Here’s to you… The Powder Hound
Well. It seems like winter is finally upon us. The last storm dumped almost 2 feet of the yummy white stuff all over the mountain…and it seems like we will have a White Christmas. I’ve always been enamored with the videos and photos of people skiing in powder so deep they can’t breath…and as a child, wanted to grow a beard just so I could walk into the lodge with a frost-crusted face.
Here at Schweitzer, we may not have the bottomless days Utah likes to brag about, but what makes this place special, and in my opinion better, is our variety. Anybody can look good skiing waist deep pow that has a 5% moisture content…especially with the widespread use of truly “fat” skis. What makes a skier (or boarder) good, is his/her ability to ski in all conditions.
These past few days are a perfect example. Monday, we had a healthy dump of picture perfect snow…6% moisture, cold and light. You could wave your hand over your car and most of the snow would disappear from your windshield. The crust layer underneath made for some fast paced hero snow. The next two days were more typical Schweitzer snow…just as much of it, but with a lot more water. Again, super fun to ride, but it definitely took a bit more effort, leg strength and skill to make look like a magazine ad. Finally, today…some traditional Sierra Cement… Heavy and dense, with a touch of rain. So the past few days, I’ve made my best effert to shred the mountain like any other Schweitzer-ite. Now maybe I’m a bit out of shape and not the raddest skier out there, but my legs are FRIED.
During my 3-day tour of trying to be a legit powder hound, I came across a few characteristics of the species that you may not find in your typical winter enthusiast…and some may even call them crazy. First, if you have never shown up to the mountain an hour (or more!) on a powder day and witnessed the line-up…it’s a sight to see. People, fully geared up; standing in the cold waiting for the lift (with beverage of choice in hand) bragging to each other about who was there the longest. The next characteristic of a true powder hound is an enhanced sense of sight…and I use the word “sight” loosely. Skiing by brail is a necessity in the Northwest, whether it’s the powder blocking your vision or the thin layer of frozen moisture that can attach itself to your goggles in mere seconds.
Whether you are a genetically altered, optically enhanced, temperature impermeable powder hound, or just a beginner learning the ropes of the sport we love…I think I can say that a good powder day is something we all put at the top of the list. As the old saying goes…there’s no blank (insert noun…friends, girlfriends, wifes, etc) on a powder day ;)
So here’s to you…the Powder Hound…may your legs be strong, your goggles clear and the powder deep. I hope we have many more powder days ahead…I know we will.
And of course, I’ve gotta give a shout out to the lifties and patrollers that help us enjoy the pow.