Lost Trail

At 5:00am on a Thursday morning I could here the rumble of Brit’s diesel Ford out in the driveway.  Montana had been getting hammered with snow and he convinced me to skip out on work and make the trip with he and Jed, out of town the next day.  We were headed for Lost Trail, a small, Mom and Pop, ski hill with five, old, lifts, a few rope toes, to get you in between, and only a couple hundred feet of vert to ski; but, wedged into this small family ski hill was an abundance of cliff bands that would make any skier go crazy and steep turns you would never have imagined were there, pulling into the lot for the first time. 

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A Reminder to Stay Present

At this point in the summer, I'd figured I'd have 15 days on snow.  The plan was to go back to New Zealand for a third summer; get back to work at Small Planet and crush days in the Chutes at the Remarkables.  Heading into May, things looked like they were going to stack up just as planned; until, quickly it became apparent that time was running out, I was still lacking a work-visa and air fare was rising fast.

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Madness: Pow Skiing in Vermont and Quebec

This past month has been wild.  I've been super lucky to be given the opportunities to get out into the mountains everyday, with a whole host of interesting people.  A few weeks ago, I was given the chance to hop onto the St. Michael's College's backcountry ski trip.  My good friend and ski partner, Taylor "Yeti" Luneau, was organizing the whole thing and encouraged me to tag along.  On an early Saturday morning, eight of us, loaded up two vans and booked it North, for a week of touring, none of us could have predicted.

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Rewarded.

I saw Ryan Denning in the Vista lifeline at Bolton Valley, this past Monday, right before he was gearing up to get in the car and make the trek back to the New Hampshire Coast.  Snow had begun to fall that afternoon and a few hours later, as I lay sprawled out on the couch, my phone went off, with Ryan on the other line.

"I'm coming back up in the morning, hitting the skin track at 8:00. You free?"

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Deep December

I can't remember any season where 10 of my first 15 days on snow were spent blasting through crisp, dry powder.  Northern New England has seen harsh temperatures and high humidity for the majority of the past two weeks; keeping many recreational skiers at the bar and lines untracked.

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Good to be Back

Stowe, VT Yesterday Sam, Mona (our four legged pow hunter) and I pulled into the parking lot on the gondola side of the Stowe base area.  We hopped out of the truck and began to unload, only to find an array of rusted pick-ups and overly-stuffed Subaru's on the same mission.  Dog's quickly joined forces and romped the expanse of the parking lot, until their skier was ready to take off up the mountain.  Each of us in the parking lot chose a different route; with a solid 4-8in base, how could we not all spread out in search of fresh, November tracks. Our morning skin mission marked exactly three months since I crashed in New Zealand, breaking my left wrist and pelvis.  I couldn't be more thankful for all the amazing PT work that has gotten me back out on snow far faster  and stronger than I could have ever imagined--needless to say my legs felt like cement blocks the whole way up. Sam and Mona charged up Gondolier, skinning through surprisingly dry and crisp November fluff.  Little by little, they pulled away, with each step it really became apparent how much of a toll an extended lack of exercise has on your body.  Despite a lack of athleticism,  I pushed for their heels and couldn't have been happier to get out and climb again--yesterday's summit being the waterfall beneath the gondola.  Plopping down in the snow, we sat and starred out across the valley, ever so grateful for the opportunity to be there, healthy and out in the rolling mountains. If the snow conditions yesterday were indicative of what is in store for Vermonters this winter, then it's going to be a banger.  I drove my tips, cautiously, through soft clumps of 3 day old pow, never sliding ptex across rock.  I was apprehensive and spent far too much time coming down in the back seat, but that one sweeping right-hand turn that sent an explosion of snow over my downhill knee made the day. Sam was on day 4 yesterday.  Gnar dog.  I made my way down the lift line, piecing together turns until my legs burnt out; creating an opportunity to set up some shots... Getting the goods up top.

Blasting spring turns on the lower half. In the parking lot, the dogs reunited; welcoming new friends, in the waiting stages of their accents.  We loaded up the truck and in almost total silence made our way back to Burlington.  The fatigue, blended with unscathed bliss, created an environment that needed no words to encapsulate or relive the excitement. It's just good to be back.

Shifting

“So how’s turning 24?”

Dane asked me as we sat looking up at the girl’s field ripping their lines on the first day of the K2 Big Mountain comp at the Craigeburn Club Ski Field.

“Ah, it’s alright. Doesn’t really feel like my birthday; 23 was cool, but 24, eh.”  Maybe that was it; I asked for interesting and not too long after, things did just that.

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