Day 4 - Feb 18th 2017
The long and boring ride to Shoemakersville PA was an interesting one. I left Friday night around 6:30 pm hoping to beat some traffic but that backfired. My GPS thought it would be a great idea to bring me down through NY’s version of the Satan’s Thruway. It was a tight two lane highway with jersey barriers on each side waiting for a driver to make the slightest mistake while texting and driving. I was headed down to fellow RVL8 Team Rider Dave Lynam’s house to spend an early night there with him and his crazy, awesome other half Rachel. On the way down Dave called to change the plans from spending the night at his house to spending it at Talon’s. (another RVL8 Team Rider) Many of you probably recognize him from his popular YouTube channel which involves going to bars, reviewing guns, skateboarding and skiboarding (not necessarily in that order). 3.5 hours of driving later I arrived hungry and exhausted, ready for some food and a bed. What I got was a trip to Sheetz for a pretzel “Hoagie” and a late night at their local bar. We did happen to film the beginning of Talon's next vblog that is linked below! I also met their local friend “Roads” who would be joining us skiboarding the following day. A few Captain and Cokes later and I was playing pool with the locals and feeling good. We all remembered that were supposed to go skiboarding the following day so we left at what I thought was an early time but didn’t get back to the house until roughly 1:45 am. I lasted all of 10 minutes before I fell asleep on the ground in my clothes.
6:30 am rolls around and we are all awake, slightly hungover (me more so than others) and ready to skiboard. We packed into 2 cars and were on our way. When we pulled into the mountain we saw some signs saying “Subaru Parking Only” directly across from the lodge which made all of us happy since both cars were Subarus, I had my wife’s Crosstrek and Dave had his Impreza. Dave blasted some tunes on his stereo as we got ready to ski, and of course mingled with other parking lot skiers. The temperature was 45* and climbing and the sky was cloudless and sunny. Today was going to be a good day. As we walked into exchange our vouchers we noticed another sign which stated “show us your Subaru keys and get a gift” I was stoked because my key chain had both my Forester key and my wife’s Crosstrek key. Talon had his STi key, and Dave had his as well. When we rounded the corner to where the lifts were, we were greeted with huge Subaru banners, 3-4 Subaru vehicles decked out in vinyl wraps, loud music, free food, and a few tents that housed our free gifts.
We strapped up like normal (well most of us) and were ready to go. I say “most of us” because Dave was trying out RVL8’s snowboard / soft boot binding system. This lets you use snowboard boots on your skiboards for ultimate comfort. Like Bambi walking for the first time, Dave skated towards the in run. At Jack Frost where we were, you park on TOP of the mountain, so you first run doesn’t require a lift ride, which is an incredible feeling. I threw on some tunes (some classical piano/violin duets) and dropped into the park for my first run. I hit a few of the boxes and nollied off the knuckles of all the jumps to check for speed and see the landings for the next runs. The park was average sized but was very well laid out with 2-3 options of features every 30-50 yards or so. Landings were already soft, and with the increasing temperatures they were only going to get softer. This was like winning the Spring Skiing Lottery. For the first few runs I was in my own world doing hot laps with the music flowing. A few times the group had to flag me down to stop for filming, which was the real reason why we were there. To film some team footage together for RVL8, and more specifically film Dave on the soft boot style binding.
After some high speed laps outside the park (my max speed reached was only 55mph due to slushy conditions) I migrated back to my natural habitat. The jumps were built perfectly, the landings were soft, and there weren’t too many Jerrys in the way of the features. For the first time since my ACL surgery almost 5 years ago my knee felt stable and wasn’t hurting on landings. I was finally able to start doing tricks that I haven’t even attempted in years. I was so excited to land a few smaller Bio 540’s. 1 of them even happened to get caught on camera so I can actually claim it happened. Dave was in his full glory mingling with all the weekend warrior skiers enjoying the beautiful ski weather like we were. He had lift lines clap if they were having fun and was constantly trying to get snowboarders to swap with him so they can try the soft boot skiboard setup. A few snowboarders were shocked and amazed seeing snowboard bindings on skis. We took a break to enter the Subaru tents and claim our free prizes, I showed them my Subaru keys and Talon showed them a picture of him and his car. BAM, free shwag. Nothing excites a ski bum as much as free shwag. We both got some knock-around style glasses with a Subaru logo on the ear pieces, and then I opted for the World Rally Blue Beanie, that said Subaru Rally on the tag. Being the EDC knife collector Talon is, he opted for the Subaru multi tool.
