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  1. #76
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    That's awesome, you are absolutely nuts.

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    The mud flats of Turnagain Arm are notoriously dangerous. I remember hearing a story about a girl, a long time ago who got stuck in the mud. The rescuers tried everything to get her out as the tide was rising fast. I guess the last ditch effort included a helicopter with a sling and as the story goes, the water was up to her neck and the helicopter pulled and she got pulled in half… I don’t know if the story is true, but either way it did little to deter our exploration of the ocean in front of Girdwood.

    Turnagain Arm has the second highest tide interval in the world after the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. It is basically a fifty-mile long fiord feature that became filled in with glacial silt from hundreds of glacier fed watersheds. It has an interesting habit during the spring tide cycle, of producing a fair sized ‘bore tide.’ A bore tide forms when the outgoing water runs into the incoming high tide and it builds into a wave that can reach ten feet or higher. Imagine a boiling wall of brown water sometimes churning with icebergs and froth.

    Ryan and I were convinced that we wanted to ride the wave. The problem was that neither of us owned a surfboard. We remedied the situation by going to the local builders supply store and buying some of that 2 feet by 8 feet long stiff blue insulation foam. We cut the lengths in half and used duct tape to create a board that was 2 feet by 4 feet by 4 inches thick. Ingenious! Next, we went and bought some used wet suits and a couple of life jackets and we were ready to go!

    This was my first time really venturing on to the mud flats. I had poked around the edges but had never committed to complete submersion in the brown icy water. It did feel somewhat counter instinctual as we strolled out across the broad mud bank adjacent to the busy Seward Highway. The consistency of the mud is interesting. You can step and keep walking just fine but if you stop and jiggle your feet for only two second, the mud quickly becomes liquid, sucking you in. When you stop moving, it solidifies again around your ankles, knees or whatever.

    We quickly jogged along straight out into the river of water flowing out that was only knee deep. On the horizon you could see the wall of foam and water rising and moving in our direction. I was slightly nervous as we waited and even turned to run towards the wave. It finally built to about four feet as we turned our backs to it, flopped on our stomachs and started paddling against the river current. Sploosh! The wave rolled up on to use and I rode it for maybe two seconds before I got spit out behind it. Ryan carried on for maybe 100ft or so before he lost the sweet spot as well.

    It was way easier walking out across the mud at low tide. Now I was several hundred yards from shore in the middle of the huge, brown, cold river. I had not really thought about this part. I paddled and paddled and even though I was going perpendicular to the flow I could see land marks moving by at an alarming speed. The real danger is when the tide current goes around the next point and then angles sway from the road, towards the other side of the arm.

    My arms were becoming like jelly and Ryan was far from me, so I was on my own. After a while I was curious if I could touch bottom as I clung to my blue board. Yes! The water was only chest deep. I was now running on the bottom at 45-degree angle to the current with one hand on my floating board for balance. It seemed like forever then all of the sudden the shore seemed near.

    At the same time the water became deeper so I had to hop back on my board. And then all of the sudden there was these waves coming at me from what seemed like nowhere. The waves got steeper and bigger as I kept paddling. At the crest of one of the waves I realized to my horror that I was paddling into the heart of a huge whirlpool and the waves were reaching out concentrically from the brown frothy hole in the middle. The whirlpool must have formed behind a small rock outcrop as a back eddy to the main current because I was quite close to shore now. At the crest of the biggest waves I got caught in the circular pull of the hole of death as it spun me around 180 degrees and plopped me right on shore.

    I was completely exhausted and somewhat flabbergasted by it all but very happy. I struggled up the embankment to the highway and saw Ryan come to shore a couple hundred yards down steam from me. We walk the three quarter mile back to the car and called it a day.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb1_sU9KA2c&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Ryan Riverboard 1[/ame]

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    Ryan was not deterred by the experience. He got a surfboard and rode the wave several times with no problems. He and Abe did have some troubles when they decided to ride the icebergs on one fine day in mid April. The snow in the backcountry had turned to mush so they were looking for action on the way home from the pass. The day was idyllic; calm with warm blue skies with the sun beating down on the alpine slopes that fall right to sea level.

    They pulled the car over and easily stepped out onto a flat piece of ice about 20 feet across and a foot thick. They hopped and skipped from berg to berg with joyful abandon. Ryan was wearing ski pants, t-shirt, running shoes and a bandana pulled over his face in classic bandit style. Abe was still wearing his ski boots, which seemed dangerous for obvious reasons.

    Soon enough they were on separate bergs and soon enough later, they drifted apart and away from shore as the out going tide took its last time. They became bored and Abe, inexplicably, kept losing articles of clothing until he was barefoot in long johns and a ‘wife beater’ tank top shirt.

    By now the local authorities had been notified by a concerned citizen as they waited on shore to see what would happen. They have to do something soon before they go around Bird Point and the open water beyond. Ryan makes the first move. He sits on the edge of his icy ride and gingerly slides into the water, not sure how deep it is. He is lucky as it is only chest deep. It is cold though and he is still 150 yards form shore and has to do the same 45-degree cross current jog I came up with. After a while he runs up on to the beach unscathed. Now Abe has to do it. He slides in and the water is up to his neck. He still opts for the cross current jog maneuver, sure to keep his hands up over his head like some sort of dance for life and death. Soon the two yahoos reunite in typical fashion and celebrate with a ‘high ten’. The troopers were unimpressed but could not press charges because going out in the mud is not illegal.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_HI2jZyn78&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - AK Frogger[/ame]

  4. #79
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    Nice blog, honestly what the fuck are we reading?

  5. #80
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    Carpathian is convinced that if he spews a bunch of corny shit about himself enough, TGR will put him in their next film.

    Gotta give it to him, he sure has the ability to talk about himself.

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    I am not spewing anything. I don't think TGR wants to ski with me. Don't really have time or energy to find publisher so you're getting it for free. You don't have to read if you don't want to. I am supplying video where applicable.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathian View Post
    I am not spewing anything. I don't think TGR wants to ski with me. Don't really have time or energy to find publisher so you're getting it for free. You don't have to read if you don't want to. I am supplying video where applicable.
    Your stories are a good read regardless of what steaming poopy pants says. The videos are cool too, keep it coming.

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    Long ago I said that Rasputin was Jer. Could still be true. As long as you guys are entertained... Jer is Jeremy Nobis, right?

    Vesna is officially 8 months pregnant now. Our little cabin is beginning to feel small. I am scrambling to finish the main cabin before the baby comes and everything is going great. The driveway is mostly mud and there is a huge pond of melt-water and a winter worth of dog shit in the backyard that is kind of gross. I am about to Tyvek the outside of the building and then start with cedar siding.

