Stephan Drake one February in Switzerland. He was in Munich for ISPO; and afterwards went to Engelberg, CH for what he thought was some down-tempo R&R. And then a massive storm blew in, which he described as one of the best multi-day sessions he's ever had. Read about it in his words, and watch some of the footage from what playfully became known as, The Melchsse Fruit Sessions. And don't forget to shop #Powtime to be prepared for strong spring storms... Some of the storm cycles that you remember for a lifetime are the result of carefully planned logistics and obsessive weather watching. Others are strokes of luck that fall into your lap. Last February, the crew was wrapping-up the grueling winter tradeshow season in Munich, Germany. After weeks of travel, loaded with chitchatting on concrete floors under florescent lights, all I wanted was a day or two of rest—stretching, napping, and decompressing in the mountains. Skiing was an afterthought. The plan was to deconstruct the tradeshow booth, and then load a mountain of promotional materials into a van bound for DPS’ adopted European home of Engelberg, Switzerland. Seven hours after ISPO ended, our gang of Italians, Scandinavians, Austrians, Scottish, and Americans were still diligently dismantling our booth with giddy exhaustion. As we loaded the remaining items in the cold, damp Munich night, freezing drizzle transitioned to snow. Normally, any trip to Engelberg commences by checking conditions and snow forecasts. This time, I didn’t care. I was most interested in the condition of which couch, bed, or floor I’d rest my body on in the coming days. But, in the final hours of booth-packing mania my phone lit up with energetic text messages from Oskar who had just skied Engelberg. “Absolutely all-time today.” “Another 80cm coming tonight…” With each successive message the group’s mood changed. It became apparent that we were about to drive our weary bodies and minds into a classic. The storm-of-the-year—and for many: the storm of a lifetime. There would be no rest. We would arrive in Engelberg near dawn, sleep little, rise early, and dive into the deep. Windshield wipers batted at the storm-crusted windshield as we crossed the lowlands of Bavaria, into Austria, before entering Switzerland. Matteo entertained us with wonky Italian-English expressions, as we rolled into a buried winter wonderland. Powder fever was everywhere. The day before, Oskar, Lars, Olof, and Piers seasoned a place called Melchsse Frutt in a neighboring valley. They glowed with stoke. On my first day, the storm raged on, as they took me to this hidden zone. For three days we skied deserted, bottomless, low-density, untracked Spoon craziness, as eyeballs popped out of our heads. When it cleared, we toured off Titlis for yet another day of untracked. On day four, despite good snow to be had, it was done. Lactic acid oozed from my head. It was finally time to sleep and dream of a storm that I’ll carry for a lifetime. That Engelberg storm was a stupid, ridiculous gift; one we rolled into with pure dumb luck. Stephan Drake is the founder of DPS Skis and a Patagonia Snow Ambassador.Chasing storms isn't easy. Carefully studying slow-moving weather blobs on a satellite weeks in advance, and then jumping in a car or plane to follow an educated hunch of what "could be" doesn't always pan out. But sometimes things fall into your lap. That's what happened to DPS founder
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Chasing storms isn't easy. Carefully studying slow-moving weather blobs on a satellite weeks in advance, and then jumping in a car or plane to follow an educated hunch of what "could be" doesn't always pan out. But sometimes things fall...