Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whales Tale

Its was February and my girlfriend had just gotten back from a two month trip to Thailand. I missed her heaps, but was feeling free to roam anywhere with anyone and at anytime, skiing related of course. I knew that the adjustment would be difficult, but for riders edge its worth it! As a first tour together Gaelen and I hooked up with two other couples on this outing, Josh and Amanda and the down under crew Dugal and Shea.

When you are ski touring with your girlfriend I always want to have these four things, #1 positive attitude (for support), #2 safety supplies (for patience), #3 lots of snacks (chocolate is best) and #4 go to a place where you have never skied before (no skier boy like expectations). We had all these on our trip up the sawmill trail to ski the Whales Tail.

Gaelen learning that following her buffalo on a skin track is not as easy as climbing tufas on Tonsai beach, Thailand. Gae had never skinned before and was using a home made split board cut from a 15 year old K2, very sexy and impressive to watch.
The boyz entering the chute a little ahead of the girlz. We were surprised to see two tracks and a skinner in our line.
Gae making good strides after about a hundred kick turns up the gully and into the open. Gaelen had been at sea level for two months just days before this tour. She really wished that she brought home a few orphans to carry her to the top.
Josh and Dugal getting to the top of the tail and beginning to climb up its back.
The Aussie couple toasting Will Roth with some little fishies before the descent down the big Fishes tail.
Happy couple and happy girlfriend aboot to reap the rewards of a big tour above a big city.

Dugal dropping into safe Sandy and the rest of the valley below.

Gaelen shreds.
Amanda rips.
Josh carves.
Shea swallows.

A satisfied Buffalo at the end of a beautiful tour with great people. The only argument on this couples tour happened when Shea ate the last handful of goldfish without offering any to Dugal. Dugal handled it well because there was plenty of #2 on my list of things to have when skiing with your girl or boyfriend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mt. Greylock

I had to pay the guiding service by lugging there gear to the top it was still worth it but they pushed a hard bargain. They had these silly big turning fat skis so much different then the my noodle wiggler turning skis.
the rumors of a fat storm hitting Mt greylock in mass where right on the money

I hooked up with old pro guide service to reach the summit of this 3400 foot east coast monster

a top the big bend turn on the world famous thunderbolt ski trail. this mountain is no place for hot-s hot switch hitting green horns.Seasoned veterans only please obtain permits a base camp.

the thunderbolt looking peg -out after the rondo -race

on the home turf

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I only met Ryan briefly, but from that meeting comes a story that echoes all of the positive energy that his close friends associate with the man. GMFR was in town for the Alyeska comp and I was able to put them up for a few nights. After the comp they were hell-bent on getting down to Thompson Pass, but no one would rent them a car. So they got on craigslist and bought a van. $400. It was a hunk of shit but it only needed to last a few weeks and they figured they could sell it for what they bought it. Plus it would provide lodging.

From all accounts the trip was an incredible success. The pass delivered and the van took on legendary status. Flights to the lower 48 called the team back to Anchorage. The van wasn't running all that well. Just outside of Glenallen: click, bang, boom!! The front tire had exploded and blew itself inside out. From what I understand, the only thing holding the front wheel to the van was the brake assembly. Her race was run. With the unsigned title on the front seat, out went the thumbs. At the next town they left notice at the local bar that there was a free van down the road.

They made their flights, but that's not the point. The point? Friends, experiences, skiing. For most, this would be a trip of a life time. This would be their "ace in the hole" story for late night games of one-upsman-ship. But for GMFR it was just another chapter in a long book. Experiences like this were common for this crew; experiences you can't buy; experiences you can't plan; experiences you can't predict; experience you can't forget and experiences that inspire. Duct tape and a prayer.

I am proud to have crossed paths with this great man who truly lived life to the fullest. Catch his enthusiasm, grab some friends, have an adventure, make some turns, make it happen. And if your lucky, maybe you will inspire someone. Just like Ryan did every day.