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Mojo, Mary Jane, Summit Speed and Steamboat

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Not sure I would ever write this TR, but here I am, keys under my fingers, smile on my face =)

 

In past years I have absolutely delighted in my trips to the mountains and beamed with joy while I related my experiences for y’all.  This last summer though, I kinda lost my mind.  I fretted and worried that I would never again feel the joy in my heart that skiing in the mountains never failed to bring me.

 

All this negative think started on the backside of a huge crescendo of ski joy.  I was skiing on one of my fave runs at my fave resort.  Belle Fourche is about as remote as it gets when you’re speaking of resort skiing.  It’s a long long way from the nearest lift and that lift is a long long way from the nearest medical facility.  It’s quite the poor spot to ski into a large tree at considerable speed.

 

Luckily and thankfully I was not seriously injured, just very badly bruised and a little more bent than before. My body spent the next two months recovering but my brain kept telling me that its injuries might be way more serious.  It started when I worried that maybe tree skiing was not the smartest thing for me to be doing.  I thought, “I need to slow down.  I need to work harder on my fundamental skills.  Maybe I need to quit skiing trees altogher.”  But the thought of never skiing trees again must have turned my brain upside down because somewhere in the ten months between my mountain outings I began to worry that I would never again feel the joy that I feel when I park my car in the C lot, when I slide through the singles line and onto the chair.  When I watch the mountain pass under my skis and see all the possible lines.  When I hop off the chair and glide to my desired run.

 

It all seems a bit silly now but there were weeks on end when I tried to find solace in the fact that bowling would be way cheaper than skiing.

 

I worried that I would never see my personal ten billion ton talisman, Parry’s Peak (colloquially known a Bear Claw) in the same light again.  Bear Claw is an icon at Winter Park.  Its massive countenance can be seen from many Mary Jane vantage points.  As you stand at the top of Trestle it’s beautifully framed by pines.  I make sure to ride the Olympia lift every clear day because as you elevate past the last couple of towers, Bear Claw magically rises to fill the sky with its majestic presence.  I like to think that gazing upon it brings me special powers of stamina and perseverance.  I like to think that appreciating its beauty brings me closer to being spiritually aligned with all of the mountains.  But after my accident I thought this was a bunch of bunk.  I had fooled myself.  If there was any way the mountains had any awareness of my presence then undoubtedly they sneered and laughed at my grand thoughts.  “Here, wrap your rib cage around this tree and see how spiritually aligned you feel.  Ha!”

 

When I arrived back in Winter Park for the first time Bear Claw was shrouded.  Any special powers it offered were hidden from view, except for an other worldly glow that seemed to come from within.

Shrouded Parry's Peak.JPG

 

But this was not the beginning of this reclamation project.

 

At the height of my brain spasms, when I was thinking that my run in with the tree may have spelled the end of my skiing career I learned that a good friend had suffered severe injuries that required a long hospital stay and imposed the likelihood of years of recovery.  Did he despair?  Did he wallow in feelings that this might be the end of the life that he loved?  No, he looked forward and found the best methods to overcome his injuries and to regain as much of his former life as possible, as soon as possible.

 

I guess I needed inspiration and suddenly my ears were filled with the beep beep beep of a dump truck backing up to me and unloading a huge bucketful of it right on top of me.  My first priority of this trip was to stop into the humble abode of this powerful source of inspiration, tell him what his predicament had meant to my trivial problems and to soak in his spirit.  I am truly blessed with many, many remarkable friends.

 

Sunday, Jan 23

 

I met Uncle Louie and Noodler and we prepared to brave the winds of Loveland.  There had been several inches of new snow and the wind had scoured it, moved it, piled it and compacted it.  Runs were alternately delightful and difficult.  On our first run we were blazing along a cat track waiting for the best spot to make a sharp right and air into a big powder field.  Noodler was leading, chose the moment, impacted the deep and skied away with ease, UL followed quite similarly.  Now it was my turn and I followed suit, right up to the landing which I hit a bit too far forward.  At the next lift I learned that my Superman to head plant was rated a nine out of ten by several witnesses.  I was unscathed.  My helmet was not.

