In 2005 I began an epic project – writing the story of CMH and the invention of heli-skiing. The result is Bugaboo Dreams – A Story of Skiers, Helicopter and Mountains, published by Rocky Mountain Books. While researching, I came across some of the most eloquent passages ever written about the experience of skiing deep powder. As we are in the darkest, shortest days of winter, here are my ten favorite quotes of deep powder skiing in the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia:
“Here in the deep powder snow you don’t hear yourself ski. You don’t hear your long turns or your short turns. You just float. The faster you go, the better. The less you struggle, the better. You move through the deep light snow, through the deep snow with some crust on it, through the deep snow with some wind in it.” - Jacques Labrie - Town and Country
“It’s like swimming in a lake your whole life – and then someone taking you to the ocean.” - Kitt Redhead, CMH Guide
“Even before reaching speed you couldn’t see. Before starting I’d look downhill and guess I had 75 turns before reaching the trees. Then I’d ski blind for 75 turns and stop. When we stopped it took two minutes for the snow to settle enough so we could see again! The only way to guide was to yell. You couldn’t see the others – you couldn’t even see yourself!" - Roko Koell, CMH Guide.
“I don’t want to, but I could die now. That was a lifetime day.” - CMH Kootenay skier
“There is nothing in the world like going out onto an untouched, open, virgin mountain slope drenched under a thick blanket of new powder snow. It gives a supreme feeling of freedom, mobility. A great sense of flying, moving anywhere in a great white paradise.” - Hans Gmoser, September 1974
“It’s like someone is holding you up by the hat!” - Mike Welch, Manager, CMH Galena
“I’m concentrating now on dodging the closely-packed firs, pines and spruce as I plunge steeply downward… lightly… deeply…sponge-like in the great fluffy mounds of glistening snow underneath me. The sharp invasion of my skis throw up great white billowy clouds of sparkling dry ice crystals and just when I think I’m lost forever in my swift descent, the sweet tasting flakes firmly break my fall allowing me to turn, shift and dig in my heels for the next eye-boggling drop.” - Alec Blasco-Ibanez , Los Angeles Herald
“This is where my father turned into my buddy.” -Diane Soucheray, CMH Monashees skier
“During a snowstorm, billions of geometrically perfect snowflakes pile one on top of the other like the most delicate house of cards ever made. The foam on a cappuccino or the head on your favorite ale is typically about 20% liquid, while powder snow can be as little as 3% liquid and is often about 5 to 7 per cent in the Columbia Mountains. While skiing the lightest powder, the stuff ski guides call cold smoke, the force of passing through it with such vilolence, relative to the fragile structure, creates enough displacement through the snow to cause snow crystals to lift from the surface well ahead of the skier. - Bugaboo Dreams
“I don’t know why we never thought about wider skis. We wanted extra floatation so we used longer skis! Sometimes you ignore the obvious, eh?” - Sepp Renner, early CMH guide
Do you have your own favorite powder skiing quote? Share it here and get us all fired up for our next face shot!