Something awesome happens when you finally decide to go for something you’re really passionate about.
Starting President’s day weekend, I embarked on the best vacation of my life…snowboarding for 3 weeks straight. Equipped with my new fuze pack, along with a demo blackjack avy bag from Mystery Ranch, I began my assault at Snowbowl in Missoula. Running into my buddy Tanner C was great, considering he was one of the first people to show me how to really shred. (By the way, the ‘out of bounds’ cliffs…..not really out of bounds….whoopsy!)
Back home at Bridger Bowl, 13” fell on day two of my vacation which signified to me I was in Ullr’s good graces. Madman’s, Psychopath, Cuckoos nest, and the plethora of lines at Schlashmans were enough to keep me choking on powder for the first few days, and since I was finally riding mid-week it was like having the Bridger’s to myself.
Before I knew it the temps took a turn for the worse and dropped into the minus 10+ range. Waking up one morning and discussing with my roommate how to layer for the day, continue to hike, and stay warm I panicked. The last thing I wanted to do was hike in frigid temps, but what to do? Knowing I’ve been running my mouth about learning to ski this season I opted to do something no one was expecting….ski. I figured hell, just bundle up like the Michelin man and lap Alpine on ski’s; that would let me get out, not be a wuss, and man up to my big mouth. Well right away I caught on and was hooked. Skiing for a few days let me recover from hiking, and gave me new insight on why Bridger Bowl really is a skier’s mountain.
With plans to check out the Utah ski scene I headed to Salt Lake for a few days to visit my buddies Joe and Keir. (How convenient to have friends with couches in the area). I immediately remembered why I don’t miss the city, but if you get the chance, Snowbird is one of the sweetest mountains I’ve been to. (Just don’t eat at garlic burger if you plan on going to the bars and mingling with women the same night.) Once Keir heard about my plans to continue skiing when I got home, he gave me a pair of ski’s (circa ’02 K2 Enemys) for the low price of free 99. All I wanted to do was get them remounted so I could ski Alta and brag to my snowboarder buddies, but unfortunately ski shops in Utah have many employees who stay out too late to make it to work and mount my skis. Ugh, so after a few days at the bird and Brighton I decided to move on to Jackson Hole.
Oh J-Hole, what a beautiful area. The people! What a rad crew Jackson has! My first run had to be on the tram, but I had a sneaking suspicion that the snow was bulletproof. Screw it, I’m in Jackson, and I’m riding the tram. Everyone packed in like sardines, and there were nothing but smiles. When we got to the top everyone was hooting and hollering, saying things like “I love my life!” on a Tuesday morning with nothing but glare ice to be schralped. You Jacksonians sure do have it figured out. With that kind of stoke going I lapped the tram all morning, taking some of the longest runs of my life.
Once I got back home to Bridger, I couldn’t wait to ski, yes ski, and I did, progressing quickly with every day, until I realized I was disconnecting from the one thing that got me into the mountains in the first place…snowboarding. My buddies Alex and Troy decided to do an overnighter up Hyalite, taking up my splitboard and doing some touring. Quite possibly the hardest 48 hours of my life, between the five mile skin, the four hour snowcave dig, the following day of skinning and shredding pow, and the arduous split skiing I had to do on the way down. (For those few brave souls that have attempted split skiing I salute you, because it almost killed me, and in combination with a fully loaded blackjack, I’ve never been so beat in my life). Some might ask, “Was it worth it? For the few laps of pow you got?”. Yes, oh god yes, if not for the chance to get out in the mountains.
Since then I’ve been focusing on my skiing, and will continue to do so for the rest of the season. Because sorry bro, after getting on ski’s I feel way more connected to Bridger than ever. (Don’t get me wrong, if it dumps that sweet cold smoke, my Eldorado will most def be ready to ride) But until then I cannot wait for the next time when all I have to do is wake up, and hang out in the mountains with some of the finest people on earth.
Thanks to: Joe for the couch, Keir for the ski’s, garlic burger, the Mangy Moose, Jackson Hole for letting me park my truck in pay parking and not paying, that ranger in Yellowstone who informed me you cant drive through the park in the winter, Emily in Salt Lake (yes I think your date was gay), big ups to Alex and Troy for constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone and not doggin me too much, Tanner C for keepin it real in zoo-town, Mystery Ranch for giving me time off and demoing me a blackjack, Jeff for driving Alex and me around during the pinhead classic (and to the afterparty), Bridger Bowl, and Mom, Dad and Amy.
Make time for the mountains