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Powder Play

A highly abridged encyclopedia of skiing and snowboarding


Abbreviation of “powder”; signifies that the person using the word is both a fan of powder and so well versed in ski culture as to be comfortable speaking in code.
The breathtaking off-piste runs, the eye-bulging views, the brilliant black diamonds— none of it means a jot if you haven’t got the right kind of snow. And for many skiers and snowboarders, the only right kind of snow is the powdery kind. The Champagne of snow. “The most delicate house of cards ever made.” Which is why they flock to Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia. Thanks to the area’s copious snowfall, reliably low temperatures and relatively dry air, there are impressive heaps of the stuff here. As one powder aficionado emotes, “It gives a supreme feeling of freedom and mobility, a great sense of flying, moving anywhere in a great white paradise.”

Quiver, One-Ski

A ski that can be used by powder hounds and groomers equally comfortably; the skiing equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.
Skiers tend to talk about the one-ski quiver as if it were the lost city of Atlantis. One blogger has called it “a fantasy, one that’s easy to imagine but impossible to achieve.” Well, the Salomon Enduro XT 850 ($875) comes darn close. It may not be the world’s finest carving ski or the best on moguls, but it’s among the most versatile ever made.


Describes old-school resorts that allow skiers to pretend they’re Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade‘s “When Strangers Meet” scene (or, in this instance, “When Strangers in Gore-Tex Meet”).
It seems odd to go looking for tradition in a place that’s been open only four years, but Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Lodge hits all the right notes. The hotel, which aims for a Vermont-Alpine aesthetic, is built out of local timber and stone. Its design evokes the ostentatiously rustic New England country retreats favored by Boston Brahmins a century ago, albeit with a few contemporary twists, while the floor-to-ceiling windows offer a constant reminder of what brought that old money here in the first place. Even the restaurant has a retro feel to it: Executive chef Josh Berry (born and raised in the area) is given to making dishes like lobster potpie, a high-end take on a Yankee staple.

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