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It was a bluebird day in Snowbird, Utah,” Dino White recalls. Sunny, clear, with no clouds, no wind. Layered in Patagonia thermals and Spider ski gear, positioned on his Dynastar 4×4 skis (he usually travels with three pairs, even on local runs), and straining his neck to see past the curtain of white stuff his skis kicked up, this IT project manager for Farmers Insurance in Los Angeles, California, plowed through the bowl of waist- to chest-deep powder. It was his single most exciting ski moment.
He also recalls skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where a whiteout cut visibility to 100 feet. “There was no distinction between the sky and the snow, and I had never skied there before. So what do you do?” he asks, smirking. “Just go fast.” He laughs heartily.
Dino never stops smiling when he talks slopes, turns, drops, and terrain. “My wife says it’s become an obsession.” He laughs again, but doesn’t contest the statement. Skiing is an intoxicating hook, he submits, presenting physical, mental, and emotional challenges that also feed the ego, all in a totally unrestricted environment. He has traveled the world to tackle and conquer some of the most challenging slopes. Obsession is easy.
It began 20 years ago when he reluctantly joined a group of friends on a ski trip and challenged himself on an “impossible” slope. “I thought it was a dangerous run, but I made it.” Today, he and his 6-year-old son, Tanner, warm up on that run, while his 4-year-old daughter, Taylor, works out (by herself) on the beginner slopes.
Dino, on average, logs 30 days per season, skiing throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada. He enjoys Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California’s eastern Sierras. “It’s near, and it’s where I first learned to ski.” It also has an extended season–November to July 4. In Europe, it’s Les Grandes Montets in Chamonix, France, “a big area with lots of crazy terrain and excitingly intense ski watching.”
“One of the biggest thrills is to look back up at a mountain and say, ‘Wow! How did I do that?'”
BUY WARM CLOTHES. “Don’t go out and spend a lot of money on gear,” Dino offers. “Buy long johns, Scotchguard your jeans to waterproof them, visit a local resort, and sign up with an instructor. You can also rent everything you need at a ski lodge.”
TAKE A LESSON. “A good instructor will help you with the basics and tell you what to purchase for your present stage.” The best instructors are members of the U.S. ski demo team. They are usually more concerned with technique than speed.
BUY THIS BOOK. Dino recommends Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier: The New Way to Ski, for Beginner and Intermediate Skiers by Harald R. Harb (Hatherleigh Press, $19.95).