Photograph by Scott Markewitz. All text and image excerpts are reprinted by special arrangement with HarperCollins; copyright © 1995, HarperCollins.
"Steepness isn't really about slope angles. It isn't determined by finite measurements--thirty or forty or fifty degrees. Steepness is all in the mind; it's all about playing a head game with fear. The fact is, few slopes are true killer steeps, characterized by the disconcerting probability that if you fall, you die. But, in the play of the game plenty of slopes can create that illusion. ... Now there is a critical moment in skiing any steep slope--the point of commitment. Summoning your mental and physical re-
sources, feeling that premonitory adrenal rush of something intriguingly ominous, you decide to go for it. The game begins."
--From essay "A Steep State of Mind" by Peter Oliver