When the weather turns cold enough to freeze the lakes around Juneau, classic skiers and skate skiers alike head for Mendenhall Lake. Blue icebergs from the Mendenhall Glacier that calved earlier in the year are frozen in the ice and the Nordic Club lays a beautiful track that loops around the huge lake. As long as you stay in the tracks, skiing is smooth and fast. Every person who uses the tracks packs it down a little more and it gets faster and faster. Your rhythm gets regular and strong and sometimes you feel as if you are flying on the tracks. Once you leave the tracks, however, the snow is uneven and you have to pay more attention and the glide isn't as long. On the other hand, when you wander away from the pack, it gets very quiet and you have the thrill of setting your own track. But when you step out of the track where others have gone before, you have to be vigilant about where you ski. Even though in most places the ice is very thick, every year someone miscalculates and breaks through into the icy water. It happened just the other night. He was lucky enough to get out and rescuers took him to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, no matter how old we are, we will always have choices presented to us. And lessons to learn. This is particularly true in Alaska where nature is always the teacher.