Heli Skiing

Laughing at this the whole way. So true!

Laughing at this the whole way. So true!

It took me three days to recover from this one: Ripping up Mount Baldy with a group of shredding sit-skiers, then nordic skiing out to a yurt in the backcountry, then an 11K x-country ski and then, of course, heli skiing powder all day! I was humbled to say the least, not nearly the skier i used to be, after taking last year off from a near death bought with an internal staph infection, but i managed to focus on my successes instead of giving into my propensity of jumping to the negative. Being surrounded by positive people helps with that and I'm overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for Higher Ground Sun Valley who put this trip together and Sun Valley Heli Ski who busted their asses to make it a reality.

My GoPro was put on the helmet of fellow sit-skier, David Poole, since i was too nervous to deal with anything other than myself at the moment and, luckily, i ended up with a couple shots, which i took a stab at editing into a little video for you. Here it is with some pics from the adventure. Enjoy!

In the heli (Lilly, Mose, Me and Dave)

In the heli (Lilly, Mose, Me and Dave)

Nordic selfie with Pat

Nordic selfie with Pat

Lunch...Whitney and Lilly photo bombing

Lunch...Whitney and Lilly photo bombing

There's a DVD

The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado

The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado

I arrived home a week ago, exhausted from three weeks, literally, living my dream on the road. I think it was the white-knuckling stormy drive from Jackson Hole to Denver that did me in. Trade shows, ski days, long drives, early mornings, late nights, TV shows, radio shows...and lots and lots of hugs.

Bozeman Family Ski Day at Bridger Bowl

Bozeman Family Ski Day at Bridger Bowl

That's the biggest thing i pulled from this experience. People are moved when they see this film and, every screening, i receive a score of teary-eyed hugs. I have new friends now and feel like i have family in places like Sun Valley, Idaho and Bozeman, Montana. That makes me happy.

It's good to be home though. I missed my dog and smell of the ocean. Its nice seeing all my neighbors at the market and my training for Molokai began this week too. Its no huge formula. In fact, it's quite simple: a regular routine of stretching, paddle or surf five days a week, cardio at the gym five days a week and a little step up in my nutrition, sticking mostly to whole live foods, paying more attention to food combining and minimizing caffeine, sugar and alcohol. That's it.

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In a couple weeks, we head to the east coast to share the film with more people, but a few days ago, the DVD's arrived and i feel proud. Things have come a long way in a few years and my hope is that you are "provoked". That's the goal of this whole thing. It's for YOU! If you get a DVD, the proceeds go to getting this film in front of more people and to our next project. Thanks for being our friend!

A Dark Blue Minivan

Board Shop Bulletin

Board Shop Bulletin

I arrived in Ketchum this afternoon, in a dark blue minivan, the sun sneaking behind the mountains and a Drop IN poster popped out from a cork bulletin board of a local snowboard shop. That's a good start. 

Sitting alone in my Best Western hotel room, feeling unsure, i decide to follow the warranted advice of a couple close friends and write...

Its Day 7 on tour and the beginning of traveling by myself, a moment i've felt anxiety about. The drive to Ketchum, up the 75, is surprising very similar to the drive up the 395, to Mammoth. A sense of familiarity settled my uneasiness wrought by dark clouds and a quiet lonely drive through a place i have never been.

Alan and me on the plane

Alan and me on the plane

Until today, the jubilant company of our Executive Producer, Alan, has kept my inner voices at bay. Rarely in my life have i traveled with another person and i enjoyed his company thoroughly. We laughed a lot since flying out from San Diego a week ago. We ripped up Snowmass and Aspen Highlands and enjoyed a home crowd at the Aspen screening. We got spoiled there, the Wheeler Opera house making sure we find disappointment with any other venue in the future. They set the bar high and we left Aspen feeling good.

The next two screenings would be very "intimate" and I'd be lying if i said i didn't feel disappointed. Eighteen people made it to Vail and after three tiring days of working the trade show floor in Salt Lake, conversation after conversation of how excited people were about the event, two thirds of the small theatre seats at Brewvies Cinema Pub sat unoccupied.

Aspen82 News Special

I'm learning to surrender. I'm learning to do all i can, but to trust that the people who are there are the right ones. Glen Plake, the biggest ski legend ever, showed up last night, even though he had an early flight to Europe this morning. He stuck around and chatted us up too. Moved by the film, he said, "A successful ski film makes you wish you were there. Well, I wish i was a part of this." That's pretty validating for me.

Utah! Get me two!

Utah! Get me two!

