Winter sports, for me, are an indoor matter: an unhealthy obsession with the N.B.A. and a lifelong mystification by, and indifference to, the slippery world of the N.H.L. Evidently, there are those who think more broadly and actually participate—outdoors, even. Maybe, after such a long quarantine, those enthusiasts—the skiers, the climbers, and the rest—have a point.

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This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces on skiing, snowboarding, and other perilous winter pastimes. In “The Wild Carnival at the Heart of Skiing’s Most Dangerous Race,” Nick Paumgarten visits a small town in the Austrian Alps known for its extraordinarily formidable slopes. In “Learning to Ski in a Country of Beginners,” Peter Hessler travels across China to see how its athletes are getting ready to compete in next year’s Winter Olympics, in Beijing. In “Dude, Where’s the Snow?,” Sheila Yasmin Marikar reports on the snowboarder Jeremy Jones and his campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change. In “Kílian Jornet, Sky Runner,” Stephen Kurczy follows the champion ski mountaineer as he attempts to conquer heights that ought to defy conquering. Finally, in “The Adventure of a Skier,” Italo Calvino works his magic as he describes a group of young boys who set out on a winter adventure in northern Italy. “Air and snow were now the same color, opaque white, but by peering intently into that whiteness, so that it almost became less dense, the boys could make out the sky-blue shadow, suspended in the midst of it, flying this way and that as if on a violin string.” Enjoy. And wear a hat.

David Remnick

The Wild Carnival at the Heart of Skiing’s Most Dangerous Race

The punishing Hahnenkamm downhill brings street-party revelry to a medieval town in the Tyrolean Alps.

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Snowy mountains, a ski trail, and a white rabbit

The Adventure of a Skier

“One by one they fell, backward or forward, and he alone was cutting through the air, bent double over his skis, until he saw her.”

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An illustration of a skier in China

Learning to Ski in a Country of Beginners

As China prepares to host the Winter Olympics, its people get on skis.

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Dude, Where’s the Snow?

Pro-snowboarder-turned-activist Jeremy Jones uses Instagram to raise awareness about climate change.

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Kílian Jornet on Aconcagua.

Kílian Jornet, Sky Runner

Jornet is widely considered the world’s fastest mountain runner and one of the most exciting endurance athletes today.

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