Powder days: for all of us they are holy. Whether you're out on holiday and are lucky enough to score the goods, or you're a resort local for whom they are the closest thing you'll have to the Sabbath all winter, they are the best days. Untouchable.
Which is why it's important that there are rules in place to uphold their sanctity - edicts if you will - unspoken rules passed on from generation to generation of shredders through the ages. So accordingly, here are WL's Ten Commandments to be upheld on all powder days.
Thou Shall Have The Correct Equipment
Though we have done our best to hammer this on home recently, there's still no excuse for not having the proper backcountry safety equipment and training with you whilst you're out scoring the white goods. Buy it, learn it and hope you never have to use it.
Thou Shalt Have No Friends On A Powder Day
Whilst the commonly held idea behind this conjurers up ideas of solo shredding down empty slopes, that is a dumb idea. Riding on your own is at best boring, at worst suicidal.
What 'No Friends On A Powder Day' actually means is that the normal social conventions of quietly waiting for your friends to sort their shit out no longer apply - you can ditch them at the bottom of the lift to sort out the minutia detail of the angles on their highbacks with hardly a second thought, their folorn cries will soon be muffled by all that lovely snow.
Accordingly, it's also your responsibility to avoid holding anyone else up. Problems with your set up/clothing/music choices? Should've sorted that out beforehand, now is the time to shred.
Thou Shalt Not Complain
First lifts on a powder are sacred, therefore it is blasphemy to ruin someone else's quiet contemplation or stoke by harping on about how cold your fingers are, how much you regret only buying a noodle-y rail board for a whole season or how your TK-Maxx bargain of a jacket has already absorbed so much of your sweat that you're swelling up like Verruca Salt.
No, if your goggles are totally fogged up, try not to cry about it: instead head over to the nearest hand dryer after agreeing to meet your friends on the next lap. They might actually want to then.
Honour Thine Agreed Upon Arrangements
"Yeah definitely, see you at first lifts" he shouts at the bar, before necking another five pints and passing out in the warmest bus shelter on the way back to his chalet. There's no way on earth he's going to be there on time, and even if by some miracle he does you've just signed up for a couple of laps looking after a dishevelled, sweaty liability.*
Instead, forget all about him and head home to dream of pristine pillow lines, unless it's you propping up the bar. In that case, don't expect anyone to still be waiting on you when you push through the lift barriers just after noon.
*Unless he is a pro. This is actually the only difference between mere mortals and those lucky enough to snowboard for a living: the ability to shred even with a hangover large enough to cripple Churchill.
Thou Shalt Not Answer Phones
Phone calls whilst shredding can only lead to one thing: less shredding. Whether it's the afore-mentioned, miraculously-concious friend begging you to wait for him or your boss asking you to forward on that really-important-email-that-just-can't-wait, phone calls always lead to faff.
Likewise, if you're calling someone who you know is up there getting pitted, don't expect an answer...
N.B. Of course you should always have a fully charged phone on you in the backcountry in case of emergency, duh.
Remember The Twelve Inch Rule, To Keep It Holy
For those of us lucky enough to live and work next to the snow, the one foot rule is critical. If the fresh snow tips over twelve inch mark (and may you be the judge of what constitutes an inch) then it goes without saying that you should at least get the morning off.
Eighteen inches? That's the whole day sorted, just remember to turn on your Out Of Office. Two feet overnight and blue skies all day? See you next week...
Thou Shalt Not Lead Others Astray
When it comes to riding powder, knowledge is key. Knowing which slopes and lifts will be good (and safe) given the conditions and what order to tackle them in is invaluable.
If you should find others looking towards you for leadership, take on the responsibility. Lead not people down unstable snow packs towards crevasses and be understanding towards those on their first week riding and point out safer, easier options for them. But most of all, steer clear of unnecessary cat tracks, unholy bane of a snowboarder's existence, especially when you can still hear the exulted whoops of others in the trees around you.
Also, don't follow existing tracks blindly, therein danger lies.
Thou Shalt Not Steal Lines
If someone is goodly enough to show you to a new stash of fresh snow, don't thank them by immediately dropping in and taking the best line. Same goes for drops someone has kindly scoped out for the group, the worst thing you can do is race to be the first to launch it before crashing and demolishing the landing for everyone else, dick.
Honour Thy Partner
It has been covered here before, but there is no more of a sure fire to tank a relationship than by insisting that your boyfriend/girlfriend/better half teaches you how to do a falling leaf as the sun comes out after it's snowed a metre.
Trust us on this one.
Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods
Powder snow is paradise, heaven made earth. It holds some of the very best memories that you'll ever make, both past and future. Don't squander the opportunity on liquor, work or the opposite sex - do whatever is in your power to make sure you make the most of it. We're watching.