CicLAvia

6a00d8341c630a53ef017d3c9aa4fe970c-640wiIt was 2:30 pm on a Sunday, I’d just woken up with bloodshot crusty eyes burning and lungs full of tobacco.  My stomach was rumbling with the usual deep crave for a foot long Subway club on flat bread.  I’ve convinced myself that despite the fact that the “flat” option is made with enriched white flower, it’s still less carbs because there’s less bread and will therefore make me less fat than any of the other bread options, even honey oat wheat.  After my usual 5 minutes of laying in bed filled with self loathing and judgment for the pain I felt as a result of what I’d done the night before, I mustered up the strength to begin my pre-Subway ritual: putting on my dirty clothes and looking at my hair in the mirror to decide if it was the good or bad version of bed head. It was the bad one.  After the 2-3 minute shoe hunt accompanied by total confusion as to how I could possibly hide my shoes from myself in a new location every time, I had to deal with the dilemma of deciding what socks to wear: dirty or clean. Yesterday’s dirty pair of socks were out of the question, yet I still find myself considering it every time. Using a new pair of socks would deplete my sock reserve and advance the deadline of laundry day. Or just say fuck it and freeball, feet style – which is what I ultimately chose to do despite the fact that there were inevitable remnants of sand still left in my shoes from yesterday’s beach adventure.  Sweaty, dirty feet, and sand.

While it sounds like some sort of sexually transmitted disease, CicLAvia (you have to emphasize the LA every time so it’ll be cute) is actually some sort of exercise in freedom. “The Historic” Wilshire boulevard is shut down from Fairfax to downtown. All of the cars parked on that street and on several other side streets seemingly at random, are towed and people ride their bikes.  It sounds pointless and disruptive as fuck, and it is – but it’s also really really great. And I only live one block from Wilshire blvd, i.e. one block from the long stretch of road that houses the event.

photo 2“Ciclovías” started over thirty years ago in Bogotá, Colombia, “as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States.” http://www.ciclavia.org/about/ 

Finally, I managed to pull myself together enough to leave my apartment and make the walk.  Head down, sagging shoulders, Charlie Brown signature style walk of shame.  Just when I’d accepted my fate and began mentally planning my day of recuperation involving the soon to be had sandwich, my couch, and Netflix (it’s very frequently one of the Harry Potters – I’m not sorry), I was snapped out of my hum drum to witness the glory of hundreds of rando’s gliding down the usually congested blvd.  “Oh yeah, that’s today!  Fuck yeah!”

I wish I could say that at this point my posture straightened up as a result of a shift to a positive mental attitude and the resolve to be better in general, and then ran to grab my bike in a fit of glee – but the Subway thing was happening.

jared_fogle

Once my sandwich crave quelled, I grabbed my bike, obviously pre-loaded with my #TurtleShell (not so shameless plug) and entered the flow of cyclists.  Effortlessly gliding along with the rest of the brood, I can only describe the sensation of community and oneness with the fellow man as a “zesty enterprise”.  The street was ablaze with excitement and happiness.  I even managed to ride by a Korean Church overflowing with parishioners rocking Jesus Loves You shirts without feeling my usual pre-installed Jewish twinge of anger toward the religion that shunned me.

photo 1The only thing more amazing than the feeling of our glorious act of freedom was the swiftness and efficiency in which it was shut down.  The formerly smiling, friendly police officers that guarded each major intersection had now turned back into the oppressive and scary force of judgment we know and love in LA.  It started with 4 motorcycles spanning the entirety of the lane in a perfect horizontal formation sirens blaring, driving against traffic towards us.  A man on the megaphone yelled, “The event is over, all regular traffic laws now apply.  Move to the right hand side of the road.”  This was misleading.  Technically, the laws in LA dictate that a bicycle has the same rights as a car, which is why they can give you a ticket for riding your bike on the sidewalk.  (But, that’s where you’ll generally find me out of fear for the fact that every single driver on the road in LA is mid text.) I contemplated bringing that up with one of the many police officers who’d been giving the task of corralling our momentary alleged freedom, but ultimately decided that it would likely only spur some sort of negative reaction from the cop followed by me explaining that I wasn’t trying to “start shit.” I was simply bringing up the issue and asking his opinion. So, I decided to just play it cool and ride my bike on the side of the fucking road.  Herded with the rest of the flock.

photoAs I watched the police disperse and corral the crowd, I started to wonder how quickly this whole scene could turn into a violent protest/ riot. It would probably only take a few people acting at the right moment and striking a tone that resonated with the surrounding crowd. Get 50 or so people and you’ll have a chain reaction that could potentially rival what happened last time.  The thought of a cadre of LA’s finest unloading tear gas and rubber bullets at the once peaceful families sprinting toward them in rage is enough to give me a 2/3rds erection.  And it all started so peacefully.  That didn’t happen though.

Kisses, Mikie.

We love you, just remember that.