    I keep telling Vesna about how we can tell the baby stories about how things were before its life began. Assuming that things have stabilized somewhat, we will look back with nostalgia on some of our serious and not-so-serious misadventures.

    I can clearly remember a day in the mountains that seemed to be cursed by one small thing after another but in the end everyone still had a good time.

    We had six people with three snowmobiles. We were trying to sled in an area that was closed to motorized vehicles, so that is where our trouble began. As we were pulling Ryan’s sled off the truck, my pinky finger got pinched in between the ski and the tailgate and the skin got crushed off into a bleeding flap. I cursed with pain as I used duct tape and toilet paper to bandage the wound for the day. 50 yards up the trail, Ryan’s little sled got stuck and it was clear that it was not going to make it. Jared’s sled had trouble as well and only made it another 100 yards before getting stuck for good.

    Adrian’s sled was the only one that could get anywhere. I was fortunate enough to get a ride as Abe, Aaron and Jared skinned. Ryan did not bring skins because he was planning on using his sled, so he had to boot pack.

    Since my finger was throbbing, I opted out of skiing for the day and would man the camera. Abe, Aaron and Jared all made it up to the alpine bowl quickly and started to climb up a nice 1500ft coulior. I sat in the sun while Adrian took off up valley on his sled by himself. It took about an hour for the guys to get up towards the top of the run. Right about then Ryan labored up the final roll and joined me for the show.

    At one point I looked up valley to my left in time to see Adrian dig him self out of a huge pile of avalanche debris in the bottom of a gulley. I wondered what he was doing but he was too far away to communicate so I focused on filming Jared as he dropped in.

    Jared expertly ski cut a fair sized avalanche and scooted to the side as the slide rolled down their boot pack route. He negotiated through some rocks and triggered another slide but this time just straight lined and raced the snow all the way down.

    In the meanwhile Adrian showed up and relayed what had happened. Apparently he high marked of the back of the bowl and jumped off with his skis at the high point and let his sled ghost ride down. He then boot packed up the rest of the face with his skis on his back. Right at the top of the run the whole slope slide with him battling to stay on the surface as he rode 1000 feet down to the bottom, where I saw him.

    Now Abe is dropping in. He straight lined the entire run and almost exploded in the avy debris at the bottom. Aaron decided to take it easy and made 100 turns or so. All I wanted to do at this point was get the heck off the mountain and go home.

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    Living in Alaska was good and great but there comes a time when you just have to get out of there. The isolation, the long dark ours…they can wear on your psyche. So on January 2, 2004 Abe Ryan and I embarked on a journey that would, in the end, shake the the Indestructible Few to the core.

    Hans had disappeared the year before. I awoke one morning to find a pile of videotapes and a three page manifesto type letter explaining his haste departure and general take on the world. The short story is that Hans felt after three years of pushing his own mental and physical boundaries in the mountains of Alaska, he had reached a critical threshold. He did progress at an alarming rate from dumpster diving, new age bohemian to a lean, mean mountain slaying machine. And that was the problem. He figured it was a number game and the longer you played the game, sooner or later your number would come up. So he left Girdwood without goodbyes and relocated to Las Vegas to follow his other passion of rock climbing and later verified rumors of male exotic dancing. To each his own! I was hurt for a while but got over it.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRUxfrUXSMs&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Philosophy in Skiing[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBY9vPUOeKY&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Philosophy in Skiing Part 2[/ame]

    Fred was also having some issues that pulled him away from the mountains. He had been diagnosed with a rare and serious form of brain cancer. He moved to Seattle to be near family and specialized medical treatment. I could only catch word of his activities 3rd hand and was sorry to see him go.

    So now it was up to Me, Abe and Ryan to carry on the legacy we had created and endured. We drove for sixty hours nonstop, through –50C in my parents RV that we had rented for the two-month trip. We pulled into Whistler at 8:30am in the morning and went straight to pick up our season pass and get on with another season of skiing and filming.

    We had successfully pulled off filming and editing a ski movie the previous season and had a movie showing in Girdwood three days before leaving town. I was still somewhat burnt out from the whole thing and we tried to ‘just ski’ for the first month we were there. You know, get back to the roots and away form the business aspect.

    On one hand I wanted to build on the success and experience we had gone through. On the other hand I subconsciously yearned to see and do new things that might not include skiing and filming every single day.
    We did manage to get some good stuff on film. One of the best runs I ever skied was during this trip. Ryan and I did not have anything to special planned that morning. I was going to go up and ski a line on Citation that I had been checking out and he was going to film from under the Corner Pocket. Abe was out of commission because of his back.

    On the way up Peak Chair we were drooling at the mainline that comes off Whistler Peak. It is a nice ribbon of snow suspended above exposure on the left and some shark teeth and rocks on the right. The ribbon of snow ends in a 5-6ft air to 10x10 patch of snow and then off a 20 footer to the clean run out. There was a groomer down low to watch for.

    As I sat there, I realized I should just go ski that run while it was in perfect morning light! It was my last day on the hill for the year, so what did I have to lose? Abe and Ryan had been poaching into all sorts of crazy shit for the last month but I had been lagging. I was a bit gun-shy because the season before I had got caught poaching on my home hill of Alyeska. The result was that I could not ski at the hill from Feb 22 on. Right in the heart of winter and I was booted. I had spent a fair amount of time thinking about the decisions that led to my getting in trouble. Abe and Ryan were so pumped on the zone they were poaching that they convinced to me to go in a few times. The threat of getting caught weighed too heavily on my grey matter and I declined their tours of the area.

    I suppose skiing the line was redemption of sorts. Prove to my buddies, if not myself that I could still be daring. An outlaw perhaps…

    Ryan posted up right along the ridge so that he could see me on the peak and have the chairlift, full of Saturday skiers, in the foreground. We did not have any radios so we went by hand signal. I could hang out right under the weather station and watch as Ryan prepared the shot. I could see his arm in the air. I put my arm up in response and made my move for the rope. I ducked and started side-stepping as fast as I could while still looking cool. As I came over the rise, all I could see was the base of the Peak Chair some 1800ft below. Beyond was the Village and the mountains towards Pemberton.

    I spotted the rock bump that was to be my entrance marker and started hanging skiers right as I eased over the edge and could see the entire lift line jammed with people. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was just moments away from skiing one of the most coveted lines on the mountain. Had an audience too. At this point I assumed Ryan saw me so I made the 100 foot traverse in/ski cut.

    A delicate, satiny hoar frost layer some 10cm thick was my palette. By the time I had made the ski cut I could tell the snow was not wind affected so I dropped in with four fast turns while my slough was building under my left. On the fifth turn I turned them straight and skipped off the second patch and arced through the air into a parallel fall line with my now racing slough. There was a moment in the air where I heard one lone hoot come from the chair. Straightline! Racing slough on left while dodging rocks on right while keeping speed in check as groomer is coming up fast! Harrrrd right, hit the groomer… tuck down mountain to the Winnebago in the parking lot.

