This is what comes out when you have to freewrite in english class and all you can think of is skiing:
Sitting on the cold, hard, black chairlift seat, I was looking out at the snowy peaks slowly moving by. A fresh 6 inches covered everything from the day before, making everything look soft and inviting. Only a few tracks were drawn down the side of the steep hills because I was one of the first people on the lift. I was daydreaming about barreling down the side of one and hucking my carcass off of the biggest cliff. The clunk of the cable as it ran over the wheels jolted me out of my dream. Looking over I watched the 2 Asian people sitting next to me talking in a language I would never know. The next tower of the chairlift loomed ahead, getting closer.
Looking over to the right I see a guy drop in to the side of the powder-coated bowl. The wind threw his sluff into the air in a spiraling circle moving up and up. He must have been around 40 because he that old school style. Legs close together and his arms flailing everywhere, he whooped and hooted going down the untracked hill.
Again the jolting of the tower made me look up. I was almost to the top. The green lift station loomed ahead in the distance. The people sitting by me were now strapping up their snowboards. The clicking sound of their bindings lingered in the air. “Keep tips up” and “prepare to unload” signs whizzed by. The air felt cold, crisp and dry. Ice crystals were floating around in the air, stinging my face and giving everything a fairy tale feel.
I lifted my feet as the ground rose up to meet my skis. As soon as I started sliding on the snow I stood up and pushed off, avoiding the clumsy snowboarders to my right. The snow slid fast and soft, just perfect. I went straight for a few feet then turned off to the left side, taking shelter from the cold in the large, man made cornice. The view from here was amazing.
Looking out over the horizon all I could see was endless snow covered peaks. The sheer size of it all made me feel as if I was nothing. There is so much space up here. The air is so pure, like it has never been breathed before. Everything about this place is refreshing.
Sitting here looking at the scenery, I begin to think of the many times I have been in this situation before. Every winter, since I was about 2, I have skied. I have waited and looked on in awe every year for the past 13 years. Its strange thinking that to others, sitting atop a snow covered mountain all alone would seem strange. But for me, it was as normal as getting out of bed.
Every time I am at the top of this chairlift in whistler, something amazing always happens. A mini adventure always takes place, whether it’s with my dad, or like this time, with my friends. We always end up all by ourselves at the top of a hill covered in deep, light snow. Our only reason for being there was to ski to the bottom. Or we end up on a perfect knoll, building a jump, miles away from anyone else.
This year, however, is different. This year I have goals and accomplishments I wish to make. This year I’m going to go pro. Last year made me realize I was going to do it. I was going to make a name for myself, get involved, win competitions, and get a sponsor.
I’m waiting up here for D.W., Eric, and Ryan. D.W. has skied with me for over 5 years. We learned to ski together and without him I wouldn’t have a love for just going out and skiing, weather it is deep powder, or just standing on my skis in a small patch of snow.
I have skied with Eric for about 3 years. Its always a good time with Eric because he is so funny he doesn’t go skiing to get better, he just goes to have fun. Ryan got me in to free skiing.
I met Ryan last year. He is one of the reasons I’m as far as I am in skiing. He knows everything about the new skiing revolution and follows it all. He always seems to know what’s new in skiing before anyone. And he’s so crazy that you cant help not having a good time when he’s around.
I was watching each chair zip up the hill, looking for my friend’s clothes or skis to come into focus. Soon the chair with all 3 of them came whizzing up and dropped them off. Each one unloaded, pushing each other around jokingly as they slid towards me.
“HEY BUDDY!” Ryan said as he slid up next to me. He was wearing his black Sessions jacket and black pants. He had new LINE Mike Nick’s attached to his boots with Look p10’s. “You pumped? 10 in. of powder!”
“You snow it man!” I said back. Now that they all were here I just took off towards or destination: the backcountry of Whistler, one of the biggest and best ski areas in the world. The backcountry here is so immense that you could easily take a wrong turn and be lost for days.
I started out slow, my skis flexing over the soft moguls in the snow as I skied off down one of the freshly groomed corduroy paths towards symphony bowl, a line of twin tippers looming behind me, jumping 180s and throwing little grabs off of anything they could manage. I started going faster and faster as the hill became steeper and steeper. The wind was whistling in my ear as I straight lined down the track, trying to gain speed for the long flat section.
When I reached the flat area I looked out on this vast bowl, all mine to explore. The peaks here were different then the ones on the chairlift, they were all pristine, untouched and much bigger. The outside of it was tall peaks, but the inside flattened out, into rolling knolls of snow. The cat track we were riding on was cut into the side of the steeper part of mountain, going all the way around the bowl so you could access every line.
We were headed to the bowl adjacent to this one, on the other side, so we needed to take the track all the way to the end. At the end we would just have to walk up a small hill, then we would be there. This bowl was a skiing playground. Rolling hills all the way down. It was here that Professionals built jumps. You often see these jumps in movies, the skier going almost 100 ft off of them, wile throwing spins and inverts. Our goal today was to make one of these jumps.
I looked behind me to see if everyone was following, they were. We skated along, sort of in a race. Eric and Ryan were screaming like girls and hitting each other with their poles; D.W. and I were in the lead just trying to get to the powder. Losing my speed on the flats I started to skate and push with my poles.
We were almost there, just a small sidestep up a hill and we would have access to the whole other bowl. We duck walked in a line up the small hill, through the tracks of the 50 or so people that have done this already. I reached the top first, and looked out on all we could ski now.
