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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

All winter, we've been asking for a different kind of letter. Your Winter Song stories. And we've gotten tons about winter sports, so today, we're going to strap on our boots, snap on our skis and warm up with two of our listeners' musical memories of winter. And, first, one world class athlete.

DARON RAHLVES: I'm Daron Rahlves, professional skier. My song is "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, from "The Black Album."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ENTER SANDMAN")

BLOCK: What is it about this song, Daron?

RAHLVES: I think it's, you know, the intro to it, the powerful song, the beat. It just - it gets me just feeling different inside. It's actually the one song that I play coming into Kitzbuhel, Austria. It's basically our Super Bowl of all races on the World Cup on the downhill tour. When I drive in, about five minutes away, I put this on the audio system in the car and get those juices flowing.

The intensity and it's just building up, building up and then boom.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ENTER SANDMAN")

METALLICA: (Singing) Say your prayers, little one. Don't forget, my son, to include everyone.

RAHLVES: I can sing it, but not very good, so I'm not going to try it here on the radio, but...

BLOCK: Oh, come on.

RAHLVES: But it's more that feeling and just, like, the beat and the guitars, everything.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ENTER SANDMAN")

METALLICA: (Singing) Exit light, enter night.

BLOCK: Because the lyrics are - they're creepy, right? Isn't this song about the beast under your bed?

RAHLVES: Yeah. It's all - that's kind of how it was there at Kitzbuhel, also. I mean, the night before, I go to bed just amped, but also scared, but I think that's, like, what raises the focus level. So it does kind of actually link a little more up to the lyrics of "Enter Sandman" a little bit.

BLOCK: The fear factor?

RAHLVES: The fear factor, yeah. Going to bed and you're feeling a little unsettled. You're not going to bed feeling comfortable.

BLOCK: I'm imagining, Daron, that when you're playing this in the car heading up to the mountain in Kitzbuhel back then, you had it cranked up to, you know, 11.

RAHLVES: Yeah. The louder it goes, the more you feel it, right? I mean, it has good bass in this song, too, so it just kind of hits you and just jumps into your chest a little bit and I'm getting amped right now talking about it, actually.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ENTER SANDMAN")

METALLICA: (Singing) Boo. Yeah, yeah.

BLOCK: Daron Rahlves, thanks for talking to us about it.

RAHLVES: Thanks, Melissa.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ENTER SANDMAN")

BLOCK: That's world champion skier and Metallica fan, Daron Rahlves. Well, now to our two listeners with winter songs of a gentler stripe that got them amped.

DAN DEWAR: Hi. I'm Dan Dewar and I'm from Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DO YOU WANT TO DANCE")

THE BEACH BOYS: (Singing) Do you want to dance and hold my hand, tell me, baby, I'm your lover man. Oh, baby, do you want to dance?

DEWAR: It's an old Beach Boys song and the reason I love it so much is it just really evokes great memories of actually wrestling in high school and this was all during the winter in the mid-'70s in south Jersey - Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DO YOU WANT TO DANCE")

THE BEACH BOYS: (Singing) Oh, do you - do you - do you want to dance? Oh, do you - do you - do you want to dance? Do you - do you - do you want to dance?

DEWAR: And every time before a meet, I would just play "Do You Want to Dance" and just try to keep it in my mind. And it just, you know, got the adrenaline going and, for one brief shining moment when I'm wrestling - I was a 17-year-old kid in high school - I was Dan Gable, the Olympic gold medal wrestler. And then, when you're done, you walk out and it's into that cold air and you can just see your breath and you can feel your feet crunching on the snow and always in the back of my mind, Dennis Wilson is blasting away and just getting me pumped up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DO YOU WANT TO DANCE")

THE BEACH BOYS: (Singing) Oh, do you - do you - do you want to dance? Do you - do you - do you want to dance?

JAN HAZARD: I'm Jan Hazard and I'm from New York City and my winter song is "Jump" by the Pointer Sisters.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

HAZARD: This was 1986, '87 and it was a hit song. We rented a ski house in the winter between Christmas and New Year's and then again on presidents' weekend. We went to what we affectionately call Ice Face, which is White Face Mountain in Lake Placid.

There were four families and our car was always the first to leave the rented house for the slopes in the freezing late-December morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

THE POINTER SISTERS: (Singing) Oh, baby, I'll take you down. I'll take you down.

HAZARD: And as I slipped the tape into the tape player - and yes, it was a tape player - on came the Pointer Sisters.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

THE POINTER SISTERS: (Singing) More, more, more. I said, jump for my love. Jump in, feel my touch. Jump. You want to taste my kisses in the night, then jump for my love.

HAZARD: And as soon as that started playing, you know, the eight-year-olds in the back seat were just wriggling to the beat and they sang along and they would tap their heavy, heavy snow boots as best they could and they just loved it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

HAZARD: Our kids today are 30-somethings and planning ski trips for their ski bunnies, so I think I should send them all a tape of this song to jazz them as they drive to the slopes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

THE POINTER SISTERS: (Singing) Jump. Jump in. If you want to taste my kisses in the night, then jump, jump...

BLOCK: That's listener Jan Hazard of New York City and, before her, we heard from Dan Dewar of Washington, D.C. You can find all our Winter Song stories at NPRMusic.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMP")

THE POINTER SISTERS: (Singing) Jump in. You want to taste my kisses in the night, then jump, jump for my love. Jump.

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