Broken Brim.JPG

 

Monday, Jan 24

 

Woke up in Georgetown and hit the road to My Little Corner of the World, the C lot at Mary Jane.

 

Conditions were very good.  The past week had been a succession of powder days and there were a few fresh inches or so and it continued to snow throughout the day.  I rode my big Bluehouse Maestros this day and the next.  These boards amaze me with their ability in bumps and trees.  At 189cm and 118mm under foot I expect them to float and rip the pow bowls but I never expected them to be an all mountain ski.  When the snow is not hard though, that is what they are.

 

I was thinking I would start slow and re-acclimate to these boards as I didn’t really have much time on them.  When I got to the top of the first lift though, I saw the sign declaring that the Chutes were open.  I supposed that it wouldn’t hurt to go take a look…. Oh, man!  Only a few tracks going through the gate!  I was in like Flynn!  No tracks at all on Awe Chute so I scoped it and made my first billy goat hop.  Hey, ya know, I’m smarter than this… I should have thought twice about WHY it wasn’t all tracked half an hour after first chair.  On this day this could have been called Dust on Granite Chute.  Well, I wasn’t going to hike back up so I made that granite my bitch!

Fluffy Chutes.JPG

See my line?.JPG

 

This is when it occurred to me that this was the first time I had been on these skis since the tree incident.  I guess the rocks and I had taught them a lesson because they were just butta the next two days!

Next I figured I’d head to the top of the mountain.  On the way to the lift that would take me there, I decided to take a run down Columbine, a somewhat steep, somewhat short bump run under the Sunnyside lift.  As I stood on top I reconsidered.  This run gets a lot of traffic and most of the new snow had been tracked and packed.  I was feeling slightly less than confident on these big boards.  Then I decided that flailing under the lift isn’t such a bad thing and no stranger to me, so what did I have to lose?  I dropped in and immediately felt comfortable in my line.  Half way down I felt like I had never skied bumps so well.  Three quarters of the way down I had to stop because my eyes had filled with tears.  I had spent so much useless time worrying that I’d never feel unadulterated ski joy again and in one run that joy flooded back into my heart.  It tickled my nose as it rose through my head then it came up through my eyes and ran down my cheeks unchecked.

I was back in the mountains, back where I want to spend my life and I was loving it!

Maybe Bear Claw was looking after me after all.

Bear Claw with halo.JPG

 

Tuesday, Jan 25

I had received a message from Trekchick that some good friends of hers and Philpug’s were skiing WP/MJ.  She wondered if I would be willing to show them some of my fave shots.  One of the revelations that epicski has brought to me is the rewards that come with sharing the hills that I love with others.  I was more than happy to meet up with some Bears and pretend I knew the mountain better than they did.  This is how I met meepmeep,  cbire880, pfblack, lovebug and noofus.

IMG_2174.JPG

 

What a fun gang to ski and hang with!  What started as a half day tour of the mountain ended up being three days of skiing,  a couple of dinners and a road trip.  On snow highlights included a hairy snowmobile tow out to The Cirque and a trip through No Name trees.

 

I thought I had messed up when the slope dropped off in NN trees.  A bit much for the less experienced in the group, I feared.  But we all took our time and emerged unscathed and grinning.

IMG_2183.JPG

 

Here’s a youtube vid that pblack found.  We don’t know the videographer but he was definitely in our group.

 

Saturday, Jan 29, Sunday, Jan 30

 

Race camp!  I signed up for Rick’s race camp, knowing that I could use some work to become a better fundamental skier.  The day before camp started I was very tempted to cancel and stay in Winter Park.  It was tough to drive away from my fave place in the world and head to Breckenridge, but I did it anyway and I’m way glad that I did.

