Yeah, if you can't ski them, moguls do suck. But try telling these guys that. PHOTO: Alexa Miller

“That’s Not Powder!”

Moguls, racing, nordic, and snowboarding—why it's all just skiing

Marquee photo: Yeah, if you can’t ski them, moguls do suck. But try telling these guys that. PHOTO: Alexa Miller

Pretty much every time we cover (or mention on any POWDER-branded Media Platform) any aspect of skiing besides ripping the gnar or “it was so deep, bro,” somebody feels the overwhelming need to tell us, “That’s not POWDER.”

Some typical scenarios:

— We mention mogul skiing. “Who cares about mogul skiing? That’s not POWDER.”

— Ted Ligety dominates the World Cup. The intern tweets a high five. “What, people still race? Why is that in POWDER?”

— We mention skiing groomers. “I thought this was POWDER Magazine!”

Snowboarding, monoskiing, moguls, rail-jibbing, the halfpipe, racing, nordic skiing, urban skiing, urban nordic skiing, the East Coast, urban nordic skiing on the East Coast… They all enrage somebody out there on some really fundamental level, like they thought it was a Known and Agreed Upon Thing that telemarking or hitting rails on your monoski was just not acceptable.

Of course, POWDER is, and has been for over 40 years, the Skier’s Magazine, founded and operated by weird ski bums. Across more than four decades, racers have been on the cover an impressive number of times. Telemark racing? I don’t think anyone, even the participants, ever took that seriously and it was on the cover—twice. Frankly, if you can do it on skis, we’re into it. Quebecois Urban Nordic Skiing? POWDER ran a full-length feature by former editor Les Anthony. Ditto for snowboarding, monoskiing, rail-jibbing, halfpipe, and moguls. So apparently, that’s what POWDER’s about. And always has been.

Related reading: In Defense of The Jerry.

I’ll be frank: There are plenty of aspects of the sport I just don’t give a damn about. Halfpipe? Scary to do, dizzying yet ultimately boring to watch. Rando racing? An alpine nerdfest in tights. Nevertheless, I’m not going to bag on them, because skiers do it on skis, so therefore it’s skiing, and I love skiing. And one of the coolest things about the sport is that it encompasses so much, so many variations.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone who was actually capable of greasing a zipper line say, “Moguls suck.”

But the mogul thing is what gets me. Because whenever the subject comes up in mixed company, there’s always someone there to inform everyone that “moguls suck.” If you are that guy, I’d just like you to know that every time you say that, you’re letting the rest of us know that you can’t ski well enough to have fun on a black diamond run at a ski resort. Yeah, if you can’t ski them, moguls do suck. Which is fine, we’ve all been there, and you can feel smug about being a beater if you want. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone who was actually capable of greasing a zipper line say, “Moguls suck.” It’s fun as hell—take a lesson, learn how to ski, and you might find yourself a lot more entertained on the hill when it’s not blower.

And snowboarding. Does anyone with a clue really care what tool you’re shredding on anymore? Did they ever? Burton and the Orange County arm of the snowboarding industry might hate it, but snowboarding is skiing, just with one plank instead of two. It’s sideways monoskiing for beginners. I’m just as inspired by what Jeremy Jones and Xavier de le Rue do as I am by any skier, and I know they feel the same way about the skiers they work with. It’s too bad that kooks in the snowboard industry are invested in the idea that snowboarding is the anti-skiing, but that’s just marketing corporate rebellion to children—why buy into it? I’m stoked to see my shredboard brothers and sisters rip it when we’re on the hill together—so why wouldn’t I want to see them in a magazine about snow shredding like POWDER? I wish some of them would stop squeegeeing down the steeps and traversing the whole upper mountain, but beaters are beaters on a board or on skis. It’s not like beating it is some snowboarding-wide policy.

There’s nothing wrong with being a specialist or really into one aspect of things, but skiing is a lifelong sport and there are a ton of different ways to experience it. All of which are as slippery-slidey and silly as greasing the kitchen floor with butter before your housemates come home from Taco/Tequila Tuesday at El Bandito. If you stick with it for life, sooner or later you’ll probably find yourself racing GS, or telemarking, or nordic skiing through Montreal in a tuxedo, and enjoying it.

So, in addition to the pow slayage, we’re going to continue to bother you with moguls, racing, groomers, snowboarding, jibbing, halfpipe, monoskiing, rando racing, and the East Coast.

Preferably all at the same time, if I have anything to say about it.

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