Breaking Trails and Breaking In

When your season starts as horribly as ours, you tend to go a while without getting out and splitboarding.  What also happens, is you end up getting a lot of new gear without getting a chance to try it out as you get it.  That was the case for us as we finally had enough snow here in the Front Range to go get on it and break in some of our gear.

We didn’t have much time and weren’t in the mood for much of a drive so we went to check out one of the closer local spots up past Nederland – Caribou.

As usual, a little windy up there.

"Nice" day for a split tour

“Nice” day for a split tour

Jess getting out on the Voile Mojo RX that we picked up in the off season, and me on my DIY splitty.

The quiver

The quiver

Felt really good just to get out on some snow again.  The frustration of this early season is unreal, and the best way to cure it, I’ve found, is to get out there when the going gets good.  (BTW, pretty obvious that we haven’t been out much since I FORGOT OUR FRICKIN POLES!)

Awww, snow.

Awww, snow.

Jess is sporting a whole new setup including the Voile MojoRX split, Voile Lightrail bindings, new G3 High Traction skins and Black Diamond Covert Avalung pack.  That means: lots of GEAR REVIEWS on the way.

Testing out the new Voile and G3's

Testing out the new Voile and G3’s

So nice to be able to actually dig in the snow.  What did I find?  About 1-2ft of soft slab on top of rotten depth hoar, yup, not too good.

Cocaine... so much cocaine!

Cocaine… so much cocaine!

AND, some new gear of my own to test out including the Ortovox Haute Route pack, some Arcteryx Theta AR bibs and a new Lowe Pro camera bag setup for backcountry photo shoots.

Satisfaction!

Satisfaction!

Tough Decisions That We LOVE to Make

It’s starting.  You know what it is.  I’ve already warned Jess about it.  Yup, it’s fall which officially makes it the “obsess over all aspects of weather, every possible chance of a snowflake falling on any mountain in any region of the continental US, last minute scope out of backcountry spots, get out, dust, tune and dial in the setup” season.  It basically gets to the point that if I can’t check my weather sites on a daily basis, I freak out like this guy:

It’s especially apparent that this season is upon us when images like these start rolling in:

Snow on Pikes Peak as of 14 September

This is one of those events that tends to set a few things in motion.

  1. First is that winter conditioning program starts to ramp up.  (More on this in another post) It happens to fit nicely with the Whole Life Challenge that Jess and I are starting on Saturday
  2. A 2012-13 winter goals discussion gets started. (More in a future post)
  3. And, tough decisions have to be made regarding the logistics of winter activities

What logistics? You might ask.  Well, the logistics of big trips to take, when, where, how long and the logistics of whether or not to get a Season Pass and if so, where.  I know, tough life, having to make these crucial life or death decisions.

It basically comes down to this.  Our main focus for this year is to safely spend most of our snow days in the backcountry.  With this as our ultimate goal, I initially considered not getting a pass at all especially since last year we got Epic Local passes and it turned out to be a bust.  To figure out what to do I did what any 21st century man would do: take it to the forums.  So I asked the fine folks over at splitboard.com and was surprised by the responses I got.

Expected to be ridiculed by hardcore/purist backcountry splitboarders on even considering the idea of a pass to a resort (said with lots of disdain btw), I found that a lot of the folks were really supportive of the idea.  Shredgnar immediately threw it out there.

“Riding backcountry all the time makes you rusty, some will disagree but for the way I want to ride it does. Plus it’s nice to bang out a few laps before work or when you are too hung over/tired to skin. Plus, if it’s anything like last season (god I hope not) it’s hard to find good backcountry riding all the time.”

While several folks disagreed with the concept of not riding resort makes you rusty, the overall vibe was that having a pass (especially if its cheap enough) was a good compliment to backcountry objectives.  Summing it all up it seemed to be

PROS:

  • Downhill riding skills stay fresh
  • “Nothing like a lift accessed powder day”
  • Good for those high avy danger days
  • Good for early season before the backcountry opens up
  • Good for days when you don’t have a partner to go into the backcountry with
  • Hard not to consider lift access up stuff like this:Easy, fairly cheap lift access to THIS... tempting

CONS:

  • Having a pass makes some less motivated to go backcountry
  • Have to deal with resort crowds & traffic (+1)
  • You actually have to pay for the thing which takes away from $ used on gear

So there is the debate, still trying to iron out the final decision here… tough life, I know.

Hot Sulphur Springs

It’s never too early to start prepping for the upcoming Winter! Last weekend, we went terrain scouting up at Berthoud Pass just for kicks:

 

Afterwards, we dropped by Winter Park to check out their downhill mtn bike park “Trestles.” Then we hit up Hot Sulphur Springs out in the middle of HoDunk, Colorado where there is literally one stoplight and a single hamburger stand at the side of the road! We dropped in at this place that had 21 mineral hot springs. The water bubbles up from 35,000′ underground smelling like sulphur and 15 other minerals. Jacuzzis now seem like such a knock off. 🙂 You mean, I can get 98-113 degree water au naturale?

