The Rahlves Banzai

March 21, 2014 — Leave a comment

 

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Three years ago I decided that the Rahlves Banzai was for me. I sketched it into the black book to work around World Cups and other adventures and took flight. These events consist of one day to qualify, and one day of head to head racing with other riders down natural terrain (non-groomed) and natural conditions. Daron Rahlves himself even sets the course. Check out http://www.rahlvesbanzai.com for more info on this competition.

My last competition was three years ago at Alpine where I decided to point an unmanageable mogul field in a final in order to hold on to first place and not allow Chelone Miller who was nipping at my heals to make a pass. At the very bottom I was hung up on a sneaky mogul, caught an edge and was knocked unconscious, also suffering a separated collar bone and a separated ribs. I made it to the bottom, however, I don’t remember how, in second place. Chelone was the champ that day.

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I decided to call it quits after that. My other competitions were more valuable to me and the prize money didn’t quite cover the medical bills. It was a bummer, because even though the competitions were high risk, they were the most fun I had ever competed in.

To the present…

After retiring from the US Snowboard Team and taking on school full time, I had a change of heart. I decided to come home in mid February this year to head up to Northern California for some Steelhead fishing. After 8 days on the river it was time for me to get back to Salt Lake City and focus up. But just before leaving Sierraville in rout to SLC I scrolled through my emails. There was a letter from Rahlves Banzai, saying that the four stop tour was moved to the following weekend and would continue each weekend after that. Usually these stops are spread out through out winter and tough to make if you live far away. The prize money had been upgraded as well and after doing the math, I saw that if I won everything, each race, the overall title and the super final, there would be a $17,000 pay out. I immediately sent my professors emails stating that I’d be gone for a month and began training. My favorite competition of all time was back!

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Training just meant that I needed to find mogul fields and gnarly terrain to point my board straight down. The first comp at Kirkwood I was pretty out of shape and at over  2 minutes of sending the gnarliest terrain this course took full advantage of my legs. Sylvan Duclos 1st. Mr. Hale 2nd and Bobby Minghini 3rd. The second stop was at Squaw Valley. I felt pretty good here but with a stacked field of riders it was anyones game. Sylvan Duclos 1st. Mr. Hale 2nd and  Lucas Dehmlow 3rd. I bean to feel the pressure as that overall title was slipping away.

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Stop three was at Alpine. The course was super similar to what it had been when I rode it last and destroyed the body. There was even the same mogul field that tried to take my life.The final heat was gnarly. I got the hole shot, closely followed by the other boys. By turn four as we were dropped into an almost vert face, I was being passed by Sylvan. He screamed by me, throwing slush into my goggles and lengthening his lead. I know from past competitions that once he gets in front he is super hard to pass. I wiped my goggles clean and stepped on the throttle. Just around the corner was the mogul field of awesome. I followed Sylvan over the ridge and watched him throw a couple speed checks down the face. Now was my time to shine. I squared up and teed off. Pointing the face and beginning what could be another disaster. The run was so russ that my eyeballs couldn’t find focus. It was the real deal, point and shoot. Even if I could see, I don’t know if my legs could have reacted quickly enough to make a sudden move if they needed to. I nuked past Sylvan. I managed to hold on to the G’s at the bottom, make the hairpin turn that lead out and strengthen my lead. Sylvan was back on my tail after I made one minor mistake in the flats but I managed to hold him off just enough for a photo finish. The crowd was going crazy, our hearts were pumping not because of the insanity of the race but because we still did not know who had won. Two minutes later, I was crowned champ with a shot at the overall title. Sylvan 2nd and Bobby 3rd

 

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The Final race! My home mountain Sugar Bowl. I had been thinking about this race for the past two weeks. Visualizing the win. There had been no better course in Banzai history than this one. So much great terrain, crazy turns, drops, natural jumps and banzailicious moguls. This would be the race to decide the Overall standing. Sylvan and I were pretty much tied and if I won here, victory was mine. On top of that, Sylvan Bobby and I all crashed the previous day in qualifying putting me in 8th, Sylvan in 9th and Bobby in 11th. Because of this, Sylvan and I were paired up in the first round together and would be battling all the way to finals, if the day allowed it. The day did allow it. We battled back and fourth all the way through finals and when the time came it was once again, Bobby, Lucas, Sylvan and I in the final gate. I pulled out with the hole-shot, and from there on out I never looked back and never got passed. I rode my fastest and when I passed the finish line with hundreds of feet to spare, victory, once again was mine.

