Friday, October 30, 2009


First chair of the snow season is TODAY, OCTOBER 30. I feel like I'm cheating at something. I slept remarkably well on Rob's couch, considering I'm usually like a kid in a candy store when it comes to first tracks and can't sleep at all past 6 or 7 AM with hopes of getting up for first chair. Today is different - I don't think my better expects snowboarding on October 30, and is in recovery mode. I needed it, so that's a good thing. Also, I'm trying to settle myself down. For all of you who haven't gone snowboarding with me before - I'm a nut. A lunatic. I can be up and raging at 3 AM, but you can bet your last five bucks that I'll be the first one kicking in the morning and pushing everyone out the door in hopes of beating the lines. Powder days, ice days, bluebird days, overcast days - it doesn't matter. I'm focused on one thing when I'm up riding, and that's riding. This season has to be different. I live here. I have all season to get in everything I want. No impending pressure to stomp tricks before the trip is up. No pushing myself past exhaustion because I'm not sure when the next chance I 'll get will be along. It's different in Colorado - we all get to do it again tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that. Or all 3. I'm spoiled now. But I need to settle down and take my time. Colorado pace.
So we have a nice breakfast (thanks to Rob's kitchen handywork), and get packed up to head up to A-Basin. I can't believe A-Basin is open. And they have a jib park set up. It doesn't make any sense. But there's 2 feet on the ground in Denver, and sensical or not we're in the Jeep and on our way. It's October 30.
We pass Buffalo Bill's grave on the way up, which was a pretty cool roadside attraction. But our goals lie past Loveland Pass, and we press on. It's a pretty hairy drive up, and it's good we have the Jeep. On our way up we pass what is described to me as a common occurrence in the mountains of Colorado. Backcountry snowboarders and skiers. But we're not in the woods off piste of a resort, or past an access gate on snowmobiles. We're on the highway. This is the coolest part of my trip so far. People are parking their cars on the side of the road at the top of the pass, getting out, booting up, and dropping. Just dropping off the road and finding lines back down to the basin. RIDICULOUS. I'm overcome with excitement. And the kicker? Everyone is getting to the bottom, taking off their board and boots, and hitchhiking back up to the summit. To do it again. I love Colorado. Despite my desire to just stop here, we press on. We arrive at the parking lot and it's on. Apparently some other people have the internet or a radio and know that A-Basin is open. We don't care. It's October 30. A lift ticket purchase later I'm in line. To get on the chairlift at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado. It's October 30. We get to the top, butter the bread, and start playing. Snowboard season has started. We play on the runs for a bit, and I get the itch to go check out the jib park. It's a few boxes, a picnic table, and really cool spin/jib barrel combo. I played around for most of the rest of the day here, enjoying the vibe of a Colorado terrain park, and the amount of skill level I'm surround by. It's humbling in the best possible way. I get my freestyle legs back by the end of the day, and am elated.

Conversation from one of the hikes back to the top of the park:
Other guy: "Yeah!"
Me: "Yeah, I'm stoked - that was my first nosepress to 180 out."
Other guy: "Cool."
Me: "That was my first nosepress to 180 out - and I landed it in October."
Other guy and about a half-dozen other riders making the hike: "YEAH!"

Great session. Hiking the park at 10000 feet has exhausted me, and I couldn't be happier. Despite my exhaustion, I debate taking a backcountry drop on the way home, but I think better of it due to my being tired and knowing nothing of the terrain. Again, I've got a long season ahead of me. I can take my time. Finally.
We get back, go to Breck Brewery in full gear to depress everyone who was working, and head back to Rob's. I have to go to Colorado Springs, and he has to go chase some tail. Rob's a great person - thanks man for your hospitality and general awesomeness. I couldn't think of a better way to start my season. Cheers.

More from Colorado Springs soon. Going to visit Matt at the Olympic Training Center. Should be interesting!

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