What is T.G.W.O.T.Y. you may ask. Well, T.G.W.O.T.Y is obviously an acronym meaning the greatest week of the year. Ambitious right? This acronym was first used when describing Powder Week prior to a fairly dismal curling match.
What is Powder Week you may ask. Well, Powder Week is an annual migration of ski brands, ski bums, ski techs, ski nerds, and ski groupies to a predetermined ski destination. Hosted by Powder Magazine, the roots of Powder Week are steeped in skiing fast and taking chances to ascertain what skis and ski brands are leading the pack for the coming year.
For the 18th annual Powder Week, Powder Magazine looked to our neighbors to the north; Canada, Red Mountain. 2.5 hours from Spokane, Washington, Red has a lot of everything; steeps, bumps, groomers, drops and poutine.
"I think we will be like the Beverly Hillbillies in that place" - Aspen Extreme
In a stroke of good fortune, my ski partner, Ryan, and I were invited to this festival of fun. In a state of euphoria we packed the car with a legal amount of canned beer, denim, and clothes we would never wear. Having zero idea of what to expect, we arrived to find Powder Magazine staffers had created a skiers nirvana at the base of Red Mountain. White tents full of every dimension of ski imaginable. A locally owned brand brought in their arsenal of skis savagely harvested from the owners property, kilned and laid up in his shop with all kinds of space age materials. From big name brands to boutique, limited production, boards you could feel the stoke. As an outsider I felt as if I was watching a family reunion of juvenile delinquents. Bird calls and high fives were the call to arms for the opening ceremonies.
It is not easy to plan a cocktail hour with your neighbors, but 130+ ski reps, pros, staffers, friends, party crashers, and testers seems like a nightmare, but Powder pulled it off with style and grace. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after parties were impeccably hosted. Apre beverages flowed at Rafters. For four days some 35+ testers throttled the Motherlode, Red and Grey chairs to determine what skis stood out from the cocky quiver.
Each day of bell-to-bell skiing was followed by Rafters Lager and a legitimate debrief on the days skis. Each tester was given a list of skis, times, and intense notecards to complete for each brand and ski. Terms like torsional rigidity, poppy, planky, and graphene were thrown about like loonies and toonies. Although feeling a bit daunted by the fact of having to standup to pros, reps, and legit ski bums, after a few misfires, double ejections, and my first #assfart day*, everything seemed to fall into place.
As I physically and emotionally re-enter society I find my face is sore from smiling, my quads muscles feel like beef jerky, and my voice is still hoarse. It is hard to find 130+ people with like minded interests, from diverse backgrounds, who can get along, doing what they love, together, with not bullshit, no assholes, and not too much 'peacocking'.
I now find a bit more clarity in T.G.W.O.T.Y. Powder Week truly is the greatest week of the year.