Christmas in January

Well well well! What a surprise. Jess stumbled across a video contest back in December for a fitness company called SICFIT. It sounded fun and interesting at first for a little project until she told me what the grand prize winner gets: FIVE GRAND! Ok then, game on, forget little project, we decided we were going to work this thing like a job until we won it. And wouldn’t you know it… WE DID! @Jessicamacho put together a sweet behind the scenes look at the making of “Get Up. Get Fit. Get Out.” on her blog Girl Walks Into a Barbell check it out.

Get Up. Get Fit. Get Out. from Ryan Decker on Vimeo.

So the question comes to… what to do with Five Grand!  Well the first thing that comes to mind is to accelerate my 2012 goal of preparing for Backcountry Snowboarding.  Just starting to get super excited about actually being prepared for the backcountry by the end of this season.  Research is ongoing on what exactly to get but here is the initial list:

  1. Avalanche Beacon
  2. Avy Probe
  3. AIARE Level I Course
  4. Option 1a: Split Decision Kit by Voile and split my custom 169 – Use my current bindings (Cheapest option)
  5. Option 1b: DIY Kit and buy some Voile Lightrail or Spark Bindings
  6. Option 1c: DIY Kit with the Korakorum Split 30’s
  7. Option 2: Buy a Factory Split and use Voile with current bindings
  8. Option 2b: Buy a Factory Split and use Lightrail or Sparks
  9. Option 2c: Buy Factory Split and buy Karakorums (Most expensive option)

Whew… that’s a lot to decide.  Any opinions?  PLEASE help me out.

Saturday on Wednesday

As much as I want to, I can’t say that I am not liking this back to school business. Or at least the schedule part. Take today for example, one class in the morning and then an entire day open to do things that I wan’t to do. I didn’t skip out and make today a Saturday just because it happened to dump on the entire front range… well maybe, but it just so happens that Wednesdays are THE day that I could make that happen. I had kinda planned on going riding today at some point last week when storm tracks from coloradopowderforcast.com were still iffy. I was going either way… it just worked out.

The day started as any awesome day on the slopes should… waking up to a deck full of snow. About 6″ worth covering the BBQ made for an excellent omen of things to come. We drove on up testing out what constitutes “good” vs “bad” road conditions on I-70 and got there just around noon.

 

Snow was great but the terrain is still waaay limited since it’s still frickin October.  Working on editing some of the clips from today and last time, so should post that up soon.

Oh yeah, can’t have a good snowy day without some hot lodge food right?

Snow Goals 2011-12

Jess and I both tend to be pretty “goal-oriented” and not just with finances, careers and boring crap like that, but it also creeps into our recreational activities.  So with the first snow (YES I SAID SNOW… and yes that was in all caps) of the season and Wolf Creek opening up Saturday:

thoughts couldn’t help but turn to the upcoming Epic snow season.  As the first time I have had a season pass not to one resort but to up to FIVE, I need to get my act together and get a game plan for this season.

I started by looking at other people’s goals that they had made (and advertised) online.  Unfortunately, most of them were lame like “Yo brah, I want to steez out my BS 270 lipslide this year” or totally generic “get better” statements.  So I have to start from scratch here.  Here’s my first attempt at some goals for this season (probably change as I hopefully accomplish them and up the anty or think of new/better ones).

  1. Ride >50 days
  2. Ride >= 750k vertical feet this season
  3. Ride 50k vertical in one day
  4. Improve my fluidity and speed retention in powder (aka ride more pow!)
  5. Confidently ride all blacks and **Certain Double Blacks (TBD)  **Actual run names will be inserted once I scope some
  6. Be able to stomp natural drops >6′
  7. Prep for next season BC/this season Sidecountry (Take level I & get transceiver & Probes)
  8. Make >= 2 QUALITY edits /month (Improve video editing skills)
  9. Be able to ride switch on an entire blue run
  10. Solidify BS&FS 360 in park and on natural hits (need some FS skills to work on for the days when the snow is iffy)
  11. Get over the lip in the pipe on both walls (I’ve always wanted to do this but have never worked on it)

Alright, so that’s the first go at it.  Let me know your goals or maybe some good candidates for double blacks to put on my “hitlist” for this season.  How about this one?

GOing PRO for Christmas

Jess and I did something a little different this year.  We typically aren’t all that crazy with the whole suprise gifts for each other thing and we will usually spend that money on some kind of fun trip or adventure, but with things as they are with me saving up my leave to get to Colorado ASAP we decided to get each other a secret santa type gift this year.

So mine ended up being totally awesome!  Jess got me a POV camera called the Hero by GOPRO. 

It comes with a ton of mounting options and a waterproof housing so you can even surf with the thing on.  So after reading up on how to use it, we had to go try it out.  Rogue, Jess and I with a backpack full of bungie cords, a ski pole, a tripod, and my skateboard headed across the street to a closed parking garage to check out some angles.  Jess also got me a book on using Final Cut Pro to edit movies and this is my first try at it.  It seems like a very functional program but I just need a little practice to smooth it all out.  Here is the result:

Thanks Jess, can’t wait to have some awesome places to use this thing to its full potential.