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The super final was next. The Gate was loaded with all the same guys as the final but included Nate Holland. This was one race to the bottom which would crown the super Final champ and 5k. I pulled out of the gate in 2nd behind Nate. from there on out I was up his tail, trying any maneuver I could to get around him. I was faster I I felt strong but Nate is one hell of a bully on course. So hard to get around. Towards the bottom he put on the breaks and I saw a window. Even though it was not the line I wanted, I took it at a last ditch effort. I passed him. However, I immediately detonated and was passed back. I caught back up, still in second. Once again, gave it everything I had down the last steep mogul field but caught and edge and rag dolled down the mountain, Every time I’d pop upright, I’d see Nate getting closer to the finish line. Victory was Nate’s.

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Nate and HAle

All of my family including cousins and friends were there. It was an awesome way to end the best tour on earth thanks to great organization and incredible competition. I received the legendary Silver Belt belt buckle for the win, the overall trophy and best of all I was humbled to get a trophy awarded to the person who at the end of the tour was sending it like Chelone Miller. Chelone passed away last year just weeks after taking the overall banzai title. This award was called the Chelone Miller “Chilly” ‘Live free & Send It” . I was honored to have lived up to his and my piers standards.

 

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Click here to watch Episode 12

We hope you enjoyed the holidays as much as we have here on the Earth’s Playground crew. We know we are a little late, but wish you all Merry everything and Happy always!!! Meanwhile, we are back from the break and back in action! We hope you enjoy EP12 , our little fishn’ mishin’ and everything else we had going on as much as we do.

 

A little back blog to fill you in on what my journal says.

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Danny and I got up at the crack again and brought the truck in. I think Danny only wanted to come for the coffee. Or then again he really is just a nice guy. They fit us in and two hours later the truck was fixed and ready for some more adventures. Pretty much what happened was that these diesels need to clean their exhaust every X amount if miles. It can only do it when the truck gets hot enough to burn it off. What probably happened with this one is it was only driven short distances and never really cleaned itself. In this case it’s the renters job to do force cleans on it. Tearing off the sensor was the icing on the cake.
 We were told that if we can venture over to these coastal rivers on our way home we would have the chance to catch the steel head of a lifetime. The more we researched Terrace, the more we found these rumors to be true. So, with out wasting any more time…. Terrace!
On the road again. 16 hours toTerrace BC if everything went well. It wasn’t so bad. Our truck ran fantastic, besides the fact that it was still plowing through uria. No flats, no lost items, just smooth sailing.
I woke to Grayson flipping a bitch in the middle of the highway. He had seen a semi truck off the side of the road that seemed as if it had driven off a cliff. More on this in another blog, but we must have been the first to stop by after the body had been taken because the semi was carrying all of Safeway’s produce and it was still fresh and unfrozen on a freezing night. After debating over why we should or should not grab the food, we decided to fill our trailer to the brim with avocados, salad, grapes, watermelon, citrus and everything else you might find in a Safeway’s produce section. It was an erie feeling but after sitting on it for a few days and eating delicious food we felt at ease, especially after hearing from the locals that the particular turn is known as produce corner. When it happens, which is often, the surrounding towns sound the alarm and everyone scavenges what they can.
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 At about 4 am we got to the point where we had to call it a night because there were no gas stations. We filled up at the last one about 400 miles down the road and never saw an open one again. We pretty much putted our way in to a town 30 miles off our original route to stay the night.
Grayson parked right in front if the diesel pump. And he got what he asked for. 3 hrs of sleep and a 7am wake up call by the owner. “Stores open!” This wasn’t the first time the owner had to wake someone up parked in front of his pump. And at this point we realized why we so random cars camped out at gas stations along our way. We thought they were just being creeps. Gray grabbed some fuel, uria, a free cub of  joe and we were in our way.
Terrace was only a few hours away at this point. You could almost smell the fish or maybe it was that it was raining so hard and the rivers were flowing beyond capacity that we began to become one with them.yes.
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Terrace was pretty unreal. Surrounded by rivers and lush green forest. We lurked around the area for a bit, talking to locals, fisherman and whoever dared to make eye contact with us. Our crew was pretty out of their realm when we arrived. We had a few leads on what rivers to fish but when your talking some of the longest river systems around it doesn’t tell you much.
We made our way to the fish hatchery. We wanted a little inside on the water and how they take care of fisheries. The boys we ran into had been at that hatchery for over 25 years, so the insight was solid. They gave us a tour, let us play with the fishies and even invited us to come along while they released them into the wild.
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We dropped off Danny later that evening in Prince Rupert so he could catch a flight home. Since the night was late, it was still raining sheets and Gray and I were on our own now we decided to cuddle up with Finn and sleep in the truck.
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We woke up to rain coming down just as hard as it was when we went to bed. We spent most of our day figuring out where to fish, getting supplies and fishing license and looking for a spot to camp. We scoped dirt roads for hours but didn’t have a lot of luck. After asking multiple people in town if we could crash on their plot for cheap with no luck, we arrived at a campground and talked the owner into 10 bucks a night. He even let us use his car-port tent to sleep in. photo ee2
After setting up camp we got our lines wet in the legendary, massive, chocolate milk Skeena River.
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For the duration in Terrace we fished the Kitimat, Copper, Kalum and Skeena. The Kitimat was the only river with decent color. All the rest were super blown out and dirty. We fished hard, every now and then getting a break in the weather but after five days and no fish it was time to move on to Squamish and try our luck on some other rivers.
Gray Fishy Gray Fish
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Left on our way home
We arrived in Squamish around midnight. We also managed to drive right out of the storm and into even greener country. We through our bags out on the side of a dirt road and slept for the night.
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The following day was spent on the Cheakamus River. Once again… amazing country….
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Apologies’ for not having a blog up this week.. or now it is last week but I am in the midst of finals and my grades are as important to me as my lifestyle. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a comment here or on social media.

