The Touch of Powder
An untouched ski slope with fresh snow can be the most perfect places on earth. Surrounded by mountains and hearing the nothingness of my surroundings I am completely removed from the real world and I am living in the present. The air is very frigid, but all it does is put a smile on my face, snow can’t fall if it is hot out. As I start to make my first turn in the fresh powder I realize that I am not skiing on the snow, but I am skiing with the snow. At this point I have let my instinct take over. The only person that regulates my turns is Mother Nature.
After another turn I notice how perfect the mountain is. Surrounded by nothing but the trees I stop to observe. The sky is perfect like the snow, completely clear of any traces of man. The mountain is not just a mountain, but a living being that changes as I descend it. When the mountain decides that I’ve been skiing for to long, he knocks me over with a hidden root. After I fall I yell in retaliation to the mountain, “What was that for!” After I begin skiing again the turns aren’t as sweat as they where before. The snow had become crunchy and the mountain insulted.
Each turn is not an easy task to complete but is more rewarding than each one before it. The ease cruising down a freshly groomed trail does not compare to the efforts it takes to maneuver your skis in a sea of heavy powder. The task of graciously floating your skis is like swimming down stream. You are going to be going down stream no matter what you do, but to go where you want to go and stay in control you also need to fight the current. Although I do enjoy spending a day on the machined groomed trails when it is the only option, the turns are effortless and therefore not as rewarding as a deep powder turn.
When I ski in the fresh powder away from the tracks of any other person I am the only one that sets my pace. The tracks that I make in the fresh powder express who I am and how I ski. No one can mimic my exact tracks. Although the trails where cut by a person who works for the mountain he only determines where the trails lead, not how I choose to navigate them. If it weren’t for the trail cutter, the trail would not exist, and this experience would almost be impossible. Just because the mountain was cut to be skied, doesn’t mean that there is only one way to ski it.
Skiing in fresh powder is one of the most natural and rewarding experiences possible. One person skiing in powder can be a completely different experience from the next person. The vastness of the mountain creates the possibilities for infinitely many different situations. One person may see a rock, and another person something to jump off of. One person may see a forest of sparse trees, and another person a glade to be skied. Skiing opens up so many different possibilities for realization it can’t be compared to anything else.