It has been some time now...

I know, I know. It has been sometime now since I last posted anything, but in my defense I have not really been doing anything worth reading about. Who really cares about my adventures in stone masonry. I have been working hard trying to get some cash together going into the season. I have not really even been skiing that much yet. However, come Friday that will all change. My beard will get shaved and I will be officially in ski mode for the season. I have about a week and a half to do some crash course getting in shape for my first trip of the season. I will be leaving for Hokkaido, Japan on January 13th to shoot some of the deepest pow on the planet with Sweetgrass Productions. I am looking forward to the trip and I am excited to see a new place. My father used to travel to Japan a lot back in the day, and I am interested to see what the place is all about. I will be on the north island of Japan skiing some volcanic coastal pow. Apparently this place just gets pounded with snow. I am not really sure what to expect, but I am ready for some samurai shit for sure. I was recently back in wisco for the holidays and there is no place like home to get me in a mind set to get out there and get some shit done. My family is an inspiration to me, and every time I leave there I have a fresh new attitude to get back on snow and try to make them proud. On that note, my mother will be happy to know that I just picked up a new sponsorship with SixSixOne, which is a company that makes super hardcore protective equipment. I will be sporting some brand new body armor from head to toe that will help keep me protected from the gnarly wrecks of my season. It is not fail safe, but it is better then nothing, and it goes a long way in taking some of the hurt out of the blow ups I am bound to get into this winter. The gear I've got now is pretty ragged and has saved my ass on many occasions (U.S. Nationals two years ago when I kartwheeled over two 20 foot cliffs, yikes, that was a close one). This new stuff will be much better too, more protective with less weight and much more low profile. My old stuff makes me look like I've got body builder muscles under my ski jacket. I am stoked to have my foot in the door at SixSixOne for sure. I will try to keep updated now that the ski season is officially starting, and I actually have something interesting to talk about. Take care all, and I'll be in touch.

Murphy is ready for ski season...

The other morning Murphy and I awoke to a winter wonderland.  She ran out to make sure that she was the one to thrash up all the fresh snow out in the yard.  She is just like me in that respect.  She loves the snow as much if not more then me.  Murphy took great care to make sure she tracked up every untouched patch of snow between our condo and the big field that we play fetch in.  We have also already scouted a slope in the hills that will be the site for her first downhill powder run this season.  We will be getting into some XC training this season and she is ready to get after it.  Her powder pounce got pretty honed in last season as a little pup and now she is ready for some low angle downhill.   Murphy is the surprise show stopper in the newest TGP "Harmless" television series release.  This January 50 million people will be able to watch Murphy fetch her toy in the some fresh snow during her short cameo in the Utah segment.  She is a natural.  Christine said our movies need more puppy so maybe I'll have to get Murphy an agent and start pimping her to the industry for logo time.  She'd probably get more sponsor love then me.     

Tough Guy Productions "Harmless" Thurs. 10/23/08

So the culmination of two seasons comes together with Tough Guy Productions new release "Harmless".  The Vertical Integration crew has two segments in this flick. The show will premiere in SLC on Thursday night, October 23rd.  The doors at Brewvies will open at 8:00pm.  We are all really amped up for this release and it should be a stellar event.  Raffling off swag and celebrating another season to come.  I love fall and the new movie season to get into anticipation for the new snow.  Now a days you can start to taste the cold air in the mornings.  It is just around the corner so come out and celebrate with us on a thirsty thursday down at Brewvies.  To peep the teaser and check out any other tour stops go to the website at 

Sweetgrass coming to SLC...

You may remember when I told you about Sweetgrass Productions.  I called them the Sundance of ski films.  Well since then I have filmed with these guys and have come to like their style even more.  I spent one day shooting with them in Valdez, Alaska on a cat ski tour that we lined up through a good old boy on the pass.  We got into some good little lines and some spectacular open pow.  The cover from the movie is a shot from that day in the Chugach.  So to get back to what I wanted to tell you all about is that Sweetgrass will be premiering their flick to Salt Lake City on October 16th at Brewvies.  It is a Thursday night which is a good night to catch a really good eclectic ski movie that gets into the heart strings of skiing and the backcountry experience.  I am really excited to have been a small part of this movie and I hope to be a better contributor this season.  I really like Nick's style and I want to do more with the boys from Sweetgrass. Log onto their site at to check out what they've got going on.

