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Category Archives: Powder Intros

Skiing the Way You Live Your Life

“I have a theory about skiing,” said my friend Pat Peeples. “Do you want to hear it?” Through the urgent sweep of the windshield wipers and the thick curtain of blowing snow, I could just make out the tail lights of the car in front of us. We creeping along Route 82—Killer 82—heading northwest out […]

The Ski Bum as Zen Master

This is the interactive part of the magazine, so you’ll need two common items easily found in the typical American home: a pair of scissors and your wallet. Got ’em? OK, now I want you to take all the credit cards out of your wallet and cut them into tiny pieces. Don’t balk now, this […]

November 1990 Volume 19, Issue 3

There’s a helicopter run up in Canada—British Columbia, to be more accurate—called Freefall. At the top of Freefall is a small, open field. A glade of charred, limbless tree—all that’s left of a lightning fire—below the summit yields to a 45-degree plumb line that rockets through 3,000 vertical feet of thick timber to the valley […]

The Big Chill

Global warming ain’t The Greenhouse effect is a hoax. In fact, the opposite is happening: We’re on the cusp of a new Ice Age. Yes, pilgrim, the globe is inexorably locked into…the Refrigerator Effect!! I know, I know. It’s a shocking revelation, a stunner that goes against everything you’ve been told by The New York […]

January 1991

There I was on my first “backcountry” skiing experience, crunching along a dark trail at 4 a.m., when I stumbled over a mogul and slammed nose-first to the snow. It was one of those crystalline Vermont nights in January, the type of night so clear and brittle the world might shatter at the touch, so […]

Straight Priorities

It was the trickle of cold rain that snuck in my collar and rolled like an ice cube between my shoulder blades that convinced me that trying to ski West Virginia at Christmastime was a stupid idea. This wasn’t the first notion I had that something might have been amiss. The puddle on the chair, […]

The Cold War

Sixteen months ago, the first smashing blow crunched through the concrete of the Berlin Wall, and the two Germanys were divided no more. Across Eastern Europe, other walls fell. It was a revolution, a revolution that galvanized a world weary of stagnation and repression. I find it ironic, then, that at a time when walls […]

Up for Renewal

When I was a subscriber, years before I worked here, the first Powder of the season made me do really weird things. It would show up in my Washington, D.C., mailbox in mid-August, on a day when the heat and humidity were perniciously bad. I’d crank up the air conditioning, throw myself on the couch, […]


Taos was the place to be last year. Storm after storm tracked through the south, leaving New Mexico gasping in powder while the northern half of the country skittered and scratched on hardpack that tasted of leftovers and freezer burn. Cinematographer Bruce Benedict went down to Taos to shoot skiing with Mike Hattrup and Glen […]

Why Heli?

OK, that’s it. The fun’s over. Turn off those helicopters and give me the keys. Helicopter skiing is too dangerous, too expensive, too remote, and too decadent. Burn those Miller Softs while you’re at it, too. Don’t worry—it’s for your own good. Sports Illustrated said so. For a while last winter, it seemed as if […]


Jacksonville Street, Arlington, Virginia, December 1966—In a world of white viewed through the fogged thickness of storm windows in the dark of a child’s night, the only way to tell if it was snowing was to watch the pool of light beneath the street lamps. My sledding dreams lived and died by the intensity of […]

Powder’s 20th Anniversary

Holy cow. Twenty years. Twenty years of the Powder revolution. Powder to the people. Powder Magazine was born of the turmoil and new ways of thinking that came out of the maelstrom of the ’60s and early ’70s. America was reshaping itself, and so was skiing. The telemark turn was making a resurgence in certain […]

The Real-World Olympics

The concept of amateur athletics rose out of Victorian England, when constipated young aristocrats who looked like Jeremy Irons dressed in white and ran along beaches to the tune of “Chariots of Fire.” They undertook competition purely for the sake of competition, a kind of “noblesse athleticism” that only the rich could afford. It was […]

The Tele Gospel

Each month, as I sit down to write Intro, I ponder the meaning of skiing and life and all things great and small, and I try to develop a message that’s inspiring, life-affirming, insightful, and occasionally, relevant to what’s in the magazine. If I strike out on all those counts, I at least aim for […]


This story begins with a sheep. A ewe, to be more precise. It begins with this sheep, this sheep named, uh, Fluffina, on the pampas of Argentina, or Peru, or Chile. It begins as a blustery day, there on the pampas, when a gaucho named Santiago rounds up Fluffina and her fellow sheep and herds […]

