last minute epic...

Sometimes you have to take a step back.  Take a good look at what is going on around you, and make a call.  Every once in a while a move like that can pay off.  This story starts in Bozeman, Montana.  I was with the Telemark Skier Magazine crew.  The springtime struggle was in full force there, and we were studying the internet reports of the storms in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was late Sunday night and the forecast for the Wasatch was bluebird with significant new snow.  We talked it over and over.  When the dust settled, Kate Hourihan and I were up the next morning at 4:00am, and gunning for a sunrise flight into SLC International.

^It was an early rise, and a run around to get ourselves and our gear flight ready.  The two of us were in go time mode.  We pulled it all together just in time to catch the 6:25am Delta Airlines flight.  Kate got the last seat on the plane, and we were on our way towards a classic travel epic.  

 ^Our little regional jet touched down in SLC at 7:45am.  Baggage claim, a bus, and then my Subaru Outback in our rally up to the Northern Wasatch for a rendezvous with the day's crush crew.  Tony Gill came up from Park City, and Ogden locals Ben Geiger, Paul Wright, and Wes Knopfel were patiently waiting for us when we rolled into the parking lot at 8:45am.  Haggard and disorganized, Kate and I got to gearing up.  The whole crew was settled into the skin path by 9:30am.

 ^10:30am and this was the aftermath of 6 caffeinated and amped attitudes.   We were picking up real windslab concerns in our early observations.  However, pits and test sloping tactics were holding strong.  Kate and I took firsts in the big chute on looker's left of this photo.  I pushed the slope tests hard with good results, and then set up an on-slope shot in a safe zone to shoot Kate's line.  After that, I swung down and around to this photo perspective for the rest of the crew's lines.  I was running video cameras, and as these shots unfolded I started to realize that it was going to be a special day.

^With morale in the clouds, we ascended to go for more in another north through northeast facing zone.  The ascent goes fast when your that juiced on adrenaline and thin air.  Kate is following Paul into the great beyond in this photo.

^Next zone 11:45am. More homeruns.  The epic continues.

 ^Paul Wright is soaking up the sun after taking part in this crush session.  It was a couple laps later when this photo was snapped off at about 2:30pm.  The session had continued to progress into an out right murder scene.  Everyone was feeling the power of the flow.  The spirit of the group was lingering somewhere around the stratosphere.  The progression of the skiing and the smiles was proof.

 ^This shot of Ben looking at the rest of the ridge is further evidence of our crew's attitude and amplitude.  Two laps on this ridge with this crew, and the proof was in the snow.  Shear escalation.

^On the way out of the final zone at 2:45pm we continually had to stop and look back at what had ensued throughout the day.  Everyone involved was feeding the overall stoke of the group, and the electricity was sparking.  This kind of dynamic does not come around every day.  I am so thankful that all the planets lined up, and we were fortunate enough to have a day like this one come together.

^Tony Gill and Kate Hourihan were guests in my backyard, and they played nicely in the sandbox with everyone.  They kept their eyes, ears, and minds open to veteran local knowledge, and jumped right in.  It is not easy to operate in new terrain, but these two youngsters proved themselves worthy once again.  The whole group embraced the day's vibes, and harnessed the power to step it up to the opportunities the mountain's were offering us.  It was another classic epic.  Yet again.  By 3:30pm I was driving home with rubber legs and a million dollar grin. Yep.