We finally made it to Mammoth Mountain for our first ski trip of the season. This time we decided to try hitting the road early and save ourselves one night of hotel cost. It was tough getting up at 4:30 a.m., but at least we got to see the magnificent views along 395 instead of trying to fight off sleep in the darkness. We passed through a low, yellowish haze as we reached the Mammoth Lakes area around 10 a.m. I wondered whether there was a wildfire. (Have I covered so many that I can spot the signs now?) I had to do a spot of e-mailing for work, but we were on our way up the Stump Alley Express chairlift by 11:20 a.m. On my first turn, I shifted my weight back and forth and felt the thrill of sliding down a mountain again. I definitely felt the burn. I need to get my ski legs back the way sailors need their sea legs.