Surfers are familiar with the self characterization of being a storm rider. It acknowledges the unpredictable role of distant storms, that create the swells, which travel great distances before breaking as waves on distant shores, to finally be ridden by patient and dedicated surfers. As skiers, our lives are also intrinsically linked to these same storms, forming over and circulating around the North Pacific, and periodically pushing inland to dump their load of precipitation. Like whorls in a mountain stream, there can be an illusion of order, but weather is defined by its unpredictable, ungraspable, endlessly morphing naturalness. Modern life creates a curious disassociation with all that is natural. We’re becoming ever more accustomed to comfort and certainty, in a superficial and predictable artificial reality that mirrors the paucity of our limited imaginations. Skiing is an antidote. Weather and geography combine in almost limitless combinations to both pleasure and to challenge us, but we’re up the task. We bring our practiced technique, our physical conditioning, positive attitude, hard earned knowledge of where to be and when, and gear that almost makes it too easy, and we ski. Not because it’s always soft and smooth and sunny, but because it’s a joyful dance that connects us to the people we share it with, and to the limitless incomprehensible reality beyond ourselves, in whatever the day brings.
This winter hasn’t provided the continual powder skiing we all crave, but there have been great days, and just about every day there’s been some fun skiing to be done. The storms keep rolling in, month after month, year after year, sometimes snowy and cold, sometimes not, and as long as my body is able, I’ll be here to ride them.