Luck o' the Irish

(The streets of Ennis)
(The cliffs of Moher in the distance)
(The castle in the background of the garden wedding)
(The silloutte of a newly wedded love)

Christine and I have been hangin in Ireland the last couple of days for the wedding of some old friends of ours. Amy Anderson and Patrick Joyce tied the knot over here on Friday and we celebrated with them and their families and friends. The wedding was one of a kind and the castle setting was a once in a lifetime kind of experience. The garden wedding was blessed with fantastic weather in a land were rain is more the norm than sun. The party was so much fun with a traditional Irish band and a cast of lords and ladies that entertained us in medieval tradition. It was a really cool. I am so glad that we were able to be a part the whole event. I would like to extend my best wishes and much love to Amy and Patrick in their future together.

The land is beautiful and the people are kind. We have been having doing our best to drink the land dry. Of course we are Utah lightweights so we have been getting our asses handed to us every night. It has been refreshing to spend some time with some old friends in a new environment. Ireland actually looks a lot like Wisconsin in some places. Now we have made our way north up the coast and the landscape has changed some to a more mountainous environment. We are holding up tonight in Clifden and it is a very cool little town. Tomorrow we are planning on touring around here and then making our way up through Westport and on into Ballina were Christine has some ancestral ties. Driving on the other side of the road and shifting a manual with my left hand has proved a daunting task, but we have only caught air in our little Hyundai Getz one time and I didn't kill anybody so we are doing fine then I guess. I am getting the hang of it. I am here for a few more days and then Christine is moving along to tour northwest Europe with her cousin Tara for another week or two. She is pretty excited to spend some time with her cousin and to get the chance to see some new places with her. I on the other hand have to return to work and every day life.


I am taking care of some office business on the ski projects and I come across an entry I wrote in my notebook a while back.  For a little set up, I had just got done watching "Into the Wild" on an airplane to Austria when I wrote this and was feeling pretty nostalgic about everything going on around me.  Check it.

545 miles from St. John's and back in Utah it's 9:00 pm.  Just finished watching "Into the Wild" from my business class recliner.  I've just experienced a world class "how'd I get here" moment.  I'm a long way from Wilmot, Wisconsin, and reflecting over that thought.  I may be a long distance from my small midwestern home, but I've had feelings of nostalgia since the credits rolled on the movie.  There was a scene that reminded me of my father's father.  It has been a long time now since he's passed, but I still feel his presence from time to time.  Maybe it's because I am at 30,000 feet, but he was here tonight without a boarding pass.  I can still see him as vivid as life struggling to cross a dry riverbed to show us the way to our goal one day in the north country woods of my father's youth.  My ski adventures have roots that run deep into the midwestern soil beneath an old chair lift still wrapped in upholstery that grandpa installed chair by chair back when boots where leather and edges had screws.  I often have moments on journeys like these that make me question how I ended up here doing these things.  I think that is when he puts his wisdom on my shoulder and reassures me that he brought me here, turn by turn.     

I've loaded up a shorty that I made a while back also that tends to run along similar lines of feel and flow.  I made this back near the end of last season when I was starting to feel the pains of a long season.  Now it seems almost like reassurance propaganda to myself to keep pushing forward to the end of the season.        

far...far...from my home

(an old photo of the Fornero ladies, and little Reese posing with their fresh purogies as part of an old tradition in my family)

