Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today I am thankful for a lot, most recently the terrain park team at CB putting in the hard work to supply me with some jibs for a few morning laps on Thanksgiving. The only thing finer is a powder day Christmas. Which is hopefully on the menu this year.

Yesterday was opening day, and was a blast. New friends, a jib park, and a big costume party (I rode part of the day as a big orange M&M, and the ladies loved what I was putting down - I was a finalist). Unfortunately, I was having to much fun (or is that fortunately?) to make it down for the finals, which were won by a guy with a bottle of whiskey in his hand and a sledding saucer strapped to his back wearing a neon one-piece. I never had a chance. I had a great time yesterday, and cannot wait to share some of the fun to be had out here with my friends and family in the next month. I start work tomorrow for the mountain, and have a training client in the afternoon. I am very thankful for the ability to work here and make a living in this town - I plan on working to do just that for some time to come.

Other things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

- my family (all of you, from my brother to my godsisters)

- Chris Bell's "I Am The Cosmos" (thanks, Adam)

- mountains, oceans, and long empty roads

- coffee

- my friends (obviously the very best in the world - come visit everyone)

- football (the foundation of Thanksgiving before the pilgrims showed up)

- Tim Ferris (for the wakeup call)

- Apple products

- bikes

- boards

- Nutella spread

- the RIDICULOUS weather in Crested Butte (bluebird or snowing EVERY DAY)

There's a lot more I am thankful for, but I'm going to show my thanks by living a little bit and not spending too much time in front of a computer. Ask me sometime.

Here's to my family and friends with whom I could not be with today, either due to measurable distance or due to the fact that you have moved on to another life. I love you all and am thankful for every one of you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


More to come - and I promise I'll update with some info soon. Life is busy, and time is limited right now. But most of what I'm doing is great fun or very productive. Onward and upward.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 1 in the CB Backcountry

I'm just going to let the video speak for itself. Thanks, Rama.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun has delayed blogging

One full week has passed since my last blog, and I'd like to apologize to all of my readers for this transgression. Due to an abundance of work-oriented motivation and a ridiculous amount of fun being had in Colorado, I have been unable to sit down and update the blog. The last week has been full of ups and downs ranging from minor bumps and smiles to very distressing news and total euphoria. It's been a little nuts - in the best way possible. Life is an interesting deal, but so unreasonably rewarding. I'm enjoying mine.

I ran into a guy in the backcountry at the summit of the Great Divide (it's crazy fun to jump back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic sides, by the way) that was wearing a beanie that was custom-knitted by his girlfriend that said "fun is awesome" across the front. I thought that ruled, and tried to buy it from him on the spot (unsuccessfully). That being said, I aspire to one day have a lady that cares enough about me (Mom, you don't count - but I love you very much) to knit me a similar beanie. It's on the "Life Goals Checklist" now.

I now have 3 days of riding in the books for the season, and it's November 17. I'm very excited about this. 2 of those days were tallied this weekend, thanks to 2 backcountry day trips with some new friends here in Crested Butte. We went to Monarch Pass, which is like it's own little climate zone. 7 miles away we were in above freezing temperatures and there was little to no snow on the ground - on the top of the mountain (about 12000 feet elevation) it was puking snow and in the singe digits. Just wild. After about a 30 minute hike to the top, we were treated to some of the best turns I've ever had in my life. Knee to waist powder, completely untouched by other people. There were plenty of riders and skiers up there, but the sheer amount of options meant that you could easily not cross a single track on your way down if you wanted to blaze your own trail. There's one line across the ridge back down to the Atlantic side that is just ridiculous, and I can't wait to show a lot of you just what I'm talking about. Although it's not identical to the line I'm describing, my friend Ray shot a video with his helmet cam on the first day up that can be seen here. That should give you an idea. Probably the coolest thing about my first Colorado backcountry experience was running into sooo many people out in the middle of the woods. I even knew like 5 of the people I ran into randomly in the woods, and I've lived here for 18 days. Craziness. Not only did I run into a lot of other backcountry enthusiasts, many of them brought their dogs up with them. Quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen. Every pup up there was so excited, and I'm sure they were having the time of their lives. Such a cool dynamic here. Everyone who comes and visits me: I will guarantee you the backcountry trip of your lifetime.

