Face To The Wind – Winter Is Over
Once again I reached the end of winter. And once again it was the best winter of my life. Charmed is the man who claims the best 6 months of his life, twice a year. Charmed is how I feel. Once more the snow was melting, and once more seasonal lovers were left to cry over their smashed prospects as adventurers laced up their boots and zipped up their bags in favour of looking to the horizon. This winter was like no other for me, personally, professionally and passionately. It seems the deeper into snowboarding I go, the more I fall in love.
This winter I feel like I came of age as an instructor. I discovered how to lead my students through discovery and progression in a way that focussed entirely on squeezing every ounce of experience from it all, every step of the way. I got fired for the first time in my life. But in the same winter I truly found the way I love to teach, and the way I love to lead. By playing with the mountains.
This winter I unlocked my freestyle. For the longest time I’ve had the foundations to fly in any direction, but let’s face it, freestyle is it. I found my true riding partner, his name is Ricky Ryan, he is my best friend in Aspen and I owe him some fire. Like Daedalus, he taught me how to fly. This winter I got my first 540, and my second 540, Frontside and Switch Frontside. I was going for all 4 5s but I caught an injury right at the beginning of park season which definitely put a stop in my progression. Dislocated a rib on my lower left side, far from pleasant and an injury that is apparently not supposed to be possible. Logical then, that the only other person I know to have suffered such an ailment is my father, when I am very much my father’s son. To put it bluntly, I fell out of the sky.
This winter was the first time I’d ever returned to a ski town during my 4 years in North America. I was able to build limitlessly on the foundations that I had put down the year before. I saw sides of Aspen and Snowmass that I could only dream of before, I followed every trail, scent, rumour and rope until my appetite was sated of adventure and mischief. I got to spend a whole nother winter working with one of the most inspiring, and forward thinking organizations I am so lucky to be a part of, the Aspen Snowmass Ski & Ride School. I got to spend another winter shooting and playing with the amazing, versatile and dynamic Content Crew, trumped in their collective awesomeness only by the spectacular individual prowess of the characters that make it a collective. You know who you are. In short, for a whole 6 months I got to blend the lines of passion and professionalism with some of the coolest people I will ever meet. For the first time since I left home, I found home. And with it comes the very first taste of my nomadic lifestyle finally reaching an anchor. My heart is in the mountains.
This life I have come to lead in pursuit of experience, inspired by heroes and dedicated to forward movement. Spurred into extraordinary situations by the insatiable allure of unique experience and the richness of living young and wild, and free.
My last month in Aspen was spent riding slush pools and monster trucking turf patches, in tank tops and sunscreen with my very best friends. But as with all good things, eventually winter must always come to an end. The snow melts and the rivers swell. We are left with no choice but to turn our faces to the wind and look for the sun. I love winter with all my heart but but I also love being a Seasonnaire, and the flowers I can see sprouting in the pavements mean that something special is on the horizon. Summer is coming, and I feel the pull of the tide. Sometimes the best feeling in the world is just giving in. Aspen to Nantucket. See you on the island…