It was midday in Murren, Switzerland, and things were heating up. The April sun was shining and the new snow was rapidly turning into mashed potatoes. We stood at the top of the Schilthorn, scouring the tracked out slopes for the last glimpses of untracked pow. Our improv dance parties, 90′s pop songs, and heel clicks were taking a temporary hiatus. We were borderline hungry, and about to get schooled on the shortest boot pack of the trip.
Ski photoshoots – sounds glamorous right?
We decided to boot pack up a short hill that rose just above the piste. Guesstimating, we left Jeff at the bottom and told him we’d be ready in 5. The snow was hollow, the rocks were sharp, and Amie’s head cold was rearing it’s ugly head. While we post holed through hollow snow and rocks, we intermittently let our frustrations be heard.
Today was the first day of my 30 Days of Awesome! ok, so maybe it was yesterday (which was awesome!) but I completely spaced it until I saw Nicole’s post noting the inaugural day of the annual blogging event. Doh. Sorry for playing!
I first found out about the 30 Days of Awesome when Nicole invited Angeli to participate when I was still in college. I have to admit I was a little jealous. We all know that we live pretty incredible lives, but dedicating 30 days to getting out and celebrating just what makes our lives so awesome? Now that’s a great idea. Sometimes I get so caught up in the whirlwind of my life, that I forget to recognize just how truly great, adventurous and wacky it really is. The 30 Days of Awesome reminds me to stop, think, what have I done today that challenged me? That made me grow as a person? As an athlete? As an artist? This year, the 30 Days of Awesome is open to anyone! Write, Instagram, Tweet, whatever you do, just tell us why your life is awesome!
No matter what the conditions, the Visit Salt Lake Shootout produces incredible images every year.
It is also one of my favorite events of the season. This was my third Shootout and this year I teamed up with Mike Schirf, Marcus Caston, and Ty Peterson to attack the Wasatch.
The Shootout is a photo competition where each team shoots at Snowbird, Solitude, Alta, and Brighton. At the end of the four days, two photos from each resort are submitted to the judges (8 photos total). The portfolios are judged on their overall images, but athlete’s also get to pick their favorite image from the week and submit them to the Athlete’s Pick category. It’s a great way to see the best of the Wasatch.
In previous years, my teams have worked around the clock. From 5:30 dawn patrols to night pow flash photography, there is no limit to the hours we may ski in a day. This year, Mike strategized to work hard when the light and snow called for it, but relax a little when the elements were not coming together. I think his strategy paid off; we placed 2nd overall and took second and third for the Athlete’s Pick photos. Plus, I still had enough energy the day after the shootout to ski the Hallway in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Winning!
The final category was the #visitsaltlake Instagram contest which was open to athlete’s only. I may have been accused of #overgramming (ahhem Jeff Brines) but lucky I came away a winner for all my hard work!
This year marks a different Christmas for me. It’s the first time I won’t spend it with either mine or Jamon’s family, and it’s left me a little bit sad. Christmas with my family is all about the food. My mum spends weeks prepping sides, making mince pies, and planning our meal. There are staples every year, like her delicious green beans with lemon zest and slivered almonds, but we also play with new recipes each season as well. Two years ago we braised the lamb we bought from a local farmer that my stepdad affectionately named Sally. She was delicious.
It’s been quite the seasons for changes; new job, new town, new friends, newly single. At times it’s been incredible overwhelming and I’ve found myself acting in ways that are totally out of character. I’ve lost touch with some of the things that mean the most to me, like my health and partaking in far too much socializing. At times I’ve missed the security of SLC. I’ve missed my incredible network of girlfriends, my cozy apartment with Amy, the routine and support of a relationship. I’ve missed my connection with the kitchen and the community at SLC Crossfit. I’ve spent too much time dwelling on the things I’ve missed.
It’s time to start new traditions, with the new wonderful friends I’ve made in Jackson. True, some of them I’ve known for decades (I didn’t know that was possible, but apparently I’m old enough for that to happen now), and some I’ve know for three weeks. But the people I have in my life day to day are beautiful, compassionate, excited people. They love to play outside, to discover new things, eat delicious food, just live. This is a lesson I lost sight of in SLC, working from a desk day to day, that I want to be reminded to constantly in my new life.
Christmas this year is still a little up in the air, but one thing is for sure, I will be enjoying some delicious mince pies my mum posted to me, skiing with new friends, and smiling.
It’s been awhile since I got out of my safety bubble. It’s not that I don’t scare myself on skis, I ski exposed lines where my heart is in my throat, or climb scary routes, but none of these require air awareness. It’s a skill I’ve always lacked. Back in the days of skiing half-pipe, I watched my friends and fellow competitors gracefully spin and twist through the air, just before I’d catch and edge and land face first in the bottom on the pipe. Those aren’t my proudest memories.
The UOP was my chance to put myself back out there, whiplash and all, to jump, flip, and spin again. I wanted get my confidence back with tricks I haven’t attempted in at least three years. While I may not be sending backflips the very first of the season, I’m excited to get out there and jump again this year!
Thanks to Mountain Athlete for sending the freeride team to the UOP! I’m a technical person, and the guidance of a coach is invaluable to my progress!
Taken from the Mountain Athlete website, read the full piece there!
Fear and Flipping in Park City
“Sometimes the best thing to do is just do it. When my athletes are trying a new trick, I never give them any direction the first time. I just tell them to try,” Coach Tony told me. This was completely opposite from how I’d ever learned a new trick. I meticulously study where to spot, where my hips go and where I put my hands, before I ever try anything new. “Just throw your arms in front like you’re throwing a basketball. You’ll get it.”
At the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation facility in Park City, Utah, I stood at the top of the water ramp, procrastinating my first front-flip attempt. I allowed Hadley, then Monica, then Tess to jump in line before me as I stared at the ramp, the pool, and the sky. My teeth chattered in the cool breeze and I thought about everything that could go wrong.
Coach Shaul interviewed Hadley and I about our gear choices for our Teton trip:
My Gearlist Essentials:
Ice axe, whippit, and crampons were leant to me by Adam Riser, Thank you so much for the sponsorship, it would not have been possible to get up either couloir without these tools! Definitely on the market to increase my toolbox….
When coach suggested that Hadley and I do a little experiment between Gu and Hammer Gel during our trip in the Tetons two weeks ago. I wasn’t exactly excited by the prospect. This should come as a surprise, I love food. I know. Weird right?
Nothing but Gu during the duration of the approach, skin, and ski. Follow the directions for consumption (how much, how often, and followed by water), and eat a good meal after we ski West Hourglass. Repeat the following day but use Hammer Gel instead.
Heading into the backcountry to ski spring/summer conditions, with a brand new partner, in a mountain range you’ve never entered is a generally a bad idea. Climbing and skiing partnerships are earned not forced. Hadley and I haven’t known each other long. We’re both Marmot athletes, but last weekend’s adventure in Teton National Park was our first. We’ve been training together at Mountain Athlete, which has given us the opportunity to see each other’s physical and mental strengths. Our assignment from Coach Shaul was one of teambuilding, mountain awareness, and orientation. He sent us into Teton National Park to ski West Hourglass one day, camp at the Platforms, and ski the Middle Teton the next.
Whenever I say I’m going home, my friends always laugh at me. “Home?” They say. “Which home?”
Where exactly is home? Is it where you grew up? Where you’re parents are? Is it where you just moved t0 or where you came from? Is it just a physical location or an emotional location too? Sure, the house I lived in in college was technically my home, I slept there every night. But did it really feel like home?