Winter is marked with highways and gas stations. Following comps, chasing storms, cruising South on I-70 for the third time in the past month. I start to find routines, stopping at the same gas stations, finding myself at the same burrito place every time I pass through Grand Junction. Passing straight through Montrose, or turning left onto highway 50, I always find myself at the end of a highway with mountains surrounding me. Yet as I dream of chasing storms, why did I just drive 11 hours south of any current storms?
It is puking in Tahoe, Kirkwood just received 5 ft., Mt. Baker was hit with a big front earlier this week, and LLC just received its first 9 inches of snow after an awful warm spell, that left all of us wondering if winter was actually over. Taos has received approximately 15 inches in the past three weeks, the desert sun has taken it’s toll on the snowpack, and has left us with “perfect” comp conditions. The Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships kicked off today under bluebird skis and gusting winds. While spectators basked in the warm sun at the bottom of Kachina Peak, competitors battled up the 45 minute bootpack against gusting winds and the rapidly disintegrating snowpack. I had a bye from today’s qualifying event from my 2nd place at Crested Butte, and I was so glad I didn’t have to ski. The venue on Kachina will be used for both the qualifier and Day1 venue this year since West Basin is in dismal condition. Kachina is an incredible venue with lots of line options, however, I also didn’t really want to ski it two days in a row either. The real show kicks off tomorrow. Wish me luck!