Here is a quick edit from 3 day of filming in the backcountry. The footage is from Smith Optics Prospecting Idaho right outside of Sun Valley, and two days in the Sierra Nevada. Filmed and edited by Martin Rubio @ Painted Visuals. Thank you for the unquestioned support. Big ups to Lib Tech NAS, Smith Optics and Helmets, Dalbello, Dakine, Sierra At Tahoe, and BCA. You guys rock! Thanks for watching. Enjoy!
This last saturday my friend Ty hosted the Lake Tahoe Backcountry Festival. He asked me if I would present a slide show and share my experiences of skiing in the BC around the world. It was a bit nerve racking with 60+ spectators looking and listening on, all the lights off and a spot light on me. Quite fun as well. The turnout was great, and I want to thank everyone who came and supported the event. The whole purpose was to raise awareness on traveling safe in the backcountry, raise money for Sierra Avalanche Center, and raise hell and party. Over 100 people showed up to listen to a weather discussion, an avalanche forecaster at SAC speak, and a pro spotlight(me). Spotlight it was for sure. We also had some great door and raffle prizes, I think everyone in the room went home with something. Some more than others. One lucky sole went home with a new Voile split board set up. He was stoked, and we were thrilled that we could raise over $ 1,600.00 dollars for our local avalanche center. Make sure your checking the report, practicing with your beacon, and making good decisions. Live to ski another day. Best!
Below is what I presented, the writing is a little sketchy because it’s all ideas to go off.
It’s nice to see so many familiar faces out here tonight. Thank you everyone for coming out and supporting the event. Thank you Ty Dayberry for coordinating this event, and thank you Sierra Avalanche Center for your commitment to providing us with up to date snowpack conditions. Much appreciated, Thank you!
I grew up ski racing in Washington State, and I continued to do so until I was a freshman in High school. It was a successful run, and I appreciate every minute of it looking back. Eventually, I got bored with it and found myself sneaking off to free ski whenever I could. There might have been another activity associated with that as well. But we won’t go into that. I knew early on that skiing is what I wanted to do. I focused on skiing the whole mountain with my own creative outlook, and it’s led me to the point I am at. It’s my life, its self-reflection; it’s an open canvas to express me. Moved to Tahoe when I was seventeen….
Throughout my whole career in skiing I have always had a mentor. Weather it was my dad dragging me up the bunny hill for me to straight line to the bottom and wait for another pull, My race coach teaching me the fundamentals of skiing, Or ski guides showing me how they conduct a compression test in some of the biggest mountains in the world. I have learned a lot through my own personal experiences, but most of my knowledge and skill has been passed down. There is always someone that knows more than me, and I have learned to keep an open mind, and ears at all times.
I wouldn’t know a fraction of what I do without these mentors in my life, and I want to thank them as well. I do what I can to pass what knowledge I have on to others. It’s always nice to teach, or relieve troubles with a simple fix that can turn someone’s day around. Never pass an opportunity to go out with your friends, just make sure everyone is on the same page. You can learn a lot from each other, and about each other. You know someone so much better after a day of touring.
I am not up here to act like I know more than anyone else out there, because I don’t, I am simply here to share some of my experiences and what I have learned to this point. I am still learning, and every day I am in the mountains, no matter where it is around the world, I learn something new every time. There are a lot of elements that go into exploring, and playing in the mountains, and at of the end of the day, everyone’s goal is to have fun and come home to their loved ones. It’s powerful out there, and that’s why we all share so much love for it, but the moment you stop respecting the mountain is when you find yourself in trouble. It’s important to keep a level head, and avoid impulsive decisions. Take your time and think about a little bit. Let it flow! Breath!
In bigger lines, I have learned to really examine what I’m skiing If I have the option to. Sometimes that can be hard in a heli, but when I have the chance, I like to go through a checklist. Is there a safe zone, what about the run out, is there a bergstrun? Yes there is. Okay! That’s where I need to exit. How am I going to manage my slough, try to stay ahead of it up top and hop over that skiers left spine. It’s intense! But I love it! Quick story! I like to go with my gut feeling all the time but especially on bigger lines. I was at the World Heli Challenge in Wanaka, New Zealand. A helicopter accessed big mountain contest in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Lord of the rings type stuff. Beautiful!
