- Lucky Fucker –

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In This Oh Sweet Life, We’re Comin’ in From the Cold”

Well it’s been a month since I’ve been here, sometimes you just need a little reprieve to go out and live!  In this last month, I experienced a rolled truck, (en route to skiing of course), great powder day in Montana, two epic powder days at the mother ship, ski day with the ex-wife and her boyfriend, watched both my little guys move off the beginner hill and into the terrain park, the sad news that a woman who holds a special place in my heart became terminally ill and the continuation of a lovely lass from the North Country  unknowingly breaking down my self inflicted barriers, making me smile in way that hasn’t happened in years. Reflecting on the month, I just have to crack a smile and know that I am truly a “Lucky Fucker” !

The snow conditions in this last month have been all over the map. Adventuring to Montana at he end of February, I found 20″ of that newly fallen love out at Bridger Bowl. That little journey parlayed itself into an epic 38″ dump here at home that provided two epic days of powder running! March has brought about longer days and some wonderful bluebird, t-shirt wearing, groomed bombing adventures! With no real snow in the forecast, hazardous conditions in the back country, I have embraced the warm weather and contentedness of skiing at high-speed giggling like a little kid!

New adventures await just around the corner! With a tank full of gas and more gear packed than a saturday gear swap,  Melissa is ready to hit the road!  This next adventure will take me 3,700 miles in five days, cover 4 ski resorts and a border crossing.  Should be a Sping Ski Fling for the books and as a bonus, I get to visit a plethora of long time friends from past and present skiing and river adventures.

Sometimes when I don’t things can get better, I just wait a month and they get better… I know I’m a “Lucky Fucker” -

Big Sky Country

Big Sky Country

Bridger Bowl

Storm Chaseing @ Canyons

Sun Over the Ridge

Bluebird Spoon!

Bluebird Spoon!

The Irony of it All……

•February 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

One of the many great things about living in Park City is that when best laid plans go awry and you find yourself unexpectedly staying home…..it’s a damn fine home to be stuck in. This weekend was supposed to be spent a little farther north running through an Avalanche 2 course, unfortunately that other “four letter word”- work, crept in and thwarted those plans. Turns out, it was the best and most ironic thing that could have happened.

The weekend started a little early with about 5,000 of our friends crowding Main Street for the Visa International World Cup opening ceremonies. With flask’s in hand, we navigated every back road and secret parking stash to find ourselves front row!  Randolph and the Family put on a blistering two-hour set that finished out in a pounding snowstorm and our beloved Mayor blowing harmonica, what a fantastic night in Park City!

Friday we found ourselves up on the hill for the World Cup aerials under the lights! Such a great event and one of the truly great weekends to be a local in Park City. This annual festivity held at Deer Valley always brings out the very best in our little ski town.  Not only is the competition amazing to watch in person, it’s also the best damn outdoor ski town cocktail party!  The number of old friends visited and new friends made on the snow under the lights is just magical.

The rest of the weekend was spent with two little amazing boys that I am oh so lucky to call my sons. Waking up on Sunday morning to see a 5 and 6-year-old in ski goggles standing over me in bed at 7:00 AM asking what time we’re leaving to go skiing brought a warm smile to my heart. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of elation watching two little guys take such a shine to a sport and lifestyle I am so passionate about. As we headed out the door, I had to laugh a little,  my avey pack usually filled with all sorts of backcountry gear was now brimming over with pb&j’s, fruit snacks, juice boxes and granola bars.  Spending an entire day watching these little guys experience the thrill of  new-found freedom on snow, get high-fives from ski patrol buddies spotting them on the hill and chase their first little crush’s down the bunny slope made for an amazing and unforgettable ski day.

As we began to wind down, I sat with old friends, basked in the sun and smiled as we watched our “not so little one’s anymore” ski like mad. I gave brief pause to laugh a little on the irony of the weekend. “Work”, the very thing that ultimately took my family away and sent me hurdling back to square one in life several years ago, was now the very reason I was spending the weekend at home.

