Don’t Let Powder Fever Get the Best of You This Season

Martin Kuprianowicz |
Good ski etiquette
Be careful: powder days CAN make you violent. | Photo courtesy Oxygene Ski School

Powder fever is real. How real?

Real enough to smash the window of someone’s car on the highway with your ski boots because their driving made you angry? 

Apparently so. A week ago I was stopped at a light coming up to Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah when I saw mayhem blossom before my very eyes.

It was 8ish-am on a powder day. Or well, the day after one here in the Wasatch—and mind you, it hadn’t snowed in some time. It’s been low-tide here all season long. So I expected people to be excited for the couple days during and after the storm. But not like this.

With drowsy eyes, I watched a man in ski clothes park his car at the light in the far right lane and leap out with rage as he darted two lanes over to the car just in front of me, which also appeared to be going up to the ski area.

I had front row seats for what was about to unfold.

Before my tired brain even had time to process what was going on, I watched a man viciously slam his ski boots against the passenger window of another man’s car, shatter it, and jump halfway inside the vehicle, attacking its driver with his fists.

He landed several blows before the driver took off through the red light and pushed the attacking man out the destroyed window of his moving vehicle.

“Did this really just happen?” I wondered after the light turned green and it registered to me what I had just witnessed. I had so many questions.

The question that really lingered, though—the one that really bothered me—was:

How can you even be that mad if you’re going skiing? And when the snow is good, too?

It doesn’t make sense.

But this reminds me that without context, there’s virtually no way to know what caused that man to smash that other man’s car window with his ski boots and attack him. And you never really know how close someone is to snapping.

Was powder fever to blame, or could it have contributed to this man’s anger? I sure hope not. But I know on powder days I get tempted to act a little more brashly—a little more selfishly because the only thing on my mind is getting to the powder and skiing it. But perhaps I shouldn’t—perhaps we shouldn’t ever let powder days affect the way we treat other people.

Because even though powder is arguably the best thing that can ever fall from the sky, it’s still just powder. And we’re still just people. And people don’t need powder. People need people. Especially these days, when the world is weird and the public is scared or on edge—so on edge that they can become violent towards one another at the light on the way up to the ski area.

So let’s say f*** all that. Let’s be nice to people. Even on powder days.

Please be kind in the mountains this winter, we really need it. | Photo courtesy Marc

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