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Category Archives: Powder Intros

Local Knowledge

A late spring storm had been dumping snow on Verbier, Switzerland, for two days. The flakes had slowed to nothing, but the clouds hung low over the rocky, treeless peaks, and visibility was next to zero. Brooklyn Bernie, Buddha Bob, Dr. Les, and Bob the Mayor were making powder laps in the Lac des Vaux […]

Skiing is Toast

Well, it’s official: Skiing has sold its soul to the devil. There’s now a Taco Bell at the base of the Gad II lift at Snowbird, and a cappuccino stand when you get off the gondola at Squaw Valley. When you can buy a breakfast burrito without stepping out of your bindings, the signs of […]

Guest Editors, Photo Annual

Ahhh, the Photo Annual. This is far and away our favorite issue of the year, and not just because we’re Gen-X post-literates, and not just because it’s nowhere near as much work as a typical issue. No, we like it for the same reasons you do: Pictures take us skiing in ways that words can’t. […]

Is There a Right Way to Ski?

In answer to the question posed on the cover and addressed in contributing editor Michel Beaudry’s story that begins on page 36: No, there isn’t a right way to ski. Having spent three days putting some of the world’s best through their paces at Blackcomb last spring, Michel has found that there are many right […]

Chase the Stick

I am suffering from a debilitating and incurable disease. It has complete power over me, and I am helpless in the face of it. But if there’s any consolation it’s that it strikes with warning and the effects are predictable. The Latin name is brainfartium temporarium ski. In English, “skiing-induced temporary amnesia”. A recent article […]

The Rebirth of Skiing

“Skiing is dying.” “Skiing isn’t cool anymore.” “There are no ski bums.” “Snowboarding rules.” Hearing that is like fingernails clawing the world’s biggest blackboard. Like a core shot on your first day with new sticks. It drives me nuts hearing people say that. It makes me cringe. But not because they’re right. Not because they’re […]

The Power of a Face Shot

Dolores LaChappelle, quoting the Zen-masters, called it “the fullness of the void.” Countless sports psychologists refer to it as “the zone.” Lately, I’ve been thinking of it as a state of grace. I’m referring, of course to that moment in time (or space-time, if you prefer) when you feel at one with the universe, when […]

An Unusual Vision

My vision sucks. If I’d had the bad luck to have been born 30,000 years ago, a saber-toothed tiger or other beast that I couldn’t see would have hunted, chased, caught, and eaten me, snuffing out my line of defective genes before I had a chance to breed. Fortunately for my as-yet-unborn descendants, if not […]

The Coolie Life List

If you’re planning on driving off the road, the Trans Canada Highway south of Lake Louise is a pretty good choice. Bears, elk, and hitch-hikers are sparse, and the shoulder, which doesn’t drop much, is generally covered with forgiving gravel that peppers the wheel wells, slows you down, and reminds you in no uncertain terms, […]

Worm Holes

About halfway through the photo selection process for this issue, with slides scattered all over the light table, it struck me that these images, these thin little pieces of plastic, had come from all corners of the globe. This is not an especially compelling or even deep thought, I know, but sitting there, staring at […]

The Editor’s Dilemma

Greetings from the desk of Satan. It’s a bit warm for skiing here in the south, but all in all it’s a lovely day. Let’s see what’s on the “to do” list…elevate Mariah Carey to superstar status…check…put Newt in charge of the House…check…retire Calvin & Hobbes…check…destroy all secret spots and cool little ski areas by […]

Be Irresponsible

“This is where I want to be,” I said, pointing at the picture on this page. “So why don’t you go?” said David. Excuses and rationalizations flashed through my mind. I had 20—no, 40—good reasons why I was sitting on my lumpy butt under fluorescent office lights instead of breathing the crisp winter air of […]

Joy

Two days before he died, Trevor Petersen skied a powder run that will be burned into my memory forever. We were far from home under a brilliant sun and blue skies, making our way down a vast basin on the south side of Italy’s Monte Rosa, along with skier Gordy Peifer and photographer Scott Markewitz. […]

Snowflakes in Space

Exultant scientists receiving the first images of Jupiter’s largest moon from the Galileo spacecraft were “dumbfounded” by detailed pictures of an ice world where volcanoes belch snow…some areas look like they have been raked smooth, leaving neat rows of steep ridges. “Imagine skiing down those slopes!” said Galileo team member Jim Head. “And it’s winter […]

