‘Tis the season
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.