The Elusive Nature of Soul

The more you talk about soul, the further you get from it. The more you write about it, the more elusive it becomes. The more you think about it, the more ineffable it is. Peter Shelton, when I told him a year ago that I was writing a story on the conflict over the soul […]

The Crack of Skiing

“Why are you so obsessed with helicopter skiing?” asked David Goodman, one of our contributing editors, from his house in Waterbury, Vermont. “I find spending $4,000 on a week of skiing offensive.” There was stammering from my end of the phone on the other side of the country, then a long silence. Every response I […]

Map Quest

God love the U.S. Geological Survey. Send it 12 bucks and six weeks later a cardboard tube arrives in the mail containing the quadrangles of winter—Arc Dome, South Toiyabe Peak, Bakeoven Creek, Sacramento Pass…maps, guides to a remote and rarely skied corner of the West, renewed inspiration for a little backcountry trip I have planned […]

Get Off Your Ass

Oh, man, I can’t wait to ski. A storm just raked across northern California, then moved into Utah and Colorado. Aspen is getting pounded, Vail is getting pounded. Boulder is getting pounded. I could be skiing right now, but I’m not. Instead, I’m sitting inside, thinking about it. Today what I’m thinking about is this […]

Hank de Vre, My Hero

Once a week throughout the summer, without fail, photographer Hank de Vre picks up the phone in his truck and dials this office. “Hey, man,” he says when I answer, “it’s a hundred degrees up here and I’m paving driveways and I’m dyin’. How’d I do this month? Didja use any photos? Where’re you gonna […]

Last Runs

It is a cornerstone of this magazine’s philosophy that skiing can teach you something about the deeper rhythms of life. It is also a cornerstone of this magazine’s philosophy that you can waste a lot of time looking for meaning in a little round track on the snow. Therefore, much of our season is spent […]

Grand Slam Winter

Sometimes I think about what’s really going on when we ski and I get pretty blown away. First, I start at the subatomic level. I remember enough from high school physics to know that the universe is made up of muons and gluons and quarks and other weird little particles and that these particles make […]

Keeping the Culture Alive

It was a Saturday, and brutally cold: minus 15 before the wind chill and gusts over 30 mph. The sky was overcast and it was forbidding in the way only Vermont in February can be. The bumps at Mad River Glen were rock hard. Despite the kind of chill that gets into your bones and […]


The willingness to look like a geek is a noble trait indeed. Silly people should be rewarded. Skiing, for all its funky winter carnivals and springtime goofiness, is a darn serious sport. Lots of Type As, striving for achievement on the boards. Lots of macho men, looking down in the liftline to see if your […]

Road Trip

There are many perfect moments in skiing, but this is one of my favorites. We’re deep in the middle of a road trip, far enough from the beginning that home is forgotten and distant enough from the end that stopping isn’t even a concept. There are three people in the car, which is the perfect […]

Ski Partners

I don’t like skiing alone. I’d just as soon fire up a big, steaming cup of coffee and crack open a book than pound the bumps by myself on a flat light day. Before you call me a milquetoast, hear me out. I love to ski and I will ski alone, but, unless the conditions […]

Powder Goes to New York

Dave and Steve’s big adventure in New York City was a complete and total success. Not only did our photo editor find a nice new suit (you should have been there for the truly touching moment—a ski bum’s first suit), but we stumbled upon a rocking hillbilly/blues band late one night in the East Village, […]

Intro March 1994

One of the biggest cliches around is that skiing is a drug, but let’s face it, the sport gives you a buzz like no other. It’s a surge of adrenaline and freedom and happy cells all coursing through your blood, each pump of the heart sending a zimmer of electricity to the furthest outposts of […]

Coping Mechanisms

Why does winter go so fast and summer so slow? I ask this rhetorically, of course, because the answer is obvious. Winter accelerates because you love it so much. Summer is a snail because it separates you from winter. Sometimes I wonder why it can’t be the other way around. Why can’t time stretch when […]

Little Areas that Rock

Every Friday afternoon in college, I would throw my skis in the back of my cancerous old jeep and sputter two hours north to Ski Liberty, jut over the Maryland border in Pennsylvania. Lift tickets were around 16 bones, I think, and for that you’d get five hours of night skiing on snow that had […]