A powder day. If you are like me, there is nothing quite like it. Deep snow accompanied with the ability to drop off steep cliffy mountainsides without (likely) causing harm to yourself. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those whose cup it is, there is nothing quite as exhilarating… perhaps, the exception would be jumping out of a plane. I have also done that and I think I would still rather have a day of powder skiing, but it’s a close call… Hmm… whatever, flip a coin, they’re both bad ass… either way, today rocked. Now, let me share with you the amazingness that is POWDER.
Yesterday I woke up and did what I always do first thing on any given winter morning, I checked the snow report at the local mountains – Crystal and Stevens. Low and behold, ten inches of fresh snow had fallen at Stevens where I am a proud holder of an overpriced seasons pass. Fuck me. I did squats two days ago and my legs had not fully recovered. I got out of bed and winced slightly at the pain in my quadriceps. Skiing today was out of the question. However, upon checking the NOAA forecast, exactly what I was hoping for was confirmed. Another 4-8″ was expected Wednesday night followed by 10-16″ on Thursday. Fuck me, twice.
I headed to the gym and got a lift in, a long stretch and sauna session followed by the routine ice cold shower. I then ran some errands and washed my ski gear. The excitement grew. Tomorrow is the first real powder day I will have had all year thus far. I had a 10″ snowner – a boner for snow, for the layman. For clarification, these snowners are often much larger than one’s actual boner. Just saying, I don’t rock a Ron Jeremy sized piece… unless it’s a snowner. I put the hedgehog’s snowner to shame.
This morning I woke up, and again, checked the snow report. The report claimed that it had snowed four inches overnight. I got up, packed up the dogs and my gear, and headed out the door. I stopped for a coffee, grabbed a sandwich for breakfast, one for lunch, as well as a tasty maple bar that I justified eating because I was going to undoubtedly burn it off on the hill. Once I got near the top of the pass, the snow gods smiled and so did I as the rain turned to flakes and the roads became slick with slush.
Parking around 9:00, I ran the dogs for 15 minutes or so as I put my boots and jacket on. Then I locked those two bitches up – they’re girl dogs so this isn’t rude, it’s accurate – and skied down to the chairlift. I did not catch first chair, but it did not matter because the skies were puking snow. There was definitely more than just four inches of fresh white powder on the hill and I, again, smiled ear-to-ear as I headed towards the backside of the mountain loudly whooping with joy.
On the backside, I ran a couple cumbersome laps. My legs were still a bit tender from squats, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I figured they’d warm up but they were definitely slower to do so than normal. Shitty visibility wasn’t helping the cause. I stuck to the trees to counter the whiteout conditions; trees tend to offer contrast and increase the visibility when the open slopes don’t.
With every lap I got a little better. By the third or fourth chair up the mountain I met two dudes, Ben and Andy, who must have pitied my lonesome self, and so, invited me to ski with them. I accepted the invitation and the rest of the day was spent lapping untouched powder stashes all around the hill. The powder was so deep we even lost a ski for a period of time when Andy fell at the bottom of a run. Beyond that, we got cliffed-out (when you end up in a place that is not skiable and requires either hiking back up hill or crossing your fingers that you don’t get injured should you decide to drop the unskiable cliff) on a particularly sketchy portion of the mountain, which, once navigated, resulted in the deepest untouched powder stash of the day. We, also, created enough slough that we were fully aware that avalanches were a danger to be considered. We skied together until a little after 3:00. We had the best day ever. Lesson: The bond of skiing makes strangers best friends.
It snowed a foot before I made it back to my car. I left the hill pleasantly exhausted and as I drove back towards civilization I noticed something. My bloody thumbs were fully healed and were no longer bloody at all. Things are changing, people… things are changing!
Powabunga 🤙 ,