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SKIING THE FULLNESS OF THE VOID
Black diamond presentS Mary McIntyre getting deep in Japan

SKIING THE FULLNESS OF THE VOID
Black diamond presentS Mary McIntyre getting deep in Japan

“This powerful nothingness—that at once empties and fills the mind—is why powder is so addictive,” writes BD Athlete Mary McIntyre. For Mary—a devoted powder hound—her “Never Never Land” is Japan.



Accumulating at a rate of five inches per hour, Japan’s famed powder is just what Mary had been searching for—that “fullness of the void” out of which all things come. Check out this beautiful film featuring Mary Mac getting deeper than deep in Japan. “I told you it would ruin your life forever,” my ski—and life—partner says solemnly as we sit sipping coffee and eating fish and rice for breakfast, watching snow pour down outside the window.

It’s true. My life is ruined. This is the most incredible skiing I’ve ever experienced and I doubt my powder lust will ever be satiated anywhere else on earth. Snow here in Japan falls with different adjectives than I’m used to, tumbling out of the sky and accumulating at rates of four or five inches per hour for days on end. This insane rate of precipitation without time to settle leaves prodigious piles of powder between stands of skeletal birch trees, their papery bark whispering in the wind as long arms collect mounds of snow.
After an hour of skinning through the old growth cedar and birch forest, we crest a ridge and look down on the top quarter of a 2,000-foot run to valley floor, the rest obscured by heavy snowfall. Pillows, spines and gullies are buried under a thick blanket of untouched powder. It’s still snowing, and will continue to do so all day long. I drop in. The feeling of nothingness buoys me up then down—weightless, floating, not consciously making turns or decisions but dancing between the trees, flying over glide cracks where the 11-foot deep snowpack slips slowly downhill on top of flattened, slippery bamboo fronds. I’ve never felt such freedom. This awareness, this presence in the moment and nothing else, are pure joy. I want it to last forever.

Dolores Lachapelle, one of the most eloquent writers on the difficult to describe, transcendental experience of skiing powder, wrote:
“There is an experience of ‘nothing’ when skiing powder. But the idea of nothingness in our culture is frightening, and we have no words for it. However, in Chinese Taoist thought, it's called ‘the fullness of the void’ out of which all things come. My experiences with powder snow gave me the first glimmerings of the further possibilities of mind.”




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Recon Stretch Ski Shell - Women's

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Built to handle deep powder days, whether you’re in-bounds or out, the Recon Ski Shell features 4-way stretch fabric and our waterproof/breathable BD.dry™ solution, making it a versatile shell for day-in, day-out skiing. Learn More
Item# APE7O9317SML1
$ 379.00
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Built to handle deep powder days, whether you’re in-bounds or out, the Recon Ski Shell features 4-way stretch fabric and our waterproof/breathable BD.dry™ solution, making it a versatile shell for day-in, day-out skiing. Learn More
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Recon Stretch Ski Pants - Women's

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Whether you’re lapping the lifts or earning your turns, the Recon Ski Pants are ideal for all-day ski missions. Featuring 4-way stretch fabric and our BD.dry™ waterproof/breathable solution, these pants provide enough protection for storm days spent in-bounds as well as the comfort and mobility you need for long tours deep in the backcountry. Learn More
Item# APU318423MED1
$ 329.00
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Whether you’re lapping the lifts or earning your turns, the Recon Ski Pants are ideal for all-day ski missions. Featuring 4-way stretch fabric and our BD.dry™ waterproof/breathable solution, these pants provide enough protection for storm days spent in-bounds as well as the comfort and mobility you need for long tours deep in the backcountry. Learn More
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Boundary Pro 115 Ski

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A limited-edition ski designed with feedback from our pro athlete team, the Boundary Pro 115 is a wide-waisted freeride powder ski with a modern rockered profile and powerful, torsionally stiff construction—perfect for B.C. pillow lines, deep resort laps or big Alaskan spines. Learn More
Item# BD11508700001851
$ 779.95 $ 584.96
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A limited-edition ski designed with feedback from our pro athlete team, the Boundary Pro 115 is a wide-waisted freeride powder ski with a modern rockered profile and powerful, torsionally stiff construction—perfect for B.C. pillow lines, deep resort laps or big Alaskan spines. Learn More
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Boundary Probe Ski Poles

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Our fully adjustable, affordable freeride pole, the Boundary Pole now features a built-in probe function for backup or secondary use.

