No artist is as dynamic as Mother Nature, and very few of her forms can rival the ever-changing and consistently-stunning medium of the winter landscape. Skiers are lucky enough to call that realm their palette, a world of fiery sunsets, jagged mountains, proud ridgelines and otherworldly-light.

We skiers may be the luckiest demographic of outdoor enthusiasts, action sports-people, fitness freaks and fun-hogs on the planet. One look at the arena of our most passionate pursuit says it all—the mountains. The upthrust of tectonic plates, counteracted upon by the erosive forces of time and extreme weather, has created the most beautifully diverse landscape we know of, and our skis allow us to move through it with grace and efficiency. On any given day, we’re exposed to a hundred stunning vistas as our perspective changes with our altitude and exposure, our brains processing it quickly in periphery snapshots as we move through the terrain.

But sometimes it’s the small things that evoke the most profound. Take the snowflake—before magnification, did anyone have an idea of how unique these stellar dendrites were? Impressive on their own, but as they stack up they really get our attention. The different densities, the textures, the feeling underfoot as we pass through this pile of crystals changes from turn to turn, day to day, alp to mountain to peak. As skiers, we savor these varied textures and can recognize their signature looks and characteristics. We probably have as many words for snow as the Inuit…

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