surfer's delight...

^Vertical Integration (VI) original and co-founder, Zach Houston, is one of the most talented humans I have ever met.  I have skied with him for over 10 years, and he still blows my mind on a regular basis.  A few years ago, Zach followed an urge to surf the beaches of Southern California.  He washed ashore in Cardiff by the Sea near San Diego, and now spends most of his time belly down on a surf board.  However, Zach's work with VI always keeps his mind close to the mountains.  We still manage to get him out in the snow a couple times a year.  Recently, he rolled into Utah just like he'd never left.

^Longtime friend of VI and burly Ogden local, Wes Knopfel, is the backcountry ninja cloaked in black looking back on Zach as we wait for the rest of the crew to exit the zone.  It has been sometime since we have all gotten out together.  Felt a bit like the old days.

^Mr. Knopfel is spotting Zach as he drops into the abyss.  Zach always seems to have impeccable timing and arrived just in time to harvest some ripe powder.

^Of course, Zach wasted no time and ducked right into a deep freeheel turn underneath the downed log that jams this chute.  He traded over-head swells for over-head powder, and picked up right were he left off without missing a beat.  His talent astounded us, yet again.  Ben Geiger looked at me and acknowledged, "Damn, he is still smooth as silk!"

^As local boys, we did our part to give Zach a lot of razing about his rusty legs and low elevation lungs, but as usual Zach showed up and ducked all of our jabs.  Only he can come into town without riding for six months and rip and tour as strong as he ever did.  Gets me every time.

^On Zach's last day in town we had an epic in Birch Creek Canyon. Wes Knopfel and I had to get out a bit early to make it to our night shift deicing airplanes at SLC International.  Pictured above, Wes is starting our skin out of the zone back to Snowbasin while I said my goodbyes to my dear old friend, Zach Houston.  Of course, he was still feeling strong and was going for one more big lap with Ben in the goodness. All I can say is, "If you've still got it, then get after it." Cheers, Zach.