Sometimes the pieces I read stick with me. A line echos after I’ve turned the page. Months, sometimes years, later I find myself searching for the piece  guided only by a phrase or two that’s been ping ponging around the dark corners of my mind.

In November 2009, Steve Casimiro, current editor of The Adventure Journal and former editor of Powder, wrote an essay titled, “The Elements of Skiing: Waiting for the Weather.” It was the first line that got me.

I want it to snow and never stop. I want big black storm clouds—not those wimpy gray ones—to cover the land from here to the horizon and beyond. I want flakes the size of dinner plates, blizzards that last for weeks, and powder so deep you need spelunking gear if you lose a ski. I’m only satisfied by “storms of the century”—and I’d be even happier with storms of the millennium. Each time I see a snowflake, I want to ask it, “Are you the one? Are you the first of the storm without end? Or are you gonna puss out like all the others?” It’s a bit of an obsession, I admit, but I’m just happier when snow is falling. Especially when it’s falling on me.

And so it’s November and the snow has fallen in some places and not in others, and most of us are staring at the sky wondering “when?” And “how long?” And because I’m not a selfish sort, at least when it comes to powder, I’m also wondering “where?” Will it come to Telluride and Taos or will it head north, just out of reach, like the fruit dangling over poor King Tantalus? Will the plucky, hardscrabble resorts of Southern California play Russian roulette with bankruptcy again, or will they reap some of nature’s wealth as snow instead of rain?

Or will we have what an old friend called a “grand-slam winter,” where the snow comes to Telluride and Taos and Southern California, and it doesn’t stop there but also falls on Mammoth and Baker and Kicking Horse and Jay Peak and Snowshoe and Steamboat. It’s happened, you know, most recently in 1996–97 and before that in 1982–83—two seasons that have become legendary.

For the full piece, click here: Waiting on the Weather

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