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Powder's Paradox

From the Top

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Powder. Is there a more enticing word in the English language? Not to the skier who’s been

initiated. Yet there are skiers for whom a fresh 15-or even five-inches of snow provoke anxiety. Suddenly, the carefully honed technique that works great on the groomed becomes exhausting and destabilizing, a one-way ticket to an epic yard sale. And the worst part is, you think to yourself, this is supposed to be fun. What am I missing? What’s wrong with me? If you’ve spent most of your life skiing smaller mountains in the East, as I have, you may have some idea what I’m talking about. The truth is, I used to be that skier. Yes, my name is Kendall, and I’m a recovering powderphobic.

Actually, I’m fully recovered-and you can be, too. The paradox of powder is that while it may be trickier to ski at first, it’s much, much easier once you’re in the club. Accepting that fact is the first step on the road to rewarding powder skiing. Ironically, to conquer powder, you must first surrender to the snow. Let go. Don’t be afraid to let your skis run. Don’t worry so much about weighting your downhill ski. Be patient with your turns. And above all, relax. Skiing powder is fun. Guaranteed.

Don’t take it from me, though: This month’s cover package (“Go Deep!” page 108) is a complete guide to God’s chosen snow. Whether you’re making your first foray into the fluff or you’re an expert looking to manage slough, veteran all-mountain instructor Eric Deslauriers shares the advice you need to master the deep.But that’s only one small part of the package: Practice makes perfect, after all, and we’ve got a few venues in mind. Come along for the ride as our writers and editors scout a few prime, easily accessible-and eminently manageable-powder stashes across the country. Check out the photo essay highlighting resorts that get more than their fair share of the fresh. And learn about equipment, weather, safety and more.

Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied while you wait for the next storm to hit. Paul Hochman heads to Scotland for a cold, windy-and ultimately highly rewarding-ski trip in the Highlands (“Dyed in the Wool,” page 146). Meanwhile, 1994 Olympian Carrie Sheinberg shakes the mothballs off her GS suit to take on the local talent at Wachusett Mountain, Mass., rediscovering a competitive side she thought she’d left behind (“Out of Her League,” page 154). And those who yearn for the simple life will enjoy Alex Wells’ amusing tour of quirky, homespun ski areas (“Skiing on the Down Low,” page 160).

Enjoy the issue-but be warned: Powderphobics have a nasty habit of turning into powderholics.


Whoa! Chris Barker plunders the fresh at Kicking Horse, B.C.