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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, surrounded by a halo of gray, grayish, and then white, the lacy wisps of crystals at the fringe like a shroud. Everything thins, your goggles clear, you remember to breathe, and then you’re in it again, from darkness to light and back to the soft rippling darkness.

Memory is your vision, minimalist snapshots burned on the retinas, the brain trying to assimilate and process and make decisions while flooded with irrational and indescribable pleasures. For the purpose of steering, for survival, the world is reduced to its essence: White is good, black is bad. You aim for the white and hope. The sudden appearance of black means instantaneous evasive action: a duck, a dive, a hipcheck that you pray keeps you from pulling a Bono. You’re still here, so you must have chosen correctly.

Control—in your life, your powder skiing, or anywhere else—is an illusion. You make direction changes, yes, but they’re minuscule compared to the greater forces at work. Only when you acknowledge this, only when you accept it, only when you give yourself to it entirely do you achieve true peace. The more you trust in the hand of God—gravity—the more is revealed to you. Keeping those tips in the fall line is the path to true enlightenment, a faith of the highest order.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 27.1, September 1998. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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