 

Thanks for checking it out!

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Click Here to watch Earth’s Playground Episode 9

DCIM100GOPRO

Up to this point, we have been on the road for 3 weeks. I have been to Alaska, and around the world a hand full of times and to places most people only dream of. This trip so far has been one of the most amazing 3 weeks of my life and we were only half way done. Prior to our adventure leaving Sierraville, I had my team picked out of the fellas I wanted to take on the trip. This fell into the category of who I thought would be the strongest assets and someone I could live with in a small space for a month and a half. Just before leaving town this all fell apart and I was a one man show with way to much on my plate. I called two of my best friends to see where there life plan was taking them and if by chance they wanted to journey with me on the road trip of a life-time. All I asked was that they bring warm clothes and one hell of a fishing, snowboard, fun time attitude. Plus, could they leave their lives, work and women in the dust for six weeks on a five day notice. Done and done. For a split second I was nervous about the decision because they people that would be coming on this journey would aid me on building a platform for future trips around the Earth. To me it was business more than fun. My manager told me time and time again that it would all work out the way it needed to.

Danny Gray Fish

To say the least, she was right. Everything fell into place and the team that joined me on a 9,000 mile mission of awesomeness would be the perfect trifecta. A farmer that had more man skills than he gives himself credit for and a heli-tac firefighter that is practically and analytically more intelligent than your average. On top of that, these boys never bitched, they always picked up slack and they were fun to be with.

Alaskan Pipeline

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 ” No One is ever safe.”Gray Trout Face

Any who, we were on to leg three of the trip and the stress level was decreasing. I was so excited to get out of the cold, into my waders out and explore some new water. It was about a 10 hour drive to the Kenai from Paxon Lake where Arctic Man was and we didn’t even pull out until 8pm. With the late start and not so much motivation for the drive, we decided to pit stop in Valdez to scope a few lines and see some friends who mentioned that one of the creeks may have an early salmon run in it.

Producer DC, getting some

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We also wanted to track down the Mayor of Valdez and talk to him about his take on the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay.