Last night I spent the night with my family at my cousin Allissa's highschool graduation party. My cousin Shawny insisted that I be his beer pong partner and the problem was that we kept winning and that meant that I had to keep drinking, and drinking, and drinking. Needless to say it got to the point that I hit the fill line and had to turn on the blowers to purge the engine. I have always been a light weight, but coming back to Wisco and real beer emphasized the trend. I have 16 year old cousins that can drink more than me. Oh well, it doesn't bother me cause it is cheaper that way. My cousin's boyfriend Keith and his buddy brought out the homemade regulation beer pong table. I have to say that I was pretty impressed. Back when I was in highgschool we used to just drink beer. This thing was set up and had some real time invested in it. Maybe that is why these kids could shoot a ping pong ball like Kobe shoots a fade away. I have to say though that I had a great time and it really is a mind blow to see all of these kids growing up so fast. It is such a cliche' but it is the truth for me even more so because I am not around as much as I should be to participate in my families lives. I get to see them maybe twice a year and usually for just a weekend each time. However, even those short trips serve to keep me grounded and I wish I could come home more often. My everyday can really beat me down and turn me into a grumpy asshole, but just a simple trip home and some quality time with real midwestern folks is all I need to bring me back down to earth and reality. I have traveled all over this world and the folks from the midwest are still the most down to earth and hardworking people on the planet. Of course my objective opinion is probably somewhat biased but I don't care I still think that it is the truth. So in closing this post I want to say that everyone should take some time out and go home, whether it is a country away or right down the street, and also I would like to extend my congratulations to my cousin Allissa again. I am so very proud of the well rounded young person she has become and I do not worry much about her next year in college because she has a good head on her shoulders and our family work ethic in her backbone. I wish I could make it home for my cousin Kyle and Aubrey's graduation party next weekend, but such is life and I know that they realize that I wish I could be there. As well as everyone else in my family realizes that I wish that I could be around for the birthdays, graduations, and all of the things that I miss living so far... far... from my home.


I think that since I have a tendency to blog when I have been drinking that I will now call the action, "blinking".  That is right.  Tonight some friends and myself and Christine went out on the town in SLC and had some good times at the "Keys on Main".  I have been drinking blue moons all night and now I am feeling like telling it like it is.  Zach and I were brainstorming on the VI concept tonight during our after party affairs and it is so fresh to hear the enthusiasm and readiness to take on a revolutionary and new idea.  The industry is ready for it and we are poised to blow this shit up this fall.  Our culmination project is coming up fast and we are all getting super stoked to launch the VI concept and organization this fall.  It is all so exciting to see the efforts of everyone's hearts and souls come together to make up this revolutionary concept.  I am so proud of our efforts and I am ready to take the idea to the next level.  We have all worked so hard the last two seasons and to see it all come together, and it is very gratifying and nerve racking at the same time.  We are ready to blow it up and we are getting ourselves set to do just that.  This winter's OR Tradeshow will prove to be the stage that we make our moves on.  I will not go into to much detail because we want to let our skiing speak for itself first.  You see, we learned something this season from our friends with the Levitation Project.  Promotion can only be backed up by delivery.  If you can not deliver, then you should not promote so much.  So the VI crew has kept it's mouth shut, relatively.  We would like to let the skiing speak for itself, and then promote to a level that is fitting to the product.  We believe that our freeheel skiing rivals that of anything that has been seen in the last two years and this fall you will be able to judge for yourself.  After that we will then begin our promotion to capitalize on our efforts accordingly.  Vertical Integration is all about making the products you are already seeing that much better.  We want to enhance the current TGP, PW, and Ydream movies that you are already watching and this is what we have been doing for the last two years.  We are making large waves behind the scenes.  So as I write away my buzz, I guess what I am trying to say is that VI is poised to blow up and we are simply waiting for the right opportunity to do so.  Our efforts over the last two seasons will start to air this fall and I will let you be the judge as to how we did.  We are all believers in the concept and everyone involved has embraced the idea.  We believe in collectively coming together and pooling resources and intelligence to achieve common goals.  And this is the beauty of the concept, it can be what ever you want it to be.  We are here to assist people in vertically integrating their talents in the snowsports industry.  If you are an aspiring skier and you wish to learn more about what it takes to be a pro then why not learn from those that are currently doing it.  If you are a skier and wish to get involved in photography or writing, then why not get in touch with VI and learn from writers and photographers in the industry that are already doing it.  We are a behind the scenes entity making front page moves that everyone should know about.  So be on the look out this fall for the concept that is revolutionizing the industry without having to say a word.  

