HST Gaper Day

What’s a gaper, you ask? A gaper by definition is someone who dresses for looks. What that means in snowboard speak is someone who dresses strait ’70s, ’80s, and maybe even early ’90s. The colorful Husky Snowboard Team tore through Stevens yesterday, hooting and stretching. We BBQed in the parking lot and celebrated the last weekend of the snow season.

Here’s the team (minus a few people):

I can’t wait for gaper day next season.

Snowboard Down Everest 51 Times in 24 Hours

The Husky Snowboard Team just got back from Hope on the Slopes, a fund raising event for the American Cancer Society and a race for the most vertical in 24 hours at Stevens Pass. We brought back the trophy for having the most combined team vertical. Fifteen of us went down Skyline and Hogsback enough times to total a whopping 1.5 million vertical feet in just 24 hours (I had around 110,000). That means that the combined vertical distance we traveled in 24 hours could have brought one person down Mt. Everest (at 29,000 feet) to sea level 51 times (that’s 284 vertical miles).

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How did we accomplish this feat, you ask? A combination of energy drinks, coffee, no sleep, and teamwork. Here’s the story:

First session: 9:30am – 12:30pm
All 15 of us start on Skyline. We want to try and have some fun during the day, so some of us hit the park and others just bombed down. We were all feeling good by 12:30pm. Aleah is making everyone a sandwich. Chris is firing up his water boiler for a first-class on-hill lunch.

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Second session: 1:15pm – 5:00pm
Same story as first session. Some people hit the park, and others just bomb. By this time we had a good idea of what our competition looked like, and it wasn’t looking good. The Swiss Ski Club had some nasty skiers that we could barely keep up with. It was going to be a long night/morning.

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Third session: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Pretty much same story. We’re all feeling good. None of us are that tired, but we’re ready for the BBQ. We head in for the BBQ, and some of us prepare for the free wax/edge sharpen going on at 11:00pm.

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Fourth session: 11:30pm – 4:00am
First, keep in mind that 2:00am was totally skipped because of daylight savings. This is where things start to get tough. Eight of the 15 decide to nap, and the other seven start CHARGING. By this time we had the first round of statistics (all results up to 7:00pm), and it looked like we had the lead by a narrow margin. Skyline closes, so we’re forced to run Hogsback over and over again. In fact, we’re forced to head down the same run every time. No matter. Our bomb squad figures out the fastest route and does lap after lap, only turning to avoid other people. I’m not even kidding. For 2.5 hours these 7 dudes and dude-ettes did nothing but point and ride the chairlift up. The run was recently groomed, so the snow was hard and fast.

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Fifth session: 4:30am – 9:30am
We get word that as of 12:00am, we were in first place with 700,000 vertical, leading the second place team by a mere 9,000 vertical. It’s go time. Kelly starts pumping up the team, and all 15 of us ride the entire session. In fact, we don’t just ride it; WE KILL IT. All 15 of us are charging as hard as we can – barely any turning. By this time there wasn’t any room for conversation. We all went at our own pace, rode our own chairs (for the most part), and got in the zone. We would buckle in on the chairlift to avoid wasting time at the top, and we would only speak to say “hi!” to other HST people that we saw along the way or to give a “Yeeehaw!” if we saw someone from the chairlift. This was serious business; we had to win.

We ended up winning by a margin of 100,000 vertical, which isn’t all that much. We each accepted our metals and our $100 gift certificates and tried not to fall asleep on the drive home. We all had an insanely good time.

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Alright, it’s time for me to go to sleep. In summary, HST dominates Hope on the Slopes. Big thanks to Kelly for organizing everything, Paul for raising a GRIP of money, and Aleah, Chris, Alex, Kelsi, Michelle, Josh, Kyle, Kyle, Sena, Corry, Fareed, and Scott for SHREDDING LIKE IT’S NOBODY’S BUSINESS.

Good night.

Mammoth Mountain: Why I Think It’s the Best

I recently returned from a long visit to Mammoth Mountain. I had a few different conversations up there about Mammoth’s awesomeness and its comparison to other mountains such as Whistler, Vail, Alta, and Squaw, so I wanted to share my views on Mammoth.

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I will start by making the claim that Mammoth is the best – the best terrain, the best lifts, and some of the best conditions. I don’t travel to mountains to party, eat good food, or shop; I travel to mountains to shred. I have one goal in mind: snowboard long and hard. I go to sleep early, I eat home-cooked breakfasts and dinners, and I pack my own lunches (if I’m not lazy at the time). My time spent at mountains is centered around snowboarding, and everything I do outside of snowboarding is focused on recovering from a ridiculous day or getting ready for another sick day. Mammoth is definitely not the best place for nightlife, food, and shopping, but I don’t really care about those aspects. Oh, and I don’t spend any time in the park.

Mammoth has the best terrain of any mountain I’ve ever been to. I don’t know what to do with myself at Mammoth. There are so many ski-able acres of insanely steep alpine, insanely steep and gladed trees, huge and fast groomers, and giant hucks. In one day you can get the best turns of your life through the trees and later go faster than you’ve ever gone down an untracked alpine double-black. In that same day you can launch a giant cliff and point a ridiculously narrow chute. The terrain at Mammoth is unbeatable. No other mountain has the variety, the difficult, and the insanity. No other mountain is as accessible either, which leads me into my next point: lifts.

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Mammoth has the best lifts of any mountain I’ve ever been to. If there is a sick run, then there will be a lift going over it. You can make lap after lap on most of the terrain that I just discussed. Chair 22 starts at the bottom of Lincoln mountain and ends at the top. You can make 20 runs down the best tree skiing you’ve ever done in one day on Lincoln mountain. You can also leave Lincoln and 10-15 minutes later be at the steepest alpine you’ve ever done, gondola 2 or chair 23. You can then shred lap after lap on that alpine hill. There are lifts that let you lap the sickest runs, and there are lifts that take you from one sick run to another.

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Mammoth has some of the best conditions of any mountain I’ve ever been to. It’s true that the snow in Mammoth is typically heavier than Colorado and Utah snow, but the dumps that hit Mammoth are legendary. I’ve been at Mammoth when they’ve gotten seven feet of snow in one day. I’ve also been there when they’ve gotten over twelve feet of snow in a three-day weekend. The snow is heavier but insanely plentiful. Mammoth is also good at handling these huge dumps. A lot of resorts will shut down with a three-foot dump, but Mammoth won’t. They’ll bomb the alpine slopes and leave the tree sections alone, and they’ll have the mountain ready to go in the morning. A lot of times I will be woken up at 5:00 or 6:00am the morning after a big dump because of the avalanche control. There’s nothing like the sound of bombs going off in the morning.

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As you can tell, I love Mammoth. I think it’s the best mountain, but I naturally have a bias. I’ve spent my whole life on Mammoth, so I know it like the back of my hand. I know where to go when the snow is good, and I know where to go when the snow is bad. If you haven’t gone to Mammoth yet and you love the snow, then you should get down there. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get to because there are no nearby airports, but the drives to and from give you lots of time to reflect on the nastiest trip of your life. Oh, and don’t forget to dress like a superstar, because the image-driven Los Angeles crowd will be dressed to kill. (this is actually one of the few annoying things about Mammoth – people are dressed like idiots usually)

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