    After hiding out on Blackcomb for the rest of the day on the ol snowboard we packed up the Winnebago and started driving home to Alaska, fleeing the scene of the crime.

    Everything had already changed since I met Vesna on the chairlift three weeks into our trip. She was 30 and I was 24 so naturally I was taken by this woman… the first woman I had really encountered. I had spent time with girls but this woman was something different. Abe and Ryan sensed the shift in balance and I saw it too but there was nothing I could do. I wanted the new adventure that Vesna had to offer. There was some tension and words were said. In the end we did get some solid footage but I was more interested in my beautiful Canadian bride to be. It took some easy convincing for Vesna to come back to Alaska with me and that is when the whole thing really got dicey.


    We got back to Girdwood in the end of March and moved into a little shit hole of a trailer on the same property where Ryan lived. It was a classic case of Yoko Ono and the boys. I wanted to go charge out into the mountains, but I did not want to. I wanted to keep doing what I had been doing for the previous ten years but I did not want to. Vesna and I were happy to just do nothing if not just be in love. Like I said, classic case.

    We were searching for new things to share and new foundations to build our relationship on. My mom was more then happy to bring us to church with them on Sundays and we enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that on Easter Sunday the pastor was scanning the audience for people who might be moved to accept the lord right then and there and would you believe it?! We both raised our hands at the same time! Sooo we were born again Christians for three days while something was not sitting right. Over the years I had moved into a place of ‘post modern/ new age/ holistic/ shaman’ sort of thinking and here I was taking huge step backward for the individual but a leap forward for the group at large, namely the Christian republican group. As I recall it was the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that catalyzed my first inkling of political thought. It was also precipitated by my living with a pseudo feminist/ neo liberal/ Canadian woman. I became confused.

    Confused is light word. Over a one day period I swung across the political spectrum to that of a soon to be ex-patriot and imaginary draft dodger. Not that I was really a patriot in the first place as I was only loyal to the gods of snow and mountains up until three days prior. Girdwood, AK was the center of my universe and as far as I could tell, I was the master of the universe and now it was all falling down around me.

    We drove around Anchorage with a video camera filming cop cars and military jets and huge American flags and it was all evidence Big Brother, nationalism run amok and George W Bush was evil incarnate. We had to escape America and unfortunately for Me and my previous set of conditioned values, Alaska is part of the USA so we must go. It took three days to pack, buy a camper, quit my job, seriously traumatize my parents and hit the road. My soul would not rest until we crossed the Yukon border. Welcome to Canada.

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    It's true. Rasputin = jer = jeremy nobis


  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by YetiMan View Post
    It's true. Rasputin = jer = jeremy nobis

    Damn, I've been found out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpathian View Post
    My soul would not rest until we crossed the Yukon border. Welcome to Canada.
    You came to the right place , the Bulkely valley has a fine tradition of hippies and draft dodgers and apparently the kispiox was a favorite of paranoid ex-pat Americans because the prevailing out flow wind of the Valley would blow away the nuclear fallout

    and its actualy "welcome to Canada eh?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by YetiMan View Post
    It's true. Rasputin = jer = jeremy nobis
    Raputin = Jer = Nobis = Witherspoon = Vidar Vaer = Clint Eastwood.

    It's true.

  14. #89
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    When we got to Canada on May 15, 2004 we kept the camera rolling and ended up filming a total of 65 hours of footage. By September I started the intense process of logging and capturing all of the footage into a coherent piece of work. In the end our movie was called “Escape from America?” We premiered it to a crowd of 137 people in the Roi Theater in Smithers. For the most part, people appreciated our effort. We pegged it as an evolution in thought and politics. If you could not keep up with the movie then you were obviously not up to speed with that evolution, a litmus test of sorts. We had to rationalize it like that for our own sake. In the Smithers show seven people got up and left the theater.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9jsUrIPxnw&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Intro to "Escape from America?"[/ame]

    We did two shows in Prince George, BC and only a few people left early. A week later we did a show in Terrace, BC and ten people left out of the 100 or so that showed up.
    Our most successful show was out on the Queen Charlotte Islands in the town of Masset. We played at the Green Church and the people loved it! The last half hour of the movie is filmed in the Charlottes and the small town people really enjoyed our take on their community.

    Another week later we traveled down to Rossland, BC to show two movies at the Rossland Mountain Film Festival. The first was the last ski movie I had made in Alaska the year before. It was a hit and the ski crowd liked the classic Alaska powder ski footage. “Escape from America?” was the very last movie to show over the weekend of movie watching. Apparently The Grey Cup was on TV at the same time and, well, about 75% of the people left the theater, or about 75 people. It was tough as the ‘artiste’ to watch the people simply not ‘get it’ or not care to try and ‘get it’. All we could do was sit in the back and watch one after the other or entire groups all get up and leave.

    At the end we were sitting there feeling slightly sheepish but also understanding. It is an hour and a half of talking, talking, talking. Politics, Iraq, religion blah, blah… Honestly I was pretty sick of the whole thing by then myself. Right as the lights came on I saw a little man sitting a few rows up from us. We were chit chatting with whatever entourage had accumulated around us and this little guy came over to us. He introduced himself and as it turns out he was our number one fan. He was dirty and wearing a little backpack and had some black garbage bag material attached as a patch or something.

    When he started talking, I knew I had better film what he had to say. I ran the camera for two hours straight as he lectured on in the theater and then later outside in the parking lot. Months later I crammed though the whole interview and edited together a 13-minute clip that became a mini movie called “Inner Visions of a Mountain Man.” This guy was a mountain man in the truest sense. A year later we ended up touring around to the same venues with this short flick and a couple of other films we came up with. The following is the transcript from “Inner Visions”’ broken into three parts
    .

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    My name is Gary Donald Commozi and I was born in Rossland, BC. My father was a Kootenee and my grandfather was a Kootenee. I’ve been here a long time. The message that we want to hear, I’m sure, is that we want to find that God within. I’m very glad for your movie. It was a great deal of that emphasis in that movie. And that was really the important thing, more then anything else.

    Global changing, global warming and all that sort of thing, uh, is a very good possibility and that sort of stuff. And we see that the time is coming when we may see that global shift, again. Not just in human consciousness, but in the actual physical movements of the Earth. And I think at this point that then we should be really aware, as we always should, is that we are spiritual people. At first we are spirit and we should concentrate on that and perhaps if we all do daily spiritual practice, in what ever form that took, each one of us, that would make a great difference in the world.

    For we do in fact control and affect and so on, the weather and everything else. And that is what I would kind of like to say as far as the summation of your film, my reaction to the film.