Intro#18

BROTHERS AND SISTERS, I put before you a radical thought: That extreme skiing really is extreme. That extreme skiing is much more than some bandwagon ridden by greed-mongers and middle-aged marketers trying to reach the Youth of Today. That extreme skiing is in truth a viable, significant, and important part of skiing. There, I said […]

Speed

My name’s Steve, I’m a Leo, and I like to ski really, really fast. I like to carry speed over a roll and see a steep pitch dropping away below me, to feel the freshly cut corduroy grooves pulling me to the fall line like a magnet, to know that a 360-degree sweep of the […]

Guest Editors in Photo Annual, Round 2

Glen Plake picked quirky stuff. Kent Kreitler picked his buds. Hart Eddy picked nothing but air. The guest editors have come and gone, but their echoes remain. All our pretty scenic photos and quiet touring shots are still cowering in the corner, afraid to come out for fear of another grenade being tossed their way. […]

Intro/#21

On the very first day I skied, I knew skiing would become my life. I was 18, hungover as a dog, alone because my friends were still in bed, scritching and scratching on manmade West Virginia snow, haulin’ ass with a pair of 150cm Olin Mark IIs and Spademan plate bindings. By the end of […]

Another One on Deep Powder

Bretheren and sisteren, I have seen the light: A recent session on perfectly groomed corduroy with the next generation of super-sidecut skis has completely and totally transformed the way I ski. What a feeling! To roll your ankle with the minimum of effort, feel that ski hook up and rocket across the carpet like a […]

Season Passes

Is there any better way to get a buzz on for the year than picking up your season pass? It doesn’t matter who you are—a 22-year-old newbie fresh out of St. Lawrence and bumming out west for your first time, a cynical ski-company employee, or a rock star sponsored skier—getting your pass is one of […]

Ode to the Great Bardini

Can this pleasure be measured in thousands of feet or number of turns or breadth of our smiles? Our joy ran like a current between us, a product of that whimsical flying feeling that is skiing… —Tom Carter and Allan Bard, “Redline,” Powder, Nov. ’83 Allan Bard died recently. Most of you have no idea […]

A New Casimiro

The raddest thing happened a couple days ago: My wife gave birth to our first child, a boy. She was a total stud, doing it naturally and without drugs, despite 12 hours of intensely painful contractions. Actually, as I think about it, “gave birth” is far too mellow and pleasant a term to describe what […]

Predictions Come True

Up in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska, at the edge of the skiing frontier, a revolution in powder skiing is taking place. In those huge, steep, lawless peaks, guys like Shane McConkey, Brant Moles, and others are laying down steep lines that are straighter, faster, more dynamic, and more graceful than any powder lines we’ve […]

Herrrre, Kitty

In our obsession for progressively steeper slopes, and progressively huger air, I fear that we have overlooked one of the best pieces of terrain on the hill: the cattrack. Yes, the lowly, much-maligned, often-ignored, rhymes-with-buttcrack cattrack. Cattracks are usually seen as a crutch for beginners, an annoyance for experts, and a pathway for the brutal […]

An Endless Storm

If only it would snow… The storm starts in the Gulf of Alaska, everything about it in opposition to high pressure and nice weather. It’s unstable and grumpy, and almost out of spite it spins counterclockwise, the other way, as it sucks up moisture. With a mind of its own, it heads south, a staggering, […]

The White Room

The white room is really gray more than anything, a thick mass of mottled darkness at the center, the weighted middle a pooling indigo, like the pregnant belly of a storm cloud. You fly—no, fall—toward the heart of it, an arrow to the target, and blast through the lesser densities of snow, the lesser grays, […]

Would You Mind Carrying This?

In the annals of sandbagging, this one came from the first page of the first chapter of the first sandbagging book ever written. I’d just gotten off the lift at a big western resort, just skied over to the patrol shack, just introduced myself to a patroller/writer I’d had a phone relationship with for years, […]

Keep the Faith

Last spring, I visited Caltech in Pasadena, California, where a physicist named Ken Libbrecht was growing snow crystals in his lab. Most of Libbrecht’s work and energy is spent on large-scale stuff, like helping build machines that detect waves in the fabric of the space-time continuum, but tenure and curiosity and a few discretionary dollars […]