Some old industry friends, i know from my days as a sales rep, joined us last night too. I'm hoping a seed is planted and the movement blossoms with them. I'm hoping the tears shed don't fade away and they are "provoked" into action. (Avoiding the word inspire. Thank you, Molly!)

Right now, our quest is just beginning. I must remember that we are breaking ground in unfamiliar turf and its ok to be nobody. You gotta start somewhere right?

The Legend

The Legend

I get to ski Sun Valley tomorrow and i'm excited. I'm going to ski hard, with all the emotions of this past week. I may cry, but i know it will feel good when my ski comes to a screeching halt at the bottom, my heart pounding from the adrenaline.

Two days of promoting here and then its showtime again! We'll see how it goes. I think i'll go find some locals to have a beer with right now though.

Giving Thanks

Happiness Doesn't Make Us Grateful; Gratitude Makes Us Happy. -Miya Goodrich

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Last year, on Thanksgiving, i was too sick to eat. It was the day after surgery and my good friend actually went through all the effort of bringing an entire feast, prepared by a professional gourmet chef, into the hospital. I tried so hard to eat, but after a few bites, i just couldn't. The feeling of disappointing her wrenching my stomach even more, but my frail 119lb body was still just recovering from the anesthesia, trauma and infection.

This Thanksgiving, i piled a mountain of food onto my plate and then even ate again later, fueling up for an entire week of skiing and promoting my movie. What a difference a year makes! After a very close call twelve months ago, i am so thankful to be back to being me.

Here's a peek at my first day back on snow:

Whales are VERY Large

Two weeks ago, not unusually, i sat on my couch, looking out over the shimmering ocean. One whale spout, then another sprang from the water in the distance and, after seeing them a few times in the same place, i decided to take action. I wrestled my board from its shady resting place and loaded it into my car, grabbed my GoPro, said goodbye to my dog (who maybe raised an eyebrow at the most) and raced down to the beach.

 Once there, an unsuspecting young lifeguard boy was asked to put your hard earned tax dollars to work by running my board down to the water. I pulled on my wetsuit in the car and left my chair behind, as i scooted across the warm sand to the water's edge where the nice lifeguard boy had placed my board. I jumped in and was off, pessimistic that i would find what i was looking for because i had done this before and had been skunked every time.

The lagoon mouth flowed out to sea like a river and shoved me right into the pounding shore break, breaking heavily on the bare low tide sand bar. The first wave struck me hard and sent me rolling. Not a good way to start this expedition, but thankfully, the video camera was locked in a death grip in my mouth and did not experience the same fate as my poor drowning sunglasses, lost forever.

Once i regained myself, i paddled out quickly and began the long trek out into the ocean where i hoped to maybe get lucky. After an hour or so of paddling, i saw what i thought at first to be a huge sail through the haze, but it disappeared and, a couple minutes later, i saw it again. My initial thought was that the military was out there doing something weird.

 "Wait a second! Is that...," peering through the haze, "...Is that a whale spout? OH MY GOD! IT IS!"

 My paddling quickened.  I felt like a child on Christmas morning, overwhelmed with excitement. The plumes were so far away, i thought i could never reach them.

"Maybe if i can just get kind of close."

I got closer. I could actually hear them!  The plumes got bigger. The sounds became louder. The land grew smaller. Then, i saw them! A plume and a splash, then a dorsal fin.

"Oh my God! Is this actually happening???" 

As i got closer, my fear grew stronger. My hands began to tremble.

 "I'm all alone out here, who knows how far out, and buses are swimming around me."

They were obviously feeding or something because they weren't going anywhere north or south. They were staying in the same area, right off of Swami's in Encinitas, two Humpbacks about two miles out or so.

I thought, "If they're feeding, maybe they come up to get a mouth full of shrimp, not paying attention, and i'm right here. One whip of a tale or something and i'm a goner."

One whale stuck its head out of the water to check me out, leveled out and swam right at me. Here's the video:

What an incredible experience! One i've dreamt about for a long time now. I spent about an hour with them and, even though i was scared, felt sad when i realized the sun was getting low and i needed to start paddling toward shore. As i paddled, i could hear them behind me and the sounds of their thundering breaths seemed to get closer.  I'd like to think they followed me a little bit.

"Til next time, my friends!" It was a beautiful sunset and i cried. 

 

If you're curious about my board, here's also a video about its making. It has enabled me to surf and to go on paddle adventurers like these. Please support Jay and Jeff at Ironcross Surfboards. They are good people. Happy Halloween! 

 

For speaking engagements, casting, endorsements or spokes person agreements, please contact Barrett Cordero at BarrettC@BigSpeak.com or 805-965-1400.