Sayres X-Rated Ski (10 May 2020)

I first laid eyes on Sayres X-rated in June of 2006 when I first skied La Plata Peak. Four years later I, along with my friends Lacy and Kim. decided that Sayres Benchmark might be fun to ski in mid-June. But, the line looked to no longer be in, and the bushwhack through the willows was intimidating. So we skipped it and went for La Plata once again. A month later, my friend Lacy would perish while skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sayres Benchmark was beginning to seem elusive to me, and went a little by the wayside until May, 2018, when I skied it with my friends Larry and Dan. But, it had just snowed and we were a little worried about snow moving on X-Rated. So, we stuck with the mellower Grand Central Couloir instead. With a moderate spring like we’ve had this year, Sayers X-Rated seemed to be in order. Frank had yet to ski or summit the peak, so it was easy to get him on board.

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TBT: North and Middle Sisters Ski (17 May 2018)

The North and Middle Sisters had been on my hit list ever since my Pacific Northwest trip of 2013. During that trip, I was able to ski South Sister. After my friend Zach and I skied Mount Rainier in May of 2018, a storm was hitting the northern part of the Cascades. But, heading south allowed for better weather. It looked like I’d be returning to Bend.

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TBT TR: Mt. Aetna Ski (12 May 2019)

Last year was an even better spring for skiing. A stellar snow year made for great coverage. The one caveat was having to travel through avalanche debris leftover from a historic avalanche cycle that rampaged across our state during the end of February and early March. After a May storm hit our mountains, steeper lines slid out from the new snow on the hard surface underneath. But, mellower lines were skiing well as the new snow didn’t slide. Mt. Aetna is one of those mellower-style lines, but offers a long descent with relatively easy access. There’s a reason the Grand Couloir is a classic. I’d never skied it, though it had long been on my list. It was time to check this one off.

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TBT: Powder Factory (26 March 2019)

In late February / early March, one of the biggest avalanche cycles happened in Colorado that we have in recorded history. It was state-wide, avalanches causing havoc during the cycle and causing numerous access issues for the rest of the spring and into summer. Even as I was able to start hiking in the fall after my accident in July, we crossed avalanche paths that still had not been cleared. So, we patiently waited for the snowpack to settle. Perhaps I was overly conservative. But, I didn’t backcountry ski from when we returned from our ski trip to Germany and Austria on March 8th until March 26th. When I did finally ski, I met up with my two adventure friends, Larry and Zach for a little Powder Factory action. And it was good….

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TBT: Silvretta Tour Part 3- Weisbadener Hutte & Ochsentaier Glacier (28 Feb 2019)

The day before, we toured from Jamtal to Weisbadener Hutte. We had plans to potentially complete what most people call the Silvretta Tour by staying one more night at the Silvretta Hutte, just over the border in Switzerland. However, we knew that bad weather was on the way, and snow falling could make glacier travel difficult and dangerous, and we could have a challenging exit back to Galtur. So, we decided to jump the gun and skip the last night. But, that didn’t mean that we couldn’t enjoy a tour on the Ochsentaier Glacier before we departed, which beckoned us with it’s twinkly white from the Weisbadender Hutte.

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Unlucky Lucky: Skiing Again!

At the end of the appointment, the doctor sat me down and said, “Let’s talk about skiing.” In my head I said, “I thought you’d never ask!” But, I refrained. He asked, “Do you even want to ski this year?” I nodded my head in silent response, but inside I was screaming, “Oh hell yeah!” Then he asked, “Do you have a seasons pass?” I nodded my head again and mumbled something about buying it before the accident and just keeping it because I thought I’d be skiing in spring for sure. Then he said, “I think you should get out and ski. I think it will help you mentally.” Yep, this doc knows me, or at least knows my type. Of course, there was the whole spiel about starting out slow, on groomers only, etc. But, I already knew this. It’s not like I haven’t been through 3 ACL surgeries before.

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My 2020 Bucket List

Last year I started an annual tradition – my yearly bucket lists. As I mentioned in my 2019 post, the term can sound so morbid. How many things can one cross off the list before you die? It’s the “before you die” part that gives “Bucket List” the negative connotation. But, Google puts it in a little better words defining bucket list as “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.” Yet, in 2019 the bucket list became even more real to me…. because, well, I almost died. And I realized that I have so many things that I still want to do. The saying is true, when you’re life flashes before you, you don’t regret the things you did do, but you regret the things you didn’t do.

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Outdoor Retailer Highlight: Black Diamond JetForce Pro – Now Modular!

Let’s face it. Avalanche airbags are expensive. And they’re heavy. Not to mention that traveling with them on planes can be a a real hassle – some models of airbags can’t travel on planes or you have to discharge a canister of pressurized air and find some place to refill it, or buy a new one. And let’s talk about deployment – how many times have you pulled your airbag? Maybe 1-5 times a year? Did you ever have a deployment fail? How do you know your airbag is actually working and that you aren’t carrying all this extra weight for nothing? And how do you actually practice deploying an airbag? The Black Diamond JetForce Pro has solved a lot of these problems.

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