I think Iâ€™m finding too much truth in the Stones lyrics, â€œYou can't always get what you want, and if you try sometime you find, you get what you need.â€ While I counted days this season for the first time ever in hopes of being able to claim greatness until next year, I was met with one of my worst seasons.
In college, itâ€™s all about credits and requirements, which I guess is how it eventually works in the real world too. So even though I had the great plan of only taking classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, a little thing called French 102 got in my way. Je ne parle pas franÃ§ais. In every class and on every test I say, â€œJ'aime les montagnes. Je fais du ski.â€ I tell my professor in every meeting, â€œI canâ€™t speak French, but I like trying to speak it. I like listening to it.â€ I like the idea of going to another country and not looking like your typical bumbling tourist, ignorant as hell. Too bad French doesnâ€™t love me as much as I love it. Story of my life.
4 months later and Iâ€™m sitting in bed, wondering where the season went. While the number of days I got in wonâ€™t be released due to personal embarrassment, hereâ€™s some highlights since December.
Toggenburg Rail Jam
You want me at your rail jam. I make brownies.
I canâ€™t say enough good things about Togg, and those who have read my blogs before, you know that Iâ€™d give a kidney to that place if need be. Every year is different, though thereâ€™s always the familiar face. The holiday rail jam was really sick for me because a lot of the high school kids I know were on break, making it possible for me to see them for the hot-minute I was in New York. Plus, one of my VT college boys, Nick Bush, was able to swing down and hit up Togg. If youâ€™re ever in the area, first phone call goes to me.
I love smaller mountain rail jams because even though it has the competitiveness of your normal comp, they are much more fun, guaranteed. A lot of the time you know the competitors and feed off of how well theyâ€™re doing. Donâ€™t get me wrong, bigger comps are a lot of fun as well, but I just love a good little jam.
Best park crew around, i.e. Jack Byers.
This day was super sick because so many people were throwing down. One kid, Iâ€™ll be honest I donâ€™t remember, Will (?) was just hucking so hard. I would watch him slip up a time or two and I was CONVINCED he was done, but I was thankfully wrong. Heâ€™d constantly get up and shake the snow out of his tall t, get back in line and kill a rail not too long after.
I also love the age groups at events. I think itâ€™s so sick seeing the younger kids throw down, especially when they get to go up against some of the older kids, who do nothing but push them. Towards the end, it became obvious that the younger ones push the older guys as well, as familiar Togg riders Brent Whipple and Erik Van Ingen became involved in a tag team session on the down rail.
Brent Whipple, I'm adopting you.
Erik Van Ingen, I'm not adopting you, because that'd be awkward.
The Kristi Leskinen Invitational
Another great weekend that I was fortunate enough to be a part of was the Kristi Leskinen Invitational. While every ignorant male will still try and tell you that women canâ€™t do anything that doesnâ€™t involve a stove or washing machine, this weekend proved them all very wrong. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best female skiers in the world, I got to know some of the greatest people. After throwing down switch 9s and slaying the rails, these girls just hung out with the public riders, signing autographs and talking to them about the sport.
Hometown rider Emily, who threw-down all weekend.
It really stressed me out to come back from such an amazing weekend and see people criticizing the event. I could care less if I wrote the article or not, but it is just an unnecessary blow to critique female athletes and their events unless you were there. So many people were so quick to judge the event, saying that it was a vanity fest for Kristi, when it was anything but. It is always hard to find a well organized, professional event on the East, especially in Pennsylvania of all places. The whole weekend was about progression, whether the sponsored athletes or the beginners were taking to the hill.
Our sick host, Kristi.
The always stunning Jess Cumming in the Homecoming Event.
Many people questioned the idea of an invite-only event as being progressive, but I believe it was because they thought that there was no progression possible between a handful of girls. People criticized them, saying they were all friends and it was just a sleepover weekend, but this is wildly untrue. So many other events are big, gigantic man-dates; full of partying, male bonding, and skiing, but as soon as the ladies do the same, itâ€™s an issue? Tisk tisk.
Little Miss Kiwi, Amy Sheehan also in the Homecoming Comp.
At the Kristi Leskinen Invitational, the girls were able to push themselves without being compared to the guys as they are in many other events. They were being the best they could be alongside the other greats in the industry.
Ripper Angeli Vanlaanen in Saturday's Pro-Comp.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the Ski with a Pro Day and the open rail jam. The kids got to get tips from the riders and just spend the day lapping the park with them. Amy Sheehan had a group of various aged girls, around 15 and younger, who clung to her as she diligently got them to slide a box, even if it was just their first time 50/50ing. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s about- inspiring the next generation to get involved in skiing.
One of the little groms at Sunday's Ride-With-a-Pro Day.
I sincerely hope this event happens next year. Reporting or not, I would be more than happy to attend it. I left that weekend SO stoked, hell Iâ€™m still amped just thinking about the amazing weekend I had. I hope maybe next year you all take time to attend this event rather than judge it.Some new friendssss.
Battle My Crew
Warning: There are NO pictures of people ACTUALLY skiing in this segment. Blame pouring rain and a hangover.
My most recent ski-event was at Loon Mountain in NH. After a bitching time last year, I was stoked about re-attending the East Coast bro-fest. Of course I use this term in the most flattering way possible, noting Battle My Crewâ€™s goal of creating a group event where you do your best to show off your crew as a whole.
In true East Coast fashion, there was rain- whether it was beverages inside or natureâ€™s own outside. The March Madness parties were sick no matter what room you rolled into, though I do believe that mine took the cake.
As morning and check-out time came too quickly, we all shook out of our haze and worked hard to pick up cans, glass, and ourselves.
p. Laura MacKinnon
Donâ€™t worry Doug. Just because you couldnâ€™t be here, didnâ€™t mean the windows were safe.
Spending the day in New Hampshire getting a free outdoor shower was well worth it. Although there was much disappointment due to the 2biNo-Shows, everyone still tried to have as much fun as possible under the gray skies. Left to battle it out was Stept, New Kids on the Block, Montage, and Straddle My Crew. Watching everyone make the best out of a rainy situation was almost more intriguing than your average day. Sure riders can do it all on a blue bird, perfectly groomed shoot, but what do they do in the face of danger? Rodeo off itâ€¦ that is, if youâ€™re Nick Martini.
Anthony Miele throwing cool tricks, on and off snow.
While I drove home in a hung-over haze under the watchful eye of my co-pilot, Nick, I was still really glad I went. Iâ€™m East Coast through and through and I will represent and write about how much I love it until the day my hands are too arthritic to do so. But hey, with the way technologies going, I probably can have my thoughts transported to all of your phones via text by the time that happens. Donâ€™t worry. You havenâ€™t seen the last of me.
Party & Bullshit.
Coming up? Hell, I really donâ€™t know-- hopefully an office party, summer jibbing, and chaotic adventuring if I have it my way. Just got to see if my sponsor, Stephany Keans, keeps me on her team. I mean, sheâ€™s done so for almost 20 years, why not?
â€¦.No matter what, thereâ€™s always the bird.