This weekend will always be a gentle reminder that the game I want to play and will play no longer involves a title and proverbial  brass ring. I’m more content and fulfilled chasing happiness, adventure and to truly watch the beauty  of what is really important in life unfold in front of me.

Robert Randolph, Park City, UT

- A few friends on Main Street -

Park City Mayor Dana Williams Gets Down with Robert Randolph

- Aerials at Deer Valley-

- Keeping Deer Valley Classy-

- Duel Moguls Under the Lights -

- Six Years Old and Already Chasing the Dream -

- Little Young Yet For Apres' Ski -

-Teaching a Lifestyle -

The Week That Was…..

•February 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“When nothing is old deserved or respected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it.”

As the old saying goes, I just spent a year in Park City, UT last week. Our fine little mountain town was turned upside down with the Sundance Film Festival, topped off with the insurgence of snow-hounds seeking the nearly 40″ of pure white gold that was dumped on our slopes.

This annual little film shin dig always draws a large crowd and I was fortunate enough to catch up with a plethora of faces I haven’t seen in a while. Ironically, during the week, my excitement gave way to anxiety as so many faces brought back mixed emotions some good, some bad.

Luckily, I have been given two wonderful personal gifts – ADHD and the ability to ski. The combination of the two allow me to be distracted easily and go find bliss in an instant on the mountain. On a gorgeous bluebird day I took my bag of  mixed emotions and grabbed first chair at the place that is my sanctuary.  For an entire day I skied carefree like a wild-eyed child, booting off ledges, maching groomers and sharing ice-cold PBR’s with the aspens joyfully soaking in the beauty  that surrounded me.

As the day closed, I sat on ski beach alone and let the setting arms of the sun embrace my soul and began to feel like a complete asshole. Who was I to have these feelings of anxiety  about people who I called friends. I had to sit back and laugh at myself and  soak in the calmness and balance that skiing and the mountain bring me.  What a lucky fucking bastard  I am to have such wonderful people orbit my little world, it isn’t always perfect, but what is-

I came to conclusion that friends are like ski days. There are going to be good  ones and great ones, there will be days spent together that you wish would never end and others where the clock seems to have stopped. But, in the end, just as I am thankful for my  time on the mountain, I am even more thankful for the kind souls I saw the last week. Without them, this wild adventure called  life just wouldn’t be the same.

If you happen to stumble across this post, flip through your phone, call an old friend and smile that they answered because it was you-

Sometimes You Chase, Other Times You Are Found…

•January 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me

The fair winds of adventure blew me west across the Pacific Ocean to Maui this last week. This was a business trip and I left with mixed feelings. The thought of being in such a wonderful place trapped in meetings seemed more like punishment. To my surprise, lady luck once again showed me favor and took me on an adventure that filled  my soul.

This winter I have had the good fortune of chasing solid winter storms in my never-ending quest for fresh snow and adventure. With no storms brewing on my ski horizon, this trip was somewhat of a welcome break from the endless miles being racked up on open road solo adventuring. With no expectations or set agenda for free time, the days were wide open to be filled with whatever rolled my way.

My first day with my time off, I got out of the resort. After a jaunt down the road I found myself removed from the business end of this trip and wandering around the town of Paia,The first stop found fresh fish tacos wrapped in wax paper and PBR on tap. I sat to eat and watched the sun dance with a playful sparkle on the surf rolling in. Without even knowing it, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Eyeing the surf, I knew I was in way over my head and opted to go explore the lush forest. Finding a not so well-marked dirt road just out-of-town, I strapped on the day pack and headed down the dirt path. Within steps I was surrounded by a lush environment completely engulfed in the most unique flora and banyan trees I had ever seen. Winding up the trail, I kept pushing to the final destination, a swimming hole with a nice rock outcropping to jump off.  Soon I was at the water’s edge and with a bit of nervousness I began the swim across the swimming hole to the cascading water of a small falls. The water was so clear and cool it reminded me of the rivers in Idaho, it was total bliss! With several solid hours of adventuring it was time to head back to work. On the way back, I kept a watchful eye of the white foam chasing me down the shoreline. The next day, I knew I was in for a treat and a lot of work.

