Quality vs. Quantity

a snowmaker blows man made snow onto the piste, new zealand
A familiar sight across much of the West Coast ski scene.

It’s a question that has been asked for almost as long as civilisation has existed: would you rather have more of something, or a better quality of that something?

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the news, if you haven’t lived through it: the Eastern Seaboard and Southern Ontario are being lashed with snow. The numbers that are coming in are smashing any previous snowfall records – in a matter of hours. 6-8 ft of snow is more than most people know what to do with.

Meanwhile, the snow on the West coast is certainly taking its time to get here. Sure, the ski hills are open, but many resorts have, um, resorted to man-made snow and limited open terrain. As if to underline this matter, California, already in a drought, is seeing their 3rd year of meagre snow. People want to blame global warming (sorry, climate change), and maybe that is a reason, albeit partly. But looking back at our Eastern friends, it doesn’t make sense.

This begs the question: would you rather ski at a resort on the West, with bigger runs, a glitzier, Rocky Mountain experience? Or would you rather slay deep pow for a fraction of the price, sacrificing vertical feet in the process? Try as you might, it’s tough to get that Toronto Legburner feeling when your laps are interrupted every 30 seconds by a chairlift.

article continues below

Hopefully this won’t turn into a 90s era East Vs. West feud, but it does make you think. Some people live for the fluffy stuff, others live for the ski bum lifestyle, whatever that means these days. The citizens in the East may not appreciate what they’ve got, grumbling about the cold and shovelling the drive, creating a hostile environment for the percentage of their friends and family who head to Blue Mountain on the weekends. This might make them more driven in the face of adversity.  Meanwhile, the West Coasters, those that made the trek out this fall or many years ago, have accepted a lifestyle, for better or worse. Sometimes that pays off, and sometimes, you’re skiing man-made snow.

Consider the words found in the great Eastern philosophy book Ts’ai Ken T’an: “No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place”.


Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.08.21 PM
P: Whistler Blackcomb