OT Winter Tradeshow Tour Episode 1: Vegas

CES is an interesting show.  It’s not at all for a brand such as ours.  It’s more of a khaki shorts and Sketchers type of atmosphere.  But perhaps, just perhaps, that’s why we make such an impact.

I’d like to go on record and say that Las Vegas is a terrible place.  It’s a shit salad of tacky carpets and cigarette butts, peppered with saggy boobs and fat people.  Fattys.  We did, however, rent a pretty kick-ass house, and that’s where our story begins…

Having spent the previous night as any sensible pair of twenty-somethings might, watching cartoons, swigging a Costco-sized bottle of Glenfiddich and making an absolute disaster out of the game of billiards, we  arrived at our temporary home on our second night in town to find the front gate wide open and the door unlocked.  Imagine our terror.  We’d been joking about meth-heads pretty much our entire stay in Las Vegas, but it looked like the joke was about to be on us.

Adam had arrived that morning, so there were three of us at this point.  We all crept into the dark house.

“Hello…? Please don’t kill us, Mr. Meth-head,” we whimpered.   Nothing.  We made it to the back room and each retrieved an example of the perfect self-defense weapon: the pool cue.

For some reason shower curtains scare the shit out of me.  I used my pointy stick of ultimate protection to violently push them aside whilst flailing backwards and screaming like a girl.  All was quiet.  3 more showers to go.

Unfortunately enough, there were no crack-heads to stab us to death, so we had to go to the tradeshow.

 

Stoke level was high, possibly the highest I’ve seen since our young brand began.  Imagine, you’re navigating a sea of boring Consumer Electronics companies when you stumble across our glorious hand build mountain range and Airstream Trailer.  We were a breath of fresh air in the smog of microchips and laptop video cameras (We were next to the Trojan Vibrator booth though… so there was that).  Top it off with some witty commentary and innovative products, and you’ve got an oasis.

Featured above:  The Chips – The first universal solution for helmet audio.  Stoke level was off the charts.

Trade shows are both boring and repetitive, yet at the same time hilarious, should you find yourself with the right people.  What began as a critique on the occasional show-goer turned into an American commentary of ridicule and hilarity.  I tend to abide by a doctrine of not talking shit, but this went out the window just a few hours into it.

First came the guy that wanted to sell us a remote for a remote.  Then the guy who questioned what use the Turtle Shell (our wireless speaker) could possibly be so long as headphones existed.  Then the guy who had you engaged in a conversation about how he overcame premature male pattern baldness before you knew what was happening.  They would always approach casually, with their badges turned around so you couldn’t see who they were, hands in their pockets, snooping, lounging about under their cloaks of anonymity until you gave in with a sigh and asked them how they were doing.  Then they’d bite you, tear you limb from limb like zombies determined to drag you into their soulless worlds, force-feeding you information and opinions you could not, from the very depths of your soul, find a way to care any less about.   There was never anywhere to run.

Soon it all started blending together.  Anyone who’s been to a tradeshow knows what this is like- One minute you’re giving the sales pitch and the next you’re fumbling around Vegas’ Foundation room, pouring yourself greyhounds and talking to whoever will listen.  You’re building the booth, then you’re ripping it down, then building it again but you don’t have everything you need, so you’re in Home Depot searching for it, and then you’re back in the convention hall, but you forgot something so you’re back in Home Depot.

Coffee turns to beer then back to coffee then to scotch, people expect you to remember their names and time just slips away in a tornado of flat tires, bars, robots that wash windows, bad room service and dead batteries.  You have a sense that you know what you’re doing, when in reality you’re just pacing around, inserting and excluding yourself from different surroundings and situations so quickly that everything just becomes a steady flipbook of wardrobes and expectations, each with a defined entrance and required form of identification.

Still, it’s a fun ride.  We found crack pipes for sale on the tops of convenience store counters, Old Vegas cocktail menus with witty, misleading drink names and sad, empty little bars with tiny red lights that washed over you, Sadie-Hawkins-in-the-mid-eighties-style.

Keep an eye on the blog for more stories from the OT Crew’s winter tradeshow tour, and as always, stay stoked.

We love you, just remember that.

An email thread about Animals

Miguel,

I was wondering if you would like to help me kill a bear to make a jacket similar to the one on workaholics. I was going to buy a bear pelt, but they are expensive. Part of my life philosophy is only killing something when it is putting myself or another person directly in danger or it is essential for survival. Every living item has a right to live. So I was thinking we could use you as bait, sort of taunting the bear. When it goes to maul you, I will be forced to kill it with some sort of large weapon, like an uzi.

Please let me know what date you would be available. I will provide the travel for you as it will be less expensive than buying a real bear pelt.

_________________________________________________________

Hey Evan,

My only problem with this is that I know for a fact that you, my friend, are not a vegetarian.  Do you mean to tell me that every animal you eat on a daily basis has died at the hands of a hero?  I’m willing to bet that’s not the case.