The rest of my time off I spent in Paia being chased and munched by large waves pushing so effortlessly into the north shore. Having a healthy respect for the water and an undying need to go play and experience  these big beautiful waves,  I laid my long board out and paddled out to the surf break like a wild-eyed child. In short, it has been a long time since I have been so physically exhausted while at the same time just so overwhelmed with the joy of feeling so alive. For two days straight I spent several hours paddling through six to eight foot waves smiling like a carefree kid. The rush of feeling that swell push me back towards the shore is like trying to explain first tracks on a powder day, there is absolutely nothing like it. I was fortunate enough to experience this wonderful feeling a few times. The rest of my attempts to pop up resulted comical falls,  dodging coral resting just mere feet below the water and extended breath holds as these gentle giants roared and tossed me with reckless abandon in every direction they could underwater. While not the most pleasant experience every time, there is something to be said for the absolute beauty I saw swirling above me as I waited for the wave to pass and the chance to resurface back into the sun and much-needed fresh air. I came to the realization that I’m much more solid on two planks in snow then  I ever will be in the surf, but the chance to play amongst this new playground was  worth every tumble I took.

Each night, I’d return back to our nice little digs on the island  and listen to our guests recap their day of shopping and dining on the island. I could only  smile inside as I began to realize how much adventure I was able to sneak in on a business trip. Not until I was safely nestled on my red-eye flight back home did my thoughts begin to truly sink in.  All winter I have been chasing my frozen white love and for a brief moment, the liquid love found me and rejuvenated this spirit with another fine adventure.

Sometime we chase adventure, other times when we least expect it, the adventure finds us and for this I am truly thankful -

On the Trail

On the Trail

 

Happy Adventure Kid

Happy Adventure Kid

 

Pure Heaven

Pure Heaven

 

The Playground

The Playground

 

Headed Home

Headed Home

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye……

•January 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Is It What You Dreamed It’d Be, Locked Up In This Fantasy”  - Amos Lee

 Jackson Hole is one of my most sacred adventures. I continue to roam this wonderful place in both summer and winter, continually awe-struck by her pure ruggedness and scenery.  This time the calling to Jackson came out of  sheer necessity to chase my good friend snow north in this lackluster winter.

Having just spent a few days storm chasing in Montana, the powder bug had entrenched itself into my soul and lit the fire to keep chasing the goods. Sitting in the kitchen staring at  NOAA , my thoughts to travel south to Telluride or Wolf quickly changed to a northbound charge. Instead of the storm splitting as it has done so frequently this year, it flowed north and hung over Jackson dropping nearly 30″ over three days.

With Dylan, Chet Atkins and the Allman Brothers  filling Melissa’s speakers, it was time to head north in search of adventure! Leaving in the evening, we were able to catch the great pink hue beaming on the under-bellies of strewn clouds whipping in the wind high above the plains on the Idaho border, we smiled in the anticipation of the promise of snow!

Pulling into Jackson’s premier property brought a feeling of warmth and smile. Snow was falling heavily and in the darkness we could see that the mountain in front of us was not visible, we had come to the right place! The following morning brought a scene that could only be described by  the smiles of folks in line for the tram. We waited patiently as ski patrol blasted away at  the newly fallen goods. After getting the all clear at noon, the line trudged forward and we caught the third tram. As we exited and began our traverse down to Rendevous bowl, I go a really bad feeling. The traverse was strewn with rocks and thin wind whipped ice fields making less than a joy to ski. To my amazement and delight, once off the top, the first turns down were knee-deep and that playful feeling of not a care in the world ran completely through me!

Four hours we played on the hill, giggling and in general beaming smiles from ear to ear, the playful “whoop’s whoop’s” could be heard in all directions! There truly is no greater feeling than that of  gliding over newly fallen snow.