What I saw blew me away. Towards the other side of the bowl, there were about 20 people, and one HUGE jump. The booter was about 10 ft tall and was set about 40 ft behind a slope so that once you cleared the 40 ft or so of flat, you could just glide into a soft landing on a steep hill. There were about 20 people there, one of them with what looked like Sony Dcr-pd150 video camera and two 16 mm cameras.
I watched in disbelief as a skier dropped in to hit this giant jump. He cruised down the long runway and into the lip. As he was going off he threw his arms and head back and to the right, setting him self up for and off axis back flip spin, also known as a D-spin. In the air he had perfect control, grabbing the very tail of his ski as he spun like a corkscrew. He floated over the 40 ft and was coming out of his rotation about 20 ft down the steep part of the hill. Sticking a D-spin 720, he cruised to the bottom of the hill and turned off to the side, getting a ride from a snow mobile back to the top.
I turned around to see if anyone else saw this, D.W. was standing right next to me and saw it too. Eric and Ryan were still messing around hiking up. D.W. and I just looked at each other and took off towards the jump.
As I was headed towards the hype, a million thoughts filled my mind. I wondered who was there. It was most likely some local whistler pro’s like Mike Douglas or Chris Turpin. Maybe it wasn’t anyone special, but they were filming, and that meant all of us could get some exposure.
As we reached the group of people I realized that I recognized the first two people I saw. They were Matt Sterbenz and Griffin Cummings, two pros I skied with at Camp Of Champions. Griffin was the coolest guy I have ever skied with and Matt was amazingly good, and owned 4frnt skis.
“Griffin!” I yelled to him before he skied away. He turned around and looked, not recognizing me. I skied over to them and asked them what was going on.
“We’re filming for Volume 10, kind of a 4frnt thing. Wait, were you at Camp of Champions this year?”
“Yea, I skied with you and Omar mostly. B-rizzle, remember?” B-rizzle is what they called me last summer at the camp.
“Oh yea, what’s up man?” he asked
“Nothing much, me and my friends were just out here to build a booter and we saw this going on.” I pointed over to Eric and Ryan, who were just getting here.
“Well you guys can hit this if you want. Hey, you do good and you might make it into Volume.”
Volume is a video magazine showing the best skiing of past 3 months. They have 9 issues out right now and this session will be in the 10th. I was so exited I didn’t know what to do. This was basically an invite into a pro filming session.
“Yea that would be awesome! Thanks man!” I exclaimed, probably sounding like an idiot.
Matt called over to Griffin and he went over with him. I immediately went over to my friends and told them we could just hit this and didn’t have to build our own. I don’t know if Ryan heard me because while I was telling him, he saw his favorite skier, Eric Pollard, throw an underflip 5 off of the jump. With that, we all started hiking.
The snow was deep, but light, making it easy to hike. Once again I was first, and had to break the trail. It didn’t matter though because I was so hyped that nothing could make me tired. The scenery seemed to be pulled straight out of a movie. A long, steep, open face surrounded by cliffs and cornices. Patches of trees were lower down. The sun was now shining bright and the snow seemed perfect.
When I reached the top of the runway, I hurried and put my skis on. My new 4frnt 170’s shimmered in the sun, and my look p10 bindings locked my boot to them perfectly. I wasted no time waiting for my friends. I just slid down to the start of the runway and dropped in without thinking, knowing exactly what I was going to throw.
The jump was the most intimidating thing I have ever hit. The lip was huge. My skis floated perfectly in the light snow. Halfway down the hill, I jumped backwards, going switch into the lip. As I went up the jump, I prepared myself, I threw my head to set the rotation, and threw a rodeo. In the air I felt out of control, having never thrown this trick on snow before, but I just grabbed a safety and kept looking. I felt like I was flying. Time seemed to stop. Seeing the slope coming up ahead, I positioned my body to land. I was now upright and floating towards the ground, coming in for a near perfect landing. I hit the snow with a soft thud, my tips digging into the powder, making me fall head over heels. Luckily my skis stayed on. I got up and skied clear of the landing.
I immediately started hiking back up. I had to land this. I was practically running up the hill, adrenaline pulsing through my veins. As I reached the massive jump, I looked up to see Ryan drop in. He dropped in switch. Ryan was going fast into the jump. Hitting the lip he didn’t turn at all just grabbed a tweaked out safety and held it. He soared. Floating in for a landing he impacted hard. I thought he was going to fall, but he stuck it. Cheers went up in the small crowd of people. Ryan went down to the group of people, probably to try to talk to Eric Pollard.
I jut kept hiking. During my journey to the top, both Eric and D.W. hit the jump. Eric throwing the biggest spread eagle I have ever seen and D.W. Threw a nice front flip. I was almost to the top now. About 10 steps left. I just kept walking, my legs burning. Finally I reached the top and put my skis on. I sat there for about a minute gaining my breath. I closed my eyes and pictured myself sticking the trick I was about to attempt.
I dropped in, faster then before, jumped switch earlier, and looked behind my shoulder. Reaching the lip I just did the same as before. Threw my head, grabbed safety, and held on. The wind was whistling in my ears as I soared high. I came out of the rotation a little earlier, just above the downhill. Seeing my landing perfect I just prepared to land, trying to have the most style possible. The thud of my skis as I stuck this trick was the best sound I have ever heard. I skied down to the crowd, now cheering. I had just stuck a switch rodeo 5 for Volume 10.
ice ice, you know the feelin