In an earlier post, I referenced Joel Gratz, a meteorologist who has built an entire business around forecasting “powder days” for Colorado ski areas through the website, OpenSnow. For someone not from Colorado or ski country, this might sound like lunacy that someone could actually create a career out of forecasting powder days. But I would bet those folks have never skied on a perfect powder day. Today was one of those epic powder days, and was even more cherished since this winter we have had a lot of dry periods between snow storms.
If you are a skier or snowboarder, a powder day is cherished so much that people have been known to call in sick for a powder day. Last May, we had a late season snowstorm on Mother’s Day, and there was only one ski area left open in the state — Arapahoe Basin. That Monday, the parking lot was packed with a lot of people that were bragging about skipping work for the day. Certain companies actually offer powder days as a perk to employees, sort of like personal days that an employee may use on the spur of the moment to go skiing. So what is it about a powder day that would make them so valued and worth putting your job at stake for?
Skiing on a powder day like today reminds me of what is the very best about skiing in the winter. The snow is soft and fluffy, it feels like butter under your feet as your skis float through the snow, powder spraying up along your legs. Even if you fall, it’s ok, because the landing is soft. It reminds me of what it felt like to be a kid when you got a snow day from school and you played in the snow all day. It reminds me of the sheer joy I felt sledding down the hill in our back yard after a big snowstorm, laughing with all of my friends. It reminds me it is ok to be an adult and to play, to whoop, to laugh and to smile. Even if my week has been terrible and everything has gone wrong, a powder day instantly brings me out of bad mood, and makes everything right and happy for awhile. A powder day is why it is so great to live in Colorado and have all of this out my back door. And with luck, I will get to ski many more powder days, and I sure am grateful for that.