Anyway, during my run, I got on top of this really pitched out double, it looked like death if you didn’t stick it, I opted out of it which killed my fluidity, but none the less I was down safe to ski another run. Sure enough, a few riders later, Ted Davenport ends up on top of this same line, you could tell that he was debating whether to go or not, but he went ahead and sent it, caught a shark on the first stage of the double, tommied down a few hundred feet and broke both his legs. Bless his little heart. I mean crazy. It was this huge ordeal rescuing him off the side of this mountain; the heli had a hard time landing due to how steep the pitch was where Ted was lying. It was scary. You can lose your shit out there quick. Go with your gut! If your not felling it, you’re just not felling it. Live to ski another day.
I have been blessed to travel the world and ski places I have been dreaming of since I was a little kid. Through different filming and contest opportunities, I have experienced a number of different ranges and have learned a lot about how the Snow pack can vary from one place to the next. You have the Maritime snowpack up and down the west coast to Japan, parts of Canada and Alaska which is usually a deeper, denser, more consistent, stable snowpack. A Continental snowpack in the Colorado Rockies, and along the continental divide in Wyoming and Montana which is usually more shallow, less dense, layered, typically less stable snowpack, and you have the Intermountain snowpack in the Sawtooths, really all of Idaho, Nevada, western Utah, which is a transition Snowpack between the two.
I have skied them all, but I would have to say, my favorite is The maritime, I grew up in it, I live in it now, Japan and Alaska are my favorite place to ski, so it’s what is most familiar to me. I love it! I feel confident in my abilities to ski in it. No matter where you are skiing, with proper planning and decision-making it can be another successful day.
There are all these great websites to check for up to date avalanche forecasting and weather conditions. These guys are not slacking; they are out there everyday, and they are well educated and experienced. Locally we have Sierra Avalanche center, but you can usually find something similar to this anywhere you happen to be skiing. There is also links for education opportunities, Avy 1, 2, 3 where you can learn a lot, more than I. It’s a great way to learn about the backcountry, and recognize what the snow is going to do.
Then you can decide if you’re comfortable to rip that line or not. Experience with education can really improve your chances out there. I encourage every one to Check the report, practice with your beacon, and make conscious decisions.
Who said the French are …
Just recently I flew over the pond to Chamonix, France. It’s a one of a kind place, and if you’ve ever been, you most likely can relate. The moment you enter that valley, it feels as if you enter a different realm. The mountains best described, would be similar to those you draw as a kid. Sharp. Scary Steep! It’s powerful there. A lot of energy circulates in and around it.
The locals are as much a part of the mountains, as the mountains are a part of them. They take pride in the activities and tasks it requires to live in this environment. Weather it is cave spelunking 1000 meters up on shear cliff to hunt crystals, or skiing lines that require 5-6 repels to reach the bottom. Knowledge of these mountains is crucial for navigating and exploring them. Tragic consequences can linger around every corner if you stop respecting them. There are options to keep it mellow, or in this case, mellower, and there’s always the option to go as big you want. You grow as a person, as well as an athlete. I have always known the mountains teach you if your willing to learn, and these mountains taught me a lot, in a little amount of time.
The skiing was absolutely incredible; it was a constant 15-30 cm wherever we went. Traveling on glaciers, meandering around crevasse, and staring at serac. Paradise if you’re into this kind of thing. In one run you can easily bag 5000 vert. Since the start to my trip, I had my eyes on a famous run called Vallee Blanche off the Aiguille Du Midi, a world-renowned cable car that takes you to 3,842 meters. You’re basically dropped off on the side of a cliff to approach your descent, but fairly straight forward from there. Crampons and various bits of climbing apparatuses are advised. Unfortunately, the weather rolled in fast with white out conditions and gusty winds stopped our journey in its tracks. We had no guide, and decided it wouldn’t be smart to navigate into unfamiliar mountains. It was not a complete loss; we received a brief history lesson while moving throughout a mined tunnel, and were in complete shock at the architectural elements and efforts that it took to complete such a task. I would have to say one of the highlights to my trip. Crazy French…
Another thing that I absolutely loved was visiting the crystal museum. The crystals were all found locally, and it was one of the most extensive collections I had ever seen or could have imagined. This really intrigues me because I enjoy hunting crystals at home. These would really ad to the collection.
