It's no secret that the music you’re listening to can have a profound effect on your powder experience. Disagree? Try listening to “I Write the Songs” by Barry Manilow as you drop into a gnarly chute on a 20-inch day. See what we mean? It doesn't work. That’s not a rip on Barry Manilow—his music is excellent for driving your aunt to the airport. However, there’s a particular type of song that can take an already amazing powder day to the next level of awesome. Here are a few examples of songs that have been personally pow-tested, and each song has been matched with its most suitable terrain type. Enjoy!
All praises to the gods of inspiration—while the band might not even know it, this is the ultimate open bowl anthem. No song ever written complements big, wide-open pow turns like this epic from Spearhead. Bass-heavy and super smooth at the same time, Keep Me Lifted pushes you to ski hard and smooth at the same time—the perfect flow for floaty, high-speed backcountry cruising.
Ok, call it a guilty pleasure, but this is a great song (if you quote me I’ll deny it). This one’s also bass-heavy, but in a quick, punchy, almost jerky way—kind of like tight tree skiing. Coincidentally, Piece of Me is perfect for attacking tight, steep trees. It’s powerfully rhythmic without feeling hyperactive—just the vibe you need to seek out a clean line through impossibly tight aspens. You’ll be tempted to sing along, just don’t do it out loud. And if anybody asks what you’re listening to... lie.
Try not to think of it as ‘angry’ music: the band was probably just really hungry when they wrote Stigmata. Everybody gets a little grouchy when they’re hungry. This is very industrial, very metal, and very, very good when you’re charging into a steep chute or launching sketchy drops. “Intense” might be the best word to describe the song and the terrain that suits it. I’ve never done crack, so I could be wrong about this, but nothing in the world will give you the grunt to hammer down that sketchy backcountry line like Stigmata at full volume.
Every once in a while—maybe once a season—enough snow will fall on a groomer that you can hit a bottomless, absolutely worry-free, in-bounds cruiser at white-knuckle speed. You only get one, though. By the time you ride the lift back up, that groomer will be hammered. Queue Jamiroquai. This one’s another guilty pleasure (not quite as guilty as Britney). It’s bouncy, fun, and smooth enough for the rare powder-groomer.
This one is the king of all powder-day songs. They haven’t invented terrain that you can’t absolutely shred with Motley Crüe’s masterpiece assaulting your ear-holes. It’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. Locate the “Repeat” button on your music player before you hit “Play”—you may need it. If you’re nearing the top of the lift and your hunt for the perfect song is coming up fruitless, just find the Crüe. You can’t go wrong.
Honorable Mention: White Room – Cream (Wheels of Fire)
Of course, Cream gets an honorable mention for White Room. After studying the lyrics, we couldn’t figure out what the hell these guys were talking about. Judging from the title, however, we would guess that they were the first powderhounds in recorded history. Either way, Eric Clapton’s guitar solo is undeniably badass.