Up and At It Early

Early season for me is more about a walk in the woods and a good leg burn. My friend, Luke, and I are making a habit of weekly Wednesday dawn patrols in the Cottonwoods before we each hit our respective offices in Salt Lake City. Luke works a classic 9 to 5 with the University of Utah, and I have a weekly meeting at Telemark Skier's headquarters above the Freeheel Life Shop. That is one of the many nice things about where we live. We can be on skins before sunrise and get a few laps in before work in the big city. It's a nice perk! 

Teach a Man to Fish

Education, the key to civil society. Also a crucial key to a life in the backcountry of the world. From trail to peak the education you take with you is all you really have to rely on. I finally got enrolled in learning a skill set that I have needed and wanted for a while now. A certification in Wilderness First Response was a loftier goal then I realized, but some good teachers and a good attitude go a long way. 

This is the Year

I have a practice of obsessively scouting terrain that I want to ski during the off-season. I like to get a good lay of the land for years before I ever put on skis in a zone. I scouted in the Farmington Canyon zones I love to ski now every spring for a good two years before I ever skied them. Needless to say, I have put in the same kind of time on this new zone I was in a while back. I won't give away the golden goose by publishing the location, but if you want to get into it you know who to call to take you out. However, this year will make three years of scouting this terrain, and I still have yet to place skis into it. I felt like I was ready last winter, but as the elevations of this area range from 8500 feet above sea level to 7000 feet it is a bit lower then most of the zones I get into. Last winter I was ready to go, but the terrible winter with a really high rain line, and my son's cancer fight put the brakes on that mission.  

What a Long Strange Trip it's Been

A long strange trip it has been indeed. For the Grateful Dead… sure, but for me… definitely. Leading into the Grateful Dead reunion concert in San Jose, California my life was inundated with my baby boy's cancer battle. My buddy, Ben, asked me to help him out by getting into the lottery for him to try to get tickets. Of course, we all won tickets, and then I knew that there was no way that Ben was going to let me off the hook on an event such as this. You see, I am not a "Dead Head" by any definition of the title. While I do enjoy some Grateful Dead tunes, my real influence from the group came via Jerry Garcia's exploits in the bluegrass genre, namely the classic bluegrass album, "Old and In The Way". My Dad was a big bluegrass man. I suppose it says a lot about my upbringing that still to this day a song like, Panama Red, gets me all nostalgic of times gone by with my family. I should mention that I am a bit claustrophobic and the idea of slamming into Levi Stadium with 80,000 Dead Heads indeed made me a bit anxious. However, my buddy Ben is one hell of a salesman, and the idea of missing out on the nation's biggest party when I had two tickets in hand… well, let's just say I am typically not one to turn away from a good party. Especially one in which I can go with some of my best ski buddies from the Wasatch for a once in a lifetime kind of ordeal. My wife felt I was deserving of the outing and obliged. I got my buddy, Wes, to take on the other ticket, and we were off.       

Spring Is In… After All

It has been the worst of winters. From the perspective of snow fall, as well as my own perspective fighting cancer with my young son, Amos, who has battled Leukemia all winter long. I had hoped for a good spring so that I may be able to have a little bit of a ski season, but to my dismay that had not been appearing to be in the stars. However, a late storm and some optimism has served to give this spring some last gasps of breath, and Amos is recovering really well. Spring is in, after all.

One Ski Day With Old Friends

I've hardly skied at all this winter. My bones ache, and my balance is off. My life balance is off. My son's cancer fight is all encompassing. The treatment timeline continues to drag out. By the time of the day I am writing about it had been a month longer in this bone marrow transplant round then we had expected. I had made a few tentative plans for my ski work with that timeline in mind. However, as the treatment continued inpatient at the hospital those projects started to creep up the calendar on me. I had canceled most of my trips and projects by that point, and only had a few things going with Telemark Skier Magazine and a Vertical Integration trip in the midwest on the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. I figured I had better start making a little time to get on skis and knock the rust out a little. The planets aligned a little to get out and ski with the old crew from Snowbasin in Ogden, Utah. I jumped on it to get in shape some and also to take advantage of seeing my old buddy and mentor that was in town, "Tele" Jeff Lee, who now lives up in Alaska. 

Life Calls, Listen Up.

Laura Mather. She is mother to my brother and I's oldest friends on the planet. I was lucky to grow up next door to the Mather clan in Lily Lake, Wisconsin. My big brother, Tyler, and Laura's oldest son, Graham, were inseparable friends as little boys, so naturally when both families each had another son around the same time the two new baby boys would also become fast friends. Adam and I were buddies before we were potty trained, and his mom and dad, Laura and Ron, were like another set of parents to me and my brother and our's to Graham and Adam. We had amazing childhoods blessed in the rural settings of southeast Wisconsin. We grew up. Adam made Laura a grandma. She beamed in her grand daughter, Jade's, presence. Laura's memory beams in my heart. Laura passed away recently. Cancer finally took her from us after Laura had beaten it twice before. Life didn't give the Mather's the best hand as we grew up with a tragic car accident, cancer bouts, and the like, but the perseverance of the whole family was always something I have admired. No matter what came their way they always stuck together and fought through with the tenacity that only those who know the family well may really understand. The boys have lost their mother, and Ron his girl, but once again this clan will circle the wagons and take on life head long with this one tear in their eye, a fist of fight, and hearts full of love.