Going into this season a little jaded, comps were not really on my mind; after a good first result in NZ with a win at the chill series FWQ, followed by two relatively poor results that eroded my confidence. However, a little persuasion from mates got me back on track and I entered for the north face masters and taos, quite late. I was slack on booking my flights to squaw though for TNFM, and before I knew it I was staring down the barrel of an $850 flight. I paid 650 return last year, france-canada-france! ”No way”, I thought, that’s a heck of alot of backcountry adventure money gone”, or something indignant along those lines.
…and there I was, waking up on the shores of Donner lake under a already-blazing dawn sun. Right back where it all began for my new patrolling/snowboarding life. It sure was a trip, it had changed so little, and I so much…maybe? Nothing had gone right for me in the states. Not ever. However, from the moment I hit the boarder crossing, this time seemed different. I met nice people, things went well, the drive was choice, the music cranking…could things work out, just this once?
Well, I ended up being lucky enough to win the event. Much to my surprise, as some..Hans, sammy, mikey….were throwing down huge, fast freestyle into solid as, sierra cement moguls. I spent the rest of the day corralled into the finish line area, getting sunburnt and feeling stoked naturally, but also very torn that I couldn’t ride the newly minted pipe(what a beaut, we spent a morning shredding ‘er with sammy 2 days later).
Some cash, schwag and a samurai sword…how would I get that across the border??!…later, and it was time to enjoy the break from work:wearing shorts, some live reggae, a swim in lake tahoe and pupe riding filled the next 36 hours, and at 1pm Colin Bioyd and I hit the road for an epic roadtrip to big sky, montana, aiming for a 2am arrival. Cali, nevada, idaho, damn 2am… thin s were gettin’ weird… 7 30 am, big sky, dodge that moose on the road…Tim Cowie is the man at big sky, and we hit his floor for 1 hours shattered sleep, before the siren song of fresh powder…thats right… drew us out and onto Lone Peaks sweeping faces, courtesy of marketing at Big Sky, and their equally sick neighbour Moonlight Basin. We were sleeplesss snowboard Zombies but we definitely quaffed our share of blower, blower cold smoke pow, and the terrain…well, words don;t really describe it. Big sky has the variety and the absolute claim lines on lone peak, wheras the headwaters at moonlight wold be an amazing daily training ground, with their length, exposure and consistent pitch, with seriously consequential cliffs galore, plus …perma-shade, very remniscent of some of europes’ top spots…reminded me alot of courmayeur in fact. Tim slayed it on his home turf, so incredibly fast, and we bumbled along in his wake. Thank you Tim, Moonlight Basin and Big Sky.
I couldn’t resist one last run, and another, and to compound matters, when we did get away I soon got sideswiped by another car… and then almost fell asleep on the drive to bozeman…it was now clear I would not be driving 10hrs back home and straight to work. So; I opted for the only logical option and sallied out against 2ft deep powder off a sick ridge at another wee montana gem of a ski hill all next morning, the hit the road.
a wee spell back at work, with an impromtu weekend touring at rogers… the most memorable day being riding sifton main couloir,,then right back to valley floor, in the cloud with laidback ski madman CJ Wright at 6pm. I had a frayed kayak tiedown as a webbing harness, borrowed, ill fitting…… semi auto crampons(do no really work on Sb boots!), no ice screws and one borrowed snow axe(the day before, our destination changed from kicking horse to rogers, mid drive. then I met Jules, a mate from revy, and dint take much persuading to stay!)… Cj was not much better off…and our planned descent involving 1 times water ice crux was hastily changed!!
Off to taos. not much to say except that I was doomed to repeat my nz season. this involved crashin on the first tiny air of my first run, and coming dead last! I was however knocked out of the comp and although this was a bit blue, I was able to really enjoy the company of Sam lee, Tess Carney and Colin Boyd… team (kind of ) NZ… and enjoy some truly awesome riding, and spectating.
adobe house, with the finest of californian wine and new mexican cruisine! A good week was had by all. Plus; Colin Boyd slayed it on his final run; it went something like cornice cab 5, two hug 3’s at speed, a rib ride to indy cliff and a slick back 3 tail! brian bozack and jesse also really impressed me with their charging, tess carnage stepped it up to a whole new level, dominating the comp more or less, and the skiiers… wow. NEW LEVEL.
Then at louise, back home in the rockies, I continued my trend, stupidly crashing out to 6th place. grr.
Last I looked I am qualified for the world tour 14′ but will probably be knocked out my one of my fellow competitors travelling to europe for the last two FWQ events there. cant bear to spend so much to go there, for a chance, and miss so much snowboard mountaineering here both due to time/money for a few comps. ah well. spring here is proving sick;