Ax TAA 1440 670 95

What I know

Joe Penacoli

I know the feeling I get before it snows.

I know early season eagerness, and the anticipation of waiting for that first major dump. I know freeing my heels and dropping my knees; every time feels like the first time. I know frostbite, frozen toes, fingers, and face. I know muscle cramps. I know pain in my joints. I know shin bang. I know goggle tan. I know the itchy burn that explodes on my forehead after taking my winter hat off. I know boot deep, knee deep, waist deep, and nipple deep fresh.


I know the existence of escape found in the mountains.


I know sun crust, boiler plate, corn, and weakened layers. I know avalanche reports, snow pits, shovel shears, ruschtblocks, beacon drills, probe lines, and the comfort of being in the company of those who know these as well. I know low-pressure systems, lake effect snow, and white room powder. I know towropes, two person chairs, three person chairs, quads, six-packs, gondolas, and trams. I know lifties. I know belligerent parking habits at the local hill. I know closed canyons. I know whiteouts – when the sky is puking snow. I know the annoyance of a rooster tail off the back of twin tips, but I also know loving that rooster tail all the same time. I know the frustration of being snaked before dropping into a backcountry bowl. I know being afraid. I know shaking from a mixture of excitement because it’s untracked, but nervous the snow might slide. I know good and impeccable timing. I know altitude. I know timberline. I know hard pack, groomers, and corduroy. I know trees, steeps, chutes, and cliffs. I know open bowls, skin tracks, and traverses. I know secret stashes, pillow drops, and POW. I know lift lines. I know poor snow pack, sluff, human triggered slides, and having skis pulled from beneath before being dragged through trees and off a cliff. I know to follow the road less traveled. I know the feeling of a warm shower at the end of a cold day. I know being poor but acting rich. I know letting things fall into place. I know going with the flow. I know making the most with what I’ve got. I know to be thankful. But still, I don't know enough.



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