Remember when skiing was all you thought about? When you’d lay in bed at night and visualize how you would cork your body to bring that spin around just a little more. When you’d call the ski report starting in October and well into June just to hear Don say, “Good Morning skiers and snowboarders!” in a voice that was both incredibly dorky and totally awesome. When you constantly refreshed the forecast on your web browser because maybe it was going to be good, and even if it wasn’t, maybe it was going to be fun. Remember 20, 50, 300 days a year on the hill? Yeah.

I quit skiing almost a decade ago. I moved to a town that wasn’t even close to the mountains. I put the boards in the garage, and the gear in a bag at the top of the closet. I watched dust build up on my boots and bindings. First just a light coating then a few centimeters, artifacts of neglect. The batteries in my transceiver grew old and died. I didn’t replace them. Life took over. Relationships started and ended. Degrees were sought and earned. Jobs taken and left. I had winters where I spent more time in the gym than outside. Winters where I never broke a trail, rode a lift, threw a slasher across a perfectly formed wind lip. Winters where I surfed more than shivered. I think I believed growing up meant leaving behind the things I’d loved when I was young.

A few nights ago, I watched an indoor soccer match with a couple of guys who were originally from inland Mexico. They laughed at my poor Spanish as we cheered for the players out sweating on the field, and then they were kind enough to switch to English when they had anything complicated to say. One of the men apologized for his accent, saying that after living in the states for 25 years it embarrassed him that it was still so thick. I told him my spanish must sound awful to him because of my gringa origins, but that maybe our accented language is no big deal. Maybe we can be proud of it because it’s who we are and signifies from where we come.

I came from skiing, and while I left for a while, I’m remembering that it is part of me. A big part. Even now as the west sits starved for snow, I’m calling the ski report and refreshing the forecast. I’m going up and riding ice because today there’s nothing else I’d rather do. Then when the grocery store clerk notices my ski pants and asks how it was on the hill, I tell her simply, “Shiny.” Shiny and bright.

The video above, presented by Sweetgrass Productions and Patagonia, showcases some of the best in the business out doing what they love in Alaska’s backcountry. Welcome to the new dreams.