AIARE 2, Powder, and Gearing Up!

I arrived in Utah a few weeks ago and days later was on my way back to Colorado for my AIARE 2 avalanche course. The few days I spent in Utah before my course, I settled into my apartment, got a few good ski days in and unpacked my live-in Honda Odysski.

odyski

Honda Odyski

The snow in Utah was pretty minimal and I was a bit less in shape and acclimated than I was hoping to be 1 month out from my start date. For what was not the first time, and I’m 100% sure will not be the last time I started to doubt myself. “What am I doing?”, “Why do I think I can ski 2.5 million vertical feet in a year?”, “did I just trick myself into thinking this was possible?”

I kept it together and headed to Colorado for my avalanche course. It was so great to get back into the snow science zone. Dig pits, perform test, and look at faceted snow crystals under a loupe.

facets

Facets

While skiing was not the main objective of the 5 day weekend, I did meet up with some great friends from seasons past and got in a few good turns before and after class.

fun in the trees with friends

Fun in the trees with friends

After a white-knuckle drive back to Utah a week later everything was different. It had snow nearly 3 feet while I was gone. I was nice and acclimated to the altitude. I was ready to start putting in the long days and big vertical. I made quick work of getting into the mountains and beginning to rack up the feet.

Aaron Rice finds low angle white gold on a high avy danger day in the Wasatch backcountry, Utah. Beginning January 1, 2016 Aaron will set out to break the world record for most human powered vertical feet skied in a calendar year, 2.5 million feet. [photo: Louis Arevalo]

Aaron Rice finds low angle white gold on a high avy danger day in the Wasatch backcountry, Utah. Beginning January 1, 2016 Aaron will set out to break the world record for most human powered vertical feet skied in a calendar year, 2.5 million feet. [photo: Louis Arevalo]

In the 5 days back in Utah I have but in 35,000 feet and am still ramping up. I don’t want to push my body too hard, too fast. The progression has been 5k, 5k, 7k, 8k, 9k. I am hoping to crack 10k for the first time this season tomorrow. We are lined up for a big atmospheric river event and are looking to get 4” of water equating to 3+ feet of snow in the next 3 days! Avalanche danger is surely going to rise, but the low angle trees should be fantastic!

A huge thank you to the Flyin’ Ryan Foundation for the support allowing me to take my AIARE level 2 and safely work towards my goal to earn and ski 2.5 million vertical feet in a calendar year.
Join me on my adventure at:
http://instagram.com/airandrice
http://facebook.com/airandriceski
http://airandrice.com

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Early morning turns to start the season!

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The first east coast turns of the season have been made!

A 5:30am wake up proved to be a tad on the early side. After a nice couple cups of coffee and breakfast I headed to the Stowe parking lot. Bits of wintery mix hit my windshield but there was nothing on the ground…

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Arriving at the parking lot things looked a bit grim. Whatever. I’m here, I might as well walk to the top and see what up there.

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Right as I started walking it began snowing. A quick inch fell! Just enough!

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Snoliage at it’s best! After a 15 minute wrestling match with my frozen boots I got them on, and made the first turns of the season!

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Skiing the East Coast on the 4th of July!!!

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4th of July Bowl, Indy Pass, The Great One, Mt. Hood… Argentina?. There are plenty of classic places to go make some celebratory 4th of July turns. Skiing on the 4th is a fantastic tradition that exercises your freedom as an American to the max. I often hear  people say though that skiing on the 4th is only for Colorado, or Volcanoes in the Pac NW. If you are stuck on the East Coast you are out of luck.

Tucks from afar Tucks from afar

Not true though! Tuckerman ravine often holds snow into July, and occasionally even August. It is a quick and beautiful hike. This year there was about 500ft of skiable snow left in the run formerly known as Sluice.

Only me up there at 8:30 Only me up there at 8:30

I left Stowe, VT at 4:30 am and pulled into a nearly empty lot at 7:30. I jogged up to Hermit Lake, ate a bite and kept climbing.

Sluice glacier Sluice glacier

The Sluice Glacier was looking good and dirty. A couple stream were flowing underneath it, but it looked safe enough.

Dirty snow Dirty snow

i took 4 runs for the 4th and called it a day. On my way down I ran into the Northeastern Outing Club on their annual pilgrimage to Tucks. They were is stellar form, decked out in ‘Murica wear, bikinis, grill and beers in hand.

Northeastern Outing Club representing hard! Northeastern Outing Club representing hard!

I celebrated the 4th of July, skiing in July, and my 23rd consecutive month skiing with a quick dip in the creek on the way down.

Quick Dip Quick Dip

What a way to celebrate this freedoms we are fortunate enough to have in this country!

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