About four hours of driving from Crested Butte to Aspen because the pass isnt maintained during the winter, but the travel was simply amazing. Through the little town of Gunnison where Daniel and Amy lived at one time, into the Black Canyon pass on a sketchy road, to a town straight out of the midwest called Crawford, on towards Paonia, through Redstone where the mountains are red, and into Aspen where the snow is falling.
The scenery is like nothing I have ever seen before. I have flown over the Hindu Kush mountains, a 500-mile mountain range stretching between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan which climb to 25,289 ft, but this was different. The Hindu Kush was incredible to see from the air, but driving these four hours through the heart of the Rocky Mountains was so much more intimate and exciting. We spotted two bald eagles and several deer along the way, which is something that you can’t really find in Manhattan. I took so many pictures but I know that these pics wont do the mountains true justice.A quick pit stop in a tiny town that I can’t even remember the name to grab some gas, some snacks, and a potty break. The thing I love most about road tripping is the fun things you get to do together. One of the things I love the most is eating out of the back of a vehicle. I know that seems random, but I don’t know how many times I have done this and all of them standout to me. Sandwiches leaning on the trunk of my Civic with my old man on our way from MD to AZ. Drinks and snacks in the bed of Cody’s truck from AZ to MD on I-10. Sandwiches with IAVA in a gas station parking lot before getting into the ESPN campus for a taping of SportsNation. And once again today, turkey sandies out the back of the Traverse. No cheese because we forgot it so cream cheese had to do, some stolen condiments from Western Colorado University and some salt and vinegar chips. Sweet deal.
On the road again, the snow started to lay just outside of Redstone, but not too bad. It was nice to have a clear drive without weather today or four hours could easily have been doubled. We passed the Winter X Games half-pipe at Buttermilk, just a couple of miles before Aspen and then rolled into Aspen proper where the snow was coating the streets. Upon crossing the city line there is a banner welcoming everyone filtering into the city for the X Games, but to our surprise as we blasted Big Boi, that mofo is playing here at a free concert on Saturday night. Ironic and awesome. I took my brother to see Outkast for his 16th birthday with Kevin and they were out of this world. Outkast played for more than three hours that day with Ludacris and Goodie Mob. Out of sight! Cant wait to see him on Saturday night, if our schedule permits. Read more…
The altitude up here has been messing with my sinuses the entire time and I am not the only one. Everyone else is feeling dehydrated and stuffy. I feel like I have to work to breathe sometimes and sleeping has been harder than normal though I am more tired up here. Its like breathing soupy air, that’s the only way I can describe the feeling.
I can’t really complain when I think about what I have already done since being here and what I am about to get into tonight when we reach Aspen. We are all packed right now, the truck is warming up and we are almost ready to head out through this pass to Aspen. First is going to be a quick stop off in town to walk through some of the stores and then onward hoe. Another bluebird day here. If this weather keeps up, I may extend my travels for a couple months to really get into snowboarding the way it was meant to be. Winter sucks in general and I am notoriously bad with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but who could be sad out here on days like these?
Tonight I get my first glimpse at Winter X!!! I am so thankful for these opportunities, the way I get to live my life right now, and for the people that I get to befriend along the way. Thanks to all those that help make this possible for me.
Time to throw on these layers and get on the hill to dial in this new board. Nervous/anxious is the best way to describe my innards right now. I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach like on a first date. I mean, this essentially is my first date with real snow conditions on a real mountain on a real setup so I hope she treats me right. I dont mind paying for the date, I just need her to cuddle me in some powder and keep my ass from being sore in the morning. PRAY FOR ME! (@11a)(@946p) I cannot even express through writing how amazing this day was for me, for us. Skies so clear and bright, air crisp and clean, snow just right. Not like east coast snow where its packed down and icy, too cold and dreary to be on the mountain. No. This was 30+ degrees with the sun blazing and the greatest mountain I have ever ridden.
The ride up the mountain gave me the same feeling as the ascent on a rollercoaster or stepping to the door for my first skydive. I really was nervous. More so than I thought I could be, but after the getting off the lift with no problem, I knew it was going to be a good day.
Only a half day of riding and it was all that I could’ve handled because I am really worn out as I write this. Yeah I was on the ole bum double digit times, but no major spills and all heel-side spills which saved my face. I had trouble judging my heel-side at first and needed to find the center of my weight transfer and get back to finding my stance. New boots definitely need to be broken in but this new board is primo! It feels infinitely better than the board I had been rocking in years past. There may be a reason that Burton is the king of snowboards; they make even recreational riders better! I think there are some tweaks to be made with my bindings but it felt good to accomplish so much today. The mountain treated us well this sunny Monday afternoon and I was lucky enough to hit some real deal powder for the first time. It was everything I had dreamed it would be; buttery speed filled carves and cloud-like hovering over 3 feet of powder.
