With the criminals in the group headed to Cooke City Montana to shoot, the “good kids” of the group were ready to get part one of the mission underway. First stop: Nelson, BC.
We had no local connection in the area, so it was more of an exploratory endeavor. Lucky for us, the stigma of Canadians being overly welcoming is true. Most of the zones that had the best skiing were found solely from gathering local beta. Whether it was from the local hardware store employee, gas station attendant, or fellow sled neck enthusiast, all the info was solid. Even though at times some of the directions we received required implementing more of a “guess and test” technique. We did pretty well considering the endless kilometers of unmarked logging roads in the area. Unfortunately the weather was not fully cooperative with us (as would be the theme for the whole trip) most of the days consisted of grey skies with valley rain and mountain flurries. In fact, it almost seemed like the clouds were playing games with us the whole time. They would open up long enough for us to get a visual of the massive, picturesque lines in the high alpine that were begging for someone to put tracks down them. And it would stay open long enough to convince us that it would be a worthwhile to attempt hiking to the summit to ski and shoot them. Then of course, just when we get to the top, they would roll in stronger and thicker than before. Despite our relentless game of cat and mouse with the clouds, we were still able to find some great snow in the smaller mini-golf areas that offered us some treed visibility during the numerous cloudy days.
A week went by pretty fast, as they tend to do when you’re putting in 12 plus hour days of sled-skiing and exploring areas new to us. And with no foreseeable break in the coming days forecast, along with the groups collective ADD hitting the rev limiter, we made the difficult decision to relocate. So we packed up our house on wheels, said goodbye to Mrs. Kline of Kline’s RV Park, and put in a 12-hour push west to the Pemberton/Whistler area. At first the new location did not treat us kind, plague by 3 consecutive days of uncooperative weather, it may seem like i am whining, but three days of sitting in the trailer can take a real toll on an overly active personality. By day two we were all placing bets on who would be the first to turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. For some reason the odds seemed to be against me.
Travelling is indeed a wonderful gift, however, there are times when you second-guess the time spent on the road and off the hill because of uncontrollable factors. When you’re dealing with a limited budget and time frame, the overall goal of being as productive as possible takes priority in your decision-making. I had to constantly keep reminding myself of all the hype I had heard about this place from friends in the ski community to help justify the time and money being invested in relocating. To quote my buddy Cody Townsend, “if you want big-lines, definitely, definitely, definitely, go to Pemberton and be prepared to be amazed!” Sure enough, on day four when the weather turned for the better, I was just that.
We were extremely fortunate to have met up with Jon Johnson, a living legend in the Pemby area, who has had numerous appearances in ski movies over the years. I’m not sure what we would had done without Jon acting as our guide, Austin, Taylor and I could barely keep our sleds on the trail because we were gawking at all the massive peaks and endless lines shrouding us. Jon’s knowledge of the area is incredible, he and his late ski partner Jack Hannah have dedicated numerous years to exploring the area, using maps and Google Earth to suss out how to get on top of these monster peaks.
Mother Nature was kind enough to grace us with two consecutive days of sunshine and we took full advantage, with a 5 and 4am wakeup to hit the goods. Day one was an abrupt transition to say the least, we went from sitting on our butts for three day to standing on top of a 2000 foot line that took all but 3 minuets to get on top of with a sled. This themed continued for two days of great snow, huge lines and sun, leaving the crew totally exhausted and smiling for days later.
In hindsight I am not too sure the trip to Pemberton was the healthiest thing for me. Yes, I was able to ski the longest most impressive sled-skiing terrain of my life, but now I’m left wanting more and more. It’s safe to say that Pemberton has not seen the last of The Run Around!
I have been in Crested Butte for about a week now. Professional skier Matt Philippi and I drove down after our session in Cooke city. We struck gold this time in Crested Butte, it snowed about 3 feet during the first two days then the clouds cleared and left us with beautiful sunshine and deep snow! However, being this late in the season, when the sun comes out it warms things up quick making for heavy snow and dangerous conditions. Luckily this place has tons of good lines on North facing aspect which are more sheltered from the strong spring sun offering us some incredible snow. Matt stuck around for four days, then had to head back home to Salt Lake, I have been here for over a week now and the temps are starting to get pretty high. Its been 50 degree down low for the past two days which means its time for me to head back to Jackson and meet up with Taylor and Toph. Unfortunately the resort is closed for the season but we should be sled skiing for a while as long as the weather cooperates.
