Sunday, January 30, 2011


Ice climbing... in all my years climbing I have never had a taste. Who ice climbs? Really? How many people do you know that ice climb? Even among the climbers that I know it is a very small percentage of them who ice climb. Needless to say my exposure has been minimal to this type of climbing. Whenever there is snow my mind turns to snowboarding...

In an effort to expand my climbing abilities I joined the local climbing club out of a little shop called Mountain Works. The people there at the shop are great and so are all the folks in the club. This was my first outing with them and seeing how much time they put into this expecting nothing in return was amazing. Just climbers helping climbers.

We got there early. I pulled on my boots and we walked over to an ice fall adorning the unique conglomerate rock. Everything was already set up so we didn't have to lead anything. I scrambled to put on my crampons... I WAS IN HEAVEN.... Just walking around in the gear felt cool. I went first. I swung my ice tool hard and kicked in pushing up off the ground. It was an ugly sight to behold but I eventually got the feel of it and made it up.

Two words were continually going through my mind as a big smile graced my face. I have yet to really use any expletives in my two-ish years of blogging (so if you are offended by the term "Bad Ass" you should stop reading). Ice climbing is bad ass. Not bad "A", a local Utah County term which does not carry the full effect, but bad ass. When you are ice climbing you have big huge spikes sticking out everywhere with axes in your hands as if you are on your way to battle the zombie apocalypse. I am sorry for this description, but I do not want to deprive you of the full effect of the feeling.

When the axes make that satisfying thud as they plant firmly into the ice you can't help but feel happy... crap... I think I just picked up another hobby. Adios money... I will never have time for you.

Left: Adam Shaeffer working it. Right: Me up on a long mellow one.

Ice has this other worldly feel to it. It forms in the most unique ways and picks up subtle tints from the surrounding sediments.

This was a pumpy short climb with a couple really fun moves.

Adam and I ended up climbing together as Neena and Tessa teamed up. They were both crushing it. It was fun to watch them both.

We carpooled down with Adam and Tess, they are such a great couple. They both are hilarious and they perfectly compliment each others sense of humor.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Long and Mellow

We gathered together for the standard group photo on top of Patsy Marley and I didn't have to fake a smile for the camera. The sky was blue, I was surrounded by friends, and we were out in the mountains. Is there anything better? There is something about being out in the mountains this way, away from all the hubbub of the resorts, that connects with a person in a deeper way. It gets in the blood and keeps you coming back.

We took it easy as we walked, talking as we went, we did a couple laps through the trees and then rolled our way up to the top of Patsy where I had a line idea off of the North East face. It was one of the most fun lines I have ridden all year. There were so many variations in the snow, hard to soft, but still good enough to really push some speed, toss up some snow and blast through my powder cloud into the run out of the little couloir. Smiles all day long.

Sunrise... Such a great time to be awake.

Whitney, Eric, Jann, Ben, and David.

SMOG CENTRAL: Thank goodness I was able to get away from the smog pit.

I love the Montandons. The always bring a funny positive attitude.

Ben rented Jann a splitboard from the U of U for only 18 bucks. Such a deal. They were struggling with those skins though.

Wisdom: Whenever possible, finish a day at Lonestar.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Have you ever rolled out of bed and just felt off? You go through your day completing tasks that on any other day seem fluid and easy, but for some reason today they feel difficult. During the course of the past week I have maintained a constant "off" state. I feel like one of those inflatable flappy arm guys that just looks awkward and out of control.

Example: Mike Amezcua hit me up to ride Snowbasin with he and some other guys to make a little web edit for their marketing department. I made the long drive up and got to the top of the gondola. I strapped in, and from that moment on it was a non-stop beat down for the rest of the day. Face plants, tumbles, slams, bounces, and awkward bobbles were a consistent part of the day. I have never felt that awkward strapped into a snowboard... Why? I have no idea.

Thank goodness the next few days I worked the Outdoor Retailer show in downtown and was responsible for sitting... I have no idea what throws us off.. am I the only one that is like this? If so, is there a fix? Maybe one of those fake balance bracelets will change my life. I will be healed of the short out that occurs in my inner ear that sends me into this "Off-ness". It is all about the bracelet... Marketing gimmick? It couldn't be, I read it on the internet. This crap is for real.

