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Opening Day Jitters

Coffee, beer, cashews, gum, and gas - that’s all I need. That, and about 2.5 hours of sleep, and I’m set for opening day. The night before, all energies flow into one as I obsessively prepare for the sickest day of skiing ever.

Straight-lining Crystal Bowl at Kicking Horse, and making GS pow turns on the opener never gets old. Being the first person to ski lift line on Blackcomb’s Jersey Cream is fun, if you can handle the eyes on you. Getting white-walled at Baker on your first step into the slackcountry and having a buddy to help you up is the essence of skiing, and the reason you prepare.

Speeding down Baker HWY 542 toward Mt. Baker, all the memories of the past 900 times I have been down this road over the last nine years come flooding back. I end up being so early, few people are there besides the employees and a handful of hardcores. I walk over to Chair 1, I drop my skis next to a pair that I know all too well. Killing time, drinking coffee, and chatting to fellow shredders, the excitement builds. We wait another hour bouncing around, stretching, adjusting loose Dukes, and chewing gum. What’s another couple hours when it has been over 225 days since my last powder day? I’m ready to pop off.

Most people watch ski videos to get pumped to shred, but the night before, while waxing my skis, turning my DIN up to 14, and putting rain-x on my top sheets and poles, I pop on Dust to Glory and marvel at Johnny Campbell flooring it across the beach. Or I watch GoPros Monsters of Motocross edit along with some raw POV footage of my buddy’s Russian Yak plane doing acrobatics and I am stoked, it’s kind of weird. But hey, whatever gets you revved up. Don’t get me wrong, I still love ski vids, I just like taking it up a notch and throwing in an engine sometimes.  I chirp myself into the night cleaning goggles, charging GoPros, and preparing my protein smoothie for the onslaught that I know will happen if only I can get there first.

I haven’t missed an opening day in the last 10 years except for a relative’s funeral, but that goes without saying. It can be the most important day of the year, or the most insignificant. It can be a baller, high-fiving pow day with renewed friends, or an icy downhill hockey event like Red Bull Crashed Ice. Luckily the latter rarely happens at the powder capital of North America, Mt. Baker.

With a 67-inch base that accumulated over a four- to five-day storm cycle, Mt. Baker opened its lifts to the public with limited trails, but loads of snow beyond the ropes. On opening day, all was good in the land of winter.

A few days later, on Friday November 23, Blackcomb Mountain received 10-inches of new snow and had a clearing trend for the rest of the weekend. It was a good start to the season, launching me right back into the ether. With another couple of successful opening days to add to my growing list of memories, I am happy settling back into the frantic pace we call skiing.

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Checking In with Former Grom Comp Winner Parkin Costain
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Checking In with Former Grom Comp Winner Parkin Costain

Checking In with Former Grom Comp Winner Parkin Costain

While most 16-year-olds were up to God know’s what last summer, Parkin Costain, the winner of TGR’s 2015 Grom Comp, was nine-to-fiveing for his dad, who builds bike parks at ski areas. He needed to come up with the money for something that would help develop him into a pro skier. That something: a snowmobile. Enter the 2017 TGR Grom Contest Parkin pounds the backcountry on his snowmobile probably more than you brush your teeth. He’s homeschooled (but not weird), and invests his time

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Proof you can be a Good Mother While Still Feeding Your Passion for the Mountains
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Proof you can be a Good Mother While Still Feeding Your Passion for the Mountains

Proof you can be a Good Mother While Still Feeding Your Passion for the Mountains

Leighan Falley was only ten years old when she decided that she was going to climb a mountain. “That one,” she told her mom in the car one day, pointing to Denali 200 miles off into the horizon. She didn’t even know its name at the time but the monstrous peak was calling to her. Perhaps love for the mountains and propensity for the extreme comes natural living in the rugged, isolated wilderness of Alaska. But upon first glance, Leighan is not necessarily the type of woman you would

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Photo Tour:  Chile After First Major Snowstorm of 2017
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Photo Tour:  Chile After First Major Snowstorm of 2017

Photo Tour:  Chile After First Major Snowstorm of 2017

The first major snowstorm of 2017 has slammed into central Chile bringing an early Mother's Day gift to Valle Nevado, Arpa Snow Cats, El Colorado, La Parva and Portillo resorts.  With over two feet from the May storm and another expected to hit on Wednesday,  Chile's main ski areas could begin to open for the season several weeks ahead of schedule, as early as late May.  Ski season in South America generally operates mid-June to October. We have collected a series of photos from the