 

As this event grew and grew, Rick was joined in the coaching ranks by Vail Snowpro, MastersRacer, songfta and Uncle Louie.  MastersRacer was given the unenviable task of turning by banky bank bank turns into something that would not elicit gafaws in the gates.  I think he did okay.  Although he did go to lengths to make sure that I understand that there is A LOT of work to be done before my technique is acceptable, I know that I felt the power of angulating on the flats (somehow, I guess I have learned this in the bumps already).

 

This was such a fun event!  I just can’t say enough about the coaches and the participants.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to know more of the Bears that attended.  I did get to know the peeps in my group, segbrown, Snowfan, uboom and Noodler and also really enjoyed hanging with new friends, Liquid Feet, Hermanator, Agent.5 and Chase.  It’s always good to see old friends too.  Let’s all do it again next year!

 

Here’s a vid Snowfan and MastersRacer shot.

 

 

Hotel table debris.JPG

 

Monday, Jan 31

Another red letter day as this was the day that my lovely wife disembarked the California Zephyr in the little town of Fraser, CO.  My legs were beat after the race camp and the train was almost three hours late.  These two factors conspired to keep me off the slopes and out of the hair of my SIA ski testing peeps.

 

Bumps coming out of her head.JPG

LW visits My Little Corner of the World

 

Steamboat and Winter Park are separated by about 100 miles of Hwy 40.  Purported good guy Finndog skis the Boat all the time and I ski WP all the time.  We’ve made plans to rendezvous a couple of times but I’ve proved to be sketchy on that tip.

 

 

road to the boat.JPG

This time it worked out quite well.  LW and I rolled into Steamboat Springs along with a cold front and some snow.  Not sure who ordered the side of wind but it was mosdef in effect.

 

Tuesday, Feb 1

 

The snow report claimed 11” but the wind had scattered it around the mountain.  Did I mention it was cold?  We decided not to shoot for the first gondi but rather to meet at 10am.  Good thing, too as by that time it was a balmy -25F….plus the wind.  We all had appropriate layers and really the only problems were at the top of some of the lift rides.  We pretty much avoided the top of the mountain and everything was chill =)

 

On the first gondi ride were Finndog, ski-ra, Greg Merz and snowfun3.  Unfortunately FD, GM and sf3 got separated on the way to the second chair so it was up to me to keep the astonishing pace that ski-ra laid down.  I guess I did alright as he kept leading me to more and more challenging tree shots.  Well, as far as I’m concerned the best benefit of being a Bear is the opportunity to meet so many amazing peeps.  Ski-ra did not disappoint.  Quite possibly the second best benefit is that most of these amazing peeps don’t mind showing you the best lines on their local hill.  Ski-ra did not disappoint.  Eleven inches and high wind equals two to three feet if you know where to go.  We were in boot to knee to waist deep for most of two days.  Yeehaw!

Peachboat.JPG

 

Wednesday, Feb 2

 

Well, we had conquered -25F and were therefore invincible, right?  Well today was -37F!  But, there was an inversion!  It was a balmy -5F at the top of the mountain and you could see the sinister cloud of cold that had settled on the town.

 

We pretty much did a repeat of the previous day:  tons of trees, tons of snow, expert guides, willing follower.  We were joined by Finndog  in the morning and then Greg Merz after lunch.  Big fun in deep snow was had by all.

 

While I was skiing, LW drove past a Little Blue Subaru milestone.

lw is a menace on the roads.JPG

 

I do not remember doing so, but apparently I lamented the lack of après snacks in our homey motel room the previous day.  This was waiting for me upon my return =)


Happy Colorado Time.JPG

 

Thursday, Feb 3

 

With temps well into the double digits and on the plus side of zero, the whole town came out to the hill.  Had a fun, fun, fun day with snowfun3 (what else would I expect?) but it was a tad like shopping the day before Thanksgiving at points.  I was happy to get off the slopes before I hit anything or anyone hit me.

