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Skiers are divided into dreamers and wonderers. If they are young, they dream that someday they will ski like Stein Eriksen or Anderl Molterer, shown right as they swoop down the east face of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colo., throwing plumes of powder, making each move with such assurance that they seem not to be standing on skis at all, but rather to be suspended from a wire. If the skier is a bit older, he will content himself with wondering how it feels to ski that way. At age 33, Photographer John G. Zimmerman, who skis with great verve but modest skill, fits somewhere in between. To satisfy both impulses, he rounded up Stein, Anderl, Toni Spiss and some other crack pros, and went with them to some of the best mountains in the West. Each time one of the skiers headed down a slope, he would have a camera strapped to his leg or chest or back, tripping the shutter with a remote-control button as he hurtled along. The result is a dramatic portfolio of photographs that show dreamers and wonderers alike how it feels to ski a steep, deep mountain as well as it can be skied

At left, Anderl Molterer's skis cut through the packed snow as Stein Eriksen and Toni Spiss lead him off a jump at Alta, Utah. Below, two Alta instructors play their own high-speed game of follow-the-leader through a fall of hip-deep powder

The vast snowfields of the Continental Divide beneath their ski tips, Molterer and Olympic silver medalist Hans Peter Lanig (right) plunge off the edge of a trail along the northern rim of Arapahoe Basin, 12,000 feet up in the Colorado Rockies

Leaning into a turn, Toni Spiss (above) swings along behind Eriksen as they speed through the moguls on Aspen's lower slopes. At right, Molterer springs from a cornice and seems to float for an instant in the brilliant haze of the winter sun