Well my trip to Canada got cut pretty short. In fact I never even made it in. I still have some legal issues, that are being taken care of as we speak, that are prohibiting me from entering the great white north. However, I left Toph and Taylor and headed to Cooke City Montana to meet up with Matt Philippi to check out some of the sled skiing there. On the way in I could tell that this place was just like Jackson. It had a ton of snow and from looking at the weather forecast and talking to some locals it does not see a lot of sun. The following day we headed out to see what it had to offer. Cooke has it all, pillows, big lines, jumps and snowmobiling heaven. Unfortunately the sun barley came out and some of the people that I was with had a few issues (blown motors). So here are a few shots and I am now in Crested Butte where it is dumping snow. More to come soon…….
The crew hit the road three days ago, Canada bound, for a big sled-ski trip up to Revelstoke then over to the Pemberton/Whistler area. All seemed to be going well, Corey, Taylor and myself packed up and left Jackson to meet the Two Plank Production crew of Corey, Austin and Willis in Montana and head on up to the border. That is until the long arm of the law caught up with us! Both Corey and Willis have a bit of a minor criminal history, nothing we need to go into detail about, both of which happen over 7 years ago so, with the necessary paper work filed, we thought they would be in the clear for some poutine and powder…..Needless to say, the Canadian border patrol felt other-wise, so unfortunately after several attempts at different borders, we determined the best thing to do was to split up the team. Taylor Austin and myself are BC bound, and the other boys are pointed for Cooke City, Mt, to get some shooting done in the states.
We just rolled into Nelson this afternoon, after some gorgeous driving, ferry riding, and a little polar bear club swimming, we are now posted up at a comfortable RV park just outside of town and planning our mission to check out the terrain around here tomorrow morning. From what I have heard about this place the goods should be plentiful!! Keep checking in for trip updates.
This past week I went down to SLC to compete in the Freeskiing World Tour finals at Snowbird, and also meet up with a New Zealand buddy of mine, Fraser Mcdougall, who’s been chasing snow in the states for the last few months. The qualifier day went great for the both of us, I took first and Fraser came in fifth, we were both super pumped going into day one of the finals. Unfortunately, I crashed and burned on a cliff that had a risky landed, but Fraser skied hard and made it into the finals on Saturday.
Fraser and a crew of his buddies have also been working on web series project this winter called “Backseat Bandits” they do all the shooting and editing themselves and have put out some super impressive clips this season. I have posted the one Fraser made from our Utah trip, it’s clear that he definetly has a talent for this sort of thing.
Check out the rest of the Bandits work on Fraser’s website.
This evening, after the second day of the FWT qualifiers wrapped up. I had the privilege to attend a very special memorial for fellow FWT competitor Ryan Hawks who passed away while competing at Kirkwood two weeks ago. While I never had the opportunity to meet Ryan personally, after being up on the top of Snowbird this evening among his many, many ski friends, I was able to attain a strong understanding of how special of a person he really was. I don’t think I could imagine a better setting for such an event, as Ryan’s family and friends shared their stories with all of us the sun was setting behind the massive peaks of little cottonwood canyon. I am quite new to the FWT and was totally blown away at the level of camaraderie I witnessed on top of hidden peak tonight, there is such a strong family bond between all of these athletes. In a world that can often carry with it huge ego’s and immaturity. It was an incredibly inspiring change to witness this group of athletes coming together to honor a fallen friend as one big family. This group of people is a great representation of the powerful effects skiing has on so many, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. Though we can no longer see Ryan on the mountain everyday, after tonight I am certain that he will never be too far away.
RIP: Ryan Hawks
For the past month The Run Around crew has been on the road. After judging the final stop of The Dew Tour, I hung out in Salt Lake until the boys came back up from Crested Butte. Their departure cued up Two Plank to produce the second webisode of The Run Around, which consisted of Corey and Topher in Colorado.
