Tag Archives: Winter

Skiing Sympathies

Living in Little Cottonwood Canyon during the winter, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy backcountry skiing in both wilderness and watershed areas, zones that are free (read – prohibited) of snow-machine travel.  If you’re reading this, most likely you’re a skier or snowboarder, and even if you use an old beat-up sled to get deep into the mountains, once you’re there you probably trade it for skins and slog your way up the mountainside to earn your face shots.  Backcountry skiing is about solitude and isolation, a dance with the wilderness.  When not used correctly, snow-machines can create a noisy, hectic, and often dangerous atmosphere.  If you value you value the solitude and serenity of a quiet mountain range dressed in white, then you should know this: on June 18th, the Forest Service issued a long-awaited rule for public comment on designating areas as open or closed to winter motorized vehicles, this is a good first step, but comments from our backcountry community can make it stronger! Your help is both needed and essential to capitalize on this opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry.  By designating specific trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use may occur, winter travel planning is an opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry.  The community of backcountry skiers needs to be heard!  Please consider adding your comment to the voices of support for human-powered winter recreation.  To get a better grasp of the issues at hand, and help you draft a comment worthy of consideration, the Winter Wildlands Alliance has put together a very helpful page to aid you in navigating this beurocratic issue.  Keep reading to see a few links that can help you along, as well as my annotated comment if you’re interested.  LET’S DO THIS!!!

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(Another) Case for Place

Winters, for me, have always been a practice in hibernation.  Not in the most literal sense, and I haven’t always seen things this way, but as my time here continues to unfold and my views and values continue to evolve, it’s easy to see how the seasons affect many changes in my life.  My food, sleep, work, my mobility, my drive, and so much more, all are grounded and shaped by the colder months, where and how I spend them.  This year marks the ninth winter season I’ve come to Alta, Utah.  Each of these seasons has seen progression, regression, evolution and expansion.  I’ve loved, learned, limped, and continued to move forward.  While I’ve never had a vehicle with me for any of my winters here, it’s only been since 2008 that I haven’t owned a car year round, and only in the last two years that I’ve truly embraced the bike.  This season makes the second winter of Nature of Motion, and it’s interesting to see the hint of a pattern here.  Winter is truly a time for introversion, a time for reflection and renewal.  As I look back, look forward, and look inward, I continue to notice new things, re-connect with the familiar, and find my creative spark to progress.  It’s easy to look to the side of the screen and see the pattern, the abundance of posts and activity in the summer months, and the scarcity in the winter.  Granted, there’s been a lot more than just my change in transportation in these last few years, but I think that reflects a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.  Recently, I’ve been thinking and journaling a lot about this topic, this sort of seasonality and localism that plays on my life each winter.  March is usually when I start to wake up and dig myself out from the haze of the winter, it’s also the month of my birth, so it’s a pretty appropriate time to be reflecting inward on my progress and position.  A little over a year ago I wrote a piece on this subject entitled A Case for Place. Here now with a year gone by and I find myself in the same place, thinking along the same lines.  But what do I have to add?  What have I learned or how have a grown?  I find it helpful to look back first, to gain some of this perspective of time and place, so before I spewed out all the nonsense below I took a minute to read the original piece, if you’ve got a minute, and think it’d help you too, check it out here. Enjoy.

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A Call To Climbers

Here I sit, hand bandaged in gauze and cotton, temporarily sidelined and forcibly inactive.  The slightest miscalculation and most seemingly insignificant accident and I’m left with a torn ligament in my thumb, and it’s resulting surgical repair.  After another summer of movement and adventure, I anticipated returning to a relatively sedentary winter existence, one with an abundance of reflection and introspective time, but this is hardly what I expected.  A sense of déjà-vu pervades as I re-live Liz’s recent injury and remind myself that life is full of surprises, their being good or bad depends entirely on perspective, which in turn itself relies upon your grasp of reality, your worldview and your version of sanity.  So as I recline with the subdued awareness I will not be climbing for months, that my work and play in the mountains will be limited equally, I cannot help but feel excitement and optimism for the future, and know I might be a little insane for doing so.

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Unexpected Surprises

Borrowed from The Skier Boyz

You don’t always head out the door expecting greatness.  Sometimes you’re not that inspired, your motivation level is low and you just can’t seem to get stoked.  A long night of drinking, lots of crowds, gray-skull and no new snow, maybe you’re tired and just want to chill.  But some one or some thing gets you out there, gets you going, and you find a spark.  The rhythm of the skin track lets your mind wander, a hole in the clouds burns through and a sunlit ridgeline beckons.  You make it to a summit, the snow is softer then you thought, you’re with a friend you love, and you can’t think of anything better in the world.

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Pfeiffer-Porn

 
Although this is a re-run of a post I did for The Skierboyz, I thought I’d share it with you here as well.  Gives you a look into some of our off-duty wintertime activities.  Journalistic integrity aside, I’m not above re-publishing some low-key writing and pictures of a good time.  Enjoy!

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A Case for Place

I haven’t been cycling in months.  Although this might come as some sort of sad irony in light of this blog being born from bicycle-powered adventure, I’m not really that broken up about it.  Sure, I miss the bike, and those long warm rides in the mountains, but I miss it like I miss asparagus or basil, those ephemeral staples of spring and summer that might be short lived, but they have a time, and will be back next season.  For now I’m loving the winter, the numbing cold, the short days parenthesized by extended darkness, the styrofoam crunch of snow under my skis, and the unparalleled beauty of the play of light on mountains dressed in white.  I’m embracing the winter for what it is: now. Continue reading

Progression

Winter is here.  Although the millions of people just a dozen miles away might disagree as they play golf, go for a climb, or walk in the park with 60 degree temps, up here in Alta, there’s snow everywhere, icicles are forming, and I’m skiing every day.  Sure feels like winter.  In reality the shift is much more of a mental one in which I’d rather go for a ski tour, or find a half frozen runnel of water to climb then catch a ride to the valley to try and climb a few pitches in the sun or play a round of disc golf.  I guess my point is, it’s winter in the mountains, and that’s where I live.  But my intentions aren’t just to give you some sort of over generalized weather forecast but to give you all who’ve been following along a heads up on what this change of seasons, and change of locations means for the Nature of Motion, and what you might expect to find here in the coming months. Continue reading