Stomping Snow

“My task for the day was simple: all I had to do was walk in a straight line. I was even given plenty of good examples of what this should look like. The expert-only terrain above me was embossed with deep, military-straight lines, evenly spaced, traversing from one side of the wall to the other. The geometric precision of these lines was at odds with the rugged appearance of the high alpine cliffs and scattered pines through which they cut. There were over a hundred of these rows stomped across the Headwall alone, which was only a small section of the hundreds of acres of terrain already measured out by the relentless feet of the Snowmass Ski Patrol.”

“Although boots are, of course, essential to the endeavor, it is in fact more of a cross between mud wrestling, ballet, and tractor pulling. It is the full-body answer to snow safety. CrossFit fanatics across the country would die for a chance at the burn I was experiencing in muscles I didn’t even know existed prior to that day.”

Kristi Gray making it look easy.

As an eight-page feature in the Fall, 2019 edition of National Ski Patrol Magazine, this piece is by far, my favorite work. Last year I dreamed the idea (first centering on ‘pocket bacon’) pitched it, sweated it, wrote it, revisedrevisedrevised it, and even got to include all my original photos with a few from Casey as well.

It is on page 38 of this magazine, attached below, and if you ever wanted to know more about the culture of ski patrol, or the science of snow safety, check it out for a very informative, sometimes hilarious, read.

Page 38!


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