    As far as the Freemason go, they sometimes trace themselves back to the Commozi Stonemasons which was an architectural school in Lake Como, which disbanded or so around 400 a.d., when Rome was conquered by the Barbarians. But it would seem if my family was related to that Como, which is a name all over Italy, in the north. So that is just kind of a personal thing.

    I am a little wary about saying this… (looks over his shoulder) I went to Rainbow this year in California. I went to the original Rainbow and several others and that Shasta one 20 years ago. And it is Hopi prophecy that there would be a people that would come that would have long hair and beads and headbands and they would be the first non-Indian friends of the Indians and they would have a name something like Hopi. So their name for the white people was the Hopi, Hipi, Hippie. We were that prophecy.

    And that is why we came to this time of galactic realignment or galactic alignment. When the sun goes across the plane of the ecliptic of the galaxy.

    “December 21, 2012?” I chip in.

    Yes, and that date can be moved by a few years forward or back by a number of factors. Such as, what is the true center of the sun electro magnetically, ultravioletly and the same with the galaxy? So, uh, one of the estimates from Jan Miess, U.S. Naval Observatory, was saying that May 1998 was when this happened, but this factor can be extended by a number of years both forward and backward even up to about 2240. Depending on these other factors that we are no fully aware of.

    Never the less, the Mayans made the statement, and if anybody was obsessed by time, it was the Mayans. I think that when we look back, I’m a stone mason, we look at all the things that we have built and we don’t know how to build them here today. We don’t know who built of them and we don’t know how they were built. And if we knew why they were built. I quote Gerald Hawkins in “Heaven’s Mirror.” He says, right on the first page that “they were built for immortality and astronomical alignment.” That is the reason those monuments were built. So they are our reminder that there were great civilizations in the past. One was Atlantis and they sank and did whatever. They were destroyed by what ever forces. And maybe we got to look at some of those forces and maybe we are responsible for some of those forces and maybe something as a reminder in this really incredible time that we live in.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQrQ0MJsSD0&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Inner Visions of a Mountain Man Part1[/ame]

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    "Yeah, yeah, yeah” he mutters under his breath as we make our way out of the now empty theater. We go to the back parking lot where he wants to stand on solid ground before continuing his stories.

    I thought about it… you stay there. I’m just gonna see if there is any Earth to stand on… this is really interesting. My parents bought the house so I could be born. It got hit the next day after I complained to city council about how much they were charging me to tear down my house. They were trying to tear down my house. And I guessed it was $33,000 or something in that range. And the house got hit the next day by a BC Tel truck that rolled down this hill and hit that house. And that is my parent’s house, it is a new house now. Here I am born and raised and here we are doing this outside! (laughs) You want to talk about Sasquatch, okay.

    “Now Jake, you said something about Trout Lake?” he asked.
    “Yeah” I answer.
    “You said you are going to stay up there for a few days or something?”
    “Uh, potentially we have land there.”
    “You have land there! So Trout Lake is Kootenee.” He tells me.
    “Is it?”

    Well sure, Trout Lake is Kootenee. And as I said about Kootenee, I said it is the crown chakra of the world, the thousand-petal lotus, part of the original Garden of Eden. And I believe this from what I can see, from the evidence that I have experienced. Actually, I have said about 26 things the Kootenee that have come true. Including the Precambrian rock and stuff. But it is just like if you are in harmony with God, then God, however you conceive God, then you get these answers.

    I had a theory years ago that the moon affected avalanches. It is now accepted by the avalanche community. Basically both new moon and full. That is the part that I missed. The new moon is even more stronger then the full. I got my national avalanche degree and in the next year, 1974 or so, I developed this theory that the moon affected avalanches. And it is based on astronomical principal. It is basically electromagnetism and gravitation. And yes, it will change that gravity, it will change that avalanche.

    You can imagine a slope and you got this new moon or the full moon coming over the eastern horizon and you got a slope that is ready to go anyway, maybe. And you got that snow and that snow maybe on a molecular level, an atomic level or may even on a macroscopic level, the level of the snow crystal itself. Whatever. If you got layers in that snow and one of those layers is suddenly pulled away from another layer, then maybe, you know, an unwary skier or snowboarder could cause that whole slope to go.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN5PjLZRb3M&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Inner Visions of a Mountain Man Part2[/ame]

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    “Yeah, the Sasquatch is like the Freudian personification of the ‘Wild Man’, which is just the unknown aspect of existence in general, that is scary.”

    So the Sasquatch. So you know my name is Gary Donald Commozi. I was born in Rossland, BC. I went out one time in Rossland, one night when I decided I would go sleep in the bush. It was a nice summer night in August or something like that. I didn’t want to sleep in town. As all I had to do was walk a couple of blocks and I was over there on Red Mountain and I could go camp somewhere in the trees. I just threw this old American Army sleeping bag over my shoulder. I had better ones, but this one I could just rough around in. I threw it over my shoulders and went for a walk about four in the morning. I went to this place I had never been before. I knew the mountain, it is full of mine shafts and stuff. I just kind of walked where I wanted to walk. Dark of the moon, couldn’t see anything. Couldn’t see the hand in front of my face and I got to this place. I said this is good. This is good. It was kind of a little copse in the trees. I could feel just this little copse in the trees. This is good here.

    I took my shoes off and stood at the top of my sleeping bag. I uh, just wanted to let everything know that I was there so I would not be hassled. I wasn’t making a fire or anything or peeing around camp to let the bears know I was there. Just to let everybody know I was there and sleeping for the night I said

    “Don’t no body fucking disturb me!”

    And I laid down. And I was there about five minutes when all of the sudden,

    WaaaaaAAAAAHHHHH!

    This is where I decided to end the edited version for the movie. When he screamed in the camera, I felt like I had literally caught a fastball thrown by some major league pitcher. He screamed with such animal ferocity, I was blown away. He was imitating the apparent Sasquatch that had come to yell back at him. As his story continued, the creature proceeded to circle him and scream at him from all four directions from about three feet away in the black night. And then it was silent, except for the stench of the creature’s breath lingering in the air.


    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vYH2rdbRx8&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Inner Visions of a Mountain Man Part3[/ame]

  18. #93
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    Good stuff Jake. When I emerge from my own writing hell, I will come back to read everything you have posted here.

    In the mean time, a quote from Nietzsche to ponder:
    “Sit as little as possible; give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while one moved about freely – in which the muscles are not celebrating a feast, too. All prejudices come from the intestines. The sedentary life – as I have said once before – is the real sin against the holy spirit”.

  19. #94
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    That's pretty much the reason I am so fascinated with Sasquatch, Wendigo, etc. The world needs way more monsters.

  20. #95
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    This thread just keeps bringing it.

