Why Slush Is Better Than Powder

A controversial assessment of the merits of a powder day


Not a pow day, but still a stressful one at the office. GIF: Mike Bridley/Onboard

If anyone has experienced the sense of unbridled panic that sets in when you wake up late after it has been snowing all night, you will know what I mean. Think Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, who has risen from his slumber to find himself in the same bed as JF Pelchat, after a night out with the Wildcats. With his pants on the wrong way round.

All the Scandi’s will already be at the peak. Fuck. By the time I get up there the tracks will be gone. Fuck. I’m missing out, I’ve got to rush, no time to eat. Fuck. My bindings need re-setting. Fuck. Why have I got moustache hair on my Y-fronts? Fuck fuckity fuck.

It’s not fun. The reality is, that for most of us, powder days don’t involve being dropped at the top of an Alaskan peak or having a sled ferry us to our chosen backcountry spot with no-one else around. Powder days are a race against the swarms of other snow-folk who have more knowledge, more skill, more alpha DNA, more karabiners and more capacity to handle lactic acid in their thigh muscles than you.

If you do manage to get your shit in a pile and find yourself at the top of a decent stretch of pristine snow (most likely at the side of a blue run), you will still spend the whole day stressing about the fact that you could have had it so good had you been higher/somewhere else. But you never do, someone else with a better beard than you is always there first.

By contrast, there is ZERO stress on slush days. It makes sense to get up late and miss the ice. The mountain is half-empty because the tourist skiers hate slush. You can do a few laps and fist bumps, then head home at 2pm to practice your ollies (even though you are 24), do some tanning and prepare your European chat-up lines for the summer glacier trip. Take it easy bro.


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