I was born and raised in Colorado Springs CO. Grew up chasing my brothers around on skateboards and eventually snowboards. I put the first board on my feet at the age of 12 and was stoked from the start. We didn’t get up to the Mtns. in the winter as much as we would all have liked, but as soon as I could drive I was going every weekend. I then graduated high school and was able to go maybe a day more than normal, but still wanted more. So it was an obvious choice to move to a ski town. The plan was to go up for a season then back to Denver for school. Well, six years later still shredding and loving the life style.
Snowboarding has become a serious addiction for me. An addiction that has changed my life in a way that is truly understood by fellow ski bums. In the last three years I’ve been turned on to competitive big Mtn. snowboarding. I travel to all three stops of the North Face Masters of Snowboarding. The thing that is so amazing about these comps are the people you meet, the places you see and the mountains you get to ride. That to me is more the attraction than the actual comp. The people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve made, have really help my riding and way of life improve. In my very first comp here in CB, I met Susan Mol who now is a dear friend, but then I didn’t know at all, just knew she was a bad ass. I qualified in 1st place on day one and was just high on life. The next day the nerves kicked in. Susan said to me at the top of Staircase, day 2, ” so your gonna win this right” I was so blown away because Susan was ranked the #1 woman in the world, and to me , was obviously going to win. It was the way she nudged me and and said those words so calmly that made me realize that maybe I can do this and maybe stand a chance next to these women who have been competing for a long time. This was so major for my mental, even still. It put all these dreams that seamed so out of reach right there in front of me. This is what I hope I can pass on to other shredders that don’t realize that we just need to get up there and drop in. Comps or no comps, let’s just go get some.
Jackson Hole is the rabbit hole of all ski resorts. Things, and people, tend to just disappear down there. It all started with Hillari and I packing up her old-man car, a jeep named Baxter, and heading into the dawn towards the land unknown, Wyoming! Pillow? Check. Lucky tank top? Check. Our heads? Eh… check again later.
After a couple of wrong turns, we passed through Wyoming, land of antelope (locals call ‘em speed goats) and road kill (cause they weren’t speedy enough)! We found our way in the dark to our lodging, the famed hostel. It’s one of the only original buildings remaining and the scribbles on every wall hold decades of inside jokes and stories. It’s exactly what you imagine a hostel to be like. Lost wayward ski bums, black sheep of the family skiing all day and holing up in the hostel playing ping-pong after the tram has stopped loading. It was all those kids, and then enters Edie, our roommate. Of all the rooms we could have been assigned to, we walked into the room looking at a white haired grandma-steeze lady, who let’s just say, has made her home down in the rabbit hole quite nicely for some time now. Claiming to be an ex Heli-guide and backcountry expert, I was quite impressed, that is until about two hours later she was still jabbering away in our room, now turned prison cell. Needless to say, we were scared to spend much time with crazy lady on the bottom bunk. The only good thing to come from trying to avoid all interaction was that it meant we were on the mountain skiing as much as possible…an Edie free zone.
The mountain was the Taj Mahal of all mountains. It rose out of the flat plains below, beautiful and majestic. We were blessed with new snow and blue skies. As this was our first Adult Comp, my nerves were getting a hold of me, but once my run started on the final day, it was just me and my boy, Stevie Wonder! I grooved down the slope, nailed my line, and met all my friends, old and new, down at the finish.
Yes, this was a ski trip, but it was also a life trip. As Americans, we were the minority at the hostel and spent the nights cracking up with Euro’s and Aussie’s about our cultural differences. There is so much to explore and so many things to try and experience. Jackson was just the tip of the iceberg.
We left the night after the comp, packing up as quickly as possible, and pulled an all-nighter drive (candy and coffee!). I can only think Edie is right where we left her, on that bottom bunk waiting for new arrivals to her room. Let us pray!
It has been a week since the Kirkwood Competition where my friend Ryan Hawks passed away. I have been thinking about what to say for a while, but I have just decided to put something down in remembrance even if it is not perfect, which it never will be. Here goes…
Ryan was quite possibly the nicest person I have ever met. Even if you only knew Ryan for a short while, he made you feel like you were good friends. He never uttered a mean word, and always had a shit eating grin on his face. He was a beautiful skier to watch, and was always humble about his ability.
I will always be thankful that I had the pleasure of knowing him, and I will strive to emulate his love of life, love of skiing, and his kindness towards others. My thoughts are with his family and the thousands of friends he had.
There has been a memorial fund set up in Ryan’s name and I encourage everyone to check it out at