The food wasn’t too shabby as well. I mean, whenever your eating fine cheeses with fresh bread and a glass of wine, you’re not doing to bad. You can always appreciate a bowl of chips, olives and peanuts when you order a beer as well. “It really adds to the conversation”. I felt so blessed to finally make it to Italy to experience some authentic Italian living. Something I have wanted to do for sometime. The highlight of Italy was not only the food, but also this Day Spa we went to. The Disneyworld of rest and relaxation! Hot springs, saunas, footbaths, slats of granite you lay on while mineral water showers your body, underwater speakers, and a backdrop of the Italian Alps. This place was something else; waterbeds, fresh juices, moist toilettes, waterfalls, bubble baths. I felt like I was in Ancient Rome. I don’t have many pictures, it seemed really weird taking photos.
I had an awesome time. The skiing was great, the people were great, the food was great, and the experience was exceptional. I can’t wait to go back and experience it again. I now know the potential it has, and a better understanding of what this place entitles. You could explore those mountains for a lifetime, and never grasp it all. I want to thank my lovely girlfriend Iris for getting me there. Without here competing in the FWT, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience such a wonderful place so early in life. I feel blessed to travel the world with such a great friend and companion. It was also super nice to see friends I had previously meet all over the world in such a breath taking place. Thanks for the smiles!
Once again I want to apologize for not having any recent blog posts. Last season was one for the books, and I believe the entire ski industry can relate with me on that. Snowfall was meager to none in the lower 48, and in turn, it had a drastic effect on sales, budgets, and the approach to the season ahead. Nonetheless, I was still able to travel to find snow, and managed to get some really nice footage and still photos, as well as meet new connections and friends that will last a lifetime. Anyway, I have finally figured out my tentative schedule depending on snow conditions elsewhere, and in Tahoe.
My season is starting to kick off, and up to this point it has been fairly epic. Tahoe has had a killer season thus far, already exceeding our total snowpack from last year; it feels like the 2012-2013 season is going to treat me well. Not only did I bag my first shot in Powder Magazines photo annual (January Issue), I have some killer travel plans scheduled. Here is what it’s looking like:
January 5-14 Revelstoke British Columbia for the Freeride World Tour to cheer my lady Iris Lazzareschi on to victory, as well as shoot some photos to bag another spread. Fingers crossed eh!
Head home for a week to film with Well Rounded Media Concepts until I head out for…
Chamonix, France to meet up with fellow Dalbello Team Ambassador, the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Glen Plake. January 20- 31
Fly back to the states for SIA- Denver, Colorado February 1-5
Run around to capture as many stills as possible in February (locations dependent on weather), and try to be at home as much as possible for Miracle March in Tahoe. Ski with my boys!
April 1-28 is looking like it’s going to be Alaska again, trying to figure out if it’s Tailgate Alaska Freeride Festival, or some kind of Plane drop on a glacier, or maybe a combination of them both. Still figuring out the logistics of it all.
Small spring/summer break before I leave for South America for my first time. Fly fishing and skiing the Andes. Can’t wait!
Please follow my blog as you won’t be disappointed. Ski fast and take chances!
Powder Magazines Photo Annual, January 2013 issue. Buy One!
Big thanks to Lib-Tech NAS for all the support and family type orientation that goes into the program. Try a pair, you wont be disappointed. Even old guys love them! As well as big thanks to Tal Roberts, the man behind the lens for capturing this moment frozen in time, and to Smith Optics (Gabe Schroder) for bringing me out to Prospecting Idaho so I was able to snag one. Grabbing blunt on a five into deep powder off a very large jump.
Thanks again to everyone involved, I really appreciate the support.
A year ago my life was brought into perspective by mountains that are far bigger than anything I had experienced. Mountains that forever changed my life! I learned if you take the time to watch and listen, they teach you things you couldn’t have learned anywhere else. Alaska, the land of the midnight sun is a place where you can find whatever it is you’re seeking. Whether it be your riding, your life, your beliefs, it’s an open palate to express whatever that may be.
I didn’t know what to expect by any means. A typical situation for a first time occasion. Pretty clueless as to what I needed, and what I would be immersed in. I had to figure it out quick; it’s not a place where you can make mistakes, or at least a place where mistakes can be managed and dealt with in a typical fashion. Usually they are a learning process, but here they can be deadly. I was blessed to have a crew that had past experience and were more than willing to share their knowledge. Granted, last year wasn’t the best year, the snowpack was poor, and our weather window was consumed by mostly milky days with portions of sun. Although, now that I look back on it, it was the perfect start to feeling out mountains that need to be feared and respected. I figured out what I needed for next year to prepare myself mentally and physically. I took notes as to what I would need to do different to make this years experience one for the books.