3510e396_IMG_0653.JPG

 

don't bother knockin'.JPG

If the room is a rockin', don't bother knockin' =)

 

road to the Jane.JPG

Friday, Feb 4

The plan was to drive down to Winter Park, ski a half day then get a few hundred miles towards home under the tires.  I was delighted to find that Ski Nurse was planning to show up to my fave hill with four of her friends!  I was made to believe that her crew might be on the timid side so I showed up with groomer skis on.  They looked pretty puny next to the DPS that Emily had affixed to her boots!  We warmed up on a gentle groomer or two then hit bumps, trees and the rugged Eagle Wind area.

It was a grand half day before the road called me home.

 

Happy day.JPG

Happy day at the Boat

 

Heh!.JPG

Hope y'all enjoyed this TR as much as I enjoy seventh grade humor =)

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

Re-reading this TR, I realize that I have been remiss!

 

I referred to Finndog as a purported good guy because I had met so many peeps that told me he was a really good guy but I had

failed to acutally meet him in person. 

 

I'm remiss because I did not point out that now that skied with him and hung out a bit with him, I can indeed confirm that he is a very good

guy!

 

post #3 of 18

Checks in the mail......

 

Really great TR and thanks for sharing.  Despite all the bitchin' we can do about the site, the folks here are really what it's all about.  Cheers!  Hopefully, i can meet up with you at MJ and you can show me your playground. I really enjoyed skiing with you. Your passion for skiing is apparent and I am glad you found that again!

post #4 of 18

Ditto and we'll see ya in Summit County in April !

post #5 of 18

"Three quarters of the way down I had to stop because my eyes had filled with tears.  I had spent so much useless time worrying that I’d never feel unadulterated ski joy again and in one run that joy flooded back into my heart.  It tickled my nose as it rose through my head then it came up through my eyes and ran down my cheeks unchecked."

 

THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!

Glad you got your mojo back.  It's a cool wife who understands.

post #6 of 18

Wow - what a TR (I wouldn't have imagined anything about what you went through in the last year)!  Thanks for posting this and the kind words (it was great skiing with you - showing you my favorite Steamboat tree shots was like sharing a fine wine with a friend).  Next time you're in town we need to meet up at WP/MJ (that goes for you too Phil and company...I'm only 65mi. and a PM away...), so that you can share your secret stashes with me...uh...but that's my home mountain...though it seems you may know it better than me...smile.gif

post #7 of 18

I had a blast romping through the trees, steeps, steep trees and bumps with you.  Some of those lines I would have never experienced on my own and would have laughed if someone suggested I could ski them, enjoy them and not make too much of a mess of it.  I feel that I "leveled up" on this trip and the majority of it was from confidence gained by skiing in new terrain and new conditions and keeping it together.  Thanks for showing me another side of skiing.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfblack View Post

I had a blast romping through the trees, steeps, steep trees and bumps with you.  Some of those lines I would have never experienced on my own and would have laughed if someone suggested I could ski them, enjoy them and not make too much of a mess of it.  I feel that I "leveled up" on this trip and the majority of it was from confidence gained by skiing in new terrain and new conditions and keeping it together.  Thanks for showing me another side of skiing.


Having never skied with you before I can't really comment on the 'level up' tip.  However, I have no problem saying that you're a rock star, baby!

 

 

post #9 of 18

Nice BF.

 

I hope you had the pleasure to have skied Whiteout, one of my fav bump runs at the Boat.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

Nice BF.

 

I hope you had the pleasure to have skied Whiteout, one of my fav bump runs at the Boat.



I was thinking of you, Lars.  Wish you had been there.  I did have the pleasure of a BBQ pork sandwich at the Double Z =)

post #11 of 18

Bravo BF - thanks for sharing the joy and love of this sport.  You put the soul in skiing.

 

Of course my "new found" knowledge of how much the accident was still weighing on your mind makes me feel like a complete a$$ for asking/ribbing you about it.  Considering it was your first "real" day back on a mountain at the Love I would have re-thunk the hurtle off the cat track into the deep snow.  Are you planning on performing surgery on Mr. Smith or will you be ordering a new body part?

