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Go Deep

Go Deep

Features
By Edith Thys Morgan
posted: 02/04/2005

On the seventh day, God was going to rest. But He had created a powder day, and nobody-not even a bone-tired deity-rests on a powder day.

Every activity has an ideal that defines its true spirit, its highest form. For skiing, it's powder. We worship it, fantasize about it, crave it. The muffled rumble of a snowplow in the night lightens our spirits with anticipation. The first thuds of dawn avalanche bombs awaken us with a thrill. Excitement turns to urgency as we assemble gear and hustle to the lifts. There, we're forced to wait-a final test of commitment-in liftlines of like-minded souls. But then, at last, we are lifted into paradise, two by two, four by four, tram by tram.

If skiing is freedom, then skiing powder-flying, floating and falling through crystallized waves-is divine freedom. Call it religion or obsession or just plain hedonism; it is neither complicated nor exclusive. Powder inspires the same giddy sense of wonder in us all-in the child tilting her face skyward to catch snowflakes, in the daring novice who ventures off the corduroy and feels his skis buoyed by three inches of fluff, in the over-amped expert hungrily eying an untracked pitch of sparkling treasure.

When it comes to skiing it, there is no right and wrong, no exact standard. Whatever your style-artistically rounded figure eights, a bomber assault of swooping arcs, a pure, screaming straightline-the physics of powder are a constant, simple recipe: If it's deeper, go steeper. Powder transforms otherwise forbidding terrain into an enticing, padded playground. So whether it's 2,000 vertical feet of uninterrupted face shots or a dip into the trees to go deep for three turns, the immediate effect is essentially the same: a breathless, private, inside-out smile of satisfaction and invigoration.

>Best of all, in a world that decries conspicuous consumption, this most pristine of natural resources invites-even demands-gluttony. Powder isn't meant to be saved, protected or rationed. You're supposed to exploit it: Use it or lose it. So throw it, roll in it, sculpt it, eat it, jump in it and by all means ski it, hard, now, because it won't last. Everyone deserves a day of rest. But never, ever, on a powder day.

DECEMBER 2004

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