The Most Popular Ski Stories of the Last 10 Years From POWDER Magazine


From big storms, tragic losses, and the best days ever—thanks for reading.

This article originally appeared on and was republished with permission.

1. The Human Factor

We’re forever grateful for the courageous people who opened their lives up to us so as to prevent future catastrophe in the mountains. We hope to honor those who have died from avalanches, and their loved ones, by becoming more cognizant of our decisions on a psychological level. The Human Factor is not a blueprint to avoid tragedy, but it serves to educate, inform, and ask tough questions. How do we operate in this environment? What is it about this sport that keeps us returning to these mountains that hold such joy and beauty, yet can also have a dark side? The Human Factor makes each of us face the reality and take responsibility of our decisions. How can we stay alive in avalanche terrain? It’s a question we have to try to answer. Because skiing is our identity.

Photo: Courtesy of Blake Jorgenson/POWDER Magazine

2. J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson Confirmed Dead

J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson were killed in an avalanche on Monday, September 29 on Monte San Lorenzo. When we first received news that J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson were caught in an avalanche while climbing in Patagonia, we held out hope. We can now speak with certainty about one of the most difficult things to acknowledge—the loss of two incredible human beings. Our thoughts and prayers are with J.P. and Andreas’ families.

Photo: Courtesy of POWDER Magazine

3. Cool World: Vile Pile

“He’s literally burning his boots right now they smell so bad,” said filmer Taylor Walker of his friend Sean Mullins, who skied a three-story-high pile of “snow” and trash in Boston’s Seaport District on June 7, 2015. After nine-plus feet of snow fell in Boston during the 2014-15 winter, snowplows gathered the snow, and tons of trash and random objects, clearing the streets of chaos, and dumped it in a gigantic parking lot near the Boston Harbor. Virgin white snow morphed into grimy brown garbage, with shopping carts, bikes, traffic cones, and even a Tom Brady jersey jumbled together.

Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Walter/POWDER Magazine

5. Jackson Hole Closed Due to Too Much Snow

Jackson Hole crossed the 400-inch mark for the 2017 season, an almost unheard of statistic for Western Wyoming at this point in the year. The winter that just won’t quit kept rolling with a vengeance. After the resort closed down on Wednesday, February 9, 2017, due to a storm that brought down several power lines, Teton County declared Teton Village a “state of emergency.” A ferocious and wet storm dropped copious amounts of moisture onto an unstable snowpack, closing down three of four highways into Jackson and causing avalanches at all elevations, including one on Snow King Mountain that ripped inbounds, on a mogul run, to the ground.

Photo: Courtesy of POWDER Magazine

6. Sarah Burke Dies from Injuries

Groundbreaking Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke passed away January 19, 2012, from injuries sustained in an accident on the Eagle Superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. She was training for upcoming winter events. Her husband Rory Bushfield co-founded the Sarah Burke Foundation with her parents, and every year since 2012 the organization has awarded two $7,500 scholarships to young winter sports athletes.

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Burke collection/PODER Magazine

7. A Forecast Predicting 15 Feet of Snow Gives a Local the Vapors

I’m not hyping a 20-foot storm this week, or a return to the glory days of 2011. I’m hyping the most insane forecast ever. But I did spend the afternoon organizing my shovel collection and chopping kindling.

Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Salm/POWDER Magazine

8. The Sudden And Strange Demise of Sugar Loaf, Michigan

What happened to Sugar Loaf could happen to any ski area. Its demise is a story of poor management. After a couple of bad winters, it defaulted on loans and the bank took over, eventually selling to John Sills in 1981. In 1997, the bank reacquired Sugar Loaf and sold it to hotelier Remo Polselli. Polselli ran Sugar Loaf until it closed. Since then, the story of the mountain turned into a bizarre and dramatic tale that left a community crushed and a county unsure not only of what exactly happened, but who was responsible for the mess.

Photo: Courtesy of POWDER Magazine

9. After the Gold Rush: Julia Mancuso

“Crossing the finish line and seeing that I won was surreal,” says Mancuso, who created further buzz by donning a tiara—a gag gift from her coach—on the
victory stand. “It was like a dream.” But that dream, and her road to ski racing’s upper echelon, wasn’t always such a tiara-clad fairy tale. In fact, early in her young career, it was filled with visions of prisons instead of princesses.

Photo: Courtesy of POWDER Magazine

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