Why Ask Why?

From the Top

Ask 10 skiers why they ski, and they’ll give you a hundred different answers. Each. Some will tell you straight away that skiing is all about what happens on the mountain: the adrenaline, the challenge, the glorious interplay of the physical forces that act upon us as we turn, whether we’re floating through thigh-high powder or laying railroad tracks on fresh-spun corduroy. For others, skiing is as much a state of mind as it is a sport. Ask them why they ski and you’ll immediately hear words like “freedom,” “camaraderie” and “tradition.” Still others will start off by telling you a story—one that might involve a particular glass of beer consumed on a particular sundeck on a particular afternoon, or a long-treasured chairlift conversation with their kids, or perhaps one memorable night spent before a glowing fireplace in some impossibly romantic ski-town inn. In the end, I suspect, most of us ski for some combination of all of these reasons—and for many, many more.

All of which is to say that this month’s cover story, “Why We Ski” (click link below), could have easily consumed the entire magazine. And every other issue this year. But even though it’s impossible to publish an exhaustive account of our sport’s many attractions in a few pages, we figured it might be inspiring to get the list off to what is admittedly only a start. The more we reflect on what’s truly great about skiing—on the mountain and off—the more we appreciate how lucky we are. From the momentous to the miniscule, the in-your-face to the intangible, the spare to the sinful, “Why We Ski” spotlights a few of our favorite things about skiing. We invite you to add to the list. Who knows—we might just do this again sometime.

Elsewhere in the issue, we’ve once again sought nominations, assembled an expert panel and picked North America’s Top 100 Ski Instructors (click link below). Whether you’re looking to carve your first turn or conquer the toughest terrain, any of these gifted teachers can help. And even if you’re an expert, you’ll almost certainly want to work on your turns before heading to the rugged slopes of Silverton, Colo., where, as Hannah Nordhaus writes, “the steeps are hairy, the moguls nonexistent and dogs outnumber employees.” (“Does Silverton Stand a Chance?” click link below). If you think you might prefer someplace a bit cushier and less relentlessly exhausting, catch up with the latest on The Canyons, Utah’s upstart giant (click link below), or California’s Heavenly (click link below), which, thanks to a host of recent improvements, now soars above bustling Lake Tahoe in more ways than one. And needless to say, there’s much more, from a look at vintage ski posters (an increasingly popular collectible) to the truth about lift-ticket fraud. In short, whatever it is that gets you out on the hill, we think you’ll find it here.