I now pray to the powder gods : the epiphany of an Ontarian on a mountain

Freeride team

There are moments in life where you feel uplifted, where your usual connection of body and earth is severed, and a new world opens up in your consciousness that you perceive with senses born anew. A whole plane of existence that you couldn’t formerly imagine is suddenly interposed with your current self, and you know you will never be the same.

No longer will I satisfied with my feet trudging in the dirt of the earth, when my board can ride the powder of this mountain.

My first time riding the eternal standing waves of the earth happened at Revelstoke on Mt. Mackenzie, and it was just such an experience that made me re-evaluate what I had been up to thus far in life. Setting out on the hill with a solid riding crew, we headed straight for the top of the mountain and prepared ourselves for over an hour of shredding back down to the base of the mountain. With over a 6,000 foot vertical from base to peak, I had no idea what we were in for. The snow was like nothing I had ever seen before, piles of powder that would engulf your board and legs too if you weren’t careful! Surfing the snow like a wave, I could feel the powder shift under the weight of my board as it slid over and through two solid feet of the stuff. The surge of adrenaline and joy was comparable to few moments of bliss one can experience, that of dropping into your first wave while surfing or meeting your first crush on the dance floor. A little further down the hill, the trail opens up into a wide swath of powder, steeper than any hill I have been on in my life. My board cuts deep into the powder on the slope though, and I can manage with some bravery speeds well past what I have been comfortable with on any other hill. My board catches an edge and I am sent into a quick tumble on the hill, and although I recover and end up sitting down with my board aiming downhill, I find that my descent is not slowed much from when I am riding normally!

There are few places in the world you can meet happier people than Revelstoke. When chatting with strangers and asking how their day was, the answer was unanimous:”What couldn’t be good about it!?”The only thing I could think of to answer them is a fact that will haunt me whenever I am away from this glorious place: Nowhere else I will ever ride again will compare.

A full day of riding is something I can not normally handle, but on this heaven-mountain we could not stop flying down run after run, challenging ourselves like never before on the steep, fast runs and powder-filled glades. We rode hard right off the last black run of the day into a steep ravine cutting into the mountain. Nothing but fluffy powder awaited our eager boards, and my co-conspirator in this secret eden of snow gleefully plowed down to the bottom full speed, then cut almost as high up as he had started on the adjacent ridge. Bailing into a giant spray of powder and emerging unhurt and laughing, I decided it’s my turn to brave the depth of the mountain. Dropping in toe edge, I surprised myself with the deftness of my carves, cutting back and forth across a steeper ridge than I would ever have attempted before that day. Carving around trees left and right, a few calls too close for liking, I strayed a little far to the right before Jon called me to cut left back onto the run where everyone else is waiting. We navigated our winter paradise and emerged from the trees to find our happy group enjoying a short respite with the most spectacular view you could hope for. The range of the mountain was laid out before us, cradling lakes, rivers, and forests and the little paradise town of Revelstoke that man has etched out in this daunting environment.

I have been converted to a new religion…and any day the powder gods smile on the mountain is a day I want to be there. Until that time comes, thoughts of that sweet powder will linger on in my dreams, the elusive promise of enlightenment just a mountain away.