I departed Reno in route for Anchorage on the second of April. Our ultimate destination was Tailgate, AK on Thompson Pass, which kicks ass by the way. For those who don’t know, Thompson Pass is about a half hour North of Valdez, AK, and Tailgate AK is a World Freeride Festival that attracts the best big-mountain riders from around the globe. I flew in with a crew from South Lake Tahoe. My good buddy Justin Befu was the only one I knew, but soon found out the other guys would be friends I could trust and rely on in aspects that will frighten the best of us. Everything from lodging to the weather seemed to be lining up better than one could imagine. Super smooth! We had a 29ft bunkhouse R.V. that drove like a dream into mountains that were littered with an abundance of snow and sunshine. We pulled in to the parking lot that was packed with R.V’s; I would say about double the number from the previous year. As we drove through the muddy lot looking for a spot to park our home for the next couple weeks, we stumbled upon our buddy Dave Geis who had just started his own helicopter operation called Alaska Snowboard Guides. He said “ Follow me boys, we will stick you next to the heli op in VIP at the end of the parking lot.” VIP it was, end of the lot, Heli pad 100ft away, snowmobile parking out the back, steps away from the shooting range, and no one around besides the guides who worked for him and us. I could tell this was the start to an amazing trip.
My main focus for this trip was to get photos, shoot some film, meet new friends, and live to ski another day. Oh yeah, and fly around in those magical dragonflies we call helicopters to challenge my riding and further my experience in the bird. Mission accomplished! It’s pretty hard not to get all that done when you have two weeks of beautiful blue days and great snow on top of that. I would have to say, quite a bit different from the year before.
It’s hard to remember each day as it’s own due to the excellence of every moment. About half way through our trip I was begging for a down day. My body was tired from continuous hiking, shredding, skeet shooting, mingling, partying, sledding, blowing up propane tanks, Northern lights late at night, and not much sleep to cap it all off. I mean, I experienced Alaska to the fullest, what ever came my way I agreed to, and things that didn’t come my way, I figured out how to make them happen.
The only bad thing I experienced throughout the trip was news that my grandmother had passed away from continuous health issues that have been plaguing her for the last year or so. It was news that brought my moral down. I was super bummed that I couldn’t be there for her in any way, but I sat down and prayed about it, thought hard as to what she would want me to be doing instead of feeling sad. I guess she heard my prayer, because moments later an acquaintance that I had met through the trip named Jeff Harper approached me and asked if I wanted to shoot a web edit for Powder magazine out of the helicopter for the day. A blessing in disguise I would have to say. I had such a killer day, 6 heli runs that blew my mind. It wasn’t like most paying customers get out of the heli. We got to rally some 55 degree pitches that were sustained for a good 2,500-3,000 ft with nasty spines, and slough that was piling up a good 3 ft at the bottom of the runs. Epic skiing! I am not positive, but our guide D.C. said that one line we did might have never been skied. We were hunting star belly sneeches on a run we got to name Dr. Seuss. I mean I couldn’t have asked for a better day, and I totally felt my Grandma’s energy with me the whole day. Finally she got to witness exactly what it is that moves me, and consumes my everyday life. Skiing!
As our trip was coming to an end, I looked back at all the great memories I had made, so many of them to remember. One of those bitter -sweet moments! I didn’t want it to end, but it was time to leave. Our last night there, ended with a bang. A party I will remember forever! A local gal named Lisa Wax invited a crew of people down to her home to enjoy some Valdez hospitality. She prepared one of the best meals I had ever tasted. Sorry mom! We consumed first run salmon that she had caught, King crab legs, prawns, beet salad, courses that I’m not sure what they were, but none- the- less, the most delicious food of all time. On top of it all, a wood burning sauna to relax and relieve any stress that had built up over the trip. Great people, good food, awesome skiing, and memories that will last a lifetime!
This last week I packed the Subaru with all my shred essentials. Grabbed a few friends, including the love of my life, Iris, who I only get to see a handful times throughout the winter due to our crazy hectic traveling schedules. Our destination was one to be reckon with, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and home to some of the best shredding on planet earth. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Geewiz, what a place!
My purpose for the trip was to go and ski. Easy! Powder Magazine holds a yearly event for ski manufacturers to come ski,show, and tell about next years product in hopes for an editors pick in next years buyers guide. It’s a pretty big deal if you don’t know.
Anyway, I went out there to represent Lib-Tech NAS, who generously put me up in a 5 star hotel. An Onsen, spa, food and beverage, a little trap door you could swim through to the outside pool with water falls. Top-Notch stuff. Snake River Lodge if you want a quality experience for lodging in Teton Village.