Having an ice-cold PBR at the Moose brought an end to another great day on the mountain. While the night life, folks and food are all top-notch in Jackson, I must say, I’m just a simple skier. I adventure to fill my soul and brighten my days with the thankfulness of a great day and the promise of another one on the horizon!  30 hours after saying hello to one of my favorite mountains, I packed the “big girls” back into Melissa and waved goodbye…..for now.

I hear another adventure calling in the wind…..this one seems to be headed far west over the ocean!

Tram Love

Tram Love

Feeling the Love

Feeling the Love

Chasing the Storm

Chasing the Storm

Pure JH

Pure JH

"Home Away From Home"

"Home Away From Home"

Gotta Love Small Towns

Gotta Love Small Towns

"And the Road Goes on Forever...."

"And the Road Goes on Forever...."

Adventuring for a White Christmas

•December 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Things have gotten off to a slow start here in the great state of Utah this winter. Amongst all the bitching and griping of low snow , I have to remind myself and others that there are only two types of ski days, Good ones and Great ones!

For every grey cloud, or lack there of, a silver lining & opportunity await. With little snow at the mothership ,  the only logical thing to do was set off on a solo shot in search of the fresh that had fallen in Montana a few days prior.  I loaded up the faithful adventure companion “Melissa”, juiced the ipod, waxed the “big girls”  and set off with a sense of excitement like that of a small child on Christmas morning.

Approaching the small town of West Yellowstone on Christmas Eve day was magical. The aroma of pine from  wood burning stoves filled the air and a sense of quiet and calmness dripped deeper into my spirit as each mile passed. The snow began to appear heavier in the fir’s the deeper I drove into Yellowstone N.P. and  I knew I was in for a special Christmas Eve tour.

Pulling over on a shoulder , I gazed up at a lovely knoll that was primed for a beautiful tour and some epic meadow skipping. For three hours I skinned in a  blissful quietness and tried to soak up the almost incomprehensible beauty that surrounded me. The snow was more than I could have hoped for, after three weeks of groomed bombing, my sticks finally got buried in the big white love.

Christmas Eve brought together good friends and a lovely candle lit church service in beautiful Bozeman, MT. God and I have an agreement, I visit his “brick office” twice a year, the rest of the time I believe he peers over a cloud high above and laughs at the adventurous soul dancing in this playground. He must have been content with my year, as the gift I received on Christmas Day was more than I had could have asked for.

That gift was just an epic bluebird day at Big Sky with a joyful first tram trip up the infamous Lone Mountain. I have seen this peak many times, but the chance to  finally to ski off her  on Christmas was epic. The first turns into Lucky Bowl were butter! The sun hung high, smiled and embraced us in her warmth and let us play  until the legs gave out! The powder was boot deep, the rocks were covered and the PBR was cold….We’ll go ahead and label this 36 hour sling shot ski adventure  as a great ski day!

PS…..Did you just hear that whisper on the wind? I believe it’s Jackson going into a winter storm warning and gently calling my name;)

"Melissa"

"Melissa"

Yellowstone National park Christmas Eve Tour

Yellowstone National Park Christmas Eve Tour

Christmas Sunrise

Christmas Sunrise

Lone Peak

Lone Peak at Big Sky

Christmas Day at Big Sky

Christmas Day at Big Sky

Opening Day

•November 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So it has begun! The official opening of the Can today signified the return to patrolled ski area’s for the 2011/12 season. The mothership continues to grow and is looking pretty good this year. Something so heart warming about the familiar sound of lift towers spinning, it’s going to be another great year -

A special thanks definitely goes out to the snow making crew. Definitely one of the more solid opening days the Can has had for sure and was super stoked  to run Doc’s top to bottom on day 1.

A few laps were good for the legs, I then crawled back home for a dinner of elk and whiskey. We’ll see if this little storm coming tonight dumps a little sugar for some good first tracks in the morning.

First Ride Up Orange Bubble 2011/12

First Ride Up Orange Bubble 2011/12

 
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