Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Two Years On

January 2012

I was talking to Adam last summer and he was telling me how excited to be turning 30. Based on how much he accomplished if was tough to believe that he was only 30. When I met Adam 9 years ago, I had no idea how old he was. Based on his maturity, experiences, poise, and educational level, I would have been shocked to find out he was only 21.

Adam didn’t spend a lot of time resting on his laurels. He rarely talked about his accomplishments. This weekend I’m sure we’ll all find out something incredible that Adam did that you didn’t know about. When I met Adam, he was an accomplished snowboard racer, back‐country skier, climbed extensively in Colorado, owned a motor home, had a degree from Western State, was enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Utah, and had completed the Grand Traverse race between Crested Butte and Aspen multiple times.  As we all know he was an excellent teleskier. Powerful and smooth at the same time; and just as comfortable sending a big face as ripping tight trees, or noodling some low angle love. To me it was incomprehensible that someone could accomplish so much in their early 20’s.

This furious pace of accomplishment showed no signs of slowing. Throughout his 20’s he explored Utah extensively. I showed him what I knew of the Wasatch and we struck out all over the state exploring the Oqirhhs, Tushars, Stansburys, Abajos, and Henrys together. That first winter I knew Adam he decided he wanted to summit Kings Peak. So on one of his rare free days he made a solo winter ascent in a day. He summited and skied Rainer and other PNW volcanoes climbed the Grand. He spent time in the Alps, biked the Pacific Coast, led trad climbs, and was completely immersed in river running. Given his young age, his climbing resume is truly impressive.

But what is more remarkable is at the same time Adam developed an equally impressive professional resume:

  • He graduated from Western State

  • Graduate degree from the University of Utah

  • Top bucket o’ chili salesman at Alf’s

  • Created an innovative “hours for beer” compensation package at Joanie’s

  • Work with at risk youth in Monticello

  • Rapid advancement at the Gateway Academy to the point of developing curricula being making hiring decisions.
Each resume individually is impressive but taken together it is almost unfathomable. Either would lead you to believe you were dealing with a no‐nonsense, seriously driven individual who might not be very fun to hang around with. Nothing could be further from the truth. Adam did it all with apparent ease. And there was quite the mischievous streak that endeared him to those who knew him.

One of my first memories of Adam is him telling me that the part‐time semi‐retired cash register lady at Alf’s had been arrested in 1998 selling drugs at a Phish concert in Providence, Rhode Island. He had just spent a few days working closely with this woman on the drink line and had so many details about the incident that everyone he told believed that this 60 something year old grandmother had been selling glass on Phish tour. Of course none of it was true.

At Alf’s we were encouraged to make creative name tags. Adam had Yvergenhauf and he wore this name with pride every day. Whenever a customer would ask the nature of that name, he would tell them that his parents met while they were PhD students studying Norse mythology and Yvergenhauf was the Norse God of something or other. They were always very impressed.

After time I thought I could spot his BS from a mile away. But he had so many crazy real storiest hat it was impossible to tell the difference. Was his roommate really named Sterling Silver? Did that 8‐year cow‐poke really point a gun at him? Did his brother actually ending becoming friends with Martin, a guy who work at Alf’s for a couple of weeks that looked exactly like Sage? Did he really get a +1 invite to a private Sundance party and successfully change it to a +10? Did he really forge an alliance with the SLC hipsters?

Last spring I got a call from Adam, he claimed to be driving back from Nevada by himself. Supposedly he and couple other Skier Boyz had spent a few days in the Ruby Mountains shooting guns and skiing. They got to ski Terminal Cancer in chest deep snow. When it was time to head back to Utah, they decided to hop a freight train back to SLC, but Adam drew the short straw and had to shuttle the car back. The story was packed with plenty of details and names. It seemed plausible. Was this true? Was it made up? I’ve talked to all involved and they swear it really happened but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an elaborate hoax set up for Adam’s entertainment.

Adam had an enthusiasm that was boundless. Whatever he was doing, he was doing it 100%. And that was contagious. This whole Skier Boyz thing started as a joke. It was just 3 guys with the same days off making some turns. Adam was new to Alta and he would work through his lunch so he could get off early and we’d take some laps up in Grizzly / Silver / Days area. And it wasn’t long before he asked if he could be in the group and since it was more of a joke than anything, I said sure. Well, it was that moment that Skier Boyz stopped becoming a joke. People got titles and responsibilities. Adam became highly involved in recruitment and selection. Somehow he weaseled his way into the OR show and was giving pitches to outdoor magazines. He would bring back business cards of all the contacts he made trying to promote the group.  Then the t‐shirts showed up, hats, flannels, stickers, panties, the internet. Adam took a 1‐season joke and turned it into tight knit group of close friends that share the same passion that’s going on 10 years. Like I said many times, I can never be 100% sure if Adam is serious or joking, but on several occasions he told me:

  • Skier Boyz is the best thing that has ever happened to me

  • Thank you for giving me a social identity
Well, I should be the one thanking Adam. I’m not sure what this Skier Boyz thing is, but it a wonderful group of people that exists only because of Adam. So thank you, Adam for giving me a social identity, whatever the hell that means.

Since January we all have made turns for Adam, but this focuses only on one facet of his life, and not even the most important one. There wouldn’t be such a large and diverse group of people here if Adam’s best attribute was his incredibly beautiful tele turn. So I’m sure Adam appreciates you making turns for him, but there are so many other things I think Adam would appreciate even more:

- Take time to mentor someone for Adam.
- Sacrifice your time to make someone else’s day better for Adam.
- Be excited for other people’s accomplishments for Adam.
- Call a friend for Adam.
- Motivate some friends for Adam.
- Make a difference at your job for Adam.
- Be a better friend for Adam.
- Try something new for Adam.
- Give 100% everyday for Adam.
- Laugh for Adam.
- Live for Adam.
And sure, go ahead and float that river, summit that peak, slay that face, send that wall,
grease that singletrack, and dive the dumpster for Adam.