Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Thus Far

Winter thus far has been incredible in the Gunnison Valley.  It is sunny and snowy in Gunni, Butte has been blessed with great snow fall, and ofcourse I have monday, wednesday, friday, saturday, and sunday to ski.  Below are some pitctures and videos of our winter adventures.
                                                            The terrain at Moonscape
                                                               Sam getting stoked

                               Two foot avalanche crown from the slide Eric kicked off first run
                                                                Picturesque Pillows
                                                          Eric's lower half on the pillows
                                       Toga party later that night for Sam and Ciera's birthdays
                                                        Dropping in Highlife at Butte
                                                  Airing "box rock" in Headwall at Butte
                                                          Tappin the pole on Paradise

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

POWDER! and mountain biking.

The start of Christmas break this year has been one of the best ones to date!  For starters my roommate Sam got the OK from the doctors to start skiing after his ankle surgery in the fall, so I finally got to shred CB with him after missing out on all of last ski season.  On top of that Crested Butte received 5 feet of blower powder, an excellent Christmas present for all of us!  Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures because my camera skills are a bit rusty but below are a few shots I got of Sam.

Once we found a break in the storm, my friend Ryan and I hit the road home and made a stop at his house in Avon to ski Vail the next day.  It was strange to wake up to rain in the morning, but once we got to the top of Vail we were pleased to find some more excellent powder and spent the day jumping cliffs.  It felt good to get back in the air.
After skiing Vail I hit the road back home and after a slow and snowy drive arrived in Littleton to warm temperatures and no snow.  Thankfully I brought home my XC bike so I was able to hit the trails in the Ken Caryl Valley in 40 degree weather with awesome dry trails.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In the last week the skiing conditions in the Crested Butte backcountry has continued to look more like winter and less like boney, warm spring conditions.  I woke up Wednesday morning to multiple Facebook "statuses" glorifying the 20 to 36 inches that CB had received and the forecast of blue skies all week.  I anxiously sat through class all day twiddling my thumbs and waiting for my turn to go slay some pow.  I made my way up Kebler Pass with my girlfriend Brittney, good friends Jared and Owen, as well as my new sticks!  This was a particularly glorious occasion for me because I have had the opportunity to drool over these new Armada Ants for over a year now since I missed last season due to a shoulder injury.  Needless to say the new sticks were beyond sick and knee deep pow was an excellent added bonus!  Looking forward to continual snow fall and the opening day at Crested Butte.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Early Season Skiing!

It was a great feeling to clean up the piles of random bike gear in my room, and replace it with piles of random ski gear!  It seems incredibly early to start the ski season in October but after missing the ski season last year I am stoked to be back on two planks.  Over the last week we have been lucky enough to once again get some great early season snow in the Crested Butte backcountry.  All three days were perfect weather with some great skiing conditions, a foot of dense snow with another foot of softer snow on top. 
                                         Jared getting ready to drop in
                                                  Fresh tracks up Scholfield Pass
                                             Found a little "drop to snow spine"
                                                   Poor shot but still sweet
                                                       Brittney makin the hike
                                                     Owen and I on Kebler

Monday, October 25, 2010

Collegiate Mountain Biking Nationals 2010 (Oct. 13-17)

Upon arriving at WSC for my freshman year of college I immediately joined the school's Club Cycling team with my roomate Ben and enjoyed a fun season being able to dive deeper into mountian bike racing as well as the collegiate cycling scene.  When I returned to school for my sophomore year the leadership of the team was in poor shape and I was given the role of President and since then I like to think that the team has grown and strengthened so that it can continue to be available for students at Western.

After an incredibly successful season in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC), the team and I made our way to Northstar Resort in Truckee, California for the second year in a row to compete at Collegiate Mountan Biking Nationals.  In the few weeks preceding nationals the team suffered several injurues that inhibited a few of our top riders from competing, which was unfortunate luck, but we were still hoping for good results.

We embarked on our long trip to Truckee early Wednesday morning, made a quick pit stop in SLC for some quality In and Out Burger, sped through Nevada and the Great Salt Flats, and stayed our first night in the glorious city of Reno.  Thursday morning we made the quick trip from Reno to our condos at Northstar resort and were able to pre-ride the cross country course and did a quick walk of the dowhnhill track.  Friday morning started early with women's cross country, in which one of our new riders, Amy, was able to finish 5th place and earn herself a shiny new medal.  My cross country race later that morning was not necessarily the most enjoyable, though the course was one of the better courses I have ridden.  In the few days leading up to nationals I became sick and was thankfully starting to feel better by the time my race started but still was lacking energy and was struggling with a sore throat and chest after the first climb, though I still had a fun decent!  In the end I finished farther back in the pack than I had hoped, but finished the race despite my desire to drop out. 

Saturday was a busy day for the entire team with short track cross country in the morning followed directly by mountain cross qualifying and finals in the afternoon.  I have never been the biggest fan of short track, but am happy that it is short.  Overall short track was a bit of a dissapointment for both Ben and I.  With a flat tire at the end of warm up, poor starts, multiple un-avoidable crashes, and a knee injury, Ben and I both finished in less than ideal spots but were left hungry for a more successful endurance results at nationals next season.  Mountain cross has never been a strong point for me, or any of the other riders on the team, but all of us managed to qualify for the main event on the shady "4 cross course".  Unfortunately Brittany, our lone female gravity rider, took a gnarly crash on her qualifying run and dislocated her shoulder and was un-able to finish but still stuck around to cheer us on!  What a champ!  Our four male MX riders (Jordan, Owen, Ansel, and I) were all knocked out after a few rounds of racing but thuroughly enjoyed ourselves bar humping the whole way down.
                                                   Didn't see that move coming....

We woke up Sunday morning expecting to see snow on the ground or heavy rainfall but instead found little more than cloudy skies and cooler temperatures.  The downhill course was was not nearly as technical or difficult as the one of the previous year, however it was overall one of the funnest top to bottom courses I have ridden.  Going into the race run I felt strong and was feeling fast.  During my race run I made it through the top 2/3rds of the course quickly and without mistake until I caught the rider in front of me.  Despite my yells and attempts to pass, the rider unfortunately failed to respectfully pull off of the course for me, leaving me with a slower time than I realistically would have had.  Once again a dissapointing finish for me, but thankfully the rest of the team kicked some ass, and if there was an overall team award for downhill we certainly would have won it.  Caleb, who was new to the team, got 14th, Jordan 9th, Ansel 7th, and Owen found himself in the top five with 4th place and took home some hardware. 
                                                            Me in Christmas Spirit
                                                                Caleb Hucking It
                                                               Ansel on the Hot Line
                                                                  Owen Haulin
                                         Jordan catching air after his near death experience

Even though my finishes at 2010 Nationals were not quite as high as I had hoped, I am incredibly pleased with how the team did overall and to have been able to participate in such a sick trip.  Next year I look forward to entering nationals healthy (for once) and hopefully making top 5 in the "omnium" division, which takes into account your placement for racing in every discipline and honors versatile riders.  I must note that one of the true highlights of our trip was staying at the ever classy Montego Bay casino in Wendover, Nevada...