Friday, May 21, 2010

Adventures at A Basin! Its winter in May in Colorado...

I appologize for the sideways photos... I'm posting from the road on my ancient laptop, which struggles with photos! But I finally got them off my phone and I wanted to get this up! I'll reload the photos when I get back from Telluride! Thanks for your patience!

I was supposed to come out to Telluride last weekend, but my ski partner got sick, and I cant' afford gas on my own. So rather than making an eight hour round trip, I made a four hour round trip, and went to ski A-Basin!

I had heard stories, that its a ribbon of snow at a low angle surrounded by dirt... not so! It has a huge amount of terrain! And TONS of fun terrain, lots of steep hiking, and still had great coverage in May!

I love to go places on my own, because I always end up meeting folks and talking with them, I brought my iPod, but sure enough, I only listened to three songs before I made friends on the chairlift with Lisa and Doug Lundgren, ski instructors from the inter-mountain division.

Davey Pines, self described "local character", and crusty tele man, as described HERE.

We hit it off on the chair, and started chatting, skied a few runs together, and got to talk shop. It was great to follow Doug out into the mank, he knows A Basin pretty well, and to chat with Lisa, who is just back on skis after a long absence. It always makes me realize how lucky I am to have this job, there are always compatriots out there with a passion for sharing skiing with other folks. (I think we may just be professional "bad" influences: teaching people to be less serious, play more, and go outside!)

I had been looking at the hikes around the top and thinking I should go for a spin up there, I haven't been pushing myself much in the last three weeks, and I need to get in shape. My body definitely needed the rest, but I knew that the upcoming ski weekend in Telluride was going to kick my butt and I'd better get crackin'!

I rode the lift with a guy named Dave Pines, a local skier who knows the hiking well here. He was heading up for his fifth lap, and we got to talking. I decided to man up a bit and haul my out of shape butt up that first, short hike.

Dave rockin' the tele turn

Dave was going the same way, and we got to talking about new technology, (hes a tele skier), as a result of me being on those new FANTASTIC Blizzard Crush's with huge early rise, and he being on a pair of rockskis from the early 90s with older bindings on them.

As we chatted, I thought about what an unlikely pair we were: old school and new, and we fell into a discussion about embracing the new, being willing to try and adapt and change into the new, while appreciating the old. It was fantastic.

We hiked up to the top of the North Chute, and at the top, we met a young racer named Jimmy, who fell in with us as we trekked across the ridge. Dave was so friendly and helpful, just embodying the spirit of a guy who loves the mountain and is open and eager to share it.

Jimmy rippin' up the Choke in North Chute

We skied two shots together, the three of us, enjoying the snow, peppered with "chocolate chips", each in our own way. Jimmy was ripping the snow, edgy and new school, finding stuff to jump off of, taking aggressive lines and making the deep, round turns of a racer, adapted to steep terrain and mushy snow.

Dave was diggn' on the steeps, working the tele-turn and loving being out in his favorite place, and I was playing with these crazy skis, enjoying a little speed and that most excellent of skiing opportunities: sharing it with new friends.

I was sad to leave, I would have loved to ski with Dave all day, but I had to get back to my kids, the slackline was calling us! I headed down to "The Beach" where folks were eating ramen out of their cars, the grills were going, the beer was flowing, the music was playing, flip flops and rolled up ski pants...

I thought, I've got to get the kids out here, slack lining in the parking lot after a day playing in A-Basin's killer terrain park. Another day in paradise!

Thanks so much for taking me around the mountain, Dave, Jimmy, Lisa and Doug, it was a pleasure to ski with all of you!

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