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!
Freeskier Magazine / Volume 14.4
A HERO IS SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT COMES WITH HIS FREEDOM. – DYLAN
Check it out on pg.44
Skier:Phil Casabon Skier: Benny Schmitt
I want to apologize for not being very proactive with my blog lately. Sorry! I will get better. I hope!
It might have something to do with record setting 60 degree temperatures enabling any kind of snow to fall in and around the Tahoe region. Major Bummer!
Anyway, this season is starting out a little different then those in the past, i.e., no snow at home. none the less I have figured out my tentative schedule depending on snow conditions in other places and in Tahoe.
My season is starting to kick off:
I skied Mt.Bachelor on my way home for Christmas. That place is so dope! Bend!
I am super stoked to be heading for Smiley Creek, Idaho to film a segment for Smith Optics “Prospecting Idaho” Jan 23-28
Leave from there to Colorado, SIA, Denver Jan 29-31
Go home or stay in Colorado for a week. depending on conditions and places to stay! Anyone? I pretty much have to stay out that way.
Ski Crested Butte, Colorado. Freeskiing World Tour Feb 8-12
Go home and do some exploring with my boys until i’m on to the next one.
Kirkwood, California. Freeskiing World Tour Feb 22-27
For sure stay in Tahoe for March as much as possible. Powder inhalation!
Leave for Snowbird, Utah. Last scheduled stop of the Freeskiing World Tour March 14-19.
Fun and filming with my friends until……..
APRIL- Tailgate Alaska, World Extreme Skiing Contest, Rendezvous Heli Lodge here I come. Incorporate a Lib-Tech NAS Team trip into it all. Can not wait.
Now start puking profuse amounts of POW mother nature. meow!
The WHC got underway this sunday and monday as weather forecasts predicted rising temperatures around Wanaka, NZ and surrounding ranges for the days to come. The WHC crew worked efficiently to get one hundred and some odd people, an avy dog (blizzard) in and out of the backcountry safe and sound through the means of three helicopters. Not easy! This group of people consisted of the world’s top Freeride athletes, videographers, photographers, and some seriously dedicated safety personal that wanted the best for our well being.
Sunday we started with the Freestyle day, a more mellow pitch with undulating terrain to impress judges with trickery of all kinds on natural terrain. As the NZ locals would say, “everyone was frothing at the mouth.” Some serious cool stuff went down, and was a day for everyone to bond over something we all have in common. Shredding!
Monday kicked off crazy like and stayed that way to the very end. The staging area was a barge on Lake Wanaka, with helicopters transporting us from there to the bottom of a ridiculous Freeride venue. You could tell some big-mountain shredding was about to occur. This pitch was much different; steeper, more exposure, spines, chutes, with variable conditions from the top to the bottom of what I would say was about 1,500 vertical feet. A serious mountain with views like you would see out of Lord of The Rings. Some good skiing and snowboarding was displayed, and for the most part everyone made it out in one piece. An exception to that, would be Ted Davenport, whom was obviously sending it, props to him, broke his leg trying to attempt a line that most people couldn’t muster up in their dreams. Overall the day was great, and it brought the crew together even tighter than when we had left in the morning. Tony Harrington (mastermind of WHC) would say, “That’s what this type of event is about.” Check the photos, hope you enjoy.