Vertical Integration... get organized.          

Whoooo... I feel better now...

Back to the grind after that lengthy drunken rant on the stresses of modern life and death.  Gotta love the reflections, and if you don't... then you should try.  It's good for you.  I had to go back to work though on Monday still.  Felt good to tie one on and shake a little rust off though.  It had been a long time since I had taken the opportunity to do so.  The walls still need to be covered with rocks and the bags still gotta make it to their destinations on time.  Lord knows none would happen without me.  I've got responsibilities to take care you know (sarcasm coming through?).  Anyway, the new TGP projects are starting to  come around now and I have been informed that the HarmLess Season 1 television show is up and running on RSN or will be soon or something of that nature.  The HarmLess DVD will be out this fall and will be a compilation of HarmLess Season 1 and Season 2 television shows that will be on RSN.  Season 2 show will begin airing in January of this winter.  The Vertical Integration crew will be involved in a couple of segments including Utah segments in all three projects and a segment on the Austria trip in the Season 2 show and the DVD release.  I will also be in the Alaska segments we shot for last year and this winter.  It is exciting to start seeing everything coming together.  Two seasons of hard work are coming together and I can't really wait to see the final products.  Should be good for the crew too.  It has been two seasons for them too without a ton of exposure to help with selling cause most of them had little showing in Open Windows which has run for two seasons now.  This release should help them out though with getting their exposure numbers up.  The VI project has only really been steaming ahead the last two winters and this will be the culmination of the organizations efforts to this point.  It is kind of nerve racking.  With fingers crossed we move forward.   


