March 24, 2013

Spring has Sprung

With the Wasatch Powderkeg now over and the rando racing in the Wasatch having concluded, my motivation to get out and ski has been dimming a bit. I don't know why, as racing is just a means to  feeling good while touring. Yesterday was one of those mornings though. I chalk it as one of the best quality snow mornings I've skied this year. Scott W. and I sought lower angles in incredible Utah snow. We stayed due north facing given the massive amounts of new snow and heavy wind loading on east through south aspects of the compass.  We were rewarded and home by 9 AM, ready to start yet another busy family Saturday.  Spring is on the right track it seems.
Scott W

Me- Courtesy Scott Wetzel


March 7, 2013

Cody Walker- Local Hero

Cody Walker  Courtesy Lori Walker

I remember some 15 years ago skiing on old Black Diamond Eclipse tele skis one late Spring afternoon on High Rustler, Alta, Utah. The day was beautiful, slushy snow, clear blue skies and great company. The mountains were full of energy that day charging both Cody and I as we shared turns down the northwesterly face. Cody has always been a snowboarder; a snowboarder that loves the alpine air and freedom that only the hills provide. He was all but family, always hanging around with his friend Lori, my sister in law. A few years later he would marry Lori and today share two wonderful kids together, with one on the way. Cody is the epitome of quiet mastery.  He silently smiles in all of his life's activities, even as a pharmacist in a white coat in the same room everyday. He is gentle but intensely in love with life.

Powder skiing is more than just skiing. It is a chance for each of us to make our own mark on a mountain covered in white. It affords us the opportunity to look down with excitement while just moments later to turn around and check our turns each and every inch of the way. Life has a way of providing the same thing, although some of the turns can be much less enjoyable.  Last Friday, my friend, brother in the family and example of fortitude and patience, Cody Walker took one of those turns.

Snowboarding with his close friends in Northstar at Tahoe, Cody while coming into a landing from off a jump he had already hit several times, lit in such a way that he broke his pelvis in four places on each side. If that weren't enough. He didn't even feel the pelvis fracturing because he whiplashed crushing the vertebrae in his neck causing him to lose all feeling and movement of his body.

After a lengthy neck surgery fusing verterbrae, and two pelvic surgeries Cody lies on his back in a Reno Hospital, with his sweetheart by his side, reliving in his mind the accident, his life and love for everything in it. Cody will recover. It will take time, prayers, effort from us all but he will. The trials he faces are foreign to me. But if there is one thing I know about Cody, it is the fact that of anyone who has faced challenges in life, Cody knows how to suffer through it and with that special smile will accomplish his goal.

Like doing laps on a great powder day, someone has to break trail setting the skin track up. Cody will do just that as he now focuses on the challenging climb back. Only this time he'll be skiing! Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your little family my friend!

Cody's good friend put a website up where folks can go, learn more about his recovery and provide support. Aren't friends wonderful? Here's the link.
Here's a story on his accident as well.
Cody Walker Courtesy Lori Walker

March 1, 2013

The Y Couloir- Mogul Tour

This morning I took some time off work and met Jared Inouye at a humane hour for a quick ascent up what has apparently become a popular line.  The Y Couloir has always held its mystery even for those of us that have skied it. There is something about the way it rises 3,500 vertical into the heavens from the floor of the canyon.
Y Couloir Dead Center (Taken from South Ridge East Twin in 2011)
Upon arriving in the chute proper we were amazed at how tracked out it was.  I asked Jared "are those moguls?" He concurred they definitely were a species of moguls. We moved up the booter which came and went due to spin drift filling the holes in. Nearing the top the booter was nearly absent. About 100 feet from the very top, we tested a wind pillow which quickly sheered about 9 or so inches in depth and around 15 feet wide. The northwesterly winds had drifted snow on the top, making the conditions more dangerous than we wanted to be in. That was enough; we stopped,  turned around and skied down, variable powder, crud, ice, and yes unfortunately something like moguls. It made for some fun on race skis for sure.

My photos were taken with my 9 year old's camera which is usually used for snapping shots of Lego figurines fighting in his pretend battle ground....

Jared moving through a choke in the Y

 Jared in a faded picture I tried to enhance color wise. Up another choke in the Y