Guest commentary: Ode to a powder day
To the fanatics, the addicts and the enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite like a powder day. It’s the weightless feeling of floating across snow, sending it into a soft and fluffy landing, and the freedom to fall and get back up to try, try again. The feeling of a powder day is untouchable. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else, and can never quite get enough of no matter how tired your legs get. It’s classic and nostalgic, and yet never gets old.
There’s an old saying in the ski industry that, there are no friends on a powder day… But at Breck, we respectfully disagree. Yes, it’s about forgetting the rest of the world beyond the mountain that day. It’s the feeling of being alive and being totally present in a moment. But sharing that boundless joy with your fellow lovers of snow is one of the greatest bonds that exists between skiers and riders. Powder days are arguably the best variety of skiing and riding there is. And like most things in life, the best of anything is even better with friends by your side.
Think of those early winter mornings when you wake up and it’s still dark outside. You check the snow report before you check the time. And, when you see the snow that’s stacked up overnight, that’s the only alarm clock you need to jump out of bed and get ready to hit the slopes. You start brewing your coffee, text your friends to make sure they’re up and moving too, and together make a plan to snag first chair. Fresh lines in the high alpine are just the motivation you need to get ready and out of the house in record time.
Once you’re at the mountain, the feeling is electric and buzzing in the base areas. Everyone’s got a smile on, cheers-ing to Ullr and the freshly fallen snow. Music plays from the lifts, the coffee shops, and everywhere in between. You can hear chatters about last night’s storm and see high fives between friends as they link up to hit the slopes. Some people may look at a group of snow chasers like this and think we’re crazy for waking up early and bearing the cold. But, we’re all here with pocket burritos or PB&Js for the same reason. Powder is what we wake up for, it’s what we hike for, it’s what keeps us coming back season after season. But what it boils down to, is that powder is what brings us together.
Sliding up to first chair of the day with your crew, the lift ride is the only thing standing between you and that fresh layer. But first chair is a ritual. It’s the calm before the storm, the locker room before game time, the prep before the powder. It’s a moment of zen before the snowy enlightenment that lies ahead. As you all rattle up the lift towards the overcast sky, feeling frost growing on your nose, the anticipation of that first lap builds. Daydreaming of what to hit first, you all are in agreement – you’ll ride wherever the snow takes you.
Looking over the powder field below, a white canvas waiting to be painted, you draw that first line of the day in your head. You take a deep breath and feel the crisp air hit the back of your throat. As if reading your mind, one of your friends asks, “Ready?!” And just like that, you drop.
Together surfing through the weightless world of snow, you turn left as your friend turns right, cutting across untouched snow. You weave in and out of the trees, lacing the mountain, powder billowing behind you all like clouds of smoke. You feel the pure joy of a powder day and elation of floating through seemingly endless turns. You regroup at the bottom of the run, pull up next to your friends with a gigantic smile, they all have one too. Covered in snow, everyone high fives with a “Hell yeah!” and off you go again to chase that same feeling.
Some of our best memories out on the hill include hooting and hollering down the mountain with our crew. Or, maybe even an entirely new crew you just met that morning. Dropping that cornice and sinking into a pillow of snow to stomp the landing. Disappearing into a white room of powder only to bound out grinning on the other side. Spraying each other with clouds when we stop for a breather and laughing together when we’re covered head to toe in a layer of fresh powder.
These days are about a helping hand when you’re stuck digging yourself out of bottomless snow. They’re about your friends cheering you on when you fall, and a round of applause when you get back up. They’re about looking up from the bottom and checking out the lines you created next to each other, a memory of being together for yet another great run on the mountain.
There are powder days ahead this winter. Tell your friends.
Sara Lococo is a senior marketing and communications manager for Breckenridge and Keystone resorts, and Shayna Silverman is a communications specialist for both resorts. They can be reached via email at SLococo@vailresorts.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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