I have probably drank too much Early Times tonight to express myself without embarrassment, but I have had too much Early Times to care.  I was drinking in my kitchen with the loves of my life tonight and now I am feeling very nostalgic and reflective.  There have been many occurances good and tragic that have led me to this point of my life and I have pledged to myself that I would never forget them and never ever take anything this life has to offer for granted, but more and more as I let credit card debt and life in general beat me down I lose track of the things that are of upmost importance to me.  It seems I have to try harder and harder to keep perspective in my life.  The everyday of life seems to get to me more and more and I seem to be losing my ability to stay above it all.  Traffic, money, debt, and the realities of life are affecting me more and more, and I am struggling to "keep my tips pointed downhill".  I think that reflections like this are a treasure that should be taken in for what they are worth to keep one's mind on the right track.  I have so much love in my heart for the people and the passions of my life that I want to spend all of my time making sure that it is given the proper appreciation.  However, I know that no matter how hard I try I cannot tell everyone how much they mean to me and how much I would miss them if I was gone.  You see, I have always felt in my heart that I would die young and I feel so much responsibility to tell those that I love that I do so.  Then I come to the conclusions that no matter how much I try it will never be sufficient.  It pains me so much to think of the people that would be left to cope with my own passing, but I hope that they all know that I do love them so much and I have done all of the irresponsible things I do in their names.  I believe in living as much life as I can in my short time here that the people that remember me will do things that never thought they could because of me.  Because it is the people that graced me with the presence their short lives that have inspired me to do things I never imagined.  So many have inspired my path thus far, and I can never thank them in this life for it.  Perhaps one day I will get that chance, but for now all I can do is tell those that are still with me that I live my life in a reflection of their love.  I look back at all of the epics of my time and I am so thankful for them.  I feel like I have had more luck than most in my life, but I also feel like I have appreciated everything more than most.  Today I was in a local mall watching the masses move about making material statements of individualism, and it made me wonder if anyone else takes the time to look around at all of the madness of american life and come to the same realizations that I do.  None of that bullshit really matters.  Buy one get one half off is the not the end of the rainbow.  There is so much more to this existence that is so beautiful and worthy of lengthly reflection and appreciation.  So I guess that as I harness my whisky buzz and love of mellonchally music that maybe someone else is taking a step back and taking stock in their lives to come to similar conclusions that life is so short and so magnificent that the things that make my hair grey are not as important as once thought.  I once told my father that life is all about trade offs, and he took it to heart.  In reflection it may have been more prophetic than I originally thought because the more time I spend chasing the dreams and aspirations of my own life the more I realize how much I am missing in the lives of those I love most.  So I feel a responsibility to make sure to that I express my gratitude to those that keep me in their prayers.  There are many of them and I don't think I will ever be able to thank them enough, but I am doing my best.  So to all of you that have willed my safety to this point, I thank you and I love you.  Lord knows I have tested the limits of human existence more than most and am still living to speak of the glory of it all.  The older I get the more I realize the selfishness and irresponsibility of my lifestyle, but still I pursue these endeavors with more vigor then ever and I am not regretful but thankful for the opportunity and courage to do so.  Many people tell me that they envy my life's situation and I often doubt that they would face the dangers that I do on a daily basis throughout a winter season and still pursue it the way that I have.  Maybe I am a fool, but maybe I am an inspiration to someone and that one person is enough for me to justify the risks that I take day to day.  I love this life, and I love everyone that has inspired it and made it possible.  Everything in my life has led me to this point and therefore I have no regrets.  I want to lead my life not in fear of death, but in realization that death is the only thing in this life that is unavoidable.  So I had better make the most of this existence.  Everyone has a different definition of what that means but I think what is important is that no matter what that definition is one should pursue it with reckless abandon.  No one ever wished for more money or material on their death bed.  I want to be able to appreciate my life in every moment.  After all it is this moment, only this moment that is real and we should embrace it and try to live it to it's fullest extent.  The past and the future are only memories and aspirations.  The moment is the only reality and that is not something that I want to waste.  I could go on for decades on this subject, but I think that instead I will take some time right now the take in the feelings I am embracing and sharing at this moment because after all, soon they will only be memories.   

work work work...

Now it is back to the grind for me.  I have been slaving long days for the all mighty dollar.  I had the highest paying winter yet, but still I have to get after it in the off-season to make the ends meet up.  Laying stone all day and slinging bags all night has been my mantra and it is proving just as much of a pain in the ass as last season.  The weather is warm here now and the snow is quickly running off the hillsides.  I am ready for the warmth, but will be jonesing for the snow again in about a month or two.  Spring is always a welcomed season for me cause I get to beat up and burnt out to ski anymore, but after my ailments heal and my head clears I get the jones again. It never fails.  So for now I will embrace the hard work and carpel tunnel syndrome with my eye toward the fall when it all pays off again.  So I will leave you with a photo of my happy place that gets me through the 14 hour slogs.  

(reaping the benefits in AK.    photo: Danny Brown)

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.

Been getting after it lately?

Why yes we have.  It has been a busy couple of weeks for me and the VI crew.  After Austria I got that nasty flu for a week, Zach's knee was banged up, and Jon crashed his car.  We were a little low on karma I think from using up so much in Austria.  This all took us some time to regroup and get back to life in our realities.  So after some settling time we were hard presseed to find some goods.  However, that all changed one Tuesday morning when we absolutely killed it in Malan's Basin skiing three laps in Bowl to Bowl and a sunset finish in The Burn to the car out on 27th.  It was the first great filming day we had since we had gotten back from Austria.  Then the Ydream boys came over the pond to our side and crashed landed with me in the middle of a good old fashioned Utah dump, Alta style.  The whole week we sessioned Alta powder and one lucky day we found some bluebirds out in Wolverine Cirque and got some great shots including two super gnarly lines from Zach and Dylan Crossman.  Always love going to Wolvy.  We got some really great pow filming and a bit of bluebird lines so we are happy with what we got out of the trip.  
Just last night I got back from the U.S. Nationals Freeheel Extreme Championships in Crested Butte.  I was stoked to come away with a 3rd place podium finish and also bring home the coveted Sickbird Award for a 40+ foot lincoln loop off of "Hamburger Cliff" front row center for the crowd in the finals on Saturday afternoon.  I made some more cash for my next adventure up to Alaska for the World Championhips and a helicopter film and photo trip down to Valdez with TGP.  I am back for just a few days until I have to get packed for that one.  My folks and bro will be up there which will be the first time I will have seen them since Christmas time this year.  My girl, Christine, is staying home with Murphy and slaving at work while I'm gone, but she will have some girlfriends coming to visit from Wisco for her birthday.  So all is well and we are all still relatively healthy, so onward.