Im so tired that I can’t even think about what to write here. The brain just isnt engaging. Im brain dead from a legendary day here. Quote possibly the best winter day I have ever had. I imagine that Daniel or Amy from AAS wrote something more profound than I just have so check it out.
Driving 5-6 hours from Denver, we reached Crested Butte around 630p and just in time to watch the Jets game. Our first stop was “Talk of the Town” where AAS’s friend Koeppe (Kep) works and just hung around to watch the game. Hunger set in and we decided on some sushi for dinner so Lobar, an underground hipster-style club that looked like it was uprooted right from the Brooklyn trend scene, was our choice. They had live Jazz music and the atmosphere was a good one. Some sushi to the dome and talks of strategy for the coming couple of days leading into X Games made the night.
We partied down so hard in Denver that Daniel and I were pretty much wastes of space. The altitude is no joke here either people. Even running back and forth across the street from Lobar to Talk (where the game was on) really took its toll on me. It felt like I had smoked a pack of cigs and this was not the case. Today’s indoctrination to 12,000 ft and Rocky Mountain powder is going to be an interesting one.. The size of this mountain is immense and slightly intimidating considering that I have only played on kiddy hills on the east coast, well except for Okemo in VT.
We are basing out of Kep’s place right now before leaving tomorrow morning for Aspen. Bags laid out all over the house, people and beds laid out all over the house; I could not be more excited for this day! I woke up just as the sun was peeking over Crested Butte South and watched it for a while so today is going to be a good day. Another sunrise, another new experience, and more fun with truly exceptional people AND its “bluebird” outside. Google it.
Can you tell I’m excited? Well I am. I’m going to be popping my powder cherry in a couple of days and I can NOT be more excited. It’s all I have been thinking about this week so I would like to apologize if I seemed a little out of it or nodded in agreement too much as I was somewhere else. Dreaming of getting blasted in the face with real Rocky Mountain snow. I packed too much stuff, but I have no idea what’s ahead of me. Multiple days of riding, going out at night, Denver, Crested Butte, Aspen, and X Games. This is going to absolutely make my winter. This and if the Jets win the Super Bowl bc NYC will be rocking.
Brand new “too white” boots? check (these might get spray painted while I’m there.)
Brand new Burton Custom V Rocker never been ridden? check
Blue plaid goretex pants? yup!
Grey goretex pants so I don’t get made fun of the whole trip? check
Helmet? Like I would forget this with how I ride, si!
Goggles, hats, gloves, socks, undies? check times 5
Health insurance card? of course
Boner? Since I booked my ticket, check. Cialis commercial recommends calling a doc after four hours, it’s been 13 days!
Tomorrow just needs to get here. I didn’t sleep well last night and then had a rough counseling session today so I haven’t had my head in the game. It’s time to sleep this day away, my eyes have been heavy for hours. Please let there be sleep in my future.
BOOMTOWN!! This is my first trip out west for real powder on a real mountain. To be honest I am slightly intimidated, especially since I didn’t get to snowboard all last season because of a knee injury I sustained trying to skate in a pool that Tony Hawk skated in. He doesn’t get knee injuries, but I do. He’s a professional and the godfather of the sport, I just think I look good carrying a skateboard.Eight days ago I booked my ticket and now I am starting to get butterflies. Not because I am truly nervous, but because this is my first time being out in real deal snow conditions. Its my first Winter X Games too! it’s my first time hanging out with Adaptive Action Sports (AAS) since they formally asked me to join the AAS team. A lot of firsts here and this anxious excitement is starting to really get me pumped. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I don’t even know what to compare it to. Kind of like looking down out of a small airplane that you are about to hurl yourself out of. That’s what I would liken it to. Not the jump itself, but the anticipation before you plummet 14,000 feet towards Oahu’s North Shore. I think I really hit the nail on the head with that one.
I don’t know what to expect, but I do know that I am ready for whatever lies ahead. I am ready to mark some of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains off my life map. I ready to get the ball rolling with AAS and connect them with the more than 40,000 wounded service members linked to these wars. I know that this year is shaping up to be the greatest of my life and its only 18 days into 2011. I never would have guessed that my 31st year would already be on track to being the most incredible 365 I have ever had. I know it’s too early to speculate, but something tells me this feeling is real. Read more…