By Mike Mannelin Explorebigsky.com columnist
I got a shirt with Jesus on it for Christmas. Underneath His face, white letters read “The Church of Powder Day Saints.” I fell asleep wearing the shirt last night, and I had a dream about a sermon.
“Brethren of the Powder Day, we gather together to enrich our lives and to become closer to the powder snow,” the prophet said. “Our relationship with the deep is one of humble reverence and faith. With fat, rockered skis, we embrace these wide open bowls and gladed tree runs, lifting our spirits, knowing that this is where we belong.”
He began leading the congregation through some of the deepest snow we’d ever
skied. Snow hit our smiling faces, stealing breathing space from the densely saturated air. With a flick of our ski tips, we were guided by intuition and gravity.
When we reached the bottom, a universal understanding filled our heads.
We spent the next moments in silence, on the way back up. At
the top of the mountain, the prophet spoke again.
“Follow me, and I
will show you the
path to the white
room. Take a breath
as you start your
deep, past your
knees, thighs, and
waist. You’re in
up to your chest,
the snow. It billows
past your face and
over your head.”
“Leave your worries
give in to gravity.
Turn, don’t turn,
it doesn’t matter.
This is why we’re
here. This is how
show our devotion. This is the freedom that releases our souls from the troubles of
I opened my eyes and found myself drooling on the floor with a copy of Powder magazine just out of reach. You know how you can open your eyes, but still be dreaming?
The feeling that you’re in a good dream and you want to go back?
I closed my eyes again, and the butterflies in my stomach gave me the feeling of letting go of everything, free falling, moving back into my dream with a grasp of exactly who I am. As we returned to the bottom, the prophet wrapped up the sermon with an invitation.
“My fellow Powder Saints, do not take for granted the depths of snow we have been given. Do not take for granted the fellowship of close friends with whom we have
been privileged to share the powder. Please, join me in thankfully celebrating victory
on every blessed powder day.”
The next morning I woke up still wearing my ski pants. Or, perhaps feeling moved by
the snow falling from the sky, I had put them on in my sleep.
On the chairlift ride up the mountain, giant white flakes piled up on my lap. In the
midst of the falling snow, I heard the echo of the prophet’s message. My head felt clear
as the truth presented itself a little more with each inch—just as I had dreamed it.
Mike Mannelin has been skiing Big Sky with friends for 15 winters. He is a guide for
Alaska Heliskiing and spends his summers in a remote cabin with his wife, dog and some
friendly brown bears.