    I enjoy the wierdo stuff . I also have met and had people in my life that society deems unstable but the things you learn from them is worth it sometimes.
    And sometimes they drive you fucking crazy.

  21. #96
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    So I had s light existential melt down?! What is the big deal? It felt I had slipped away to a new life in Smithers, BC. We kept the camera rolling as we interviewed anyone and everyone on the nature of politics and how they evolve into a universal understanding. Whatever it was it was a welcome change from the obsessive-compulsive reality I had shaped for my self in Alaska. For the first time I slowed down enough to smell the roses. I did not have to charge out into the mountains every single moment of every single day in order to satiate this bottomless hunger in my soul for more, more, MORE!

    I was curious to see how people lived and spent their time not in the mountains. After a couple of months though I became bored. I eventually became bored of existential naval gazing and political argument. My politics had by the way, swung back 180 degrees to a delayed appreciation for my well off Christian republican upbringing. I felt slightly embarrassed that I basically had shat on everything that had molded me into who I was. And even though I could expect no sympathy from the liberal minded proud Canadian masses of BC, I came to appreciate people for whatever they thought. For my sanity I had to become neutral and as the mountains called I yielded to the sirens cry.

    Smithers is different then Girdwood. I have the tendency to view and judge places on their proximity to mountains. Girdwood is surrounded by steep mountains on three sides with the ocean at the front door. Smithers is in the interior of BC and the mountains are way more spread out. Specifically Smithers is on the interior side of the Coast Range and that means less snow and colder temperatures in general. Hudson Bay Mountain is in Smithers and it is on the absolute edge of the Coast Range, so from there I can look west and see huge stand-alone peaks all the way to Terrace and the coast. The mountains become taller and the valleys become narrower and deeper the farther west you go. To the east are the huge interior plains that stretch to the Rockies, 500 miles away.

    Hudson Bay Mountain is actually a huge stand-alone massif by itself, that is slightly removed from the Coast Range proper. From town, it rises 7000ft to the aesthetic summit. Its eastern flanks are broad and smooth while on the north, west and south it is very rugged and generally inhospitable. Inhospitable is a very good word to describe Hudson Bay Mountain. The top 200 feet is tall enough that it actually pokes up into the upper atmosphere, so for 9 days out of 10 there is a ‘storm cap’ cloud that obscures the peak from view. The lenticular cloud seems to be the boiling emotion or personality of the peak.


    I actually tried to climb up into the storm cap once and was nearly blown clean off. Down on the lower flanks it was calm and sunny. I skinned by myself under the warm sun until I got right up to the threshold, where it is like walking into another room in a building. Only once did I venture into the cap. Over a one hundred-foot distance the wind picked up to about 90 mph, I would guess. I actually became afraid that I would lose a ski or backpack off the edge of the peak into oblivion. Retreat! Retreat! Ever since that trip the storm cap = do not enter.

    On the rare day that is clear and calm to the summit, it is totally magnificent sight!





    You can walk right to the edge of the world and look into the huge Hudson Bay Glacier bowl that is ringed by chute after chute.




    Amazing skiing that I have not yet enjoyed. So for one mountain there is a lot to offer and the carrot is still on the stick for me at least.

    The terrain on Hudson Bay Peak goes from fairly mellow to super gnarly with not a lot of medium terrain in between.





    It is like going into another world when the opportunity comes up to drop into Big Simpson Drainage. You climb up across the mellow east flank and come up to the edge of the world, right near the summit.



    One day five of us decided to make the big move. Bill, Taylor, Dev and I were on skis and Greg was on a snowboard. When we got up to the summit drop in point, it became clear that that we had to descend was super steep, wind scoured and over rocky exposure. It was definitely a no fall zone for 2000 feet. We were unanimous in deciding that Greg should not drop in on his board. The one edge and no poles would make one slip on his part potentially fatal. He agreed and cruised back to the lift area to wait for us at the end of the day.




    We dropped in one at a time. Any slip or tumble would have sent the unlucky skier cart-wheeling through a scoured field of rocks laid bare by the high winds that rip through on a regular basis. After ten tight turns you have to hang hard left to access the skiable snow. There is a definite rush of relief once you make it into the safer zone and the skiing becomes fun again! We cruised down the belly of the main drainage and then stopped to gear up for our next objective, Hudson Bay Middle Peak.

    Snowboarder in Mid Peak on separate trip.


    It is a pleasant climb. You can keep your skis on for a while then the pitch steepens and you have to boot pack up a narrow gulley. The sun feels good on your back as you efficiently gain elevation. Once we gained the high saddle, Dev and I pushed for the summit while Bill and Taylor opted for the up route as a down route.While the sun had been cooking the slopes all day the snow became soft and enjoyable underfoot. However, as the sun made its way around the sky, as it seems to do, the previously sun cooked snow hardened into a glazed over ‘hockey rink’ type consistency. The lower half of our Middle Peak run was definitely on the hard side.




    Our overall objective for the day, besides the two beautiful peaks we had already skied, was to ski out the bottom of the Big Simpson Drainage and try to tie back over to Little Simpson and mining access road back to the chairlift area. In essence we would be linking two major drainages by an easy traverse, hopefully. The terrain was objectively less steep and exposed but as we soon found out, the lower we skied down the harder the ice became. You see, the lower elevation had been cooked by the sun that much more, so when it finally did refreeze, it refroze much more solid. So solid in fact that is produced the hardest ice conditions I had ever encountered in 20 years of skiing.

    The drainage rolls easily for a awhile, then towards the bottom it pitches over a steep face for 1500 feet. Even on the low angle terrain, the ice proved treacherous as Bill crashed and cut his face. I crashed into a solid chunk of avalanche debris and kicked off a ski. By sheer luck the ski stopped a few feet away on another chunk nearby.
    Earlier in the day we were talking about how legends over in Chamonix say that the large black birds that cruise in the mountain thermal currents are the reincarnated spirits of ski mountaineers who have perished in the mountains. Just as I gathered my wits and my ski I saw in the distance below me, two black birds turning in long lazy circles. They were watching us and I knew who they were.

    I was thinking, “If we go skiers left the snow will be worse because it was even more sun affected… so we must go hard right, because the snow will be less affected.” We crept cautiously up to the edge of the face and tucked under the huge cliff bands that loomed overhead. The snow was just barely chalky enough in texture to hold an edge and I calmed down a bit, seeing that we were going to make it. The snow was still quite hard, mind you. One slip would mean a long fall but the edges held. We all did a fast traverse across the open face as the birds wheeled about, reveling in our joy or perhaps hoping for more company in the heights. Another 1000 feet and we were safe down in the forest. We climbed the last hour back up and over to Little Simpson and then skied 3000 feet to town.



    Some first's waiting to be had.

