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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 radar is turning up nothing but clear sailing and no bogeys in sight. I like an uncluttered hill and an uncluttered mind, sharp beveled edges, and goggles that work. I like speed.

I like it when you’re skiing fast and you get passed by a patroller, who says nothing as he goes by. Or when you get to a big long straightaway, drop into a tuck, and close your eyes as long as your brain will let you. Or when you’re the fastest one in your posse (which never happens enough).

I like the people who hoard their “speed stashes”—runs that are always groomed and always empty of other skiers—nearly as dearly as they hoard their powder stashes.

I like it when speed rangers yell at you from the lift.

I like the fact that I learned, without getting hurt, that my owning a pair of 215s is like a kindergartner owning a handgun. I also like the fact that you can find high-speed contentment on a pair of modern deep-dish GS skis, which carve effortlessly, will hold an edge on anything, and make you feel like a driver, not a rider.

I like making long, carved turns in a tuck.

I like it that speed is relative, that what might be fast for me might be slow for you or vice versa, but that the feeling is universal.

I like the fact that you learn twice as much at 50 mph as you do at 25 mph.

I like it when you come skidding to a halt at the lift and your cheeks are flushed and your eyes are huge and you’re grinning from ear to ear with relief and fear and an incredible buzz because you can’t believe you pulled off a 60 mph top-to-bottom charger without stacking into the trees or a snow gun.

I really like speed.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 25.4, December 1996. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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