ALMOST AT THE CRACK OF DAWN, over a breakfast of perfectly scrambled eggs and piping-hot delicious coffee, the four friends debated the merits of starting slow versus “throwing themselves at the bear,” as Pete put it. J.J. voted to spend a few hours on the blue runs to shake out the cobwebs. Ethan agreed. Tripper offered no opinion, so it was counted as two against one. Pete was eventually talked into the warm-up runs, and the group set off.

On the gondola ride up the mountain, Ethan caught a glimpse of Milo taking one of the first runs of the day, one of the perks of working at a ski lodge. He looked like a seasoned pro, well-tucked, ...

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