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Tangible magic: pow days; no proof

Current Conditions Temperature Snowfall Wind
snowing Summit 28° F
5AM 24 hr 48 hr 72 hr Base
12″ 16″ 20″ 20″ 86″
Alpental 28° F
5AM 24 hr 48 hr 72 hr Base
12″ 18″ 23″ 23″ 93″
Alpy Summit 18° F
5AM 24 hr 48 hr 72 hr Base
12″ 18″ 25″ 25″ 178″
18 MPH
Last Updated: Monday at 2:42 PM

There are no pictures of the last few days to provide you. Sorry, the snow’s been that good. Two feet+ of dry, light, pillowy. Mid-week, we made a night mission; which led into a weekend of snow-riding bliss. I offer these thoughts, but just know it was even better than this:

At night, in the yellow light of the lifts, if you stare at them, the snowflakes fall slowly, filling the night with tangible magic; you’re on a casual ascent through outer space. But look away, down below into the blanket of untracked powder, yellow and gray defining the hill’s contours in the light, and the flurries rage—the scene becomes a vortex and the snow piles up on your outerwear.

Focus on them again, and the innocuous flakes return to their idle drifting. In the yellow light; in the cold night.

Then the whoops and hollers echo. It’s a VIP party at 8 p.m., hillside. And the pow’s so deep you can’t lose your speed. So you lean back, way back, and point it, watching your noose dip in and out of sight; your legs disappear. You venture into the untracked fields, shaving a new line. Your back leg burns, deep and warm. And you hang on, giving a little weight to this side then to that, reacting, somewhat, to the rises and falls of the earth, but mostly flying down, down—surfing the powdery sea.

“This is always what I thought falling on clouds would feel like as a kid,” Tyler said.

We headed into the trees, into the darkness, where the powder is preserved, but the light is not. The only thing saving you in here are bent knees and muscle memory. It’s a dance with nature, with no dance floor. It’s slashing and floating, blind to the foreground, emerging and realizing you never touched it. It’s a solo mission rewarded with high-fives all around.


In the backcountry, the knolls rise one after another, rolling up in the descending field. The traverse takes tucking and pointing it in the deep stuff; your legs cannot fail as shocks, even in the chunder left by the last slide. Then, from the top here, it’s all down hill: down through the vacuum of  time and sound, when the hovering feeling never ends and the only way you know you’re moving is to keep the goggles clear of faceshots. Then down the steeps into the chute, roosting walls and dropping lips. Down deeper into the trees, becoming a pack of gritty wolves; until you bomb out onto the cat track, and hustle back to the meeting spot—reveling in the adventure; stoked on the mutual attainment.


“I think the mountain shredded me,” Nate said Sunday afternoon, wet and tired. Days of riding stuff this deep takes its toll on a body. But when it’s here, we get some, even in bounds—because we know where the stash is that no one’s been slaying, and it’s fresh tracks all day in the dumping conditions. The steeper the better. When it’s this deep and light, the vert doesn’t matter—because you’re just drifting and linking. There’s nothing technical about it. Unless you count the five linked faceshots that Nate claimed in a matter of several mind-altering feet of feathery pow. When it’s wetter like today, the day gets broken up by a lunch-time dry-out in the lodge. But then we’re back out, dashing down the mountain, escaping with the afternoon, until the wind discovers us in the trees and all goes white as a big gust blows through.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. The usual images are nice and everything, but what I really enjoy is the colorful descriptions that seem to flawlessly capture the moment. Even without having been there or ever having experienced snowboarding, I think I understand.

    April 21, 2012

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