We decided we needed a change of scenery and drove to Big Boulder which is Jack Frost’s sister mountain. Our ski passes worked there as well so that was a plus. Big Boulder had much larger park features and XL jumps which suited to Dave’s needs. As we pulled into the entrance road Talon and I were admiring the large jumps as seen from ½ a mile away when Dave must have had the same idea, but in doing so almost drove off the road. We laughed because we knew it was like Christmas morning for Dave. We met up with a local rider named Ivan who was a bit newer to park skiing on skiboards but he was fearless and tried everything anyways. He progressed super fast, I can’t wait to see his skill level next year. The big jumps were shut down for a competition so we skied the rail yard for about an hour then took a lunch break. The conditions were now at their peak slowness and sloppiness, and they were taking their toll on my 30-year-old, broken and out of shape body. I asked Talon if he could grab 1 picture of me on a feature I really liked then I said I was going to leave. Once we got back on the mountain we did just that, 3 runs for me and I skipped the last one. (It is bad luck to say “this is my last run”, so the common way of announcing your last run is “let’s take 2 more runs and skip the last”. It is our way of avoiding the bad joo joo). Talon got the shot that I requested and I was off.
Talon then followed me to my car to grab his stuff from it and put it in Dave’s but he also grabbed Dave’s helmet. The comp was over and the big jumps were open for Dave to play with. I wished everyone a safe trip to Tahoe and told Talon his 1 responsibility was to make sure Dave doesn’t hurt himself before the big trip. Next week the RVL8 Team will be flying to Tahoe for Shredfest without me. I just started my new job and I am unable to take any time off this soon so I am stuck on the East Coast. This is the 2nd year I missed out on going when Tahoe has had record snow. Oh Well. I just had one of my best ski days in 5 years, who am I to complain? Every year I ski a little less, my body gets sore faster and faster, and for the first time in my life I felt what it was like to feel “cold”. Regardless of all that, as soon as I set foot on a ski mountain, all of life’s problems fade away and it instantly becomes the best day of my life. I hope I can ski until my very last breath.
Attached are the 2 videos from the trip. They are both Episodes on Talon’s YouTube Channel. Check them out, like them and subscribe to see more skiboard shenanigans among other hilarious life moments with Mr. Talon_Sei
Day 3 - Dec 30th 2016
The holiday week had been crazy, and I was unable to get up north to ski. Which completely sucks because Vermont and New Hampshire have been getting pounded with snow the last week and a half. Regardless I needed my snow sliding fix. I took my wife to the local tiny hill and met up with my friend Tyler and his daughter Ashley. Lauren and I got there early, with it being her first day skiing for the season I figured she would take the day slow. I was wrong... I zipped down what they consider a black diamond at full speed for about 300 yards and come to a stop. As I turn my head uphill expecting to wait 20-30 seconds, I see my wife about 70 yards behind me. Holy Poop was that unexpected. The snow was dry and fast and apparently my wife liked that type of snow condition. She was a speed racer for the rest of the night.
When Tyler and his daughter arrived they took 1 run with us. Once Lauren and I got to the bottom of the lift there was no sign of Tyler or his Daughter… for 25 minutes.... Ashley ended up falling and hurting her wrist, she hadn't been snowboarding in 2 years and was a bit rusty. They ended up going into the lodge for a bite to eat and to figure out the plan for the rest of the night. Lauren and I took 2 more runs because she was in "The Zone" and then met up with them in the lodge. After about 15 minutes of me coaxing Ashley, I got her to switch boots with me and attempt Skiboarding.
A few pushes up the bunny hill and she was doing just fine, although she kept repeating "this is terrifying". After 7-8 runs of her skiboarding she wanted to put her snowboard stuff back on, and give it another go. Lauren and Tyler went and did a few runs with just the two of them while I gave Ashley a private snowboard lesson for about 45 minutes, she greatly improved and was starting to link turns instead of just heel sliding down the hill.
At the end of the day, Ashley thanked me, and I told her that it wasn't a problem; I just enjoy sharing what I love with people. There is no feeling better than sliding down snow sideways. It doesn't matter if I am skiing blue squares all day with the wife, hucking 40ft cliffs out west, or sliding some rails in the park, I just love skiboarding.
Day 2 - Dec 15th 2016
2 weeks have past since the last time my skiboards saw snow, 1 week and 6 days too long if you ask me. Another ride up to Paul's cabin on Wednesday night, this time the weather was nice and clear on the drive up. The moon was beautiful, it was full and had a slight yellow hint to it making it look exactly like the moon on the B.Lyfe Revolt skiboards, I tried for 20 minutes to get a good photo of it but failed since I don't own a telephoto lens. Movin' on. I took a different way up and got off 9 north and drove through Brattleboro Vermont around 6pm. The entire town was lit up with Christmas lights and people were going in and out of the little shops. It was beautiful; it makes me want to more to VT every time I come up here.
When I got to Paul's he had made us a great pasta dish with some chicken, fresh peppers and cheese. Paul realized he left his boots at work so at 9pm we took a drive to Bromley Mountain, and he showed me his office and the mountain. The snow cats were in full force grooming the mountain and music was still blasting on the PA system around the base lodge, even though there was sign of another human within a 1/2-mile radius. When we got back e each had a few beers that I brought up from my favorite brewery in CT and watched The Grand Tour, (the new Top Gear replacement on Amazon Prime). Then we passed out ready to ski.