We ran into this ruff rider at Walmart. He said, “I was at the Kenai River last week and it’s frozen solid. You boys are wasting you time.”  He had us convinced too. We were bummed and almost flipped a bitch south to Canada. But stuck it out. Once there, we were told the river never freezes over. Damn locals. photo 5

We did all those things. Although, the pillow lines sat for too long by the time we came back, but decided to do them anyways. Waste of time really. Wet crusty spring snow that Gray and I both tumbled down with embarrassment. However, Gray may have been confronted by the Valdez police after tomahawking down his run in a penguin suit and muck boots. The cop was curious to say the least, plus he recognized Gray after pulling him over earlier in the trip.

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After accomplishing failure, we went out for a quick fish mish with our friends Sunny Hamilton and Moanna Hollers. I have never seen women fish like they did, impressive to say the least. Welcome to Alaska Mr. Hale.

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Next we sat down with the Mayor of Valdez, Dave Cobb. The conversation we had with the mayor was Awesome. I really enjoyed his take on the Environment and the Pebble Mine. He had a great look on things and wasn’t bias towards one direction or another. Mayor Cobb was originally from Montana, moved to Valdeze some years ago and before taking over the town as the Mayor, he worked in the fisheries for 30+ years. He’s a passionate man about his town, fish and wildlife. In a nut shell, his take in the Pebble Mine was that he is all for it as long as we have the technology to do it right. However, as of right now, he said, we do not have the science.

Interview with Mayor

I’ll be posting a 12-page research paper on the Pebble Mine beginning of December. All the details, conversations and research are included so please keep an eye out.

no Pebble Mine

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By nightfall we were on the road to Anchorage and by 4am we made it to the city. Ran into a few more friends in town that we knew from Reno/Tahoe area and it was off to the Kenai Peninsula.

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Our Boy Carl. His Brother, Billy Coulliette set us up with him for a day on the river. Raddest dudes throughout our whole trip. These boys treated us like family. Showed us the honey holes, the secret flys and were just rad humans. I cant wait to go see them again, if you make it to the Kenai River before me, stop by.

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DCIM100GOPRO

The rest of the story so far is pretty self-explanatory. Just watch all episodes up to 9 and tell me what you think. Hope everyone is enjoying it so far!

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More Cops..

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Earth’s Playground E8

November 20, 2013 — Leave a comment
Comp Day!
Slept in for once. Well, we didn’t really sleep in, more just failed to make it out of bed until the sun hit the tent and started melting the ice off our sleeping bags. Rumor had it, temps were supposed to hit the -15 range. The fact that I was frozen, doubled in two sleeping bags and wearing most of my thermals bags with Finn inside my bag cuddled close to my chest like a leach, helped me believe that it was even colder than that in our little canvas ice chest.
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The morning dragged on. It wasn’t until Grayson got back from inspection that I got out of bed. By that time, it had warmed up a bit (-5) and my boots had began to thaw out to the point I could get them on. When I got up at 10 O’clock, Finn didn’t even budge. We came to the conclusion by the ultra droopy lab eyes he possessed, that he was doing little to no sleeping. I got moving and excited for some hot coffee, but after realizing that all the water was frozen solid again I jammed over to Nate’s to steel some from his RV. Nate was already on his third cup of coffee, sitting half naked in the RV with temperatures in the mid 80′s. Not going to lie, I milked all the warmth and coffee I could before being released back out into the Arctic.
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The crew and I headed up around noon to first aid. First aid is the release point where you let go of the sled and sling shot over a blind knoll to the last minute of your legs feeling as if they have World War 1 going off in them. This point does not mean it is over though. It is a make or break point for a lot of people. Some make it as far as throwing distance from the finish line and just cant hold themselves up anymore. The Arctic man crew was just starting men’s ski. At 3 minute intervals, we had a while. There were thousands of people lining the course to watch this years event. As always about 15,000 humans show up for the fiesta and on race day most of them grab a back pack full of beer and come check out the races. It is a bit like what winter nascar would look like on snow. Now visualize a few thousand snowmobiles zipping around the Alaskan terrain and of course no circular track but instead about five miles of course with 5,000 feet of elevation change. Hootin’ and hollarin’ blood necks on the side line.
Check out http://www.arcticman.com for more on this.
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Race time.  Around 1:30 I was watching Pat Holland drop in, followed by Grayson and then myself.
My board was feeling fast, and my legs surprising great. After 1:40 I was hooking up to the sled. Tyson took it a bit slow at first, but when he looked back and I gave him the GO! GO! GO! He took off and it was on on. We were fast and I continued to feel great. I held my tuck the best I could and Tyson sat on his couch and pressed his button as hard as his thumb would press it. The release was great and my bottom was fast. When I got to the end I was in first by 3 seconds. Not only was I in first but I had set a new record. Things were looking bright. Gray and I handed out high fives as well as had a little kid run out of the crowd to ask to take a picture with us. Highlight!
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DC and I did some interviews, and waited for Nate to roll down. Him and I have a little battle going on. Not only have we competed together over the past 10 years on World Cup but he beet me by .2 seconds last year. This is a 4.5 minute course, so .2 is nothing.
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This year he beet me by 3 seconds. Tyson and I gave it our best shot but in the end he was the fastest man on a snowboard. Jimmy Scott got 3rd. Pat Holland 4th and Grayson completed his first Arctic Man standing up. Bad ass! Marco Sullivan and Tyler Aklestad in the skier devision got first. Tyler Aklestad was Nate’s driver as well. Good day for that human.
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The rest of the day consisted of delicious beers and catching up with friends. Arctic man has everything to offer from old-school classic snowmobile races, snowmobile big air, plenty of cops on the look out and some good ol’ country music that never disappoints.
Awards
Up to this point this trip has been a lot of work. After getting on the podium at both competitions in AK the weight was lifted and I could relax for a bit.
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As always, thank you to Jimmy Beans Wool and Red heart Yarn. They sent us this one of a kind home-made blanket to keep the tent warm. Total Babes.

