The end of a long journey...

                     (Slashing some pristene in Valdez, Alaska.   photo: Danny Brown)

I am back in Utah again after a long Alaskan journey, and I was stoked to see my girl and my puppy.  The last few days of the Alaska trip were rough as the weather did not really cooperate with my schedule.  Such is Alaska.  I got out one more day with the Sweetgrass crew and it was a really great day off of Thompson Pass with Pete, a good old boy from Valdez who parks his snowcat on the side of the road and bumps riders up to the saddle to access some great terrain.  We had a couple of good lines and some great pow skiing.  I am back to work now with Geiger & Wood Stone and we are putting in the hours slaving away.  Still pulling nights at Delta too.  Busy bee, but I gotta make hay when the sun shines.  The season is now over for me and I am looking forward to spring and summer.  I've got a lot to do in the editing software to get all the VI footage together and ready for our projects with TGP and Ydream.  I am excited to see what those guys come up with this fall for our premiere tours.  Should be a lot of fun.  

Valdez Library...

Sitting in the Valdez Library has its comforts when the only other option is a RV parked in the heli pad parking lot all by yourself on a long trip. The weather has moved out and the rest is welcomed because the last three days have been long ones. I have been getting it done with the TGP crew and the sun stays out here for a long time. Yesterday was a marathon day that yeilded some of the sickest lines. I took a beating on a double stager 8' to 50' that I sent a little too big on the second stage and landed in the flatter end of the transition. Crumpled right through it, but no injuries just some whiplash and a sore back.

Took on a couple scares the last few days. Hende kicked off a big ripper soft slab slide in the "Carrot Ramps" that propogated about a grand acrossed ridge. I rode off one to the skiers right into a nook in the rocks and watched it wash out for about 1200 vert and stepped down twice on the way down to an icy glacier. Lucked out some there as a result of good communication, escape routes, and instincts. I was about three turns into the slope and I was in the middle of the first slab when I heard the calls from above. I immediately spoted the spiderwebs around me and headed for the escape route out right behind the rock band. A nook in the band showed itself and I took it rather than the original escape yet further down slope. The move paid off when the bulk of the slab skimmed my tails as I held onto the the rocky spine. The next outing Lorenzo skied off a large soft slab to narrowly escape some huge consequences in the wash out over 500 vert of rocks, ice, and cliffs.

So now the TGP crew has packed up and left and I am now hanging out with the Powderwhores and the Sweetgrass crew at the same heli-pad and in the same RV. The weekend is looking good and I am hoping to get some great stuff done.

Blog entry: 4/6/08 Valdez

Eric Henderson said it the other night at the Doug Coombs memorial party when he said that "this place is about the highest highs and the lowest lows." The other day I wrote about those lows that I was feeling and today was other side of that spectrum. We got some afternoon clearing and we were ready for it. When got bumps up to "Python" first run and it was a gem. A really great start to the trip. We skied pow all the way back down to the valley floor for another bump over to another zone. Andy the pilot made a solid stick on the landing and we were in to the next line up. Henderson was testing the slope when a good slide popped out and ran as quite as a mouse to the glacial floor in a spectacular smokey display. It was a bit eerie to watch. The crown ran down ridge a good thousand feet and averaged a foot to two feet deep. We were pretty washed out but we made the best of what was left. Tomorrow is looking good also. If we have a full day like this afternoon we could really get it done. So this is the high and I am soaking it in as best as I can.

Blog entry: 4/3/08 Valdez down day

Flat on my back in the double bed at the end of a 24-foot rental RV, and Neil Young is telling me all about it. I am filled with mixed emotions about the trip as I long for home while laying all alone. I am missing my girl, my dog, my family, and my routine. Meanwhile, my mind flashes to the backseat of a helicopter hovering over the most beautiful mountains and ski lines that I have seen in my short life, and the heart full of nervous anticipation that accompanies it. It is this that makes me push through the moments of doubt and homesickness. No great thing comes without the effort to make it happen, and I think that all of this is part of the effort that must take place to produce the final outcome. If this theory holds true then I am working hard in the back of this RV fighting the mixed emotions that try to crush my spirit and force me to pack up for home. However, I do not think that such feelings are so horrible a thing as it has been painful forced reflections of the past that have always made me remember the people, places, and situations that are most important to me. So as heart wrenching as they are I think I will embrace these mixed emotions for the moment, and take the opportunity to think about all that I love about this short life.

Blog entry : 3/31/08 Alyeska comp

Two days of excitement in the mountains of Girdwood at Alyeska resort where a herd of men, women, and kids test their skills against one of the gnarliest competition venues of all time. It was a sight to see. The world’s best freeheel skiers went head to head and when the dust cleared, my good friend Nick Devore stood atop all the rest. I took another nasty fall in the superfinals that dropped me from my third place standing to a sixth place finish. I am very pleased to bring home another Sickbird Award though. A laid out sixty-foot lawn dart front flip was the stunt that brought this one home for me. That makes a clean sweep of the Sickbird for me this season. I had a grand comp total of a third place podium finish, a sixth place, and two Sickbirds in the two comps I attended this season. I am happy with this for the season. I always hate to fall in crunch time, but that is the way life goes some times. If I won all the time I would not have very much appreciation for the joy of victory now would I. So I will take my lumps as they come and use them as fuel for the fire that will burn at me until next season when I can take another crack at the top spot.