I ended up skiing with some really awesome dudes out there. Editors for Powder Mag, the guys you want to know if your seeking a photo to be published. I also caught up with their videographer for a lap to shoot some film for the online edit of the event. Combined with that and our POV footage, Lib-Tech NAS was the only ski company to receive listed exposure from the event. As well as Colby and I being the only athletes to receive listed exposure from the event. We straight killed it!
Check out the edit and report back. I will have more for you from Revelstoke BC here in a few days.
Tailgate BC here we come.
Throughout the last couple years, friends, friends of friends, good people I have met on the road, childhood hero’s, legendary ski guides, skiers that have paved the way for kids like me that are no longer here is why I write this.
Our sport inherently comes with risk. It’s the kind of people we are and the situation we would prefer over safety. It’s easy to feel invincible after periods of no injury or accidents. Next to Traumatic Brain Injuries, avalanches have been the main cause of death among these individuals that have impacted my life in one way or another. Wearing a helmet, that’s just simple stuff. Easy! Avalanches on the other hand, are something that we can’t control. Snow seems simple to your average laymen, but its extremely complex. It’s in a constant state of motion with variable conditions that persist during that time of day and year to type of snow, to slope and temperature. It’s hard to predict or know the mountain without experience or education. What’s best is the combination of the two.
Just yesterday I finished my Avalanche 1 certificate with a group of individuals that were like-minded. We all were curious to know and familiarize ourselves with the metamorphic changes and conditions that make what we do dangerous. I have all this gear, airbags, avalung, shovel, transceiver, probe, all the basic bullshit. This gear will do you no good if you don’t know how to read the snowpack or avalanche report, or use your damn transceiver. This gear has given people a false sense of security; they think they can ride anything on any given day. That’s how people die. Reel yourself in and ask the right questions, run over your circumstances and consequences. Before you risk you and your buddies’ lives. I have realized how dumb I was out there at times, not taking the right steps by any means to keep myself and crew safe. Scary! I am not saying don’t send it. That terrain is not there for safety, it’s there for fun, but there are signs you can use to ski another day.
I learned things I didn’t know before, met some awesome people with similar interests, and encourage everyone who is sending it in larger aspects to educate themselves about the snowpack and the tools we use to make a successful rescue if the circumstances arise. I will end with this, Wear your helmet! It’s not worth it to not wear it.
We departed Sac International for SeaTac International after a relatively long and interesting night for the Albino. We nearly missed our flight, but due to some awfully impressive and erratic driving out of myself we managed to make it. It was a little stressful, but colby had just the remedy. A few beverages that hold close to his heritage.
Anyway, from there we jumped aboard this shuttle bus in route for Mervin Manufacturing. Sure enough, our shuttle bus driver was this little Japanese man by the name of Tad. Such a character! Japan has a special place in mine and Colby’s heart. We went there a season ago. Had the time of our lives. I arove brueberries, shit-on-top kayaks, Farren Reaf rake, and I much arove Japan. We arrived after a long journey of jokes and traffic, ready to stretch and relax. Not a better place to do it besides the office room where all the magic happens.
The next day we left for Baker with our TM Jamie Davis who is hands down one of the coolest chicks around. We went on this shopping spree to accommodate for the entire Lib family. Everyone! After a while… I decided to stop getting out at stops, it was easier to work me into the pack job like a Tetris piece.
We made it to the “MoonShine” cabin in Glacier, Washington. A mystical spot in a jungle of ferns and ferrys. Thanks to Ryan-n-Jami Davis and their hard work, we had this gorgeous little cabin to relax, cook, hot-tub, keep warm, dry and clean in.
The next day we were curious as to what the temps would be in comparison to the temps of the cabin. Unfortunately, it warmed up and we spent the next few days rain boarding. Not all bad came out of this, we had so much fun molding snow in to side hits. Shredding around with fellow team mates and potential buyers of the product we support. Oh, and I cant forget to talk about the Legendary Banked Slalom. What an incredible event! It was one of those scenes where everyone involved had the same understanding of each others lives. Dedicated to what moves us! Check this course out, and how bummed we look watching from the sidelines.
We had an awesome trip, heading back to Tahoe for my Avalanche 1. Stoked
Thanks to the whole lib-tech crew for an awesome time!
I filmed one day with Painted Visuals. Hoping to do more this season if our paths cross more often. Big-ups to my boys in the film, Martin Rubio for taking the time and effort to make it all happen. Thanks guys!