Powder on the Brain
By Andrew McLean

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Originally published by Black Diamond Equipment

Too much powder can rot your brain. In one of my favorite case studies, an Alta liftie was fired after 15 years for being rude to a customer. “Step up to the damn line NOW!” While it’s not too surprising that he’d be fired for such a heinous breach of conduct, it boggles the mind that he’d load lifts not just for a season or two, but for FIFTEEN YEARS. There can only be one explanation for this, and that is he was still searching for that Perfect Turn™ and had almost, but not quite yet found it. Thus his frustration and eventual career wrecking blunder. So close, yet so far away. The problem is that the Perfect Turn™ is so fleeting. At first, you’re satisfied with just linking a few on groomers. This leads to stitching turns in powder, which in turn leads to first tracks, which in turn leads to center-punching virgin slopes of 5% on blue bird days while your cronies watch and writhe in jealousy as they load another customer. The quest for the Perfect Turn™ leads to the quest for the Perfect Day, then the Perfect Season and ultimately the Holy Grail of them all – The Perfect Life. The slope to this nirvanic bliss is filled with many tree wells. One day you’re happily stuffing butts on to chair lifts and the next day you’re on the US Treasury Ski Team duking it out with all the other dumpster divers for first tracks. It just ain’t fair. But don’t give up – the Perfect Life might be just a turn away.

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