four inches of new snow, and for the next three hours I ride faster and better than I ever have before, with various friends of various levels. Then I’m completely exhausted, which coincides well with the wind picking up and shutting down some of the lifts. I board back to the condo, gobble down some food and pass out — in an actual bed this time.

Everyone trickles back in over the next few hours. We try the hot tub, and at 5 we go down to Sandpoint for my boyfriend’s birthday dinner, small plates and cocktails at La Rosa in front of the fireplace. The out-of-towners love it and keep talking about how good the food is.

Day 8, January 11

I don’t think you can really count this as a snowboarding day, since my sum total of snowboarding consists of riding down to the village for a massage at Marc Vroman’s Solstice Spa. And let me say, there’s nothing quite like the perfect massage after three days of pulverizing nearly every muscle in your body in the cold and the wind. I am trying to take notes at what Kaitlan is doing, but it feels too good to really pay attention. She does tiny things along my shoulder blades that made my scalp tingle with pleasure, and rolls out every aching muscle between her fingers. I think of asking if she can tell by touch where I’m sore, but I am too relaxed to want to talk. Outside, the wind howls.

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I take the shuttle back to the condo feeling very relaxed, and make a flourless chocolate torte for the evening’s party. The lifts are all closed from the wind, but I don’t care at all. I’m totally satisfied with this little staycation and drink tea in the winter quiet. Over the next few hours, everyone heads to the spa two by two to get the kinks worked out, and they return to say the same thing: it’s wonderful, and now all they want is some relaxing and a nap. And some king crab, delivered fresh from Alaska.

The evening’s party is a bit slow getting started; it begins with some attempts at Yahtzee and an examination of a puzzle we might all do. We dig into the prime rib and chat until a vanload of people from town show up. Then things are magically transformed; suddenly we’re dancing on the coffee table, doing feats of strength and drinking champagne in the hot tub, which we chill (the champagne, that is) between rounds in a cauldron of snow.

Day 8, January 12

I’m slow getting started because I have once again spent the night cramped in my own private sauna to cure my coughing. Upon waking to an empty condo, I realize that we are not going to check out by 11 unless I immediately start packing everything and cleaning up the mess we made. My mood is not improved when my boyfriend returns at 11:05, and tells me he’s been tearing it up in the best powder of the entire year. The best powder of the year is a sheet of ice by the time I make it out, but I meet up with three of my girlfriends and we find a good spot buried in some trees. We ride until late afternoon, when the wind and the snow pick up. I eye the falling snow. Maybe, if my legs are not completely fried, I can make it up again tomorrow morning before work.

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