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I can already grumbling from you locals on this one, but listen up. Locals avoid the hill on weekends like Aretha Franklin avoids the salad bar. They whine about the ineptitude of all the tourists, and every region seems to have a different vernacular for them. In Tahoe, they’re gapers. In Colorado, they’re Texans (no matter where they’re from). Back East, Joeys. Whatever we’re calling them, let’s take a deep breath, let go of the hatred, and see these folks for what they are. First and foremost, they keep our mountain economies healthy and churning. If tourists didn’t come to our towns and drop exorbitant amounts of cash on lodging, food, and equipment, many of us would be out of a job and back in some city jockeying a cubicle Monday to Friday. Secondly, they want to be like us. They come skiing because they want to be a part of the life we live every day. Sure, many of them are downright comical in their attempts to be a part of that culture, but the fact remains, they want to be here. So keep laughing when that you see that Texan, barreling down the hill in his power-wedge of doom, with Wrangler’s tucked into his rental boots with a belt buckle like a Thanksgiving turkey platter. But have some respect at the same time. Most non-locals are ultra-friendly and don’t want to cause you any trouble, so let it go and smile.

New Year's Resolutions for Skiers

So there I was, standing in line at the local six-pack, silently fuming at the masses of gapers who couldn’t manage to count in even numbers, and the lackadaisical lift ops offering as much help as a bucket of hot water at an Igloo commune, when I got to thinking about some things that we skiers could do this year to strengthen our snow-worshipping community and make skiing even more fun. Here are some New Years resolutions for skiers.

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X Games Wrap Up

This weekend, the Winter X Games, arguably the biggest event in skiing, took over Aspen. The pioneer of women's pipe skiing regained the podium, Sammy Carlson finally won Slopestyle gold, and a local boy made it big. Here's what went down.

“The fog appeared from nowhere, rising from below. Seconds before whiteout, I got this picture. Only one frame that day but still one of my favorites.”   —Jesper Molin See more at— http://www.jespermolin.se/Vote for this image as your favorite photo.  

Best Photo of the Year

To make pure alcohol, start with a batch of raw ingredients. Distill it, and you’ll get a more refined batch. This is how we compiled this best-of-the-year photo gallery. We started with thousands of images. Gradually we selected the shots that illustrate skiing and photography in new and different ways, along with an explanation from each photographer. Please enjoy responsibly. Then we asked you, our readers, to vote for your favorite image. Introducing the Readers' Choice award for Best Photo of the Year.

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Top 10 Most Influential Skiers of All Time

We thought of calling this gallery “The Coolest People in the World,” but that might make the non-skiing community angry. The skiers you’ll see here have in one way or another changed the sport of skiing forever. These are our gods. Let us worship them.