we've had some truly amazing powder days so far this season. anyone not in the know, when i say powder i mean fresh snow; the more the better.
snow freaks get all turned on by powder, get up when it's still dark, get aggressive with queue-jumpers in line, pushy on chairlifts, make loud whooping noises as they drop off things and into things and over things. it's the only forum where you can use the term "faceshots" with your mates, as a girl, and have a 50/50 chance that noone will snigger at you.
my all-time favorite thing to see on a powder day is how stoked everyone gets. on christmas eve, we'd had a huge dump of snow overnight. we uploaded from creekside, and when we got to red chair, jumped in the line. waiting there we hear all these wooping noises, and then 4 guys pop out of goats gully, a black run that ends right at red, covered in powder from head to toe. it was like they came out of nowhere, part of the mountain... 4 canadian boys on skis, and all you heard out of them was typical skibum banter: "duuuuuuude, that was fuckin' EPIC" ... "did you see the air i got off that pillow?" ... "shiiiiit, it was all faceshots".
it's hard not to be stoked when you see such infectiously happy skiers, and i hadn't even done a run yet.
granted, the pow was pretty heavy over christmas, and the lift lines were sort of crazy, but we snuck in some great runs. my mate phil had decided that every time i stopped in front of him he was going to spray me with snow... a trick he found somewhat hilarious, and i couldn't help but giggle a little myself, all the while looking like i was trying to camoflage into the mountain... snow ninja styles.
there was boxing day, where 4 of us headed for seventh heaven on blackcomb after lunch, along with everyone else... it had cooled down a bit so the powder had dried out a little, was a little less cement-like, but it was crazy windy up there, and it's hard to enjoy riding when you can't see anything, while getting blown off the side of a mountain... once we made it down out of the wind we had a fantastic run down the left side of seventh.
i loved that run the most because everyone fell over and had to hike out of various parts but me. the run we picked had a few spots that were steep, followed by flat- a good skill to be able to keep momentum up to get over to the next steep. up til now, i had found i was over-thinking, the inner monologue going something like "here's a flat bit keep your speed up don't fall over keep your speed up" ... BAM (that's the part where i inevitably fell).
but this time i pushed a bit, took on a bit more speed than i normally do, and it worked out.
and this was the beginning of my powder confidence (or cockiness... pretty sure i bragged to everyone in obnoxious fashion about just how awesome i was).
i went up last friday and i owned it, all day. riding my sweet $12.50 board from the thrift store i work at, all set up for powder, making it so damn easy to lean back and embrace the pure, unadulterated joy that is powder riding.
everything i knew so far, plus all the well-meant advice i'd been given, just fell into place. click. the mind turns off and the body turns on, and you go, and everything is good.
sometimes, as a learner, you get too much advice. i myself am guilty of giving this same advice a few times... it's all coming from a good place, the person just wants you to love riding as much as they do, but sometimes it seems a little irrelevant and generic, like, listen man, i'm just doing what i can do, stop patronising me and let me get there on my own...
which i myself finally did last friday.
in the morning we kept it fairly simple and sweet, hitting some trees to the left of the park on whistler, then back up to do chunky's choice, then across to franz's meadows... i'd not done any of these runs before, but i was in the mood for new things, and lucky to have my mate andy up the hill with me to suggest them. it's great riding with someone different- everyone has their favourites for whatever reason, and you see new parts of the mountain. it's nice to share them with mates.
andy left us, and me, marty and the lovely karin headed over to harmony, as we'd heard a rumour it was going to open. we queued maybe 45 minutes. it was getting cold. i couldn't feel my fingers. the queue started a snowball fight and the snowballs were getting harder and icier. we had made the call to give it 10 more minutes. 7 minutes later, at 2.05 pm, they opened the chair.
in writing this, i admit i really can't do those runs justice. we got 2 in before they closed the chair at 2.45. the first one, it was so windy up there it was hard to see... we snuck down the ridge and out of the wind. marty convinced me to drop off the side of pika's traverse, the green that heads back to roundhouse. i was more than a little scared because i couldn't see a fucking thing. i had to trust him. down i went. i was petrified and heel-edging it, wasting good powder, until i decided "fuck it, the worst that can happen is i'll fall over". what followed was the best and most amazing fresh lines of my life. we did mcconkeys and then some trees at the end... i hit a pillow by accident and got some amazing air. i stomped it and rode out. i was a rockstar.
there really should have been someone filming me... that's how shit-hot i was.
then we did it all again.
i have to be honest with you, i did eat shit in a huge way coming off the lift the second time round. i don't even know how i managed it, but i went down hard, right off the chair. thanks go out to marty for laughing quietly to himself, instead of loudly in my face, while i scrambled around, all embarassed. my lifty mate rob saw it too. i bet he laughed not so quietly... but he did ask if i was ok, so there was SOME compassion...
the second run was as good as the first, with so much untouched powder there was no real way to go wrong... except getting stuck on a flat, which i didn't, because (if you didn't already figure this out) i am awesome (instead i got stuck a week later, yesterday, but that's another story, and i won't tell it, it makes me look bad).
i shall make the proclaimation here:
powder = better than sex
(although as you well know i'm hardly the expert these days).
sex and boys can let you down, which they frequently do, but powder never pretends to be anything other than what it is. if it's there, it's there. it's so good it should probably be illegal.
powder makes me happy in a way that nothing else has so far in my life.
and that's all i have to say about that.