Finally Some Snow!

Last week it finally snowed in the Front Range. We’ve been looking at bare mountains for most of the winter, sourly remembering last year’s terrible snow cover. We keep doing the snow dance and praying to the snow gods, but mostly to know avail. We hear about Utah, Washington, and even Southern Colorado getting pounded by beautifully large storms, but nothing seems to come our way. But Wednesday and Thursday brought a decent amount of snow.

My buddy Leigh is out visiting to snowboard, so thursday I decided to snowboard with him and Thomas Moore. I usually ski, and I didn’t really pay attention to the snow report, so I was very unprepared for the amount of powder at Keystone. I actually hadn’t been on a snowboard in over 5 years, but it came back quite easily, though I had never been in powder before. Leigh, Tom and I stuck mainly to the woods, trying to make the most of the fresh.

Thomas Moore 

I really want to do more skiing and snowboarding photography, but I always dread bringing my full camera set up with me, mostly because of the weight. I shot all of these with my point and shoot, Canon Powershot G10. I really want to find a nice mirrorless camera to fill in the gap, something that is super light weight and can easily sit inside my jacket, but has high enough quality that people want to buy the photos. AND usability. The G10 shoots painfully slow. On burst mode it takes 1 photo every 1.5 seconds. The new Sony Alpha NEX-7 I’m looking at shoots 10 frames per second and has a shutter lag of only .02 seconds (not even mentioning the list of other great features it has). Sorry, I got distracted.

Late in the day the weather toyed with being Bluebird, but it continued to snow all morning long. Over the previous 24 hours there was maybe 8″ of fresh snow which was awesome in the trees. Tom and I decide to hike over to the South Bowl, where apparently a ton of snow from elsewhere on the mountain was getting blown. I got stuck.

Tom sitting waist deep in fresh powder. 

I got really stuck. So stuck on my snowboard that I could not move without removing the snowboard and crawling inch by inch through the powder till I got to a slope that was steep enough that gravity could overcome the resistance of the snow. I was kicking myself for not bringing my skis. Maneuvering into place to get a shot was more difficult. Enjoying the abundance of snow was more difficult. I was exhausted at the end of the day.  

But we got to enjoy the new snow.


View from my usual position….on my back. 

2012 Summer Teva Mountain Games

I know I am quite a bit late in posting this, but better late than never, right?

The last weekend in May I went to the Teva Mountain Games in Vail. The town of Vail transforms into a sports mecca with events held all over the streets (and rivers);  stupidly fit (or beautifully fit) people are everywhere. Athletes from all over the country come to compete in strenuous competitions for little more than recognition and well, competition.

It takes me a bit to get situated, the layout of the games is pretty spread out. To get from the climbing to the Kayaking areas is quite a hike.

The cross country mountain bike races take off and I wonder up the mountain to find a great vantage to shoot. The riders do a few laps around the course gaining and losing thousands of feet of vertical.

One of the difficult things about the Mountain games is that multiple events are going at the same time. It is impossible to be at all of them. I leave the cross country mountain bike race and wonder through town to find these bikers practicing for their race through the streets. Moments after this shot the sky let loose, drowning out many of the events for a couple of hours.

Alex Puccio

The climbing area is under a protected stage and so the semi-finals continue. Here, Alex Puccio sends her problem that gets her to the finals.

The 10k trail run at 9,000ft somehow went an extra mile. Runners were exhausted and understandably so. I was exhausted from hiking up the mountain to stand in one place for an hour photographing the crazy people as they ran past me. Doing anything at elevation is harder, and it was impressive seeing so many people push themselves to their limits. But the course was harder than many expected.

This year the water was so low in the creek that they had to “create” rapids and try to control the flow of the creek. But people still had fun. In this sport called Kayak Cross, which is a kayak race mixed with American Gladiators, competitors race each other down the river and battle with “8 Ball” kayakers ro reach the finish. Even without quality rapids, this is a lot of fun to watch. I’d imagine it would be a lot of fun to participate in until you get a bow of a kayak in your teeth.

This guy showed the crowd the proper way to float down a river if you ever left your boat.

The two-man rafts had to race both the clock and another team, going around obstacles to reach the end.

One of the many highlights of the Teva Mountain Games was the Gibbon Games, a slackline trick competition. Competitors bounced, flipped, stalled and twisted their way to pleasing the judges and the cheering crowd. It’s quite impressive to see people do flips on a two inch slackline that us normal ones can’t do on solid ground. One of the best tricksters in the world is 14 yr old Alex Mason from California. He might be a little small for his age, but knows how to command a crowd. And a slackline.

You might recognize this bunch of curly hair, especially if you imagine the dude in a Toga. This is Andy Lewis, aka Sketchy Andy, who performed alongside Madonna in the Superbowl. 

Mike Payton, from Colorado, is ranked #4 in the world and has won several world championships.

FiveTen is a huge supporter of the sport and makes shoes specifically for it.

The Games were a blast. Plenty of parties, plenty of music and entertainment, and plenty of shwag. And I got to see a lot of my friends compete and can’t wait to go back to the Winter Games in February.

I’m trying to catch up on posts…I am WAAAYY behind. I have a lot of content to share. Till then.