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.
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
Last year Chris Benchetler and Kimmy Fasani embarked on one of their most exciting adventures yet: starting a family. It wasn’t a particularly easy task for two globe-trotting professional athletes committed to maintaining a lifestyle that’s immersed in the outdoors. But instead of viewing parenthood as a bookend to their adventures, the couple is embracing it as a new chapter. They’re still out in the mountains, but Koa, their little one, joins too. At the tender age of 13 months, Koa
Artist Will Munford relaxes in his studio with two of his furry models/companions. Will Munford photo. Every artist experiences a pivotal turning point in their career. It’s a moment that shows them to keep fighting the good fight, and that the things they create have meaning and value. For artist Will Munford, he never expected that source of confidence to come from an Adirondack chair. You know, those lounge chairs you can buy at Home Depot for relaxing on the porch with iced tea?
In early 2019, a massive project to create an industrial-scale gold mine in the Paradise Valley just outside Yellowstone National Park’s Northern entrance quietly got underway. Thanks to immediate and decisive action taken by locals who cherish the land not just for its raw beauty, but for its huge recreational value, a Montana judge ultimately blocked the project and sided with the locals wishing to protect their land from outside exploitation. RELATED: Stay STOKED – Your Guide to TGR’s Best