There are many “best” things about free range skiing, but surely one of them is not being restricted to the operating hours of a chairlift. A ski area has no real choice but to close with enough daylight for patrol to sweep the mountain, but when you’re on your own you can experience displays of mountain light from a perspective that will take your breath away. I was skiing deep in B.C. Tantalus Range, near Mt. Waddington, when we stayed out well past sunset. Looking down from a rocky ridgeline, the snow we would ski back to base camp looked like someone had poured a purple-pink gel of the slope. Or there’s the Andean gold seen here — light that looks for all the world like you could bottle it and carry it with you.