5 Best Things About the Night Before a Powder Day
When I saw this commercial, it reminded me that it is more than just the powder day that is awesome. Although, I do want to state that is NOT what a great Colorado powder day looks like. I’ll give them an A+ for writing, and lesser marks for displaying what a powder day really is. A true epic powder day in Colorado looks more like the next video. Scroll to a minute in if you are in a hurry. At the beginning of this video there is so much snow, they can barely move. Why can’t everyday be like that?
The night before, for skiers and snowboarders, is like Christmas Eve to a 3 year old. When the snow is squalling, chins are tucked as we walk the streets, and we reference the street lights to be able to tell how hard it is really snowing, it is a magical time in Colorado.
So, here are the 5 best things about the night before a powder day
5. The Guessing Game
“How much do you think we’ll get?”
“We’ve already gotten about 4 inches since the chairs closed, if it keeps up just like this, by tomorrow we’ll have 10 inches.”
It used to be that we’d wait for a quick glimpse of any type of radar weather the network news carried. Then, we’d stare at the ticker on the bottom of the screen of the Weather Channel.
Now, we compare apps. Which one is more accurate? Intellicast or Weatherbug? Dudeheads become amateur meteorologists, analyzing what the blob of orange filled with red that is just to the north will mean to their hucks and jibs the next day.
4. The Debate
Where should we go?
The debate doesn’t happen if you are in Steamboat. In Steamboat, there is one place to go, and it’s probably going to get more snow than anyone in the state (with the possible exception of Wolf Creek, which is not in the same wheelhouse).
If you are in Summit County, though, the debate rages.
“Dude, Keystone. I want to hit the Outback on a powder day.”
“No way. Keystone is the hole in the donut. It never gets as much as Breck.”
“Hey, what about A-Basin? Steep and deep.”
In Eagle County, the same debate rages, but with Vail and Beaver Creek. There will be no decisions made until the reports are published at 6am, Then everyone will agree to go to the place that has the most fresh.
3. Loyalties dissolve
I love you, man. Until you won’t get out of bed in time to grab first chair.
“If you get too drunk tonight to get up tomorrow, I’m leaving you.” It’s heard from saloon to tavern to hotel hot tubs. It doesn’t always matter that much, because on a great powder day, there is always secret stash to be skied, just not on the open runs. There is not much like being one of the first ones down an untracked, wide open run at a Colorado ski resort. No, there is nothing like it. Sleep well, rise early, and eat a good breakfast.
2. The Stories
Like the fish that keeps getting bigger every time the story is told, sometimes amount of snow on the biggest powder day you ever had grows with the years. That’s okay. It’s just another inevitable part of the night before a powder day.
People sit around the fire and recount the time they couldn’t find their foot because there was so much snow.
Sooner or later, somebody will reference the storm of 1998, when 12 inches fell between 2 and 6am.
Another will talk about the time that he had to have the Heimlich done to him because he almost choked to death because there was too much snow in the Back Bowls at Vail.
One-upping, normally the trait of super annoying knuckleheads, is not only okay in these cases. It’s expected.
I usually lead with Easter 2001, when I was supposed to fly back to Pittsburgh, but a storm so big hit us that I couldn’t get out of the Vail Valley. All I could do was go to Beaver Creek. Not a bummer.
Then, I will ask if they made it to the 2011 President’s Day storm at Steamboat when they had an overnight total of 27 inches, and 72 inches in 48 hours. They all look at me with envy for a second. Then their looks turn to possibility. It happened once, it could happen again.
1. The feeling that everything is perfect
You know it’s dumping. You know you don’t have to work the next day. You know your gear is ready, your friends are there, and there aren’t any passes between you and the mountain that can close to keep you away from poking freshies all day long. It doesn’t happen all the time, and when it does, it feels like the stars have aligned, the Force is with you and that God created this special moment in time just for you. Sweet dreams. I’ll see you in the snow.