I've been pouring myself into the gym - I'm as motivated as I've ever been to make this work. It's a lot of hard work (especially knowing how much fun there is to be had outside), but I'm fully confident that my investment now will allow me to build a viable and fulfilling lifestyle design for some time to come. It's going to be a challenge, but what worthwhile pursuit isn't? I'm much more comfortable knowing that I'm taking a shot at something that matters to me and has a realistic future in my life than throwing 30+ hours a week at a meaningless job that I don't want to do in the first place for some extra financial stability. The tradeoff just isn't worth it to me anymore. I know what I want to do, and I'm confident that the only thing stopping me from making it a reality is myself. And when that's the case, the world is your oyster.

I've got a fair amount of work to do today (and every single bit of it is self-appointed, which I love), and I've got to get to it. Entrepreneurship is funny like that - if you don't get it done it's not getting done. And when I think of that, I smile.

Currently listening to: Paul Simon's self-titled 1972 album - I highly recommend it

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king...

Today is November 10, 2009, and at 8:51 MST I made my decision. I'm not going to waste any more time developing my ideal lifestyle. I'm taking some big strides and some big chances with my absolute satisfaction motivating me. I'm going to invest in myself, and start working toward a greater success in life. I'm building my future.

Thanks, Eric, for talking with me.

Tomorrow I'm going to wake up with a new motivation - a new goal. My winter has changed, and my end goals are for the season have shifted. Tonight I realized that I'm over the short-sighted, live-solely-for-the-present mentality. Things have to be bigger than that; my life has to be filled with more purpose than that. As I sat in an interview for a table-waiting job for the mountain (a very viable job, with only night hours that would allow me to snowboard EVERY day), I realized that it was the farthest things from what I wanted. I didn't move out here (and change so much of my lifestyle) to get a job in an industry that I can't stand. Sure, that job would make it possible for me to live more than comfortably for the next 6 months, but I would gain nothing. Sure, I'd meet new people there and have a lot of fun getting to know people over dinner and drinks on a nightly basis, but I'd be putting 30+ hours a week of my time and energy into something I have no interest in pursuing long term. It's a waste of my resources and abilities. That's not ego - that's placing value on myself. I've worked too hard my entire life at building myself into someone I'm proud of, and I'm not going to squander it on a dead end job anymore. Quite unfortunately, America has become a place in the world where people define themselves and each other not by what they do with their lives outside of work, but what they do for work. People have become their occupation. And, quite unfortunately, I am not exempt to the stigmas of this ideology. I live here, and must live within this code, at least for the time being.


With my decision to throw myself at the opportunities presented to me here, there are a number of consequences. My income will be drastically limited, and my lifestyle must reflect that limitation. It's going to be a bare-bones existence for some time to come for me - but hey, my years of being a musician and the training that comes from living in a van with $12 to your name for weeks on end will come in handy. My free time will be devoted to throwing myself at my future - casual drinks and after-hours ragers will be at a minimum. But my focus couldn't be clearer. This is what I need to do. It's what my grandmother would've wanted. Best case scenario: the risks I take shape the foundation for the rest of my life, and teach me how to live with the entrepreneurial instability that so many better men and women know so well. Worst case scenario: I learn by my own failures, enjoy a winter with more sincerity, focus, and self-satisfaction then I've ever dreamed of, and pick myself up and try again. I may be a number of different things come June 2010, and I may be in one of a number of different places, but I can guarantee you this:


Thanks Peter, Molly, Ben, and Liz for showing me what it takes and inspiring me to change my life.

Thanks Jeff for the ride - you're a credit to this community.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making Strides

Yesterday was a very good day. I found out that my parents are having fun, I know my brother is having fun (the Miami Hurricanes are the greatest college football team in the world), my grandfather is ecstatic (Navy beat Notre Dame in football for the second year in a row - after a 46 year drought), and I had a very pleasant, productive day.

I started out a bit late after a night out, but got to the gym and got my fit on and got very productive. I feel comfortable with my situation there - it's not financially lucrative at the moment, but I'm making strides. And the fact that I have something to throw myself at, to keep me busy and motivated - is invaluable. I will fight complacency my entire life. Getting comfortable is the quickest way to put a ceiling on one's potential. I plan on spending every day of my life pushing boundaries, whether they're physical, mental, or spiritual. I've got to be better. I can be better. And I will be better.

All of that being said, I don't want it to seem as though I am not proud of who I am presently, or that I am full of regret. Neither could be farther from the truth. But I realize that the person I am today is formed not only of my past experiences, but of my recognition of the positives and negatives of all of those actions and thoughts. Seeing and doing isn't enough to build character, I think. You have to learn. Digest your life; pay attention. Stop and smell the roses.

