Piloting the land ship at a comfortable 60 miles per hour up the Wilson, Wyoming side of Teton Pass, Peter belts out a few lines of the Ian Tyson country track playing in the tape deck, while his hired man Patrick Gilroy points out some of his winter's skiing exploits on folds of earth south of the road.
The message is coming from my feet, and it's painful. A month after sustaining Stage III frostbite on four toes they are now bionic thermometers telling me the temperature is dropping considerably as we near the 9,300' col between the Wildcat Glacier and the Wapta Icefield.
A mountain birch jabs at my throat. I dodge to the left but its white fingers grab my pack, snapping me backwards. I skin forward a few feet and maneuver my skis through the maze of spruce and hardwoods. But when I raise my head to meet the next obstacle, a snow-laden bough clotheslines me while simultaneously ripping back my hood and channeling its frozen load down my neck.
Newfoundland. It's an apt name. In 1497, John Cabot called it the new world. Vikings hit its great northern peninsula 500 years earlier. But what was once a western hinterland is now eastern North America’s last frontier for the 21st century ski bum.