Monday, June 22, 2009

Colorado to Hood

After the last two months of an exhausting spring in Utah Keenan, Timmy and I piled into Gary and cruised down to Leadville Colorado to spend some quality time with ol' Greg.

Sunset in the Utah desert on the drive from Colorado

I wish I could say we have some pictures or video from Colorado, but we don't... it was pretty silly. The snow was not good for backcountry jumps, but we tried anyways with terrible results. Every time we landed we punched at least a foot through the top crust and into the soft layer underneath, making landing almost impossible. We also rode at A-Basin for 5 days straight in great weather. We were lucky enough to have free passes through Greg, which made the trip. The highlight of the Colorado expedition came when we went bowling one night at the local bowling alley in Leadville and found out it was the last night of the winter league. This meant that the locals were out in full force with plenty of alcohol. It was a disgusting mix of rednecks, fat rednecks, the fat rednecks' wives, who were also fat, and what the rednecks called wetbacks, the local mexicans. At the end of the night one particularly fat and drunk redneck began saying stuff to one of the mexicans, causing a huge uproar. There was suddenly a mass of people struggling to get out to the parking lot through the small entrance to try and placate both sides, but mostly just witness the best entertainment of the night. We were left standing pretty much alone in the alley, laughing and wondering if someone was going to get shanked or shot by a hunting rifle outside. When we questioned one of the employees about it, he gave us a heated and extremely racist idea of what happened. So much for Colorado.

The drive out to Mount Hood was just an endurance battle - about 24 hours in the car all told. Eastern Oregon is pretty nuts, with no trees and rolling grass hills. As we descended into the Columbia River Gorge the walls rose above us, revealing terraced cliffs covered in grass. Across the gorge was the same, but covered with hundreds of wind mills perched on top. As soon as we got onto Highway 26, the Mt Hood Highway, the countryside began to change into even more rolly hills covered with trees and every kind of vegetation. The farther south we went the more orchards and farms we saw, and the higher in elevation we climbed. We arrived in Government Camp April 28th with a light rain and no place to stay.

Arriving at the cottage. Our front door had 3'+ of snow in front of it; the guy said as he was moving out that he just couldn't keep up with the shoveling this winter.

View from our street when its not raining

JIMMIES! You can see a blurry Jimmie trying a backflip on his bike right outside our place. They were encouraged by everybody in our place ALOT.

This is the level of the snow looking out our window. This is called the snatio - our snow patio

Life in Govy is pretty good... Walker Brown came to visit, people have been sleeping on our couches, it's been sunny after the first month of rain and snow, the summer crew is slowly arriving. It's finally starting to feel like summer, and it's going to be fun.

Edit of the month of May

HOOD!!! Number 1 from Janky Films on Vimeo.

Spring at Alta

This is going to be a long one, but with fun stuff to look at. It begins with the end: the end of the season at Alta, which turned out to be absolutely awesome. It began with a long period of high pressure, the result of which was a lot of sun, goggle tans and good times on the patio. The life was good; slower crowds, chiller vibes and a spring feeling. It really felt like this was going to be the end of the season, it was already May. Justin and Keenan began working on the famous Flagstaff step-up, and I joined them usually late because I was being pretty lazy. As the jump started taking shape it was looking big:

Eric backie mute

Cork 5

Justin's 7s were dope

After 3 days of building and sessioning, we got a bunch of awesome shots and great crashes. Everything was overshadowed by our sunburns though; for some reason we thought that after an entire winter under cloud cover and 97% of our bodies hidden underneath outerwear that we could be bad-ass bros and build the jump shirt-less. While Utah is known primarily for its snow, it is also almost a desert, with incredibly strong sun during the afore-mentioned high-pressure periods. Combine that with the reflective nature of snow, and we were covered from waist to scalp with searing sunburns. I had a serious fever that night, while Keenan and Justin almost threw up because their sun poisoning was so bad. I mean everything was burned: behind the ears, the bottoms of our noses, armpits... it was bad.
At almost the same time we finally got things organized with a buddy of mine from Holderness Nate Bloomfield. Bloomie's been schooling in Denver, while taking the winter off and spending it outside of Heber City keeping it real with Henry Holdsworth and friends with some sleds. We got out there with Keenan, his buddy Tyler Smith and myself and the helmet cam and shredded some awesome trees, ripping laps. Half of the fun was driving and getting towed behind their sleds though.

Keenan's buddy Tyler Smith at the top of the trees waiting to drop in / Me flexing like a beast on the shredmobile with Nate Bloomfield and Tyler

Just when we thought things were coming to a close, the Wasatch threw us some f*&#ing crazy spring cycles. I had been missing pow skiing already, planning on waiting a painstaking 8 more months to ski the fluffy stuff again when this happened. It was March 20th when we'd been sessioning the step up when it started: between March 22nd and April 16th there were a total of 6 days when Alta didn't record any precipitation; it was pretty common to wake up to 12"-20" of overnight dumpage. Our season totals during that period shot from 445" to 676". 230" of pow in less than a month? All of us at the lodge were dead tired by the end of this cycle, ready to see spring again. And here's the numbers:

Brent Leyerle killed it this year with the camera, here's some shots of this cycle.
Eric McEwen, the blind man

Keenan the blind man

Keenan had been lining up this cliff and trick combo allll winter, and this was the time to hit it: an endlessly deep landing

McEwen sending it 50'+

Phil deep

Once this cycle ended things were pretty good in the BC.
Trekking in the back country of the Wasatch

Me barely visible along the backside of the Gargoyles... this place is GOLD, you'll see alot of it in next year's flick

Justin stealing my trick and looking very dumb

The window of sunshine came in perfect time for the end-of-season bash at Alta called High Boy. This ridiculous party happens at the very top of a ridge overlooking the entire Little Cottonwood Canyon, above the most notorious trail High Rustler. Imagine 500 drunk and otherwise effed partiers packed on a small ridge line surrounded on 3 sides by steep faces and cliffs. The easiest side to ski, the fourth side, was facing away from the sun meaning it was a block of ice and an extreme hazard. The lift line to get up to the ridge was packed to the gills all day long, shuttling people up to 10,000 feet elevation to get drunk and mingle with the locals who spent all winter socially deprived and cooped up in lodges. The throngs:

As you tried to ski down one of the steepest faces at Alta you got pelted with snowballs and ridiculed by the people still up on the ridge

Garret and Dr. Burns ruling the patio

Philly and Johnner

Mullets are very in this spring

And finally our teaser

SALTY DAYS TEASER from Janky Films on Vimeo.

Spring in the Wasatch - sunshine, beers, not too much work, patio parties, park skiing, and way too much snow. Until next year, Alta.

Thanks to Keenan Hawkins, Brent Leyerle and Anna Casey for the photos!