It is the season for swaps, and chances are that if you live within 60 miles of a ski area there is a swap going on near you. Most of us have sold or bought gear at one of these swaps - they happily accept our used gear and sell it for us so that we can justify buying new boards. For everyone who has kids who grow out of their boots every season, these sales help with the financial hit of raising rippers.
The Ski Swap is as much a part of the fall experience for skiers and riders as going to the latest Warren Miller movie. It is when we pull out our gear and assess the needs for the coming season. It is when the talk turns to snowfall predictions and the trips we'll take.
This past weekend I helped out at the Tyrol Basin Ski Swap. I arrived to a flurry of activity with red vested Patrollers putting up fencing, building up racks for equipment, and carrying chairs and benches from the chalet to the boot tent. The Ski Patrol was out in force, and many brought along their kids to help too! They had thousands of items to check in, mark, and place for sale. Items came from the public looking to unload gear, and from shops discounting last season's equipment to make room for new inventory. SOL Alpine came because we love helping Ski Patrols raise money. Many ski swaps are organized and staffed by Ski Patrol volunteers. Swaps are also put on by other non-profit organizations, such as clubs and teams. For Patrols, these swaps serve as a major fundraiser with about 15% of the sale price of each item going to the Patrol. It is a lot of work for the Patrol, but they all seemed happy to be back with their Patrol family and excited for another season. And the rest of us are happy to find great deals on gear while supporting our Ski Patrols.
I’m starting the spring ritual of putting away winter gear – packing snow boots in bins, putting storage wax on skis, and tucking gear packs into the back of closets. I’m already missing playing in the snow. But as I’ve been digging out the flip flops, scheduling a work day with the mountain bike trail crew, and making repairs on the sailboat, I realize that I’m also really looking forward to the coming season. Actually, I think that is one of the reasons that I love seasonal sports so much – they are special because I can’t do them all year. In the fall I can’t wait for the snow to fly because I haven’t been on snow for 6 months. In the spring I can’t wait for the trails to dry out because I haven’t ridden my favorite single track in 6 months. Don’t get me wrong – I still hope some day to experience an endless winter with a summer trip to the Andes. But, the seasonal nature of winter sports stokes my desire to get out a few more times before the lifts close because the season is about to turn.
The first Warren Miller movie I ever saw was Steep and Deep. I was 12 years old and on the bus with my middle school ski club heading to Bristol Mountain in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Skiing there was not "steep and deep," but it was a lot of fun. And, watching Warren Miller movies made us kids feel like we were a part of the tribe. We'd spend hours skiing moguls and perfecting daffies, and we all dreamed of having a dog like Zudnick. Over the years, I've skied a lot of mountains that really are "steep and deep," but no matter where I'm skiing, the excitement for the coming season that Warren Miller films bring to our communities each fall is still the same. Thanks Warren Miller for bringing us snow sports junkies together to connect with our tribe and get excited for the winter ahead each year. You will be missed.
It’s January. The temps may dip well below zero. But that doesn’t mean foregoing a day on the mountain, or even a bike ride to work. It is not that hard to be comfortable in -20 degree temps – really! The right base-, mid- and outer-layers keep my body warm, and hand and toe warmers manage those areas pretty well. I’m always amazed how warm my helmet keeps me – especially with a thin cap under it. And, keeping the biting wind off my face makes a big difference in my comfort. So, I cover up with a neck gaiter or balaclava and my goggles. Goggles with layers of face-forming foam are so much warmer than sunglasses! Gear up and come on out – the weather’s fine!
The kids’ candy stash is full. They ran around collecting pieces and now they can enjoy their sweet success. Halloween brings a different kind of sweet success for me. It is the time when I prepare for a season of ski patrolling. I collect the pieces: study outdoor emergency skills that may have grown rusty over the summer, take the online quizzes from National Ski Patrol, renew my CPR certification, and take the in-person refresher tests with my fellow patrollers. It is a time when I come back together with a group of people who are all as excited as I am to feel the cold mornings and look for the first flakes of snow in the sky. The anticipation is palpable. This winter could be epic! Is it usually this cold at the end of October? I think I heard that we’re supposed to have a good snow year. These are the starts to the conversations this time of year. Only time will tell how much snow will pile up, but for now, I can almost feel the weightlessness of flying through feet of powder and it’s sweeter than a pillowcase full of candy.
Like it is for many of you, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is personal for me. Although not defined by it, my sister is a breast cancer survivor. Her name is Robyn and she kicks ass.
Her ROW(Recovery on Water) team of eight recently spent an afternoon with the Athleta film crew to teach us all about resilience, grace and power. I love you, sis!
This stunning video from Sander van den Berg made me stop to reflect on the majesty of our world and worlds beyond. Simply beautiful. The footage is composed from image sequences from NASA's Cassini and Voyager missions.
One of the joys of winter is building a snowman and the Fregoe family of Massapequa Park, NY gave birth to one that’s 15 feet tall. Now the challenge is to keep that big guy alive well into spring. If you live nearby, send your snownations (donations of snow) to best last year’s April 20 survival record!
A few weeks back, we took a little road trip to our favorite mountain town. Some call it the last great ski town in America. We once called it home and the place is still full of friends and friendly souls who love living where winter comes early and lasts well into May.
One must have a mind for winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-tree crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant
Of a January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
- Wallace Stevens
We're mountain-loving people. Outdoor adventure enriches our lives and Sol Alpine was born from the mountains to be a company that helps to celebrate, respect and protect the history and culture of alpine adventure.