Great question, Doc.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children have Powder Attention Deficit Disorder (PADD). PADD is common around the world and affects children, teenagers, and can often times continue into adulthood. While only recently named in 2010 by Dr. Frank Collier, the effects of PADD have long plagued the ski and snowboard industry. Some experts estimate that PADD may occur in 8% to 10% of school-aged children, and various scientists question whether kids really outgrow PADD.
Children with PADD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks unrelated to skiing. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act. These behaviors can be normal in children. But they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with PADD. (Source: WebMD)
Before children diagnosed with PADD turn 16 years of age, their scholastic attendance is statistically average; however, once they turn 16 and obtain a drivers license, attendance rates in those diagnosed with PADD can drop up to 30% in a heavy-snowfall year. As a result, those affected by PADD typically have lower than average standardized test scores, lower GPA's than their peers, and poor budgeting skills - often citing "but I NEEDED IT" as a valid excuse to have $0 in their savings account.
As adults, PADD manifests itself through continued poor budgeting, lack of career driven ambition, and increased frequency in calling in sick to work. Additionally, adults with PADD often report struggling to find and maintain long term relationships. While preliminary studies on this have found sample sizes too small to be conclusive, initial findings report that poor personal hygiene, living in cars for unacceptably long periods of time, and economic instability tend to be the demise of most relationships where one or more partner is diagnosed with PADD.
If you believe that you, or a loved one, has PADD and would like to be diagnosed, there are people you can talk to -- you're never alone. There are people that can help your constant "itch" to go skiing, the constant need to "gram" a "day in the whiteroom." Call the PADD crisis hotline to be directed to a PADD specialist near you (assuming you live in: UT, CO, MT, ID, WY, OR, WA, or Tahoe on a good year) at 1-800-7FUN-POW (1-800-738-6769).
At this time, the only known cure for PADD is a double knee replacement, but research is ongoing.
The author in Wolf Creek for further clinical testing. Photo credit: Chris Fuller