  22. #97
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    I finished building the first ski fence in town the other day. It only took about a month before I collected enough pairs of brightly colored, 70’s era skis. It only took an hour to drill holes and screw them onto the fence that faces the street. We already have the tallest fence on the block but now it is accented by the symmetric curves of the tips of skis as they arch between two mountain ash trees.

    I am a skier at heart and this is going to be my first winter as a ski bum while owning a house in a ski town. This will be the first winter I have owned a fence to display my ode to mountain sport. Some people are completely blown away at the concept; A fence with skis, how cute.

    For years I had been pulling off ski bum living in a camper, a Winnebago and even a tar paper shack. This year we were going in style with a wood stove getting installed next week to finish off the ‘urban cabin’ look we had been aiming for. Town has been hopping the lately. Seems like there are more strangers in town. Who is showing up in this neck of the woods? Amenity migration. Like flies to honey, skiers and connoisseurs of mountain living have been rolling into town. Investment banker from Montreal? Model from Vancouver?! Who are these city people moving to my town? I like things the way they are. My town is not going to change.

    An influx of money brings an influx of energy and ideas. The money is coming from the real estate company that is selling lots for $150K like hotcakes because they are going to put up the money to create a mountain community. The hotels, condos and restaurants are only coming as a result of massive expansion of the local mom and pop ski hill. 300 acres to 3000, 5000 in the next 2 years! 6000 vertical feet to town! What?! For 30 years people have been talking about running a lift to town. A fantasy, a pipe dream.

    We have only been in town for a year and a half. We lived in a camper until 2 months ago when the deal was being sealed and the word was out, “Buy now, before it is too late!” The alarm bells went off. There was one house in town that we could afford. First time home buyer? Yes! RRSP? Yes! You’re in the club. Ski bums to land barons as if in a dream.

    People were skeptical. I guess a couple of years back the place was going to sell but then the people had their hopes dashed when the deal fell through. I remained optimistic. I had to because I found myself in the most absurd conversations with local folks who called themselves skiers, as they tried to give me reasons why the hill would never sell.
    “Too cold, too windy, too far north… They are going to have to make snow and I don’t like icy groomers.” Oh boo-hoo! Do they miss the point? Yes, you are supposed to enjoy the icy groomer at the end of the day as you descent from the alpine chairs of choice. You enjoy dodging tourists because you have not seen any all day because they don’t leave the fucking groomers. Making snow is part of the game when you are dealing with 6000ft, people.

    Apparently real estate prices have gone up almost 20% in the last 2 months. That was the easiest money I ever made. Easier then washing dishes or brown-nosing for the corporate sponsorship.

    One guy was telling me how the ‘corporation’ researches into how people are psychologically programmed into buying certain things during certain phases of their mountain experience. Well, no shit. They are trying to make money off the people who are there because of the lift that they built that you are making 5000ft laps on all day. No one is putting a gun to your head and making you buy the lip gloss next to the register at Starbucks. Go skiing and be thankful that there are some aspects of the system that are condusive to your experiencing freedom and bliss. Watch for sunburn!

    I can only talk as a taxpayer who loves to schralp who happened to get in on the ground floor this time. This place reminds me of Whistler 30 years ago, maybe Jackson Hole. There is a smaller town about 10 minutes east of here that I can see moving to in about 10 years when the shit is too crazy here in ‘town.’

    And so the story goes. The skier’s lust for powder and the sellers lust to sale. They say there are 2 leisure class’ in western society, the extremely rich and the extremely poor. Complementary opposites as they deviate from the middle class norm.

    Is it richness of lifestyle? Yes. How do you sustain that richness? How do you eat? I don’t want to be bussing tables when I am 60. I can honestly say that I have proven to myself that I am passionate for the mountains. I failed out of college because I was skiing, dude. But I am tired of being poor. I’m tired of poor. Let’s go manic and gap that middle class and slide right into the other leisure class.

    All that I have to do is ski powder. All that I have to do is ski powder. And give it to my wife in front of the wood stove in our new 80 year old house, behind our new 1970’s ski fence at the foot of a giant, ancient mountain that one day will be criss-crossed by a mosaic of groomers underneath 8 passenger gondolas with satellite internet and windows that open so you can cool off.

    I want to have a run named after me. I want to grow as a skier as this mountain community blossoms into it’s true self. I live in a ski town that does not know it yet. I can already see people walking down Main Street with skis on their shoulder as they race to jump on the shuttle that that is pulling away en route to the Base area, 3 minutes away. I want to hear ski boots clunking through the liquor store. A stoked vibe injected like a drug into the arms of the consumers of pleasure.

    I am a skier. I know how to ski for free so if the prices go up, so what? I don’t like arguing with people who don’t seem to know what is for their own good. Maybe they don’t ski? God forbid, than what are they living for?

    This winter will be nice. Nothing is really going to happen on the hill until next summer so we have one more season to soak up things the way they are because they will not remain for long. This is our chance to absorb this mountain so we can tell out kids colorful “I remember when…” stories about the lifts and the town. For now, I am going to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps put a little effort in slowing the transformation. But alas! In the future I see a renewable resource all snugly in a turtle-neck and sipping a mocha while wearing extremely tight ski pants.

    The farmers almanac says that if there are lots of bees, hornets and wasps in the summer, then it is going to be a good winter. I never got stung but I know lots of people who did. Either way, I can only offer my support by collecting more skis so I can build a second tier on my lovely fence.

  23. #98
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    The story begins around 9:30 pm on a Tuesday night in Smithers BC. Vesna and I were hanging out in our camper parked behind our office, Interesting Productions Studio, when Breeann came banging at the door. I stick my head out and she starts telling me about how Shames just got plastered with 100cm of snow in the last 24hrs and that we should start driving to Terrace right then so that we could go skiing in the morning.

    Vesna and I had to take some real convincing from Breeann and her boyfriend Trevor before we were sold on the idea. We had been wrapped up in pulling a David vs Goliath maneuver in the independent film industry concerning our spoof documentary, ‘Escape from America?’ and had been immersed in an imaginary world of numbers and ideas. Breeann and Trevor, in unison, had to keep repeating “100cm, 100cm, 100cm…” until Vesna and I relented, “Let’s go!”

    We were on the beat. First, Vesna had to call her yoga students and tell them that she would not be teaching class at 7:30am on Thursday, because she was going to ski 100cm. All the students seemed to understand. I had to jump on the computer to close a few deals and check the weather from around the continent.

    “Alyeska Resort up north? 0 inches. Alta Resort down south? Trace. Kicking Horse out east? 6cm. Shames Mountain? 95cm and snowing!” I considered that market research and decided to blast an email to the guys at Powder Magazine, to let them know that I was on the story. I had never really thought of writing an article for a magazine until right then. It sounded like potential for some high drama in the mountains so I gave it a shot.