Last night I met a wonderful couple named Ben and Liz - they own the East Side Bistro in Crested Butte. Both of them were there at their business til 10 PM putting time in to get things done (and procrastinating over a few beers with me - thanks for turning me on to Twisted Pine IPA from Boulder - a good beer). I admire their work ethic. Perhaps more impressive was that Liz works in a steelworks factory during the day. When she is currently the owner of her own business. For those of you with a closed mind on this point, you may disagree vehemently with me - this is to be expected. But not all business exists solely for financial gain. Of course, any respectable business must post in the black - there are no style points awarded or valor commended to a business posting deficits. But the modest income, even one that needs to be supported by outside means, of a business that contributes greatly to ones quality of life cannot be undervalued. The sense of direction and pride that comes with attaching your name to something is worth the tradeoff. I know this more now than ever. Build your life to facilitate your own happiness. No standards of others can be applied to your satisfaction. Make your life your own. Your personal resolve and satisfaction with your own decisions is all. Today, if not every day, I'm going to invest in myself.

My life is your vacation.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good Late Morning

I slept in until 10 today. I'm kind of excited about it, despite my plans to get up early and go biking. I live here for the time being, and I'll have another shot at the ride as early as tomorrow (if it doesn't start snowing tonight). I needed the sleep - up at 5:30 yesterday for my first spin class, out til 1:30 with with the team of nightlife enthusiasts I've met here in town. The morning is nice and calm, with just a bit of a winter chill sneaking its way into my home. I'm one cup of Craven's (the local brew that I deemed it necessary to try - it's as rich as any coffee I've ever had) deep, enjoying some of Loretta Lynn's music and the view from my window. I have lofty plans to head down t the town and post up at the gym for a bit - I know it will be dead empty on one of the last fall weekends of the year (everyone I've spoken with is heading to Moab for slickrock biking or off to go bouldering south of CB) - but I feel like I can get some work done and enjoy the LSU v. Alabama game at the same time. But that's probably a bit too optimistic given my enthusiasm for quality football and lack of a concrete schedule.
I landed an interview for the mountain safety patrol, which is almost identical to the program I've worked with at Snowshoe the last few years . I'm very excited, because (assuming I get the job) the position will provide me with an employee pass, and all the perks that come with it. And all I have to do is ride with a fluorescent yellow vest for one day a week. It's a price I'll gladly pay - along with a lot of local perks beyond the unlimited ride pass, the employee badge is good for a season pass at 13 other Colorado resorts. And I have every intention of getting out and around the state to sample some more of the plethora of options available this winter. It's going to be a good winter.
I look forward to settling in a bit more and finding my real friends in this town. I've met a lot of great people so far, and am excited to find my niche. I was told by a friend that this town is best shared, and (although only a week in) I agree.
I'm off to tackle the day and make some strides. It's bluebird (again), and I'm excited to get outside.

Currently listening to: Loretta Lynne - Van Lear Rose
Currently reading : Footprint Media's Snowboarding the World

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Crested Butte Day 5

This town rules. It's sunny, and the perfect temperature for a last stand of fall before winter hits. Although blindingly anxious for snow and winter, I'm enjoying the fact that I get a taste of the different seasons here in town. Cycling here is unbelievable (coming from the east coast) - the amphitheater surrounding Crested Butte is out of a Colorado brochure. I rode all the way around to the back side of the mountain yesterday to get a look at the Teocali side. It is indeed ridiculous (see photos at left). A lot of it looks really, really fun though, and accessible even at my Colorado-beginner level of riding. That being said, I've already come to realize (without even starting to ride the mountain) that this place has what I'm looking for: I can't reach the ceiling here. For the last 6 years of my snowboarding life, I've had a total grasp on all the possibilities afforded by my local mountain. That is definitely not the case here. From my bedroom window alone I can see a dozen lines that are entirely beyond my skill level at this point in my life. And I'm thrilled about that. Jake Burton has said for years that if you're not scaring yourself at least a little bit every day that you're on a snowboard you're not doing it right.