Sweetgrass Productions is sooooo sweet....

So I just received this teaser from Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass Productions.  I first met Nick at the OR Tradeshow this year at the Karhu booth where he showed me this teaser, and I flipped for it.  I personally am not in this movie but we are talking now to try to hook up some shooting later this season.  Regardless of my involvement, this teaser and the movie look really sick and I am very impressed with the artistry of the film.  I hope you all like it as much as I do, and if you do please go check out their site at :  Here is a little blurb from Nick that kind of runs down what the flick is all about:   

"The British Columbia Teaser blends the hand-fired days of the Canadian Pacific steam trains with blower skiing on Rogers Pass and Revelstoke."

"From these early railroad days to the miners of Colorado's San Juan mountains, Hand Cut will convey the rugged, calloused-hand history of North American mountains. The film will focus on the purity of backcountry travel, blending self-propelled skiing with the rugged western history. DVD release September 2008, and check out the site for our tour dates."

touring with a ghost...

The other day VI's Ben Geiger and myself got the opportunity to go out with a friend of ours that is an observer from the Utah Avalanche Center.  This guy would probably rather remain nameless because that is the kind of individual he is.  He showed us some new terrain in our own backyard that we have been salivating over for years.  This guy is super secretive and he took us to a stash that he made us promise never to reveal to anyone else, ever.  He showed us around the area, how to navigate it, and how to play it safe in this super burly terrain.  He basically gave us the keys to the city on this one and I for one am very grateful.  It was a really great experience to get out with him because not only is he really knowledgeable about the terrain, but he is an extremely keen avalanche observer that I feel like I can learn a lot from.  It was interesting to tour with him because not only did he lead really good routes, but he also did it in such a way that most people would never even be able to tell that we were ever there.  It was like touring with a ghost.  He prefers it this way not only because he doesn't want to give away his stashes, but also because he doesn't want "Gomers" to follow his tracks into really hairy terrain that could get them killed.  This is often a problem in our local mountains because ignorant people will see a track and just follow it like, "hey there are some tracks out to that untouched stuff out there, lets follow them!"  and then, "crack" they get gobbled up in a huge slide and all is over but the crying.  I am very appreciative of this ghost showing us around and teaching us how to navigate these areas safely with proper backcountry etiquette.  It is guys like these that I look up to for this kind of knowledge and experience.  I feel like I have a lot to learn from this particular ghost, and I am looking forward to getting out with him more and soaking up everything he has to teach.  Thanks ghost.    

Vertical Integration shorty... Dog Days...

Vertical Integration presents a new shortie here that is a bit of a peak at what the crew has been shooting early this season in Utah.  Vertical Integration (VI) has been working hard this season on a variety of projects including the latest Tough Guy Productions release "HarmLess" that will be out fall of 09'.  We are also working with Ydream Productions out of Europe, which I have been going on about lately because of our recent trip there.  Vertical Integration is an athlete driven organization providing promotional tools, resources, and networking opportunities for up-and-coming snow sports athletes of all disciplines.  Our roots have been based in freeheel, but we are shooting and helping alpine skiers and snowboarders just the same.  We are stoked with our growth and embrace the continued interest of industry professionals, supporters, and all the athletes.  So take a look at some of our early season stuff and keep your eyes out for our athletes now starting to appear all over the place.      

