'I really don't want to be here,' is the cry as the reality sets in of being 3,800 metres above sea level with nothing but snow and rock between me and relative safety.

Looking back at it there may have been a touch of bravado about the suggestion to the wife that led us to taking on Arapahoe Basin's North Pole run.

A 25 minute near vertical hike had brought me here and now I was staring down a snow covered rock face.

At no point in my life have I ever felt so small and insignificant, and that is taking into account the number of other similarly chastening experiences you might expect a 34-year-old to have had.

I'd rate myself as an experienced skier and would be the first to say side-slipping down a double diamond black run is an undignified approach.

It is even more so when there are two onlookers watching you address a previously untapped fear of heights and concerns over your own safety.

So how did I get here?

Having watched England lose the Grand Slam in a bar in Denver, it was time to put the $150 induced hangover behind me and get down to some serious skiing - the reason we're here.

The A-Basin - as it is known - had been previously negotiated while feeling a little worse for wear after said Six Nations defeat.

Vail had proved too windy to really get stuck in to its acres of off-piste trails, while Breckenridge during Spring Break was much too crowded to enjoy fresh powder.

The season in the US is seemingly endless now the first sun-drenched forays into skiing Colorado-style has been replaced by a succession of heavy snowfalls.

Keystone provided our first taste of climbing to 'above and beyond' to ski into freshly laid and - more importantly - empty powder runs from the top of it's Wapiti Peak.

Eight inches of snow during a day at Beaver Creek had further increased our thirst for that feeling of skiing-on-clouds you only get when there has been a fresh dump.

So another night of snow had led us to the A-Basin and the North Pole, and thus my position perched precariously on a cliff face, trying to throw myself downhill.

In truth, the onlookers - and my wife (who had taken the bull by the horns and gone first) - helped me through the first turn.

After that it was relatively plain sailing, but nothing prepares you for that first feeling of paralysis as you look at the world.....top down.

The exhilaration of reaching the bottom the first time will never be repeated, but I have vowed to face my nemisis again before this trip is out.

If only to prove to myself that I can ski it better.

Everything after felt like a breeze, to such an extent the missus took on a surprisingly steep drop without a second thought - a decision she instantly regretted.

The Bud at the bottom come closing time on a great day on the slopes, never tasted sweeter.

To be continued......

* Colorado ski areas of Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Vail, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin are covered by the Epic Pass.

Adult Epic Passes for 2011/12 season can be bought now, for $649. Visit www.snow.com for details.