We woke up to some subpar skiing temps, (10* F) and the sky was partially cloudy. We ate some cereal then made our way to Mount Snow. At the Mountain Paul visited his friend Brandon in the tune up shop while I did my old man stretches in the lodge. When he returned I was good to go, and we made our way to the Bubble lift. It was pretty cold but since I came prepared with many layers of both clothing and flab, I stayed warm.
Instinctively we found our selves on Carinthia (The terrain park filled mountain) Nitro was closed since they were building new features so we continued to lap Gulch. (Shout out to my friend Chris DeJohn for being one of the park crew digging in single degree weather so this weekend Nitro could be up and running). The top half only had a few rails set up and had a decent gap between them, but the bottom half of the trail was littered with rails and boxes. We took a few laps there, took a break in the lodge then went to the car for a mid day beer and to grab the camera stuff. We decided to give the North face of the main mountain a try. Big Mistake, it was arctic cold and windy as hell. We froze on the 1 run we took, then made our way back to Carinthia for some photos. Camera batteries lasted all of 5 minutes, (all 3 of them). So we called it an early day since clouds were rolling in, and the temps were dropping.
We stopped by The Saloon for some lunch, and then parted ways, destined to meet in another 14 days. Physically my legs were still functioning and no bumps or bruises from the park. For early season skiing I couldn't ask for more.
Day 1 - Dec 1st 2016
I drove up to my friend Paul's small cabin in VT Wednesday night to catch up with ski buddy I haven't seen in 2 years since he moved to Texas. The ride up was dreary, rainy and covered in fog. The weather prediction was 100% rain and downpours for Wednesday and Thursday, but knowing this I still made the venture. A long and sketchy drive through thick fog took me 4 hours of travel instead of the predicted 3. I finally found his tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road fit for The Hills Have Eyes. We shared a few brews, ate some slices of pizza from a local pizza place and caught up with each other.
I woke up Thursday morning expecting rain and miserable weather, but we were both surprised to see a partially cloudy sky and no rain. After a short debacle choosing which mountain to go to (3 are within a 15 minute drive) we decided on Stratton. After pulling out of his driveway, 2 turns later BAM Stratton was staring us in the face. What was a super touristy ski resort filled with shops made for 1000's of people was a ghost town. We parked in the first row of spots leading to the hill. As Paul went to grab our tickets I started my Old-Man routine, lots of dynamic stretches for the legs. This 30 year old is out of shape and just had knee surgery 2 months ago.
I walked outside fully geared and with a butterfly filled stomach. I felt home again. Slushy mashed potato'd snow everywhere, 45 degree weather and no lift lines. It was all my favorite things about spring skiing, except it wasn't spring. We walked to the gondola right up the stairs and into the first open box. Not 1 person in sight except the ticket checker who had to get up and walk out of her booth where she had been probably been hanging out in all morning until we showed up.
The first run was such an amazing feeling. Everything just faded away and all that mattered was sliding sideways, jumping off things and linking carves. A few little side hits a turn here and there, and then we were magically at the top of their 7 feature park. Without skipping a beat, a quick blind switch up on flat box, followed by a 50-50 on the next box and then a blind 270 out of a double barrel rail. It was like last season never ended, everything felt so natural. Not bad for the first run of the season. When we stopped to unstrap at the bottom to reenter the gondola we looked at each other smiled, and did a quick fist pound of satisfaction. Then the sore quadriceps kicked in, and I quickly realized my legs forgot what it was like to ski. Remind me to do more cardio, and by more I mean ANY cardio. Man I am out of shape.
The snow was chunky, icy in bits, muddy in others, and slushy everywhere else. I wouldn't have it any other way. We did roughly 10 runs throughout the day, with a few PBRs on the gondola for nutritional value of course... His neighbor "T" who works at the mountain found us and showed us a quicker path to the park by ducking a rope and skiing a trail that was 1/3 grass which was crazy fun minus hitting random slow spots and almost diving face first. It really kept you on your toes when your legs were as stable as a new born deer’s'.
We called it around 2 as my legs were nothing but jello, and I had a 3-4 hour ride home. I put on some comfy clothes and drove back to CT. Exhausted, Sore, and stuck in traffic for a few hours and all I could think about was my next visit back north. It will be a grand season.
B.Wyfe posing with her new favorite skiboards
The moon that night was inspired by my skiboards
just enjoying the beautiful view
Paul testing the boundries of my wife angle lens
Step down rail at the bottom of the park
This was the view from midway down the mountain under the cloud line. We had the mountain to ourselves.
Paul greasing the first rail in the park. (I missed his stylish shifty on exit, sorry dude!)