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Mountain Culture

The Soul of Cannon

The Soul of Cannon
The Soul of Cannon main
By the time I buckle my boots, the people wearing Hefty bags are already skiing. They are having an awesome time.

The sleet is coming down almost horizontally. It’s just cold enough that it freezes on contact, coating the railings of the tram dock with a solid, immediate layer of ice. I have come home to Cannon Mountain, N.H., for Christmas after becoming one of those people who leave New England for bigger mountains and deeper snow out West. I thought the Rockies had made me tough—patrolling at A-Basin, backcountry missions that call for two kinds of crampons, that kind of thing.

Ode to Montana

Ode to Montana
Ode to Montana
In the wide-open spaces of Montana, a busy day is a chance to catch your breath and the local gossip.

The blinking blue light atop the Baxter Hotel, Bozeman’s highest building, means one glorious thing to the residents of this southwest Montana town: powder day. Another lumbering highline storm has arrived to deposit that famous cold smoke on Bridger Bowl. As a listless college student in Bozeman, I’d watch it pulse through the darkness on my frigid walks home from one of Main Street’s fine drinking establishments. It would fill me with hope for a deep and lucid tomorrow, as my buddies and I struggled for clarity through all the bottom-shelf whiskey we’d just shot.

The Soul of Stratton

Soul of Stratton
Soul of Stratton
Here’s the thing about those icy, flat slopes: They absolutely make you a better skier.

I’m about to talk about Stratton Mountain, the ski resort that’s just 10 minutes from where I grew up in Vermont, and I know what you’re thinking: Ice. Bitterly cold temperatures. Liftlines crowded with New Yorkers and Bostonians. Terrain that’s, well...the place is known as “Flatton.”

Yes, it’s all those things. But it’s also my home ski area, and here’s why I love it.

The Soul of Mammoth

The Soul of Mammoth
The Soul of Mammoth main
Pack the car the night before, wake at a ridiculous hour, layer long underwear under track pants, then pull away from the world of rustling palm fronds, bougainvillea, and perennial hibiscus flowers before L.A.’s 10 million or so other residents wake up and clog the roads.

Mammoth is the third most visited ski resort in the United States, although it has often ranked second and even first. For southern Californians, the big mountain’s enduring appeal is elemental—part of the cosmology of California living, like a reset button for the Angeleno soul.

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