Words by Meghan Robins

The six-month local speeds down the backroads, two feet of whitewash cascading off her roof. "These are my roads now," she declares.

The two-year local ushers his dog out of the way, packs his skis inside an old sedan. He curses the reckless drivers in his neighborhood. "Goddamn tourists," he cries.

The four-year local already summited Jake's Peak twice. He rips off his skins, takes in the view, and watches all those skinning up behind him. "They should stick to the resort," he exclaims.

The 10-year local sometimes works on powder days, and always gets his kids to school on time. He shakes his head and says, "I remember when…"

The 30-year local sips her coffee. The backyard stash is her secret. No one knows if she still skis. But she means it when she says, "Can't beat living in the mountains."

The born-and-raised local knows this place is sacred. He once heard about a world bigger than powder days and mountain bike rides. He raises his glass and declares for the umpteenth time, "I'm leaving!"

The giant pine lets out a windblown sigh. Snowy peaks shake like dogs. The tree has watched the locals replace cattlemen replace loggers replace the Washoe and Paiute. She wishes she could tell them, "This is not what matters."

Meghan Robins lives in Bend, Oregon, where she is writing a historical fiction novel set in an 1860s Lake Tahoe logging camp.

This story originally appeared in the October 2018 (47.2) issue of POWDER. To have great stories like this delivered right to your door, in print, subscribe here.