As an old dude who has been sliding sideways for 20+ years with a riding style stuck roughly 20 years in the past, I still surprise myself at how much fun I can have on a snowboard. And while I’ve moved past the days where I’d rate park-pow as the ultimate shred day, I’m sure it’d still make a top-ten list at some point of my 2012/13 season.
That said, with nearly a month of our season under the belt and an amazing early season here at Whistler Blackcomb (while everywhere else seems to be dry, again), I’ve put together my top ten best moments on the mountain so far.
1. Family Day
Not too often do my wife and I along with the kids all get out on the mountain together. WB is super family friendly and we decided this year to start the family ski-days early so it becomes part of our rhythm. I foresee plenty of time spent in Whistler’s Tree House.
2. VD Laps
My first 2012/13 lap through the VD trees with Burton shred Jake Bauer was easily the funnest lap of the season so far. Partly it was so fun because Jake kills it on a snowboard and is fun to watch, and partly fun because Whistler’s early season snow is as good as it gets. Choker deep.
3. Park Laps
For some reason my park days are spaced too wide from each other; unfortunately, as soon as I start riding park I get hooked on it, I can’t sleep because I obsess about features, and the Blackcomb park is just too hard too shake out of my head. It takes me a good amount of discipline not to ride park a lot more than I do.
4. Father-Son Shred Days
Last year my son skied 52 days at age three. This year he’s four and told someone in my ride crew he plans to ski 81 days this winter. Not a chance. But still, he’s my favorite ski partner and I hope I get to do this for a long, long time.
5. No Crowds
I have no complaints riding straight on to the chairlifts. Golden.
6. Spirit Bear Coffee
If there is one thing to count on with my ride schedule, it’s this; I’m at Seppo’s or Pika’s in the Roundhouse most days for coffee around 10:30am. The best part of my day, it’s a time and place for our ride crew to connect up, make a plan for the day, and do what old men do at AW’s everywhere – talk crap. If you want to join up, let me know, I’ll buy your first coffee.
7. Red Hit Run
If you know the Red hit run, you know just how fun it is. Every snowfall changes it up and it’s super fun to train with your crew. It’s fun and interesting and, if you don’t know it, you should make its’ acquaintance. Works best if you’re a snowboarder and is the go-to warm-up run if it’s not a pow day.
8. Opening Day Buzz
What can I say: after months of pretending to be a weather forecaster, attending video premiers, acquiring new gear, nailing down ride schedules, and hoping for a winter to make everyone else jealous – opening day is a big deal. And even though Whistler’s opening was the wettest storm day of the year, it was still so good!
9. New Gear
10. Inclusive Crew
One of the things Jeff Slack from the Whistler Museum opened my eyes to is how everyone’s little friend circles in Whistler shrink as soon as winter hits. Ride crews get exclusive real quick, no one says hi on the Valley trail, and if you’re not in with a crew from the get-go, plan to spend a bunch of your season riding solo laps.
The crew I’ve been rolling with are trying to be opposite to that; we’re trying to be super intentional about being an inclusive ride crew. We invite people to shred all the time and could care less how good anyone’s riding is. This means some ride days have been slower than normal and some chairlifts don’t click as well, but whatever. Part of what makes Whistler so awesome are the friendships people forge on the mountain and, when the Visa ends and those people go home, Whistler was awesome because the collective we were awesome. Anyhow, email me if you want shred.
See ya up there.