sick... literaly

Not sick in the ski industry context of the word, but the medical context of the word. I have been down and out with the flu for the last few days just hating it. One of the tougher bouts with the flu that I have had. I got it just a couple of days after I got back. Apparently it has been flying around the Delta ramp for a while when I was gone and it waited for me to come back. I feel like I am on the backside of this thing now so my spirits are up. Just got an email from the Ydream crew and it looks like they may come and join me here in Utah for a bit come early March, so now my spirits are way up.  I would be honored to return the favors that they had extended us on our trip. I don't know if I can match an experience like this one pictured below, but I can sure bring them into some great skiing.

(Jon Gurry snapping a photo of the Hallstatt scenery. photo: Zach Houston/VI)

Home sweet Home...

Ahhhh, yeah it is good to be home. Little Murphy here was waiting at the door for me last night when I arrived at 1:30 AM fresh off a 4 hour flight from Atlanta, which was preceded by 10 hours over the big pond from Vienna. Austria was so much fun and the Vertical Integration crew got a lot done with the help of Steve Lloyd, the Ydream Productions crew, and Dylan Crossman. I am so stoked with the outcome of VI's first international endeavor. I have to extend a huge thank you to Lothar Hofer and his family for taking great care of us on our trip. Martin and Lothar from Ydream did a fantastic job setting up the logistics over there for us and Jon Gurry did some great logistics work on our end to make this whole trip a huge success. The Krippenstien Freeride Arena is a world class mountain and I have full intention of returning to this place again. The staff was very helpful and the sweet women in the cafe at the base make some of the best sandwiches this "crazy american" has ever tasted. The Hotel Seerosee in Obertraun, Austria was a really great base camp for us and the owners of the haus, Marc and his family, were fantastic hosts and wonderful friends to us the whole trip. I could go on all day trying to thank all the people that were so hospitable to us on this journey, but I could never thank them all from the refreshment cart guy on the train to Obertraun to the girls on the street in Vienna that showed me the way to Neubeaugasse 51, which was an address in a strange place while carrying a lot of gear. So I guess I will leave it at, thank you to all of the citizens of Austria for taking great care of these "crazy americans".

Austria is it...

This place is bad to the bone. This is just a pic of the crew getting geared up at the top of Krippenstien Freeride Arena. This resort is sickness every which way you look. The imagery here is so gorgeous that I have had more than a dozen "How the hell did I get here?" moments in the last two days. The mountains are huge and the cliffs are a total mind blow. The photo below is one Dylan took from our skin up to our coulior I told you all about from the Loser (Low-sah) backcountry. You probaly can't see the filmers and photographers hanging out on the cliff edge waiting for us to get to the coulior, but they are there up on the top of that monster.

Yesterday we spent our down day touring around a small town near here that is rich with history and tradition. The town is called Hallstatt and is absolutely gorgeous. Hallstatt was apparently part of the filming for the famous old movie, "The Sound of Music". I can see why! The crew is still getting after it and we are recieving some snow today. We got a foot last night and it is still snowing throughout today. We are stoked to be getting the conditions we need to get after all of the huge lines and faces we have been scouting for the last two days. Hopefully the snow sticks well and we can take advantage of it. It is looking promising for it so far. We will keep our fingers crossed.

Austria is off the chains...

