Words and Photos: Josh Anderson
One fine sunny dust-on-crust day in Tahoe's Blackwood Canyon a plot steeped in the minds of the 91 Octane crew. Let's get the hell out of town. After all, it's snowing pretty much everywhere else. As close as 5 hours to the east, outside of Elko, NV, the Ruby Mountains were to receive, if not a pounding, a lot more than Tahoe. So in proper ski bum fashion we geared up and waited for everyone to get done with work and into the overladen truck (2 sleds on the sled deck, 5 in the 30 foot utility trailer behind). By around 11 PM Sunday night we were pulling out of a Reno Wal-Mart, a 30 rack in hand each for 3 days in the high desert. Relatively ready that is, with 1 hour driving shifts standard, as the crew had partaken in the Squaw Valley institution that is Squaw Valley Prom the night prior. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.596082900419515.1073741829.191547987539677&type=1
The headwall of Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mtns.
After a hasty camp assembly and quick 5-9 shut-eye in the unloaded trailer, the crew began to assemble as the last stragglers rolled in in the morning. Sleds readied, we got to exploring and scoping lines. With no real plans, we stepped on top of some mini golf lines to get a feel for the snow. The weather had other plans, though, and by the second lap to the top light flakes were falling and clouds rolled in over the sun.
"Should we just window shop and get some shots?"
"I don't think there are any windows."
Then Ben almost blew out an edge skiing a flat light straightline.
Ten minutes later it was full on whiteout blizzard conditions and a hasty escape to the safety of camp was made. Beers, bbq and some tunes were enjoyed around the fire in preparation for our first real day of work.
Havin' a 91 Octane picnic.
To properly get acquainted with your crew, what better method than sleeping shoulder to shoulder in a lightly heated metal box with sub-zero temps outside, and a little whiskey inside the belly. So we did that. Which was nice. Because, personally, my other option was sleeping in my unheated Subaru. It smelled delightful, but generally everyone's gear got dry and nobody froze. Which was nice. What I failed to mention, however, was a recent tomahawk performed by my snowmobile in Blackwood, and the generally morbid noises it subsequently made. It seemed a gamble to embark on a mission like this with an untrustworthy machine, but after some informative phone calls, I determined that it would probably make it if I just ran it half-choked. Day 1 was pleasantly successful. Day 2 proved otherwise. After my new BCA Float airbag jumped into my track and dispersed my belongings along the trail, just at the base of the classic ski line Terminal Cancer, ol' Big Red the Summit 800 went full choke and gargled to a stop. It turns out the other gentlemen involved are nicer than they let on, and I was quickly doubling my way out to the zone. I got to watch 2 belts blow out from under my feet before the trip was over. Terminal Cancer. What awaited us in the ski zone was something else entirely, easy or at least doable doubles to the very top of Liberty Peak and a foot plus of dry desert powder, and after some frightening woofing, what turned out to feel like a very stable snowpack. We brapped, we flipped, we built a jump, we drank beers, we did all those things that make this life awesome. There was even some No-boarding and speed-flying. Check out some pictures here, then peep Mr. Toumarkine's fine work behind the lens and then go out and get some. For more images, see Elevated Image Photography from Jason Abraham on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elevated-Image-Photography/191547987539677
Paciotti, Lindsey, Abraham, Jackson, ready.
Jackson, on course.
Lindsey, first hit cork 7 stomp.
Jackson, horsing around.
Ben "The Horse" Paciotti, horsing around.
Kyle O'Neal, not horsing around.
We're out. Stay tuned for more 91 Octane.
The Edit: Ruby Mountain Romp from Shreddy Times.