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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 up the atom and that in the atom there’s actually way more space than particles, so what appears solid is somewhat of an illusion. That’s pretty trippy to begin with, but then I start thinking about how many of those little particles it takes to make one atom, and how many atoms is takes to make one snowflake, and how many snowflakes fall in one storm, and how many storms develop in one winter. That’s when I really say, “Whoa.”

Then I start thinking about how much time and effort is spent around the world by people thinking and doing something that has to do with skiing. All those people working in equipment factories and at resorts—building, repairing, replacing. All those people like you—dreaming, tuning, getting in shape. All those people in advertising agencies, writing beer commercials set in the mountains.

Finally, being an American and a capitalist, I think about all the monbey that exchanges hands every day between resorts and skiers, shops and manufacturers, magazines and bill collectors. More money than I’ll ever see.

All this energy, all this movement, all this stuff, just so we can have fun with gravity. It’s really quite amazing.

And then you get to the actual motion of skiing, which is in itself a miracle. Think about how fast we go, how far we fly, how we gracefully move through stunningly steep and hard terrain. How on the edge we are, literally and figuratively.

With all this effort, then, it’s only fair and just that we got what we wanted: the biggest winter to hit the United States in a decade. A full-on grand slam winter from north to south to east to west. More powder days than a month of heli-skiing. More snowflakes than dollars in the national debt. More face shows than a Three Stooges skit.

Wow, what a winter. Finally, after years of drought and disappointment, we got the kind of winter that dreams are made of. The kinds of winter that fills pages of this magazine with legends, lies, and outrageous photos. The kind of winter that makes me really excited to see what comes next.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 22.1, September 1993. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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