‘Tis the sea­son

Powder - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Sierra Davis

From the chair­lift, I see it out of the cor­ner of my eye. In a sea of skied-out pow­der that’s now filled with moguls, an is­land of pris­tine snow sits un­touched, some­how go­ing un­no­ticed by the hordes of skiers. A par­al­lel­o­gram-shaped chunk of left­over per­fec­tion, the two-turn won­der is beg­ging for a track. For a mo­ment, the con­ver­sa­tion at hand fades to the back­ground as I zero in on it. Pow­der? This late in the day? How can it be? Do I point it out to my friends? I think to my­self, Nah, this morn­ing was the time for ci­vil­i­ties; now is the time to be selfish.

I quickly note some land­marks and plan my line: tra­verse track un­der the big boul­der, left-hand turn around the Char­lie Brown Christ­mas tree, then back to the right, brush­ing the rime-caked tree branch that’s nearly touch­ing the snow and mark­ing the en­trance to the panel. I fade back into the con­ver­sa­tion, re­cap­ping a morn­ing that’s evolved from first tracks to se­cret stashes to, now, pick­ing up the left­overs. The crowds have thinned out; peo­ple are head­ing back to work, to their fam­i­lies, or in for an early après.

As we reach the top of the chair, I coyly sug­gest the run ad­ja­cent to where I saw my panel. Briefly, I won­der if my tone gave away my plan, but my friends agree ca­su­ally, un­aware of the se­cret I’m har­bor­ing. I have nearly my en­tire run planned, turn for turn, with a crescendo of two turns that will be as good as any I’ve had all day. My friends have no idea.

I hop off the chair and buckle my boots in one fluid mo­tion. I bank a hard left around the bull­wheel and snake in front of my friends, just in case they are sim­i­larly con­spir­ing. I spot the boul­der in the dis­tance as I pick up speed on the tra­verse track, gap­ping be­tween the still soft bumps. Brush­ing my shoul­der on the shrubby tree, I set up my right turn to­ward a tree branch. Pick­ing up a lit­tle ex­tra speed to dump in the await­ing mi­cro pow­der field, I re­al­ize that the stash isn’t vis­i­ble from above, ex­plain­ing why it’s still un­touched.

I float off of my left foot, tran­si­tion­ing to my right foot as I si­mul­ta­ne­ously hit the fresh pow­der. I jam my turn a lit­tle harder than I nor­mally would to en­sure I get two vir­gin turns. The snow engulfs and tem­po­rar­ily blinds me. I re­gain my vi­sion and dive into my next turn, milk­ing it as long as I can, know­ing that it’s the last, best turn of the day. I feel my­self ac­cel­er­ate as I exit the pow­der, pick­ing up speed un­til I hit the flats.

Back at the chair­lift, my friends and I ex­change smiles and high fives. We give brief re­caps of our runs, gen­er­ally not­ing that there are a lot of good turns still out there. I’m happy to re­cip­ro­cate their stoke, gen­uinely smil­ing about the run and the day. How­ever, I’m pur­posely vague about the de­tails of my run and I say noth­ing of the two turns.

In the age of ubiq­ui­tous shar­ing, com­ment­ing and lik­ing, I have no record be­yond my mem­ory of the two best turns of the day, and that’s just fine. Some mo­ments are so per­fect they need no fur­ther val­i­da­tion.

Grif­fin Post, based in Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming, might seem like a nice guy on the chair­lift, but he’s prob­a­bly schem­ing to ap­pro­pri­ate the un­touched line you’ve stared at all day.

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