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​In Defense of the Solo Shred

Doodle and arrangement by Tess Wood. 

Let's be real, you have plenty of friends on a powder day. Even if you parted ways on the hill, you at least carpooled to get there or attempted a couple texts to rendezvous. You might decide ditch friends if they're too slow, or sneak off to your secret stash just a couple tree lines away, but we're all still comparing notes in the lift line and creating a symphony of hoots and hollers as we make it down the mountain one face shot at a time.

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In recent years. I've come to very much appreciate the act of showing up to the ski area with no partners in mind. To be honest, this routine began out of necessity when, new to town and friendless, I was forced to spend a lot of time hitting the slopes on my own. It was a little awkward at first, standing alone on the tram dock, permanently installed in the singles line and working my way around a mountain I knew very little about. But it also afforded me the luxury of skiing any run I felt like, whenever I wanted. I could ski at any speed I chose or decided on a whim to skip the traverse and get in a few more turns.

Sage Cattabriga-Alosa is a fan of the solo shred sesh. TGR photo.

Solo on the tram dock, trying to look "lost in thought" (or anything other than awkward AF), also invited the approach of new friends. Once, I got to explore my new mountain for a whole weekend with some vacationing Australian brothers (HELLO) after one struck up conversation. As a relative "free agent" I was also a lot more apt to be invited to join a group heading out to the side country because it was just little ole me instead of a 6-some of varying abilities*.

And on the occasion when I don't accumulate ski partners I get some solid time to clear my head. Chairlifts are my yoga mat, the rest for my increasingly weary legs a shavasana, and I'm free to think (or not think) to my heart’s desires. It's been a wonderful forced lesson in learning to be alone; something that, for better or for worse, I'm pretty darn good at.

So if you can't find anyone to ski with, don't let it stop you from getting your schuss on. Embrace the solo shred, and I'll see you in the singles line.

*Please note: These were never strangers. I would not go into the side country, backcountry, or any country with people whose ability and decision-making I did not trust. Stranger Danger is real, my friends.

From The Column: From One Bum to Another

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About The Author

TGR Contributor Tess Wood

Tess got herself stuck in Jackson seven years ago, and can usually be found skiing (alone, or with a gang of small children), eating snacks, or hustling her doughnuts on the black market. She is very good at pulling off granny panties, mumus and pantsuits with shoulder pads. She is not good at sharing.

Comments (2)

You can use the iPhone app, Rideski, to find carpools to the mountain. I think it just launched but looks like it could gain some traction! There’s always stranger danger for sure, but there’s a rating system so you don’t link up with any sketchy folks.

I’m all about the solo shred. Spent 2 days solo riding off the summit of Bachelor last year, followed by solo-shredding it’s lift-served bike park at summer’s-end. Did 4 days this year on as many of JHMR’s run’s as my legs would allow - at my own pace. I’m currently a regular of Mt. Hood Meadows’ record snowfall as a solo…be it long-fast blues or the steep and deep that my time in Jackson gave me the cajones for (side-bar: I’m not saying Mt. Hood and Jackson are the same). I agree with the esteemed author - friends to ride with are all well and good, but time in your element with nothing but your thoughts (maybe an ear-bud fed soundtrack?), no one to report to, and a whole day on-the-hill is cathartic. . Just sayin’.