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey man, no worries!  I was all about that little launch and hit it with confidence...... yeah, I wasn't in top form that day but I guess that's

what I needed at that point.

 

Surgery is planned.  Epoxy is powerful stuff.

 

Looking forward to the next time we 'hit' the slopes together and for the record, I've never told anybody that you're a TOTAL a$$.

=)

post #13 of 18

I laughed. I cried. I want to ski with you. Again. Well done BF. In all ways enjoyable, uplifting, and enlightening.icon14.gificon14.gif

post #14 of 18

Wow!! What an awesome trip. I want to ski with you again too ... shall we meet up next year again. PLEASE?? So much fun. Thanks for being so patient with me - I was definatly the most tentative about steep and tight trees. But you were an amazing guide and I have to admit - I never doubted we could all do it once we were committed - just wasnt sure if we would have time for another run or if it would take all day! I'm with Paul ... there is no stinking way I would have done half of the crap without you - definatly pushed us all up a level (or a few!) and gave us ski story amo for YEARS. Thanks for slowing down and guiding us around. :)

 

And for what its worth - I'm so glad the mountains pulled you back in and you refound the joy, I cant imagine you any other way.

post #15 of 18

BF you are my hero,  A close friend and myself were makes laps on a local 240 vertical foot hill when the question came up can we still keep improving at our age, and the answer was who cares as long as we can glide on snow WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!beercheer.gif

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alta6 View Post

BF you are my hero,  A close friend and myself were makes laps on a local 240 vertical foot hill when the question came up can we still keep improving at our age, and the answer was who cares as long as we can glide on snow WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!beercheer.gif


Here's to gliding and grinning, a6!  I hope we can do it again soon.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebug View Post

Wow!! What an awesome trip. I want to ski with you again too ... shall we meet up next year again. PLEASE?? So much fun. Thanks for being so patient with me - I was definatly the most tentative about steep and tight trees. But you were an amazing guide and I have to admit - I never doubted we could all do it once we were committed - just wasnt sure if we would have time for another run or if it would take all day! I'm with Paul ... there is no stinking way I would have done half of the crap without you - definatly pushed us all up a level (or a few!) and gave us ski story amo for YEARS. Thanks for slowing down and guiding us around. :)

 

And for what its worth - I'm so glad the mountains pulled you back in and you refound the joy, I cant imagine you any other way.

Thanks lovebug!  I'll mosdef look forward to skiing with you and your crew again.

 

Oh.... it's worth a lot =)
 

 

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
<snip>

.  Well, I wasn’t going to hike back up so I made that granite my bitch!

<snip>

Bear Claw with halo.JPG

 

 

 

 

Monday, Jan 31

.<snip>

 These two factors conspired to keep me off the slopes and out of the hair of my SIA ski testing peeps.

 

<snip>

Hope y'all enjoyed this TR as much as I enjoy seventh grade humor =)


Love that picture above! 

But to comment on the rest of the TR.......

Its no surprise to me that you made that granite your bitch!  Heck, you can ski coral reef bumps after all!

 

Glad you got to meet up with a few of my favourite peeps at WP and Steamboat.

No matter how "below zero" it is, Finndog and you are a great pair to warm up the day with your spirit.

 

I'm totally bummed that you missed your SIA Ski testing peeps...frown.gif

 

Mostly, I'm glad you got your mojo back and can't help but repeat lovebug.....

 

 

Quote:
And for what its worth - I'm so glad the mountains pulled you back in and you refound the joy, I cant imagine you any other way.

 

See you on the snow!

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebug View Post
 I want to ski with you again too ... shall we meet up next year again. PLEASE?? So much fun. 

Well..... if you say so, lovebug =)

 

Thought I'd bump this tr to announce that I'll be back at the Jane from 2.23 -3.2 or so.  Possibly a couple days at Steamboat at the tail end.

 

So why dontcha come and ski with me?  Shoot me a pm or catch up with me in the C lot in the morning.  If the mountain is 12 and the lift is 3, you're likely to find me in the 8:00 corner.  Early.

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