Mount Snow with Ian Compton!
A sure sign of a good day to come.
(This is the second part of my trip, the first part was at Killington. Read it HERE.)
After having spent a much colder, more unpleasant night in the back of my car, I awoke eager to ski around 6:30 am. The temperature had bottomed out around 5 degrees, and I discovered my 0 degree sleeping bag was not quite enough for that. Being too groggy to actually figure out how to blanket at 4 am, I just slept with the car running for several hours. Unfortunately lifts do not spin until 9 midweek so I drove about, debating on what the best parking spot was that would put my other set of skis closest to the lift. I settled on a spot as close to the main lodge as I could get, and napped until the lodge opened around 8-8:30 or so.
As I trudged to the lodge in my ski boots, another lone figure walked in front of me, carrying with him a nice set of Nordica twin-tips, and the same Mad Owl poles that I have. He turned to look at something and he seemed familiar. Once inside the lodge, I sat down at the table across from him. As soon as he looked up, I recognized him immediately. I walked up and asked him "Hey man, are you- are you Ian Compton?". He looked up at me, with that trademark smile of his and I knew right away. I introduced myself and started talking. We were both there way before lifts opened, and there pretty much was no one else around. Mount Snow is his home mountain, and he graciously offered to show me around the mountain. I could not have been more stoked! When the ticket booth opened I was first in line, and quickly hurried to meet him at the lift. We caught the first chair up the mountain, on what is now my favorite kind of chair ever made. The bubble chair.
Waiting for first chair with Ian Compton.
The bubble chair is the best chair.
The bubble chair is the perfect mix of gondola and chair. You get the protection from the wind without a large change in ambient temperature, so you don't overheat. On top of that you don't have to take your skis off, so there is no hassle. To finish it off, it opens both the bubble and safety bar at the top for you. Its like having a chauffeur for skiing.
As we approached the top, Ian told me to follow him, we were heading for the North face of the mountain in search of untouched pow. When our skis hit the ground we were off and running. We booked it through the twists and turns near the summit to make sure we got over there before anyone else. I had no idea where we were going at the time, I had not had a chance to look at the trail map, but he certainly knew where he was going. As we rounded the corner we were welcomed by a long untouched trail of powder, stretching the entire length of the mountain. The mountain had received a total of 15 inches of snow according to their website, 5 to 6 of which had came down after the lifts stopped turning the day before. The result was one hell of a ride. We booked it down either 'Challenger' or 'Freefall', I did not have time to check. We flew down slashing the fresh powder, and airing over bumps. By the time we got to the Challenger triple, my legs were on fire and it was only 9:15.
As we rode the chair up, we scoped out what would have the best snow, having put the only two sets of tracks down the trail we were on, the options were pretty much open, as almost no one had showed up yet still. We took another lap down one of the trails over there, this time it was a bump run. If you want to ski with Ian, you need to be god damn good, and fast as hell. I cannot remember the last time I skied with anyone who could beat me down the hill. Bombing through the bumps and fresh powder at 40-50 mph plus was absolutely brutal, and one of the best times I have had in forever. I love a challenge and keeping him in sight was challenging enough on these runs. The man has legs of steel. The third run we headed to 'Jaws' and busted into the glade running between it and 'Ripcord'. After 50 yards or so it became quite apparent that there still was not enough of a base to be hitting that glade. We exited the glade onto 'Ripcord' and headed back up the lift.
I realize in this, I probably should have taken my facemask an goggles off.
With the powder fever having subsided, we got to talking about some different stuff. Ian was here on his own time, and was super stoked to have a day where he didn't need to worry about filming. A day to himself. I was honored that he let me tag along with him the whole day on his day off. When we got to the summit, We headed for Sunbrook, he suspected there were a few trails over there that would still have excellent powder reserves. On the way over, he showed me one of the sickest secret trails I have ever seen at any mountain anywhere. It followed a power line, was less than 10 feet wide and was a roller coaster ride requiring nothing but full speed and every ounce of attention I had. It passed through a local smoking spot and popped out into the Sunbrook area of the resort. We were aiming for the Beartrap lift, but unfortunately it was not running. With that out of service Ian headed for Carinthia. I of course followed.
