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Winter’s Back. I’m back. Here we go. 30 November 2012

Posted by magicdufflepud in Uncategorized.
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Snow! And other stuff. 10 October 2011

Posted by magicdufflepud in Colorado, Skiing.
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Okay, so it’s been a while. Consider this the omnibus post before winter begins in earnest. Just to get it out of the way, if you’re reading Powder this month, check out page 46. You might remember my article in there from a blog post last year. Too bad it’s not online or I’d shill for myself with a link. That said, here be a few things:

Wolf Creek opened

Ski season has already begun, in  a way that no one really expected. Normally there’s the slugfest between A-Basin and Loveland to see who can deliver the first white ribbon of death, but the lifts at Wolf Creek started spinning on… Saturday, and those folks don’t even use snowmaking equipment. The three foot dump the San Juans received evidently amounted to enough. That’s what the photos indicated anyway: all the Colorado resorts under a dusting of now, the aspens still showing through,then Wolf Creek, where a front-loader was pushing around what looked like a mid-season dump. Check out all the photos in OnTheSnow’s gallery. They more or less sum up every season at Wolf Creek, a  powder paradise (by Colorado standards) that delivers some moderate tree skiing and occasional short steeps.

The first ski films have hit the theaters

You’ll still have to wait on Warren Miller, if he, or Jonny Moseley, is your man, But Matchstick Productions has already come out with Attack of La Nina, and Colorado College grad Nick Waggoner released Solitaire last month, too. If you have to pick one or the other, then go with Matchstick for big mountain porn and Solitaire for cinematography and an interesting narrative that riffs on Heart of Darkness.

Last year’s The Way I See It is the better of the two recent Matchstick films, though, probably because Alaska experienced such a miserable year. But that still doesn’t pardon the sin of illustrating Silverton as a place purely to go backcountry jibbing or, worse, to try some urban assault stuff in town with a tether and a snowmobile. That’s why Minneapolis exists. There’s also the issue of Colby West who—we get it—is a Funny Guy who skis. The three minute rocker montage strikes me as contrived and gimmicky. Colby’s funny enough when left to his enough devices. Don’t force it.  And what about Ingrid Backstrom?

At any rate, there’s enough Cody Townsend to go around, and that makes up for most of it. And really, who can be that critical of ski porn? It’s good stuff.

You Should See Larry

Larry’s Boot Fitting in Boulder doesn’t pay me to say nice things about them on the internet. They didn’t even ask. But that’s the sign of a good company. If anything ailed your feet last season, see Larry. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t met a foot he couldn’t fit, and within a few minutes he can identify pretty much any problem with your current rig. That, and if you’re in there for a fitting, there’s free beer and ski porn while you wait. If you’re going to to drop close to a grand on some boots, you might as well get an IPA and some 90s Glen Plake footage out of it too.

More posts

Expect more frequent posts this season, probably on the order of a few times a week. I’m still going to be working on longer posts about individual resorts and stuff like buying and selling skis on Craiglist, but I’ll also be on the lookout to send worthwhile content your way, so keep checking in. Posting was a little light this summer, and I’m sorry for that, but the ski focus for this winter should be on target.

Matchstick Productions’ The Way I See It 21 September 2010

Posted by magicdufflepud in Self, Skiing.
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The first ski movie of the year and winter’s on its way. Despite the record heat here you can feel it. Ask the crowd. Ask the Aspens. Ask the guns waiting at A-Basin and Loveland. At one o’clock last night, standing in my room wearing nothing but boxers and ski boots, I stepped into my bindings, just to hear the reassuring clank as they engaged. Vail’s season pass for Coloradans carries the tagline, “It’s why you live here.” And it’s right. Winter can’t come soon enough.

The Way I See It serves up everything you’d expect from a ski movie: big lines, big air, big grins. But Saturday night in Boulder–no better city for it–offered more. “More, more more,” as Mark Abma says in the film. More, as in  celebrities. Of a sort. I’d brag about seeing a bunch of people who are famous if I thought you were into that sort of thing.

I will anyway. Movie premieres invariably involve the cast and crew as well, and for this one athletes like Cody Townsend, Mark Abma, and Ingrid Backstrom join the heli pilots, cameramen, lead grips, gaffers and all the rest to kick off the season with a whole lotta drunk. The season will probably continue with a whole lotta drunk followed by a whole lotta hungover, and if title sponsor Red Bull has anything to say about it, a whole lotta weird, kinda drunk, hungover, caffeine-high wonkiness as well. This is as it should be.

The crowd’s drunk, too. The MC presents a bunch of swag, capping it off with the promises that someone will win a heli-ski trip in Alaska. He tells us to cheer when we like we see. Mark Abma pretends(?) to play the piano. The crowd cheers. The film rolls. The crowd cheers. And then, if you’ve ever seen a ski film before, you know what happens next: skiing, without plot or context or any reason but for the pursuit of the perfect line, whether it falls through powder pillows in Japan or mile-long spines in the Chugach Range. To watch a ski movie is not to watch a baseball game, the spectacle and the rivalry of it. To watch skiers ski is to aspire.

“If only…” lies behind every whistle and holler for the stunts. If only I could turn my skis a little more quickly, weight them just a little differently… if only I could spend more time on the mountain, I’d get my own sponsorship, too. We delude ourselves, but what a grand, sustaining delusion it is. Every five-foot cliff-drop presents the chance to become Shane McConkey, and every 15-foot kicker in the park offers a shot at being the next Bobby Brown.

Skiing is the rare sport in which the challenges can always match the level of ability. The football team always picks the poor receiver last, and the bad basketball player never gets the pass, but the bad skier competes against herself. The terror of the steeps begins with the easiest greens until with time, the blues inspire fear and blacks and then the rocks and trees and slopes so steep dropping in feels like jumping off a building. The best skiers in the world still face a challenge, maybe with the same fear that faces the “never-ever” on Keystone’s bunny slope.

Watching The Way I See It from the heli and helmet perspectives we see what we’re still too afraid to approach. But with time, time and determination we’ll inure ourselves to the in-bounds double diamonds, seeking new challenges elsewhere. At least, watching a ski movie, we sense the possibility. It is of course unlikely that I will drop a 60-foot cliff. Unlikelier still that I’ll arrive at a ski movie as anything other than a spectator, but a tiny fire burns in the back of my mind as I see these athletes attack some of the gnarliest terrain in the world. Two words stoke the flame: It’s…possible. Don’t say it isn’t.