Skiing never made much sense to me. Every winter growing up in Milwaukee, a healthy chunk of classmates would be bussed up to a ski resort called Sunburst, leaving a few dozen of us pasty, fragile children behind. Not that I minded much; to me, a skier was placed in the same category as someone who would drive a car without a seatbelt on. A lunatic. I grew up in a conservative Jewish household-not conservative in the religious sense; we enjoyed a nice piece of shellfish every now and again. I mean conservative in the neurotic, overly cautious sense. I might not have been allowed to experience football, skiing, snowboarding, wrestling, hockey, or lacrosse. But I did turn out to be quite a fine yahtzee player.

It was the winter of 2003 that would change everything. I had been living in New York for two years and had made a habit of attempting new things. I started eating sushi. I went for rides on a friend

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