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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 skater on ice…ooo, baby. And then to stop, get down on your hands and knees in the snow, and check how deep you carved compared to your buddies, well, it gives me chills just thinking about it. Anybody wanna buy a used avalanched transceiver? (Like new! Must sell!)

No, I’m not high, I’m just kidding. Super-sidecut skis have not transformed my life. I have not gotten on my hands and knees to measure carving depth, and the only chills I’ve had lately came when I wore a bandana instead of a hat on a mildly stormy day because I was trying to be cool. The fact is, I’m beating up on super-sidecut skis to drive home my point, which is this:

No matter how much you can enjoy other types of skiing, the most fun, transforming, addictive, spiritual, and transcendent skiing in this world is deep powder skiing. I tend to shy away from superlatives, but deep powder skiing is, in my opinion, the best skiing there is. Nothing else even comes close.

I’ve strayed a bit from this knowledge in the last couple years, gotten distracted by other forms of skiing, found happiness in trying to carve better or go faster or push myself into relatively bigger air. Yet, all the while, something was nagging at me, something was telling me it wasn’t…quite…enough. There was a hunger that was only satisfied—and then only temporarily—by immersing myself in over-the-head, face-shot, chokin-on-it powder.

I realize now that all that time spent not skiing deep powder was really just passing time until I skied deep powder again. It was all just waiting.

The feeling of deep powder skiing is like nothing else on earth. You’re not just gliding along on top of the snow, but totally immersed and at one with it—a convergence of the physical, emotional, and spiritual that comes from dancing with clouds of snow. Besides the pure body rush, what I like best about deep powder skiing is the complete commitment with which you abandon yourself to gravity and the fall line, the way you have to trust your instincts and your skis to carry you into the next turn, the next breath, because you can’t see, you can barely hear, and the only way to change direction is through gentle, subtle transfers of balance. When skiing deep powder, you’re given over to forces much larger than yourself, and you’re just along for the ride. It’s scary and counterintuitive, yet liberating. Let go…

It’s winter as I write this, and storms are stacked off the Pacific coast, waiting to pound the West, while another is bringing lake-effect snow to the Northeast. There is powder across the land, powder to the people. You’re in it now, and I will be soon. Hallelujah.—Steve Casimiro

First published in Powder Magazine, issue TK. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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