“What was that?”, I thought to myself. It was just after 4 am and I was awakened by what sounded like someone slamming their shoulder into the front door of the apartment building. No, it was just someone throwing a rock at the door. No, it was just in my dreams. I lay there with my head slightly off my pillow so I could utilize both ears. I was waiting for the next noise. Nothing. I lay my head back down and thought for a minute or two. The Seattle Times Sunday edition newspaper, all ten pounds of it. The paper boy had walked by with the Seattle Times and put a little extra umph into his throw. Now I was up and immediately I thought about checking the snow report for the day. My anticipation grew, like that of Ralphie on Christmas morning hoping for the Red Rider BB-gun. The day before brought 9-13” and the overnight totals might add another 12-18”. All it said on the opening page of the website was “Powder”. The excitement set in and there was no way I was going back to sleep. I got out of bed, made some breakfast and packed a bag for the day. As I walked out the front door of my building, my buddy Trevor was lifting the hatch of his forerunner with a big grin and we both nodded, thinking the same thing. We knew this would be one of those epic days.
I had been watching the snow report for many days, catching the weather on TV, monitoring the “storms stacking up”, as the meteorologist described it. My curiosity and anticipation began. How big will these storms be? How much snow will we receive?
I was sick with a horrible cold all week. The flu? I don’t know. People always ask me that when I’m sick. “Did you get the flu?” I don’t know. How do you know if it’s the flu? When I get sick, I just call it sick. My sleep patterns were all over the place the last 7 days, yet all I could think about was getting healthy enough to go snowboarding on the day when all the stars aligned, the storms delivered and all the deep powder lay before me in glades of goodness.
The first storm came through and minimal amounts of snow fell on the mountains. The temps were a bit warm and the snow was less than ideal. I heard multiple reports that it was fun, but the snow was heavy with a consistency like cream cheese. I decided to skip it, rest up and continue drinking mass amounts of hot tea, sucking down lozenges and filling puff’s lotion tissues. The next storm was huge. It would bring many inches of snow, but the temps warmed quickly and the snow turned to rain. I was holding out for the day of days.
It was not long into the drive and the rain began. The further into the drive, the harder the rain fell. And then the moment when you pass an elevation high enough where the rain turns to snow and everything is covered in it. The tree branches holding more snow than one would think possible. Beautiful. A string of red lights in front of us all with the same thought; powder day. One driver a little too amped for the day spun his 4x4 out and slid across the road into an embankment of snow, which rested in front of a guardrail. Recognizing he was nearly free from the snow bank, we continued on. The snow was falling hard and everyone wanted to get to the mountain. Once we made it to the parking lot, there was plenty of evidence that the storms had delivered the goods. The chairlift up quickly confirmed it would be a day to remember. Deep powder covered the mountain and cast cool shadows across drift lines that had yet to be destroyed by snowboarders.
It was a day of days. The powder was deep everywhere. We slid over and through many stacks of snow and left our mark all over the mountain. The chairlift rides are always a hoot, literally and figuratively. Meeting people from all walks of life while they are so stoked on life and being in that exact moment. Lance, a guy who had spent the night in his RV was just waiting for someone to ask how he was doing. We had all we could do to get a word in the rest of the lift up. He shared about his last two runs and also how his ass was all black and blue from a hard fall he had taken a couple days before. Thanks Lance.
We hiked to a steeper run once off the chairlift. We made some big pow turns amidst the trees. This was one of my favorite parts of the mountain. I looked up, opened my mouth and let a few fresh flakes hit my tongue. Silence. Intrigue. I smiled. These are the moments where I sense God the most and stand in awe of His creation and thank Him for many things. The moss on the trees covered with snow gave the trees an aged look, like the living giants they are. I picked my path through the forest and continued down. At times, the hard falling snow blew sideways with strong gusts of wind. This left only those dressed to ride in a storm factory actually dry. It’s all part of the experience of snowboarding in the northwest. Storms keep people from coming out at all, and at the same time, draw others whom enjoy the elements.
Until the next day of days, we scan the weather reports, wait in expectation and share stories and laugh’s about this crazy sport where we slide across the snow down mountains.