Monday, September 16, 2013

Back Country Skiing

    I've been thinking a lot over the summer about skiing, but mostly about ski walking - the excitement of fresh snow, untracked lines, and big mountains. This is what we, the Skier Boyz, love. This is why we are Skier Boyz. Sussin lines, slayin dragons. You know the deal.

     Obviously were all getting super stoked with winter knocking on our doors. But fuck, here comes another winter. Where's it gonna snow? When's it gonna start snowing? How much snow are we gonna get? Those are all questions that crosses every skiers' mind. Another question that crosses most of our minds' is "What is the snowpack going to be like?" Will we be able to ski steep terrain safely?

    A couple years ago I remember having a conversation with Adam at the Twins 30th B Day. We had a big crew in high spirits. Adam stated, "Dude, I can't believe were all still alive after all the shit we've done in the mountains, and who is gonna die first?" About a month later Adam was the first to die in an avalanche in Canada. I never thought it would be Adam. Despite the fact Adam took a risk just by being in the mountains, he was always super cautious. I never thought Adam would be the first of us to die. I always knew one of us would die in an avalanche, but didn't know when or who.

     Fast forward to the present. I now know about a half dozen people who have died in avalanches in the past two years. Ya, they were not all super close to me like Adam, but they were mountain people connected to me in some shape or form. All of these people I had skied with, had or still have their numbers saved in my phone, shared beers with, laughs, etc. Kinda fucked, eh? Well heck, I've been lucky to survive a few close calls in slides over the years. I think a lot of us on here have as well.

     The question I ask myself is, "is it worth it?" And, I am not sure. We get so much out of being in the mountains, this is why we do what we do. I just think its kind of fucked up that when coming back from a day in the mountains, I often think to myself, "I am lucky to be alive." What a fucked up thing to think. I try to make safe calls out there, but I almost got smoked last season on a low avy danger day. I just don't think that this sport is safe. I think its kinda stupid and not sure if its worth it. Some of us are having kids soon or already have them. All of us have families, friends, partners, etc who love us. For those of us who have had to live with the loss of a friend or family member, we realize the repercussions of death . Death is inevitable. I've lost friends to all kinds of shit, but I've definitely lost a lot of friends and will lose a lot more to avalanches
    I am just sick of it. I really hope I don't get any more calls this winter about losing another buddy. And I really hope you don't get the call about losing me. All summer I've been thinking I need to stop back country skiing. But I don't know what else to do. This is how I make a living and heck there are so many ways to die. I just hope that we can all cool it down out there and that mother nature treats us well in the mountains.