By Elyse Brightman
POWDER celebrates its 40th anniversary by dropping in with its biggest issue ever, excluding inserts, in the four-decade history of the magazine. This translates to 198 pages of pure powder bliss, leading off with a two-page gatefold cover of Cody Townsend quaffing some serious blower.
"It's a cool shot that represents how amazing last winter was with just a lot of snow," says Townsend of the Grant Gunderson photograph captured during Townsend’s first-ever day at Stevens Pass, Wash. According to the cover boy, the mountain received 42 inches in 24 hours of the light and dry product--atypical for the Pacific Northwest. A perfect opportunity, then, for Gunderson’s fourth POWDER cover and Townsend's first.
Open up the 10-page Shooting Gallery on page 32 and prepare for full-on salivation in the middle of summer, as Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, James Heim, Alex Bellemare, and Jamie Pierre boost into your winter-starved psyche. The 2010-11 season was one for the books, with storm after storm of record-breaking snowfall in nearly every canyon, corridor, and corner of North America.
One team of storm chasers tracks down "The Perfect Storm" and follows it 2,000 miles, starting in northern California and culminating in Big Sky, Mon. And no, it's not George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. The storm earned the moniker Thelma because the massive tempest was so unpredictable and packed so much rage that it had to be named after a woman.
The backcountry King of New Hampshire's Mount Washington appears in Latitudes before Associate Editor Mike Rogge and Senior Photographer Erik Seo travel to the U.K. with England's James "Woodsy" Woods, bringing dry nylon slopes to the masses. From the unique freestyle slopes of the United Kingdom, get your expedition fix with Andrew McLean & Co. in Alaska's oft-overlooked Revelation Mountains.
Of course, the beginning of each new season always has one thing in common: new, rad gear. Browse through the 71-page Buyer's Guide, with 40-plus brands featuring the latest and greatest skis, boots and bindings for the upcoming season. The 2012 Skier's Choice Fantasy Draft returns for the second season, as 15 real skiers choose their dream setups from the best there is to offer. See the top picks from skiers just like you. If that's not enough purchasing power and Christmas list material, 40 brands are spread over 45 pages in this year's Hardgoods Catalog.
This issue's Fall Line introduces European alpinist and ski young gun Samuel Anthamatten; three products that could forever change the way you ski; John Symms opining about energy-drink advertising in the small world of skiing; and a competition so outrageous it will change the meaning of PMS. But don't mention that to Powder Girl Jeannie Thoren, who pioneered the development of women-specific ski equipment. And a tale of a perfect powder day at Jackson Hole after all hope was lost in All Time.
To honor 40 years of fun and passion, a new department called "Backscratcher" appears this volume. Take a step back in time and give kudos to our forefathers by learning about the production of powder skis in 1976. You also can't miss Editor Derek Taylor's tribute to the late Kip Garre and the Jaded Local's tips on how to skewer self esteem-challenged chairlift comrades.
For now, it might still be 90 degrees out, but the September issue will keep you cool as you dream about making those first turns on a January morning. Happy 40th!