The search for white gold

Fall-Line editor Nicola Iseard on the joys of skiing powder

Powder. Cold snow falling from the skies without wind. One can only wonder what is being brewed up by ocean temperatures and currents right now. What is on the horizon.

We are featuring some epic trips in this year’s Powder Issue, which demonstrate people’s innate drive to get out there, find it, and ski it. The distances travelled – from Japan to the depths of British Columbia – the costs (private heli, anyone?), the time spent planning every minute detail, all in search of the white gold. These are people who have said to themselves: “Above all else, we are going to look for deep snow.”

Personally speaking, a few times I have ventured far to so-called powder meccas and had differing luck. Times of little snow; times of high wind. Times when the snow is as hard as ice. I have also been fortunate enough to time it right, and ski a run of cold, thigh-deep snow that was so long, uninterrupted and untouched that I thought I was dreaming.

"Buried in this fluffy goodness, they become something special" | Courtesy of Scott Sports
“Buried in this fluffy goodness, they become something special” | Courtesy of Scott Sports

But, more often than not, I find my best powder days are the surprise days. When on the way home from dinner, it starts snowing. Everyone makes plans to meet the next morning – “First lift! See ya there.” Then we ski runs that, besides their cloak of new snow, are utterly familiar. In fact, without this extra layer they would be… ordinary. But, buried in this fluffy goodness, they become something special.

On days like that, I don’t wish I had a helicopter or bigger mountains and more to ski. Rather, I am focused so intently on what I have in front of me. A whole day lapping the same drag lift can be all you need when you have such a pure focus on the moment. Once you are in the powder moment, you are in the same place as everyone who has ever made a turn in it, no matter where they are.

So, even if you do make it onto one of these big trips – and I wholeheartedly recommend you do (just book it; for the adventure alone) – should you find powder out there, I’m pretty sure it will be one particular moment – a turn, a fall, a jump, or even just watching the snow fall – that will stand out. The small moment in the big experience.

Here’s to a long, happy winter of white gold moments, wherever your ski plans take you.