Click HERE to watch Earth’s Playground Episode 7

 If you watched this weeks episode, you’ll find that it is pretty self explanatory. But, I thought I’d add a few photos for fun and give all you humans that are interested a quick low down.

Training day Arctic Man 2013. I tried to crush a few raw eggs this morning but they were all frozen like the Arctic. Bummed. Nine times out of ten, I eat eggs in the morning and to say the least, it’s an ordeal. Make em, eat em and Clean them up. This new raw egg addiction makes me puke half the time but when I can get them down its a six pack of those slimy morsels in no time.

So, raw eggs were out, therefor Cooked eggs and oatmeal were in. It’ll have to do. A mini shit show of a morning and  and we were on the mountain by noon.

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Typical training day. This course never changes, so Tyson Johnson ( my sled driver ) and I just get up to speed with each other. Get in a couple fast laps on the ridge and call it a day.

Arctic towAfter our original Videographer went home within six days or so of being in Alaska, we were on our own and it would be that way for the rest of the trip. Rebecca, our manager with Ness Management picked up the slack for the following few days but when she left the grey hairs on my scalp began to appear. The plan was never to drag a few friends around Alaska and then produce, create and film this project. Although, I was more than game and wasn’t about to let it stop us.

DC, pictured below, is a producer for Echo Entertainment in Hollywood and prior to us even leaving had decided to fly out for the Arctic Man leg to help give some direction and of course experience life in a canvas tent at -15 degrees. Little did he know, he’d be producing and filming. We were two weeks into the trip by now and for someone to grab the camera and give direction was a huge relief. And lets not lie to ourselves, he looks good doing it, especially with the Jimmy Beans Wool guard for the mic on the camera.  DC

Just another Alaskan Sunset

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Gray break

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Click here for Earth’s Playground Episode 6

Taligate was a blast. We got the kinks worked out within our camping situation and figured out how all our our gear worked. No matter how experienced one is at surviving in the woods, its always a new game every time you are working in extreme conditions like Alaskan winters and always a relief when you get a system down with your crew. The boys even managed to round us up a high quality hardwood floor (4×8 plywood sheets) for the tent which saved us from sinking to the dirt as the earth thawed beneath us. Over all we blew up a sled, slayed some insane powder, received battle wounds, broke in the Montana Canvas Tent and manage to keep ourselves alive. Viva Alaska!