Today I'm writing from Elk Avenue Fitness, where I'll be working as a trainer and a manager. It's a very simple gym, but with a lot of potential. I like what's already in place, and I love the community here. The members (as with everyone in town) all know each other, and everyone is so thrilled to be here. The staff has been overly helpful in showing me the day-to-day, and the gym is almost set up to run itself. I have some decisions to make regarding how committed I'm going to be to this place and this opportunity. Big decisions. But with great uncertainty comes great possibility.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Morning Fires

Started my morning today with some good news on the Norfolk front - I still desperately need to find someone to pick up the remainder of my lease, and a friend may have just come through for me. Thanks Blake. I'm celebrating the optimism of progress with a morning fire and coffee. I look forward to getting better at making a fire.
I'm planning on getting some things done today, which (hopefully) will be some of the last big "moving in" things that need competed. I have a PO Box (#743 Crested Butte, CO 81224) - the town of Crested Butte doesn't receive mail to street address, so everyone in town has a PO Box. Kinda cool, I think. I have a local bank account at the Bank of Crested Butte (they put out cookies and cider every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas to encourage you to come in and say hello). Today I'm going to meet with the mountain human resources department and hopefully solidify my job with the resort (season pass!)
I also plan on doing a bike ride up to the top of the backside of the mountain (on the roads, not actually on the mountain - I'll save that for springtime and summer if I'm still here) to see what the Teocali Bowl and backside runs are like. From everything I've heard, these are some serious business. I had a guy that rode for K2 in the late 90s tell me yesterday that that zone was the first place he was ever scared on skis while in bounds. I'm excited.
I got a chance yesterday to ride my freebord from my condo down to the town twice yesterday - a 3+ mile downhill. Really cool, good fun. I got a couple of encouraging cheers from (now fellow) locals as they drove by - bombing the hill on a longboard is a recreational activity for the skate enthusiasts here (although it's fairly intense to think about longboarding down the whole hill).
Things at the gym are going well - I participated in my first spin class yesterday with one of the other instructors there (thanks, Gail). Oddly enough, I met another gym employee that moved here from Norfolk, VA 2 months ago (ridiculously small world). She also played in the symphony in Norfolk, as a string player (I know bass isn't really an orchestral string instrument, but ridiculously, ridiculously small world). She and her husband came for a visit a few years ago and could never shake it. Now they live here. I wonder how long I'll stay...

Today is the 5th consecutive flawless day (it's not snowing, but it has been bluebird skies and sunshine since I got here - it's obscene) here in Crested Butte. I'm going to go enjoy it.

Currently listening to: Norah Jones - Turn Me On

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Settling In At Crested Butte

So I'm starting to get settled here in Crested Butte. It's absolutely incredible just being here, and my productivity is being slightly hindered by the fact that I am perfectly content just sitting on my deck and looking at the mountains. It doesn't help that I can spot lines on the main face from my bedroom window either (although I've already chosen some pretty rad ones for opening day). That being said, I've gotten a lot done. I've set up a PO Box, so I can receive mail. I've got an electric utility account in my name already. I've checked in at Elk Avenue Fitness - thanks Ryan, Mya (sp), and Tim for introducing me to the place. It's a great little gym with a lot of potential, and an unbelievable location. I've met a handful of people already, and all of them are great. Andy - you're the man. Rick - you're comedic gold. Sarah - don't move. I've had nothing but great times so far here - I've done some cycling (3+ miles uphill at 10,000 is brutal, by the way), I've just ambled around town, I've met some of neighbors (who happen to be stoked to build a booter in our backyard once the snow falls - I'm amped), and enjoyed a fire at the place. My fireplace brings me joy. I caught the Monday Night game at Maxwell's, where Peter, the owner, was bartending. I love that this town has that feel to it - the owner is getting his hands dirty on a Monday. People just seem to care about each other. I caught me first hitchhiking ride yesterday! That will sound weird to a lot of you, but trust me when I say it is the norm here. A cool guy named Chris and his 3ish year-old son Colby picked me up. Colby was vocally excited at my mention of him snowboarding this year - what a cool kid. This whole town moves at a different pace. Everyone knows everyone. It's almost confusing at first; I'm going to have to get better at remembering names.
I've decided to start looking for a part-time night job. I was wholeheartedly against it at first - I wanted to focus my energies entirely to the gym and that opportunity. I still want to do that, but I see more value in a second job here (aside from my volunteer work for the patrol). First, I feel as though working in town at night is a great way for me to insert myself into this town's social fabric. I've met so many great people here so far, and everyone has pointed out that the social dynamic is built on the relationships between all of the people in town. I want very much to be an integral part of this community, and am going to put myself in a position to do just that. Also, although I have great confidence in myself and feel as though developing a client base that can support my lifestyle her as a trainer is well within my reach, I recognize that their is inherent stability in an hourly-wage part time job. And I want that stability. I want to live here, not just get by here. And I recognize that I should invest in myself - making a go of it here is a big endeavor, and I am going to put myself in every situation to succeed. For me, right now, this is where I want to be.

