2016:021 Chasing Winter part 1

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Take a moment and look at a map of the United States.

Notice the size of the states, and the try to grasp how big the country is. Consider the drive time from Seattle to Alaska is like 40 hours. That’s a work week behind the wheel, just to get to the next state. So what I don’t understand is how I spent 500 hours trying to drive through South Dakota. I straight-lined that MFer and still it took forever.

Trust it, I’ve listened to enough Mysterious Universe to know of time slips and places of high strangeness. And there is no way you’re going to convince me South Dakota is not weird. But this time, it was like the Earth time slipped. I was just driving along, then BOOM! 498 hours later I continue driving along. But I think I’m putting the Apocalypse before the horsemen. Let’s get it right.

1nd: Straight from Reykjavik

The annual westerly hustle went down last week and it was so perfectly set up. I was to swoop Anna upon her return from Berlin, visiting a baby, and Iceland, where she was straight family crushing. I was about 2 miles from the airport when she made the fone go ZZZZZ ZZZZ. I told her to bust ass to the outdoors, and with nearly perfect timing she hopped in the rig and we rolled on. Not bad, considering I left my house 13 hours earlier and she had been flying 4000 miles.

We dined, beered and fell a sleep. The next morning we woke and headed to Watercourse, which really might be my favorite spot in all of America to eat food. I think I have eaten there 10 times, which is pretty amazing considering I don’t live in the same city or state as the restaurant.

After breakfast, I dropped Anna off and rolled further west, higher into the mountains. Once I had crossed the continental divide I set up camp at Silverthorne. My favorite Southmouth and I rode Keystone and Breckenridge. As an added bonus, our Breckenridge day also included Damien and Beth. This was a plus, I knew I would see them the following day, it was good to have a bonus day with them.

Monday rolled around and I met up with Damien for some mid-day laps, a short hike, and the frankest discussion we have ever had about his time with the foreign service and my writing for Foreign Affairs Magazine. I even got a snap of Señor Damien riding some wood.

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2st: Stay Ready

Take a moment to consider your instagram feed of about 10 days ago. There was one universal theme: Jackson was firing/hammering/dumping/puking. Whatever term you used, you knew it was getting deep up there. I felt like an asshole, but I had to call the audible and busted up a day early. University crew was all flying in that night and Wednesday was supposed to be a continuation of the deepening.

Wednesday morning arrives with a report of 5 inches. Certainly not the deepening. Certainly I wasn’t in need of the Gatekeeper under my feet. But we made do with what we had, slashed pockets of mini powder, rode trees that were still good. Rode bowls like they were going out of style.

After another sunny day in the hole, weather started moving back in Thursday afternoon. A strong enough system to shut down a couple lifts and reduce visibility to rubbish.

Meanwhile I got this email from the fine folks at Vail:

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Crap.

3th: University Crew

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The reality of it is, I’ve know university crew for way too long. Every couple of years we get together and ride and have drinks and retell old stories to any unfortunate stranger who will listen. In some form, the crew has done Big Sky, Tahoe, Utah, Colorado and now Jackson and we always get crap snow.

But Friday morning we woke to a claim of 8 inches up top, and it was still coming down. The curse of crap snow was broken-ish. Slashes and soft landings all around. Was it the 48 inches they received the previous week? No. Was it the 16 inches Vail got hit with? No. But it was good times and good friends all around.  And, I thiefed some of their pics.

We’ll get into more of the travel later.

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