To add to the fantasticalness of the first part of our trip,  Flow Tailgate Alaska World Freeride Festival was my virginal run at backcountry competition, and being able to leave my mark on the podium was next level awesome. More importantly I had pushed myself into a line that scared the sanity out of me to claim my spot. Knowing you pushed yourself to the edge and that the next time will be even futher . . there is no feeling like it.

 

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 We arrived at Arctic man two days after the awards to find the temperatures about 20 degrees cooler. On the first night and the following nights there after, we hit temps in the -14 to -18 F range. All of our food was freezing solid. We’d wake up to solid water, snowboard boots, eggs, and humans. So cold, that I was doubling up my sleeping bags and stuffing Finn inside with me just so we could both get some shut eye.

 

 Nice thing about cold is, you can always just grab another layer and get out four some fun.

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This was our mascot blanket, that we named Queen Fred. Queen Fred was so tough that we used her to keep the tent warm and help us feel at home. Without it we may have cried ourselves to sleep more often. Thanks Jimmy Beans Wool and Red Heart Yarn for making dreams happen.

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For the first few days at Arctic man we just messed around, got camp dialed in, shredded sleds, tuned our boards and mainly explored the Alaskan radddness.

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Click HERE for Earth’s Playground Episode 5

 

One of the many rad things about small towns is that when something is going on in their home turf, everyone shows up to support. So not only did half of everyone living at the Tailgate Alaska camp show up to awards, but a solid number of locals as well. The festivities didn’t disappoint and even included Wild Salmon rides that would put you on your face if the man behind the wheel felt the itch. Sumo wrestling fat suit competitions also abounded, beer was flowing and it made for solid entertainment for even those that chose to observe from the back row. It was nice to see everyone having a good time! Additionally it was an amazing feeling to get an award in front of the local Valdez legends that night, and stand on the podium with riders who had proven to be true warriors that day.

 

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 Wyatt Caldwell, A long time legend and buddy, held the Man’s 1st place sword at the end of the day, but I wasn’t about to let him get away without a battle to the death with my 3rd place dagger. (For the record I may have taken 3rd at the Tailgate Comp but I took 1st on the bucking Salmon ride. Don’t forget it.)

 

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After all the excitement we made one last stop at the Harbor to take in the amazingness and it was back to camp. (Although, it was hard to ignore the fact of the the oil floating in the water and not think about some gnarly propositions being made in the state of Alaska. Across the way about 500 miles SW in Bristol Bay, there is talk of a distructive mine in the works that if constructed would devastate the Alaskan Fishery. But More on that later.)

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 The itch was on. A week out and we would be on the water slaying fish. Just wanted to get the line wet.

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 Camp was snowed in and feeling like home but it was time to dig her out and move on.

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 Back on the Road. Danny and Finn in their go to position.

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And it was onto Arctic Man where I would battle it out with Nate Holland for our long time rivalry for King of the Hill at that event.

 

 

Click HERE

Competition day!

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We hauled ass up to Tailgate with practically record time in order to make the competition on time. But as I stated before, organization did not go as smoothly as planned and we ended up waiting four days until the conditions were crap to compete. That’s how it goes. Although,  because of that, we were able to get out and enjoy some amazing blue bird pow days in beautiful Alaska. In all reality, that is why we were there. To shred pow and maybe enter a competition. photo 1

Now, if you read this blog you get the inside scoop on what is really going on. I never wanted to create show a that was acted and out of context. Sometimes though, when you are trying to put together all the bits and pieces to tell a story, it does get taken out of context. I will tell you though, here was no acting and very little retakes in order to get a shot that was sweet. If we missed the shot or did not have the camera on, well, that just how it goes.

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With that said, The Helicopter shot that leads into competition day was not really for the competition. It was the day prior where we just went out in the heli. Originally, the top ten competitors after the first run, were supposed to get a heli ride to some disclosed mountain in the range where we would be holding the final. So in order to be fair, they gave us a free heli ride. As I said, the competition was cancelled for judging and instead we did a pier judged event where all the athletes decided who had the best run.

My point… We hiked that mountain. There was no heli ride. I hiked it twice and some athletes three to four times.