After camping out in the trailer with Corey and Toph for an additional week or so, it was time to head far West to Kirkwood, California for a Freeskiing World Tour stop. We played an incredibly pathetic game of hoops in the trailer park and said good-bye to our most exclusive photographer, Mike Schirf. We will be setting up a donations page to help Schirf buy himself a sled, quit his jobs, dump his girlfriends and travel around with us all next season. Please contribute……
Heading due west, we did not make it more than 70 miles before breaking down for the first time. My exhaust almost fell out of my truck and some wires that read temperatures snapped. After wrestling the 80lb toolbox out of the trailer I got to work in the dirt under the rig. We were back on the road making gas guzzling progress in no time.
Soon enough it was time to refuel. We exited the freeway and circled around a tire shop to line up for the diesel pump adjacent to the building. One of the mechanics noticed a lot of noise coming from my axel area under the trailer. He stopped me and asked if I had a minute or two to check out where it was coming from. We pulled the trailer around front and his crew went to work. They pulled the tires off and one thing lead to another resulting in a lot of 4 letter words and those guys telling us how lucky we were to still be on the road and not in a ditch. I bought the trailer used and it turned out that all of the shackles holding the axels to the leaf springs were shot. The leaf springs were flat and all the bolts holding everything together had worn the factory holes to nearly twice the size.
I had them go ahead and fix everything that was about to decay so we posted up at a nice restaurant which also happens to have a sister building with some very high class, respectable woman to observe. The place was called Bella’s and sadly enough the club was not located off that particular exit.
After dumping out my wallet to the fellah’s in the middle of nowhere, we were on the road again. Depressed, I let Toph drive while I figured out how to save more money next summer. We arrived in Cali that night and parked in a beautiful casino parking lot on the state line for some much needed sleep.
We spent the first half of the trip bouncing around from “snow park” to “snow park.” It was a treat to wake up, make some food, step outside and go. No driving or loading and unloading of sleds. We were already where we needed to be.
I did very minimal skiing while in Kirkwood. They received around 10 feet of snow while we were there. It was very tough just keep my sled moving without it getting stuck. THERE WAS SO MUCH SNOW!!!!!!!! I did some of the best sledding of my life there.
Soon after necking right out my circus of a house on wheels, it was time for Corey and Toph to go get their heads on strait and prepare for the comp. We set up shop right in the Kirkwood parking lot for duration of the trip. The Tour used up both of their allotted weather days because it was snowing and blowing so hard. I saw the light of day for 3 hours in 2 days during this storm.
I had a blast watching the boys do their thing. It was the first big mountain comp I had ever seen and was very entertaining. They skied well but was not their day. R.I.P goes out to Ryan Hawks. It really hurts to see another brother down. I think about that aspect a lot because it has come way to close to our crew. They need to make competitions safer for the athletes.
The trip ended here in Jackson with everyone safe and stoked to be home. Sooooooo……… yah… sorry to leave on a sad note but our sport we love is not as safe bowling. I’m hungry and need to get some dinner going. Stay up to date with more articles, stories, clips and interviews on therunaroundblog.com and do not put diesel in your sled. They do not like it.
Last weekend I had the Freeskiing World Tour qualifiers here in Jackson Hole. Things went pretty well and I ended up 3rd for the event. I now am pre qualified for all the other stops. The conditions where a normal freeskiing comp, hard pack and skied out. However, we did have sun so it was nice to be able to see for a change. The week before we had been filming so I never even looked or skied in the venue. It was defiantly hard to go from filming mode of skiing fresh snow all day to skiing hard pack and being judged. However, things went well and I did have fun. Now we are just waiting for more snow to try to figure out where to go. High pressure seems to be the theme all over the western lower 48. The photo in the sun is day 1 and the photo with the tower in it is day 2.
The Run Around crew met up with Salt Lake based photographer Mike Schirf for a few days of shooting around the Jackson area. Here’s a taste of Mike’s work from the week, be sure to check out more of his stuff at www.mikeshirf.com, not only does he have a great eye for photo’s he is also an incredible skier. Hopefully Mike will be joining us a lot this season, we gotta tune in his sledding skills…..
Here is some sample pics