For the last two months, I've been engaged in at least three conversations a day, that target the ridiculous weather patterns we've endured and the lack of snow, that has pushed even the most die hard to the edge of giving up. I can't say I'm not partied to the complaining contingent of skiers that has thought about calling it on the rest of the season. When you intertwine everyday of your life with a sport that rides only on the good graces Mother Nature provides, only to be kicked in the teeth by weeks of ice and sub zero temperatures, immediately followed by rain and spring melts, how do you not start to question what your doing?
The reality is though, that it's always out there; you just have to be willing to push. When all options seem exhausted and weeks of dry, cold air keep anything new in the resort from opening, you have to go farther, stay off the couch, away from the XBox and look around the next corner. There's always the potential for failure, effort seemingly wasted, but as I look through all the photo's I've logged from our trips into the woods so far, we've really been striking gold all along.
At 5:00am, Taylor rolled into my driveway, grabbed his split board out of the rig and piled into to Ryan's Subaru, Leroy, with Sam, Moana and myself. Elbows pressed against one another's, ski boots and backpack's immobilizing our legs, we headed out in the dark towards Jeffersonville. The roads buzzed lightly with the wrestling of recently dormant cars, as we cruised by family's in their kitchen's cooking breakfast and farmhands, well into their morning hours, tending to the dairy herds. The branches hung still above us, swaying gently in the waning breeze as the low rumble of Ryan's muffler tore through the dead calm that engulfed the morning air.
Dreary eye'd and in silence, the four of us stumbled and crawled out of the car, Moana, overcome with excitement, burst out of the back seat and sent it, all four paws flying into the neighbor snow bank. The depth of snow from bottom to top, gradually increased in depth as we rose, but was sent flying and sliding, like dessert sand, with every step we made. The only snowfall we have had in recent weeks has deposited a few inches of really light, granular snow, which is great for postcards, but not building a stable snowpack above it's earthy foundation.
As the pitches became more vertical our steps became more labored, sweat beading down our foreheads. After losing contact with one of my skins, we decided to transition for the first run. A collection of, generously spaced, tree's stood beneath us, grin's growing as we each looked back down on our ascent. I dropped in first, piecing my way down the skier's left of the forest, finding an equal smattering of pow and rock beneath each turn. A few hundred yards down the pitch, I dropped my gear, pulled out the camera and got set to shoot some of my favorite run's of the season.
We poked around for a few hours, finding ourselves surrounded by hundreds of rideable features and armed with a crew ready to charge. Despite lightly dusted rocks and stumps shaping most of the landings, Sam, Ryan and Taylor all stepped up and ripped everything the forest had to give. Cliff after cliff was dropped and then dropped again; a few hairy moments were shaken off and everyone emerged in tact and, irresistibly, stoked. We are so lucky that we to get to spend our days tramping through the woods, a small collection of friends and the forest our company; and today stood as a resounding reminder, that as long as your willing to push, get off the couch when all motivation is gone, you can always find something to make you smile.
Check out the shots below!