 

Gray and I talking about what line to take

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My second and final run was one of the most scared moments I had had on a snowboard. The line itself was semi hairy, but the drop in where I’d be riding over a face with a hundred foot exposed cliff beneath it, under high avalanche danger was gnarly. To say the least, I was clinched. I didn’t even know if I had an entrance to my right hand dog leg. I knew it was possible, just wasn’t sure to what extent.

 

This is all I can see dropping into my line. One of the better feeling in life.

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As I rolled over the top knoll where all you see is miles of drop, I sunk into what I was hoping would be my first turn of powder. It was my first turn of super catchy, sunbaked crust. Now I wasn’t scared of a slide, I was scared of catching an edge and tomahawking over rocks to my death. With some ease down the face I made it to the point where I could see my entrance to the dog leg and my mind was mellowed. After I got in the chute, relief had passed over me and I was moving and grooving through manageable territory. I even managed to get barreled by a waterfall of snow I had kicked over the cliff above.

 

 

Click Here to see a sweet behind the scenes heli video of the gnarly lines we were dropping.

 

 

 

Click HERE to watch Episode 3

My apologies for not having the blog fully up until now.  I’ve been busy riding, fighting and taming space bears here in Utah, and on top of that, going to school. If you are here, you caught the update, enjoy!

So there we were, with a wounded soldier on our hands. Before we ever left Thompson pass to the hospital 40 min away in the city of Valdez, we were throwing around the idea to stitch Danny’s lip the old fashion way. Mint dental floss and a sewing needle. I had done this a hand full of times for face injuries in the past (I lived a rambunctious life what can I say) but Danny wasn’t stoked on leaving the fate of his future money maker face to my rookie hands with no real supplies. So we jammed down to to the hospital to negotiate a price with a doctor, or best case buy a suture kit for cheap and do it ourselves. Thing was, they were willing to sell us a kit, however it would cost us almost as much as it would to just have a nurse do it. The Nurse on duty saw Danny’s predicament, and with that, lead us down a dark hallway unlocking doors as she went. “Nurse Awesome”, as we will forever call her, opened up a whole new wing to the hospital just so Danny wouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for an ER visit. She cleaned him up, threw a few stitches in his busted lip and sent us on our way and put the whole thing on a secret tab just to help him out. She even told him that if he wasn’t able to pay the bill to personally give her a call, and she would work something out with him. Pretty much the raddest Nurse ever. Who says the entire health care system is broken?

 

Stitches

 

 After all the facial trauma was behind us, we started out our second day by getting camp organized and just taking in the beauty of God’s country. We cruised around camp, meeting all the folks of Tailgate, tracked down our buddies and even ran into a few that we didn’t know would be there. Below is Danny and Gray in the midst of setting up our Goal Zero charging station so that we could keep all the camera, and radio batteries charged just from the gift of the sun. No smelly toxic gas generators at our camp. If you are planning a trip into the great wild anytime soon you should look into investing in one of these solar powered charging stations. Check out http://www.goalzero.com to learn more and find out where to purchase one near you. You wont regret it.

Cool lkids

 By noon we jammed out on our sleds to catch a few lines that were just opening up. I was on my first lap at the top of the mountain when I saw the plume of smoke billowing out of this sled. I knew my sled was safe but I was definitely bummed for whoever was watching their sled burn to the ground.

Sled fire

This shot was taken during one of a couple afternoons when we thought we would be competing, only to find out the competition had been postponed. Here, Nate, Gray and I are scoping the lines where we thought we would be be having the competition. A few hrs later we got word it was pushed back another day. Pretty much it was just a lot of emotional whiplash waiting for competition day. It wasn’t until a few days later we finally got a green light to have the event, although, because of super high winds and lots of sun, the areas we had to choose from were slim pickens. The good news was it gave us plenty of time to just kick back and ride the beautiful country out there while we waited.

Look at the hii

 Danny boy getting his cardio on.

Danny hike

Our buddies, Nick and Web about to drop into some lines. The photos don’t do the scenery out there justice. I highly recommend anyone feeling the itch to drop gnarly backcountry lines and throwing their hat into the Tailgate Alaska Competition this year makes it happen. Its life changing out there. Anyone wanting info on the event feel free to hit me up here or send me a message on my Facebook. I’ll hook you up with all the info and tips I can for making it a fantastic trip.

Shaka

 

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