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Item# BD11153800001401
$ 119.95 $ 89.96
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Our fully adjustable, affordable freeride pole, the Boundary Pole now features a built-in probe function for backup or secondary use.

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This powerful nothingness —that at once empties and fills the mind—is why powder is so addictive. It’s why my life is now “ruined.” It provides such a strong mental experience that as skiers, we’ll chase it all our lives; spend all our money, time, and energy just to feel it again. Most athletes—recreational or professional—will experience this mental state, be it running, climbing, or skiing, where everything falls into place perfectly and it feels like you can go on forever; maintaining peak performance, enjoying your surroundings, continuing on to infinity. Japanese powder is that for me in its purest form. If it were unhealthy, I would call it a drug.

We break trail every lap, making our way up the zigzags through the forest a bit slower each time, with a few less people in our group, until there are just two of us on the last run down to the onsen (hot spring) where our friends have already settled in with beers. It’s storming hard and the light fades to a deep blue-gray. Being so alone out here is peaceful; it’s just us and the wind and the creaking trees and more powder than we could ever ski in a week, let alone a day. The tracks from our previous run are filled in, as if it never happened. We’ve found our Never Never Land: a place of endless powder and deep joy in the Japanese Alps.
Later in Lachapelle’s book, she sums up the life of a powder hound perfectly:

“Powder snow skiing is not fun. It’s life, fully lived, life lived in a blaze of reality. Once experienced, this kind of living is recognized as the only way to live—fully aware of the earth and the sky and the gods and you, the mortal, playing among them.”

Reading her words, the decisions that have brought me to this place in life make sense. At times, I wonder: Why do I need to do this everyday? What am I contributing to the world? But then I’m reminded that art, joy, and inspiration are worthy contributions. And that others before me have learned that this kind of living is the only way to live. This awareness of surroundings, of living deeply in the present moment, is so important—and rare—these days. It’s easy to get caught up in life in front of a computer, following the news, working and browsing social media, and suddenly days, weeks, or months have flown by. Sometimes a good walk in the forest, and maybe some fresh snow, is all that’s necessary to bring you back to the here and now, to get you back aboard the blaze of reality that is a powder skier’s life.

--BD Athlete Mary McIntyre




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Mercury Mitts - Women's

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Our most popular waterproof Women's Mitt keeps your digits warm on the coldest of days. Learn More
Item# BD801123BLAKSM_1
$ 109.95
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Our most popular waterproof Women's Mitt keeps your digits warm on the coldest of days. Learn More
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Dawn Patrol™ 25 Pack

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Our lightweight, mid-sized ski pack for day-in/day-out ski touring and in-bounds shredding, the Dawn Patrol 25 stashes your avalanche gear and daily essentials and is AvaLung-Ready for use with our AvaLung Element. Learn More
Item# BD681171DTBKM_L1
$ 139.95 $ 104.96
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Our lightweight, mid-sized ski pack for day-in/day-out ski touring and in-bounds shredding, the Dawn Patrol 25 stashes your avalanche gear and daily essentials and is AvaLung-Ready for use with our AvaLung Element. Learn More

THE ALL-NEW REACTOR ICE TOOL


With its open pick angle and leashless design, the Reactor is optimized for pure ice climbing. The tool features a steel head with an aluminum side plate and is compatible with the BD alpine hammer and the alpine adze. The tool’s extruded aluminum shaft is combined with a dual density grip that is adjustable to fit all sizes of hands. The Reactor comes ready with the BD Natural Ice Pick, so get stoked … because winter is coming.
  • Open pick angle to make climbing ice a breeze
  • Steel head with aluminum side plate
  • Compatible with alpine hammer and alpine adze
  • Extruded aluminum shaft
  • Innovative adjustable grip to fit all hand sizes
  • Comes with BD Natural Ice Pick

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THE BD ICE TOOL FAMILY



Our extensive line of technical ice tools gives climbers the ability to choose the right tool for the job. Whether you’re picking your way up WI 5 flows, or pulling figure fours in an overhanging cave, we have a full offering of winter axes to make give you’re swinging with confidence. Check out this video explaining what each of our BD ice tools are designed for.

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Fall 18 Ice Climbing Slot 10
SHOP ICE AND ALPINE