While skiing can bring endless joy, it also demands its fair share of struggle, stress and sometimes bodily harm. Anyone who has clicked in to a pair of bindings knows the difficulty of the perfect turn, the exhaustion of early mornings, the sore back of a night in a Subaru or shoveling post-storm driveways, grease burns from flipping burgers in the lodge restaurant, or the pain of a trick or line gone awry. From building bombs to broken noses, a gallery of images captures skiing’s trials and tribulations, proof that joy has a price—and that for the perfect pow turn, it’s totally worth paying.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but adversity is the reason skiing works. Without it there would be nothing. If you could ski whenever and wherever you wanted, without the need for detailed planning, travel, transportation, money, specialized equipment, specific conditions, a boatload of expectation and going up to come down…or if it were something instinctually accomplished instead of a mad skill gained via steep learning curves that include surmounting millions of years of evolution that have left soft, hairless human bodies ill-equipped for high speeds, hard objects, frigid temperatures and remarkable feats of anti-gravity… then it probably wouldn’t be much fun at all. Certainly there would be fewer broken limbs…

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