Currently listening to: Ron Carter - You And The Night And The Music

Monday, November 2, 2009

Garden of the Gods Photos

Blogger is kinder to me today.

Crested Butte Day 2

I'm blogging by firelight. And it's my fire. My home here in Crested Butte has a fireplace. This is pretty much the best quality of life I could ask for. I can't wait to share this place with my family and friends. I've never been so focused to make something work (at least not since Still Pink); I'm going to pour myself into this gym and be successful here. I'm not giving up my desire to be completely mobile and travel all over this huge planet, but I recognize that this place is everything I want right now. It may hold true for years, and I may get the itch to keep moving by May. But I'm going to give this place a chance. The mindset here is incredible. The whole community pulls together. I gave a girl a ride from the town up to the mountain today. A hitchhiker. This is commonplace here in Colorado - locals hitchhike all over the place; from the bottom of the passes back to the summits while they chase backcountry turns, from town to town, from neighborhood to neighborhood. Everyone is on foot or on a bike. The shuttles are popular. No one drives unless they need to transport massive amounts of skis, boards, or other equipment. I drove my car to get groceries today and felt like a tourist. But I took note, and won't be doing that again. I live here now.

My home is a third story condo at the foot of the mountain. It sits about 500 yards from the lifts, on the west side of Mt. Crested Butte. I have a balcony, from which I can see over a dozen peaks in the surrounding Colorado Rockies. I have a fireplace. I can see the top of the mountain and the majority of the westward and northern facing slopes from my bedroom window. My shower has great water pressure. I'm looking forward to the bike ride into town tomorrow morning - it should be in the mid 30s and sunny. I haven't seen a cloud since I arrived on Halloween. I'll try and keep the pictures coming.

Garden of the Gods

This entry is a few days removed from my experience at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but my time there was so significant I want to take the time to write about it.

I have never heard a name so befitting a place in my entire life. This park is one of the most awe-inspiring places I have ever been in my entire life. At the time I was there I would have been hard pressed to put any place above it in that hierarchy, but seeing Crested Butte on a bluebird day is enough to at least give me pause. Regardless, the Garden of the Gods is incredible. It's a HUGE park that is as pure and raw as you could want, with a latticework of roads and hiking paths cutting up it's landscape into a hundred factions. There are a dozen or so absolutely remarkable boulder formations that are indescribable (although I've tried via the photos at left). Pike's Peak adorns the horizon to the west, and is a towering giant of a summit. The scale of everything is astounding. To add to my enjoyment of this great place, I am on two wheels. This ride, although brief and solo, is my favorite bike ride to date. I hope none of my riding buddies take offense to this statement - I don't mean to depreciate any other ride I've ever been on. But I rode the very same roads in the Garden of the Gods that my dad pedaled on years ago. On the same bike he rode that day. The duality is humbling, but I am filled with a sense of genuine satisfaction at this thought. I feel as though I was where I was supposed to be during that ride. Fulfilling a bit of my destiny. I can't wait for my next ride with my Dad.

Dad, if you're reading this, bring your bike to Japan and I'll come ride with you there. I promise.

On the ride back to the Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, I stopped at the Colorado Springs Bike Shop. Sort of an iconic place - it's comparable to going to an authentic surf shop in California, or a pizza joint in Chicago. Cycling is not met with a vigor and enthusiasm anywhere in the United States more so than in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It's a very, very cool place. I took a photo of a really awesome old school bike that was in the lobby. Enjoy. On to Crested Butte!

UPDATE: Blogger isn't agreeing with my desire to add pictures to this post, so I'm going to post them separately. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pictures Of My New Home

These photos are of my new home in Crested Butte. Some aren't of my home, but were taken from my balcony - I'm trying to give you all an idea of how crazy this really is. The photo of the peak taken through the window was shot from my bed. I swear. Enjoy.

Gratuitous Pictures of Colorado

I'm going to let these speak for themselves. I swear on my family - I took every one of these myself in the last 2 days. They are NOT stock photos from the mountain website.