One quick hard heel cut and, whoosh, up it goes. A beautiful wave of the light fluffy stuff, a quick turn on the toe edge and you’re right straight in the middle of it, covered in powder and sporting a huge shit-eating grin slapped on your face the whole way. You look up to see about 4-5 other riders experiencing the same sense of child-like joy. Powder slashes here, kick jumps there, a quick cut behind the large red pine leads you to the naturally formed booter that rests against an old stump.
The saying goes that, “there’s no friends on powder day” – but I have witnessed nothing but the opposite.
Naturally, we all stop and line-up, giggling like school girls about the top half of the run and discussing how the next featured should be handled. In organized one-by-one fashion everyone gets their turn while everyone else watches. Some bail, some send it, and others chicken out, but regardless we all continue on together. Racing for the bottom that will take us back to the summit. Speeding for the chairlift cues we all stop, out of breath, exhausted but thirsty for more. At the bottom we’re greeted by yet another group of 6-8 riders, all sporting the same joy. This is the Mountain Mad Dogs. The saying goes that “there’s no friends on powder day” – but I have witnessed nothing but the opposite.
The Mountain Mad Dogs were formed through the connection of individuals all living in Nelson, BC for one reason: to get as much time on the mountain (Whitewater) as possible, and have a smile on your face on your way there. What began as a few pints in between runs, quickly lead to some impromptu trips to Revelstoke & Silverstar, lots of touring adventures, and races to the chairlift cue in the morning to await first-chair after catching the report of 25 cents of the fresh stuff.
There were graphic designers, musicians, handmade jewelry makers, writers, DJs, lifties, snowboard instructors, forest firefighters and ski shop employees. MMD was a collective of passionate souls just as stoked as the next to be in that exact location at that exact time.
Truth is, part of the reason it was so nostalgic, and so memorable is that it was temporary. Even in the moment it was nostalgic.
In my time as a traveller, forest fighter, and trip leader, I’ve found that this is not easy to come by, in any place.
Truth is, part of the reason it was so nostalgic, and so memorable is that it was temporary. Even in the moment it was nostalgic. Coming from all parts of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada we all happened to be in Nelson, BC – that winter season. Likely, we all wouldn’t be there again, at the same time, in the same state. I think we all realized that, and I think it drew us closer.
Having a hill that had no cell service you never knew who might be around. In a group that featured anywhere between 4-25 people on any given day you were sure to bump into somebody.
There’s nothing (and let me stress ‘nothing’) quite as good as a day on the mountain surrounded by your buddies. Yes, I am including a solo 25cm day in that calculation. But to get multiple powder days, combined with a great group of riders, it’s hard to not become nostalgic about it as it’s happening – different riding styles, different skill levels, different backgrounds, all coming together for the same goal.
Now I’m not trying to gloat about a winter spent so well. My intentions are simply to document this experience while is still remains fresh in my mind, and to have an article, and some pictures available to trigger the many good memories I’ve banked up by now.
I’ll take the cliché and quote Christopher McCandles (Into The Wild: Jon Krakauer) when he states, “Happiness is only real when shared”.
When I look back on my time living in Nelson, BC of course I remember the gorgeous yoga retreat of a house up on the snow-capped mountain, the waist-deep powder, the days spent under the sunshine, and the bomber chute runs that got my blood pumping. But what I remember more than anything is the group of people this entire experience was shared with.
So I’ll give a solemn cheers to the Mountain Mad Dogs, whatever adventure everyone is off to next, every time I feel that cold-tingling of a powder-covered beard I’ll laugh and remember the days spent on the hill and off sharing it with all you beautiful people…