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​Flow & Snow at Powder Mountain

After a hell of a run and a long runout back to the road, PowMow's gregarious shuttle driver arrives to ferry the group back to the lifts. Ryan Dunfee photo.

An event at Summit at Powder Mountain focuses on helping its participants tap into the revered “flow state.” It’s being directed by researchers and authors Jamie Wheal and Stephen Koetler, whose book, The Rise of Superman, delves into how action sports stars with alien abilities (Travis Rice) are able to execute perfect decisions in the face of mortal danger, effortlessly, along Langely McNeal, Community Director for Summit Series, a community of entrepreneurs.

On a pow-less but gorgeously blue day in a Utah winter with few of them, the snowboard crew works on lay-down carves on empty groomers as we explore Powder’s capacious terrain, which is hard to imagine ever feeling crowded, as day ticket sales are capped at 2,000 skiers and season pass sales are capped at 1,000. While the majority of the terrain consists of gentle slopes populated by stands of Aspens, tracks can be seen so far away they couldn’t possibly connect back to a lift, but do.

Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project, Jamie Wheal, begs a participant to speak up while recounting childhood experiences of flow state. Ryan Dunfee photo.

We discuss how to “hack high-consequence triggers,” using an example of Glen Plake spinning into the top of a hair couloir in order to kickstart his body & mind into the flow state so that he can master the run effortlessly. Among other tactics, turning your body in a circle or flipping it on its axis is one way to “hack” your body into jumping into flow. It’s now apparent that Corbet’s Couloir can’t be skied with grace unless it’s aired into with a backflip.

Flow & Snow participants ready to drop into PowMow's backcountry. Ryan Dunfee photo.

As an obsessed snowsports dude and a complete nerd, I’ve always been drawn to overthinking this whole skiing thing, and am in good company here to do just that, with a group of people who may be some of the few not to give you a blank stare when you bring up the connection between a powder turn and “somatic cognition” in casual lift ride conversation.

But like everyone else on the mountain, these Flow & Snow petitions are relentlessly hunting for pow when they’re not chained to their desks, exchanging stories about their latest greatest trip, likely exaggerating the snow totals like we all do, and hankering for beer and calorie-rich finger food once the lifts closed, flow state or not.

About The Author

stash member Ryan Dunfee

Former Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research, current Senior Contributor, current professional hippy at the Sierra Club, and avid weekend recreationalist.