The second day of the 2010 Powder 8’s (this year’s event will be held on March 3 and 4) found competitors at Little Annie, snowcat-accessed terrain on Aspen Mountain. Conditions were dust over breakable crust—the opposite of the deep powder that creates the best competitive conditions. Anyone can look like a hero in bottomless pow; manky crud is another story. Even so, a former member of the Beaver Creek Demo Team shrugged off the less-than-optimal surface: “There’s no crappy snow,” Rob Mahan says. “Only crappy skiing.” Santiago Mazza and Hernan “Tito” Franco, ski instructors from Aspen, took the 2010 Powder 8’s title, dethroning defending champs Schanzy and Docken. The winning duo handled terrible snow the way most of us shred the bunny slope in ideal conditions. They skied with just a bit more control, symmetry, style, technique, and, well, synchronicity.
The only spectators cheering for the competitors were other competitors. Which was fitting. The only people to witness the crowning of the new champions were the people who cared the most about the outcome—and about this elegant, possibly endangered, sport.
Peter Bronski is a Denver-based freelance writer. E-mail him at email@example.com.