By Dan Egan EBS Contributor
At the core of every winter morning, even before the coffee is poured, the possibility of fresh tracks is the motivation for most skiers and riders.
A pristine powder slope sparkling with snow diamonds is a vision that is hard to forget. That same slope with arcing tracks on it tells the world that we were there that day.
It’s a magical moment when a skier or snowboarder complements the mountain scenery. These moments are most commonly captured in our mind’s eye, through the goggle lenses of our winter companions, or by the lens of a camera.
When riding a chairlift on a powder day, gazing off toward the horizon, you can often pick out tracks left by a snow-rider bold enough to venture off the beaten path. On long drives through mountainous regions, I frequently find myself daydreaming about the possibilities of carving up the slopes beyond my windshield. Oh how quickly these moments trigger memories of powder days gone by.
Sometimes after a fellow skier has ripped a fresh line, I will relive that vision and try to complement their tracks by making figure eights with my own. The result is an inner grin as I discover the rhythm and pace of their turns.
While skiing behind someone, I’m often drawn into the power of the energy they create as their skis dive in and out of the snow. That image puts my body into autopilot and their motion occupies my mind as my body mimics their movements.
When a group of skiers or riders have tapped into this energy and emerge from a magical run you can often see it in their eyes, smiles and soft-spoken chatter. You think, ah, they found it and tracked it.
It’s amazing how powder motivates our need for adventure and to arc down a wide open bowl or dance through the trees, and to leave tracks so others will know we were there first.
The power of powder stirs the soul.
Extreme skiing pioneer Dan Egan has appeared in 12 Warren Miller Ski films and countless others. Today he teaches clinics and guides trips at locations around the world including Big Sky, where he’ll be teaching Feb. 23-25, March 2-4 and March 9-11, and throughout the season (contact Big Sky Mountain Sports for availability). Find more ski tips from Dan Egan at skiclinics.com/education/skitips.