    Vesna and I had been looking for a good ski story to film. I had done a few ski movies while in Alaska and together, we worked on a political documentary. We were looking for a combo of some sort. Tell a story around the sport of skiing. So while we are emailing, packing and laughing, we start filming our movie right then. This story is kind of behind the scenes look at what it takes to get the perfect shot, if not the perfect run. An hour later the truck is purring along in a torrential rainstorm as Vesna and I scheme on ways to get up mountains and down.

    Terrace was warm. Ominous. It was past 1am now, and we were waxing skis out in the shed of Trevor and Breeann. It was made even more ominous because their house is right next door to an abandoned morgue that supposedly is the home to a bunch of stray cats. I am looking at the sky, smelling the warm air and a seed of doubt is planted, but I don’t say anything as I close the door to the shed to be enveloped by the crooning of Bob Marley.

    I got some good footage of waxing skis. I had never done that before. Seemed kind of ritualistic, the melting of the wax and smoothing the surface for efficiency. We feel asleep around 3am listening as the camper was battered by wind with mixed rain and snow.

    “Shames is up there, should be cold,” we rationalized in to dreams.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1dltK52S-M&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - The Passion of the Crust Part 1[/ame]

    7am came quickly.
    “Tim Horton’s is on the way! Coffee, donuts? Check!” Four of us in a Ford Econoline van chugging up the hill with the tunes rolling. From the gravel access road I could see Shames through the viewfinder. I could see snow in the trees and it was lightly snowing.

    “She’s holding!” I could relay to the passengers in the back of the van. “It is warm out though,” I thought to myself.
    In the parking lot it was quite. I heard some tunes coming from a car off somewhere, but the atmosphere was subdued. On the chairlift no one wanted to talk about the intricate patterns the rain had left on the surface of the snow.
    “We’re down low, maybe we’ll get above it?”

    Optimism seemed to have failed the group of people standing at the top of the lift. Absent was the mad rush for first tracks to be followed by the hoots and hollers from the trees.

    “The bars don’t open until 11,” I heard someone say as I skied past the group, loaded with camera gear.
    Down at the T-bar line-up, Brad and I were the first in line as we waited for avalanche clearance from patrol.
    “I don’t know, that snow seems pretty hard,” Brad speculates. Brad was a fellow American who was sleeping on the couch of Trevor and Breeann.

    As I was theorizing on the thickness of this crust, a local guy skis up from the back of the line and says, “You know, we were thinking about it back there and we decided that we don’t want the Americans in front of the line.” My immediate response was that of shock then dismay as Brad looks silent and I offer my place in line. Politics are great fun and all but I had not expected such remarks from the backwoods of northern BC. The guy laughed and said he was joking but it caught my attention.

    The T-bar fired up and most people were heading straight for ‘Hangover.’ Everyone skied over to the top of the run in disbelief. All of the cultivated positive thinking went out the window as soon as your ski fell beneath the 2 inch crust. The crust was the chastity belt that sheathed the surface of the mountain. Underneath the crust was bottomless, cold powder. Mostly, I remember my face and head grinding through the crust as I crashed for the first time in ages. I came up, hatless and laughing as I could see the same wise-guy from the T-bar straight-line the entire run to the bottom.

    I could hear people laughing all around as everyone’s idea of how to turn a ski was redefined. I filmed and asked people what they thought of the snow. People did not know what to think of it. It seemed like everyone had to adopt a certain humility in order to get down the hill. Except for the solo straight-line, people took their time and stood around. I can honestly say that it was the most difficult skiing I had ever experienced. You can talk all day about extreme this and that but that is all moot if the intermediate run under the lift is nearly unskiable.

    Down at the bottom of the lift, I overheard, “What am I going to do all day? I skipped work for this!” I got on the lift and went for another run because at that point everyone had kind of agreed to all ski the same run so that the crust would get broken apart. Once the crust was gone the snow was of a glorious quality. White smoke type of snow, only this variety was laced with shards of ice that felt like glass. If your skis were below the crust your kneecaps and shins were being ripped and torn as you powered through a turn. The only way to keep your tips above the crust was to take the posture of being in the extreme backseat. Hanging out in the backseat is about the surest way to destroy your knees so many people opted out for the day and hit the bar.

    Vesna met us on the deck with camera and drink in hand. She was getting good footage of people telling their stories of the crust. “It was like putting your head through a windshield!” People were beginning to come to understand the affect the crust had had on them. In experiencing the humility, people began to see the humor, and were liberated by what had transpired. After all, Shames still was the epicenter of Ullr’s attention and we were his worthy recipients. We had braved Crust Day and would be rewarded. The forecast said it was supposed to cool off a hair and turn clear by Sunday. That means we had 3 days to celebrate and ski snow, regardless of its consistency.

    Towards the afternoon, Trevor and I found some crust that was not so breakable and we were able to scrape some turns out in ‘Deliverance.’ Back at the bar, no one believed us, “Get out of here! It’s Snownami Wednesday!”

    “No way! We’re believers,” we responded. (It is interesting to note the comparison of the greatest natural disaster in recent history to a skier’s perception of a natural disaster.)

    After giving praise to Ullr for such a battering, we hobbled to the van and drove down the hill in heavy snowfall, extending our optimism into the week ahead.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz-waG8vMyQ&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - The Passion of the Crust Part 2[/ame]

  24. #99
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    In Terrace, Vesna and I got the camper stocked for the week and chugged back up to the Shames lower lot.

    By 8am about 10cm of snow had fallen but our fires were slow to stoke. The new snow once combined with the original crust, created crud. There was no one complaining though, because compared to the day before it was beautiful skiing. After lunch I put the skis away and busted out the snowboard. I know some of you out there might actually put the magazine down and walk away at this point and I tell you it is your loss. On the board you could shralp trackless crud lines all day without breaking a sweat. It was great. In the afternoon, we drank beer and once again, gave thanks to Ullr.

    The next day the weather continued as expected. The air cooled and soothed the snow into something more manageable for the skier. The crud began to dry out and firm up as the crust evolved into being the foundation for the skiff of new snow.
    We were getting ready to cruise out with the touring gear into ‘Phazars’ when a couple of guys showed up. Turns out they were from Whistler and they had heard about the 100cm dump. They got on a plane and raced up here to ski and take photos for their website, www.doglotion.com. I got a quick interview on the camera and then some good shots down in the trees. Can’t go wrong with skiing powder in the trees with new friends.

    In the afternoon, word got around that Matchstick Productions was flying in that night and that got everyone going. The industry elite gravitating to our very own Shangri-La only further validated our devotion to Ullr. Tonight would be the perfect night to burn skis.

