The Rogges at Killington on the Best Day of 1994. PHOTO: COURTESY MIKE ROGGE

WORDS: Mike Rogge

By now I've made a good case for being the guy at POWDER who appreciates shitty days as much as great ones. There remains something beautiful in finding happiness with what you're given. That's why my best day of the year was opening day at Killington with my dad.

Ready for a classic story? My dad taught me how to ski and for the first 10 years of my skiing life was the one ski partner I could count on. Plus, he had a truck to get me to the mountain. I followed him until he eventually had to follow me. Despite my bat-out-hell evolution of style, his pace was always steady. Never fast. Never slow. Always right. Always cruising. Taking in the scenery and enjoying the moment.

After I moved across the country for a job at The Skier's Magazine, we all but stopped skiing together. This is not heartbreaking; it's just what happens in life. Last November, the old man and I headed to Killington for a top-to-bottom, white ribbon. We hit rain in Rutland and watched it turn to a wintery mix on the K-Town access road. Our spirits were not dampened. The same could not be said for our jackets. Wet, grey, and miserable, we took the gondola over and over again, my dad doing his best to throw in a small slash or a spread eagle off a Jersey booter. On our last run, I slowed down and followed his lead like I did when I was a boy. He hollered over bumps, laughed his way around rough patches, and never stopped—like he's done everyday of his life. At the bottom we high-fived. We grabbed a beer and a slice and talked about the rainy, miserable day. It wasn't great. It was shitty. And perfect.

((This summer, we're looking back at our best days of the winter. Read about night skiing at Mount Hood, PNW deep and light, and gang skiing at Sundance.)