Heading for Carinthia with Ian Compton
Watching Ian shred Carinthia on a day he said he was "going easy" was insane. We lapped the Nitro park over and over. It was too fast for me to really be able to do anything but keep up with him. That and me still being on my powder skis kept me from trying anything, but I was more than happy to watch him kill it. Airing over other skiers and going huge all over the place, all on an 'easy' day. I snapped a few shots when I was close enough to get a halfway decent shot. I figure there is enough footage of Ian out there without me needing to contribute to it.
Around 11:30 it was time for some lunch beers, we made our way back to the bubble chair. The route we took to get there was one of the most insane routes I have ever taken, weaving in, out and through the forests that separated trails. Even at my home mountain I would never have taken these routes, but I had to keep up. I didn't want to look bad when riding with a pro skier. In the end they are some of the most fun routes I have taken anywhere. I am now determined to pioneer some secret trails at my home mountain next time I am there. We got to the Bullwheel (Summit lodge) and had some drinks. Ian finished up before me, and had to head over to the park, as Carinthia park crew had spotted him on one of our laps, and wanted to get some footage. I headed to the car to put my fat skis away and get the park sticks out.
It's god damn bright out.
This lodge is great.
Once I got my park skis from the parking lot, I took a run or two down the main face to re-acquaint myself with them. Whenever I go from my Elans to my K2s, I always have issues where I catch edges for a few runs due to the different profiles. I also took the time to take a bunch of photos, something I had not had time to do yet. With the rust knocked off, I headed back to Carinthia. After a couple runs I ran back into Ian, and continued to watch him kill it. With how sore my legs were from the morning (and the powder day at Killington the day before), my attempts to do things in the park were met with mixed results. I definitely had a good time though. Around 2 or so, Ian decided to call it a day.
Ian Compton is one of the coolest guys I have ever had the pleasure of skiing with. He is super chill, and I cannot express how thrilled I was to get to spend most of the day riding with him. Getting some basic tips on how to hit rails from a pro is new to me. He told me how nice it was to be riding with no pressure on him. I don't think most of NS realizes how difficult it can be to put out something every week. Even these posts take a lot of my time, but I cannot imagine the stress of putting out something as creative and insane as 'The Weak' series. I know the guys on NS create all this drama over stupid shit like his change from Line to Nordica, but let me tell you none of that matters. We do this because we love it. Whether it is him with 'The Weak', me with the GTNS, or you, the reader, we are all here on NS because we love skiing. Anyway, the moral of this paragraph is love skiing, no matter what. Fighting on a forum is not going to do anything for you.
On top of letting me ride with him all day, on the way out he gave me the headphones he had been wearing all day. I was pretty much awestruck when he offered them to me. They are Privates from Outdoor Tech (Outdoor Tech - Privates). They are totally awesome Bluetooth headphones with great audio quality and sweet touch controls. I can't thank him enough. Being sponsored must be totally awesome. If you are in the market, these things kick ass. I will be using them a lot, although generally not while skiing, as I almost never don't have my helmet on.
Outdoor Tech Privates, from Ian Compton.
On my own now, I realized that I had made it to 2 pm without taking photos of anything park related so I set off to hit some park and take some photos for you guys. Mount Snow is awesome, and is now very high on my list of favorite mountains, but Carinthia is unlike anywhere I have ever been. They have hands down the biggest park I have ever seen, with anything a rider of any ability level could possibly want. I had a blast with some of the more unique features, and even got myself airing just above the lip of their super-pipe. I need to spend more time in half-pipes. Anyway, here are some pictures from Carinthia. Not everything is included as there is simply too much for me to post a photo of every single feature they had.
When I woke up at 6am in my car that morning, I had no idea what the day had in store for me. I went from cold and sore to having quite possibly the best day of skiing I have ever had. Between perfect bluebird conditions, and meeting one of my favorite pro riders and getting to shred with him all day, it will be a day I never forget. I am so glad that I decided to do this tour, even though it can be a little stressful at times, it will be something I remember for the rest of my life.
Mount Snow is a killer mountain, and I absolutely cannot wait to return again next year. Hopefully it will be midweek after a storm again. I do not need to deal with what I assume must be absolutely massive crowds on weekends. I headed home at the end of the day eager to take a shower, as two days of extremely tough skiing and car camping do not leave one smelling particularly good. I left Snow with a smile on my face. Its going to be hard to best this trip.
As always, keep on shredding!
PS - If you missed my post on Sunday River, check it out here!