    Trevor had carried 10 pallets up the hill in his van that morning so the stage was set for the Lower Lot party. Get everyone stoked to drink beer and call for snow with the sacrifice of a pair of worthy boards. Trevor had a pair of Dynastar 4x4 Bigs. It nearly brought a tear to my eye to see the real life flames lick at the acrylic flames on the top-sheet. I filmed as the mighty tips, the 4x4 was known for, finally fell flat and succumbed to the heat. We sat and passed the Whisky Fireball Shooter around until it was gone and we plotted great things for the morning and years to come. We were where IT was happening and we knew it. The sky had turned clear and cold and the stars were out. Sometimes the snow has to sit around a bit before the skiing gets good. Ullr would provide.

    The next morning was a bit of a gong show with all of the weekend crowd and the hangovers making them selves known. “We’re charging off to ski where? Huh…?”

    It took some patience but it all fell together. Brad and I were aiming for the ‘Iron Curtain’, a steep spine face across the valley from Shames. We boot-packed five minutes up to the top of ‘Deliverance’, skied to the valley bottom and then climbed up the other side of the valley. It took us a good two hours to get to the top of the run. We had two cameras with us. Vesna was posted across a small drainage and had a good barbie angle while I was on a steeper, profile angle. Brad was the star as he made the first crux turn at the top over moderate exposure. He made about 6 steep turns down the runneled face and spit out in the bottom of the gulley.

    I got to go next. I choose a cleaner spine to the skiers right. It was sweet. Steep turns around tiny trees as my hip grazed the flank of the fin I was on. Vesna was directly across from me, not more then 50 meters away. She got the shot as I zinged in three more turns out the bottom and skied over to cheer with Brad. “The Iron Curtain was a hurtin’!”
    We laughed about how America slayed the Iron Curtain of Communism and now we were skiing like Americans in Canada as we slayed the ‘Iron Curtain’ of Shames. That could be a bumper sticker, “Ski like an American in Canada!” You could take that many different ways.

    Anyway, back to the snow. The crud had turned to a kind of carvable foam that was had been plastered on all aspects no matter how steep. I had made a couple of turns where, if it had been 24 hours earlier, the snow would have collapsed under its own weight and sloughed to the bottom. Instead, it was firm and predictable. Good times.
    Despite the fact that I had lost a $200 camera battery at the top of the run, we were elated with surviving the run. It is amazing what some technical skiing does for the senses. It was good day to test the snow, see what is going on in the snow-pack. We felt good about things and began to solidify plans for the morning. We were going to climb and ski ‘Geronimo’ and get it on film from across the valley. Vesna and I had been eyeing up the aesthetic, exposed fall line all season. That would be a good way to end the story I thought.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSzNN1gZKns&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - The Passion of the Crust Part 3[/ame]

    We made a relatively early start. At 10:30 we were slapping on skins and preparing to climb. Our group consisted of Trevor, Trent (the photographer), Vesna and myself. Brad had to teach at ski school in the morning so he was going to be on radio so he could get the long cross-valley shot when we dropped in. Our skin track was there from the day before so we could move fast. I was able to make radio contact with Brad around 12pm when we neared the summit. He was set and the camera was ready. Apparently he had to cut his lesson short in order to get the shot, so with a few words of encouragement he set his students free and took up his position.

    At the top of the run there was confusion. We were looking right down the planned run and it looked ugly. The wind had come up in the evening and continued to blow under brilliant blue skies. Our run looked heinous; hard crust with wind-sculptured drifts.
    `
    “One turn powder, one turn drift, one turn crust, one turn powder”, that is what I predicted in my head. “Alright, maybe we should circle around to that other ridge? It looks cleaner, less exposed,” I offered. We all scooted around the ridge a couple hundred meters to get a better look.

    “That ridge is just as narrow,” Vesna pointed out, “there are still four of us.”
    “You’re right.” We stopped and ate lunch… took some time to mull it over. The wind had stopped for the moment and the view was fantastic. My mind could not be further away from the world of dollars and deadlines. In the discussion of our potential run we decided that it was a better filming opportunity and safer group management if we split into two groups and skied different runs.

    “Hey Jake! Can you hear me?” Brad asked over the radio, “I’m ready to go.”
    Snap back to reality! We decided on a plan. Trevor and Trent would continue around the ridge and ski the second run while Vesna and I continued with the Geronimo plan.

    As Vesna and I skied into position a red helicopter flew by on its way into the mountains, no doubt carrying the likes of Hugo Harrison and Dan Treadway. I caught myself beginning to think about how jealous I was because I wanted to be in the helicopter filming with Matchstick Productions or blah, blah, blah… then I realized that I was on top of a crazy mountain with my lovely Vesna and we had a camera guy waiting to film us. There was a task at hand! We were the professional skiers, here to shred!

    Neither Vesna nor I made two consecutive powder turns in a row on the entire run. It was sun-crusted, wind-scoured, exposed and kind of scary. In each turn the wind held the snow suspended in the crystalline sky all around my senses. Time slowed.

    Halfway down the run we tucked ourselves in a tree grove and posted up to film Trent and Trevor on their run. We filmed their sweet powder turns as they charged down the shoulder stopping just above the open glades. Trent was taking pictures as Trevor made a solid ski cut that released a decent slough that traveled to valley bottom. Radio chatter. Communication. We waited for them to make valley bottom before continuing our run, the sun was getting warmer and I wanted off that face. We worked our way slowly through avalanche gullies and steep trees. Slab here, slough there! Exciting stuff. At the bottom we raced across the run out through freight train sized debris piles, remnants of Wednesday’s storm destruction. The four of us regrouped at the bottom of the drainage, exchanged hi-fives and started prepared to climb once more.

    As we skinned back towards the resort, we continued to gain an improved vantage point across the valley on the runs we just did. It was crazy! The scale and dimensions were just beginning to seep in as we sat at the top of North Bowl watching the sun cast longer and longer shadows across ‘Geronimo’ and the second run that Trevor and Trent dubbed ‘Pressaman.’ It was now 4:20 pm and as it turns out, Bob Marley’s 60th birthday. The crust and the mountains had yielded their conspired secrets. We paid tribute with a smoke and a moment of silence before skiing sweet, sweet powder down North Bowl, heading back to the truck and aiming for the office.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksjnpUE0XO4&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - The Passion of the Crust Part 4[/ame]

  25. #100
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Revelstoke
    Posts
    43
    i just happened to come across this thread by chance.

    after reading it i feel as thou you have been living the life i dream about.

    from the death hikes to the mud surfing it is all i dream about every day.

    fortunately for me i am still young and plan to move to revelstoke this winter to pursue my dream.

    do you have any advice for me? as a 20year old trying to make a life out of something that almost every one i talk to is opposed to?

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