Back in the high life again...

Cruising up Little Cottonwood Canyon at sunrise and the local radio station orders up Steve Winwood's, "Back in the High Life Again". It could not have been more appropriate. A dismal Utah winter last year forced me into a road warrior winter. Early October snows got my hopes up for a banner winter at home, just to see it all dissipate rather quickly. My expectations were no longer very high. Not on this particular day though. A few weeks back we had started receiving some significant snow. The base was becoming dependable, and the avalanche conditions were at least on the charts. I got invited by my long time touring partner, Ben Geiger, to join him and a friend of his, Scott Levine.  I have come to know Scott by reputation before ever exchanging a handshake. I was glad to finally get to put a face to a name.  As well as maybe soak up some knowledge from a guy who has been doing it a lot longer then me. I never pass up the chance to gain some influence from folks like Scott.      

^As Steve Winwood finished proclaiming my current place, back in the high in life, the sun was tickling Mt. Superior.  I geared up, and rendezvoused with Ben and Scott.

^We hit the skin path, and the scenes and spirits only got brighter.  Scott is all smiles in this photo with pillows still clinging to the trees, and blue skies on creamy peaks.  

^Ben and I were solving world problems as usual on the skin path, but never getting too serious to stop and take a look around. Most conversations were ending with our gratitude for our own situations that afford us the opportunities to be in places like the picture above.


^Ridge running and cautiously peering into the north facing terrain that was a bit more sketchy then we wished to test on that particular day.  That aspect was the prime target of the forecast that day, and most folks were avoiding them, including us.  For us, the southies were the name of the game.    

^These were not our lines down a beautiful sunny slope, but ours were pretty darn good too. We were stoked to watch these two fellas get some sweet action from across the ridge. Mostly because we knew we were in for more of the same all of our own in just a few moments.  

^Ben, "Let's go get our own now."

^After a glorious first run we wasted little time choosing our fate for lap number two. We made a plan, and got after it. Munching trails snacks as we stepped, and guzzling water between breaths.

^Scott is a talented guy that knows his way around the snow. I was pleased to get inside a pit with him to watch his style. His wisdom was obvious in his deliberateness. I love getting out with badasses like Scott in any hopes of gleaning some of there wisdom from them.  That is also the nice thing about great guys like Scott is that they are almost always willing to share if you just ask.

^Ben posed in front of our tracks on the last lap I was able to take before I had to run to work at my night job. Ben and Scott rallied for two or three more after I left. They are strong dudes on the skin path. Good guys to chase up to get into shape. Good guys to take backcountry risks with as well. Scott was a real treat to get out with, and learn to learn from a new perspective. I am looking forward to having more opportunities to do more of the same. As I gave out pole taps and "see ya laters" I was still humming the days anthem from the flashback stylings of Steve Winwood. However, as soon as I got to a wifi signal at work I was on iTunes downloading the soundtrack to my day, and reliving it in my headphones as I got down to the nightly grind.  "I'll be back in the high life again,..."