Here I come new life... As soon as I have one of these I will be able to charge into the future with confidence. I can't wait. I am certain that a $30 investment could very well shift my path onto a higher plane.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The right ideas

What the crap does it mean to have fun? What makes an activity fun? We sometimes set up preconceived scenarios that require a certain set of conditions to make an activity fun. The recipe for many in snowboarding may need a bit of blue skies, a big group of friends, a touch of powder or a perfectly groomed park.

Today I rode with Jonas, age 12, and Caden, age 10, in conditions that on any other day would have sent me home without a second thought. The rain from the day before had destroyed the snow, there were big fat gray clouds blocking out the sun, it was windy, and fairly crowded on the slopes. Did these two kids care? NOPE. They were having a blast, so much so that it totally rubbed off on me. By the end of the day, when the conditions were even worse, I was totally having a blast.

They both worked on some new tricks on the rails, Jonas was working on a trick I learned when I was 18.... Caden was in the same boat. They both nailed them and I couldn't have been more stoked. We visited my brother Jeff at Skullcandy on the way home and then hit up Taco Bell. They both went for some caramel apple emanadas... good.

I took away from the day that we can turn any day, especially on snow, into a fun one no matter what our preconceived notions are.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Southern Wasatch

The southern Wasatch always makes for an adventure. Today's tour took us through an area laden with some of the best line options I have ever seen. The snow conditions kept us in the trees, but it sent me away dreaming. Parker and I met up with Blake Nyman and photographer Jay Eichhorst.

Parker made it sound like we were going to go for a little walk with some light turns in the trees... Four hours later we were on the summit of the zone we would ride. Why I thought a tour in the southern Wasatch would be short I have no idea. The snow was worth the hike.

Just so you understand how many trees you walk through I will share this short story:

Upon returning to my house I pulled the standard little twigs out of my coat and backpack. I went to the throne to find some relief. I did my business and when I pulled out some paper to rid myself of residue I found I had a pine needle in my crack... how it got there I do not know. I had on a one piece base layer with a hood, a sweatshirt, a coat, neck gaiter, and beanie... I don't remember eating any pine in the last few days so there is only one way it could have gotten there: by force.

Behind the scenes of the podcast

Riding a slide path with fresh on top... Like mini pillows.

Parker Slash!

King Nyman

Natural halfpipe


Friday, January 7, 2011

Superior and Monte Cristo

We crested Cardiff as the sun began to peak over the horizon. Hiking in the dark seems to pass more quickly than in the light of day. All you can focus on is the small bit of light your headlamp casts out in front of you and the squeak of the snow underfoot. The long ridge to the summit laid out before us.

Deep wind-drifted snow plagued our path as we kicked in a boot pack up the steeper sections. The clouds moved in and the light went flat. Time passed faster than we had anticipated but as we gained the summit of Superior the cloud cover cleared and we were rewarded with a cloudless ascent of the last little bit to Monte Cristo. Standing on the summit was pretty surreal, a lot different than I had anticipated.

The Heart of Darkness was our next objective so we harnessed up and traversed down the north ridge of Monte Cristo in amazing snow. I pulled out the rope and fixed it in the narrow hallway that we would descend. Sitting in the narrow slot canyon, with looming walls framing the snow covered peaks in the distance, was like a little bit of Zion National Park had found its way north.

After seeing the Wasatch from a new perspective we descended through Mill B South. A long slog out. I had to stay in ski mode with my splitboard because of how flat it was. Parker and I had a heck of a time with the brief downhill sections.

"I HATE SKIING!" Parker screamed, with added expletives, at one point after yet another fall. If it weren't for the awesome surroundings I think he may have completely blown a fuse.

Next time we won't go out that way...Not faster. Not at all. Hayden then hitchhiked down to his car and we drove back to Alta to get our vehicles. Waking up at 4 a.m. and getting home at 5:30 p.m. made the journey feel like multiple days. Can't wait for the next summit.

Still a ways to go.

Nothing beats a ridge line sunrise.

Parker getting close to the Summit

11,132 ft.

On the summit of Monte Cristo.

Into the Heart of Darkness

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Some may say that I am really talented... actually most people would say that. The picture above is one of the talents that I only share on special occasions. Earl family ski day was the perfect time for me to let this one shine. This is real life. Not fake life. REAL LIFE. You may think this is C.G.I. but it is real.

I am being 100% serious.