We have arrived in Obertraun, Austria. Jon and Steve are getting some photo work done in our apartment in this photo. Myself, Dylan Crossman, Zach Houston, Jon Gurry and Steve Lloyd took two flights totalling 15 hours then a half hour bus ride, four hours on a train, and then two hours on another train and we arrived right in our little town we are staying in. We are staying at the Hotel Soerossee and we have skied two days so far with the Ydream Productions crew. We have skied Loser ski resort (pronounced Lowsir) and Krippenstien. In the Loser backcountry Dylan and I skied a first descent couloir which means no man has ever skied it. As we approached the entrance a large deer/mountain goat looking animal called a Gam was hanging out on the peak checking us out. Then Dylan and I got into the entrance and I was scared shitless. Dylan looked at me and said, "Do you mind if I take it first." I replied quickly, "I would prefer it actually." Dylan dropped in and I lost sight of him after the first two turns. Of course he ripped the shit out of the line. I was so sketched that my lips went numb and my hands were shaking, but I had to go cause I was Dylan's partner for the trek out and there was no other way down. So I radioed in and dropped in. It was scratched out after Dylan had gone through and it was really firm and wind effected. This is was the tightest, steepest thing I have ever skied. I had to slip through a small part of the middle section cause it was barely wider than my skis and hard as ice. I was barley holding an edge. I made it through and checked "Big crazy ass couloir" off my list of things to do before I die. And since it was a first descent it will now forever be called "Crossman's Couloir". I was apprehensive about skiing it cause just looking at it scared the shit out of me, but Dylan wanted it bad and no one else would go with him. So I volunteered to be his wingman despite my fears, and in the end I am glad I did cause it was a first time experience for me and Dylan got the chance to rip the shit out of one of the craziest things I have ever seen. There is a reason he is a seven time U.S. extreme champion. You all will be able to see photos in the magazines and check out the footage and his helmet cam footage in the fall 09' Tough Guy Production's release that we are working on. We partied hard last night at Carnival in Bad Aussee last night to celebrate the descent. Lothar Hoffer and Martin Sochor of Ydream have hooked us up at the resorts and have been guiding us around. Those guys are super sick dudes and we are stoked to call these guys our friends now. They have really been great helping us get this trip dialed in and taking care of operations over here for us. This tandem shooting structure is really working well for us. So far the first international Vertical Integration trip has been a success. Just based on the material we have gotten in only two days I can already call this trip a wild success. So I write again in a day or two to keep the updates coming. Pray for snow and pray for us cause this place is fucking crazy.

making plans...

Trying to get all of the logistics and plans worked out for the up coming Austria trip. We leave Saturday for Krippenstien Freeride Arena in Austria where we are hooking up with the Ydream Productions crew. The trip is going to include me, Jon Gurry, Zach Houston, Dylan Crossman, and Steve Lloyd. We are hooking up with Lothar Hofer, Phillip Huber, and Martin Sochor ( I hope these names are right). It will be a pretty crazy trip I'm sure cause we really don't know what to expect. I am trying to track down funds for the trip as well as get my bills paid. This ain't the NBA, most of us skiers are barely scrapping by so coming up with the funds is a monumental task. Just keep juggling. Zach is meeting us in Atlanta cause he is diving down in Rowatan, which I have no idea where that is. Our night jobs at Delta really are the keys to the world's welcome mats. Crazy shit. So we are getting stoked up and packing our shit. I met a dude named Nick with Sweetgrass Productions at the OR tradeshow and they've got one of the sickest trailers I've seen. I am kind of fired up to hook up with his crew, they are doing something that I am really into and I hope the logistics work out for me to get out with them. Until next time...

still puking

It is still puking here in Utah and we are reaping the benefits. The crew has been out freeskiing the last few days just gobbling up the pow. No shooting, it is even hammering too hard for that. It might pay off tomorrow for some partly cloudy paydirt. The Wallow at the Biscuit has yielded some of the deepest experiences of my life, like blind deep. The avy danger his blowing up so we are just finding it inside and it is plentiful. The commercial masonry job I was on has finished and it is time to rock and roll on the mountain. The rest of the winter off with the day job, and switching over to full-time ski mode. Still throwing bags at night down at Delta cause the ski biz ain't the NBA and the benefits are soooo nice. Might be trying to get over to Reno-Tahoe next week to hook up with Stephane and put the finishing touches on the "HarmLess" TV show for RSN. Tahoe is getting pounded with these storms just before we get them and I hear it is going well for them also. Keep it coming, fill 'er up. Still trying to get over to Austria first part of February, we'll see.