Mikie

_________________________________________________________

That’s why I put in the stipulations, “essential for survival” as in food. I know it sounds hypocritical to be one of those tree hugging pieces of shit that are like, “don’t kill animals” because I like a juicy steak as much as anyone from the Midwest. However, I am against killing animals for sport or just killing animals. As kids we just to shoot birds with my pellet gun just to kill them, which I feel isn’t right. Jimmy Johns, the guy who owns Jimmy Johns, is a big game hunter and kills all sorts of exotic animals, and I have boycotted his stores.

What I am getting at is I really want this bear skin jacket, but I am not going to kill the bear just for its skin. I would kill it for food, but I have had bear and it isn’t too tasty. Which only means I have to be a hero and kill the bear, but I also need some bait…which is you.

I knew you would understand and sympathize with my predicament (I mean it is the definition of rock and hard place) and would be willing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good of the cause. Haven’t you ever wanted to be a martyr? Now is your chance.

I would do the same for you.

-Evan

_________________________________________________________

But there in lies the hypocrisy my friend.  Is killing millions of chickens to act as the bread in the KFC Double Down really better than killing 1-2 exotic animals every once in a while for sport?  If you were to compare the amount of annual animal deaths between the two (sport vs. fast food) I’m sure you’d see that the latter is quite a bit more destructive than the occasional thrill of the hunt.

I appreciate exotic and endangered animals as much as any grungy trustafarian, but at this point it’s a numbers game…  Plus it’s a bit shallow… I mean, just because a leopard is spotted and agile doesn’t make him any less deserving of murder than a fat stupid ugly cow.  Not to say that killing either is right, but I have much more of a problem with the millions of cows, chickens, pigs (which are a fairly intelligent animal) that are irresponsibly slaughtered every day around the world for our mass consumption of Dorito Shell Tacos and Mcgriddles.

Is the fact that the Jimmy Jon’s owner hunts big game the problem?  Nay, the problem is that he’s filling his stores with inorganic meets raped and pillaged from the sweet baby jesus himself.  Not to mention the fact that their untimely death is likely a welcome end to their confused and unnatural lives… consisting mostly of sitting in a locked cage, being pumped with hormones… possibly rectally.

As for the bear situation, I have no interest in being bait.  I will fight the bear in hand to hand combat;  if I win It’s still self defense –  If I lose, you can make a jacket out of me.

Mikie

_________________________________________________________

We love you, just remember that.

Outdoor Tech & KUHL Racing

By Brian Tolbert

We started the KUHL team 5 years ago when cross country racing and big factory teams were disappearing. We started this team with the backing of KUHL outdoor clothing and an idea to gather people together that we wanted to travel and hang out with at races not necessarily the high maintenance prima donnas that we saw standing on the top step of the podiums back then. So we started with a handful of new friends and old friends and a van that we stole from the warehouse and drove around looking for the coolest races on the coolest trails around. 5 years later the team has grown across the country and across disciplines but it still has the same idea behind it, we don’t really care about your results as much as we care about you being good dude (or dudette) that can talk to people about more than your placing in your last race but about that sweet jump on the third lap. Our little experiment has worked pretty well over the years  and we actually have some really fast guys and gals on the team that are out winning big races across the country but it is still about having fun and joking with your team mates and friends.

We got to know the guys at Outdoor Technology through our mutual friend (and OT catalog model) Blake Nyman (no serious Blake is on every other page of the catalog). After hanging out with the guys at the OR show we knew we found some kindred spirits (whoa that was deep). What it really comes down to is that in a sport where you spend hours every day by yourself pedaling in the back woods, it’s good to have some sweet tunes. I no longer have to cut holes in my jerseys to fish those crappy white headphones through and up around my helmet, I just put my tags on and go.

We love you, just remember that.

Ski-Bum Hunting

By Ben Wannamaker

Photo by Stewart Medford

Objectively of course: the OutdoorTech wireless headphones work well. The sound is quite good, they’re stylish and sit nicely over my toque. Plus, the music in my ear, in it’s own small way blocks out the shame I feel from all of the eyes on me at this frequently occurring – albeit somewhat embarrassing – moment.

The gall that these people have to stare.

Absolutely.

I’m hunting and require the utmost privacy – if possible – because my work is done best in stealth and no attention is good attention. But at times the most obvious can be veiled as the least obvious.

I think.

I’m sure though, at 2480m of elevation, and from inside a ski chalet full of nearly a thousand people, privacy may be a tough request. But I’m a ski-bum hunting and all conditions must be accounted for.

I’m not hunting to thump a ski bunny, nope. The real ski-bum version of hunting wild game is going on here and I’m looking for my moose, venison, boar or cougar; aka cold poutine, wet lettuce on a barely eaten burger, unrecognizable assortments of chili or time-dried pizza crusts to dip into the free condiment buffet that I’ve created out of ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish – I will do anything I can to keep my weight up. Think: Mazlow’s hierarchy of ski-bumming.

The most obvious is the least obvious. So I still hunt, because it works. And nobody really cares. Sure, they may whisper to their significant others; they may shake their heads.

Meh.

Some good techniques I’ve learned for successfully eating off the plates of others are as follows.

1) Follow rich old folk to the rack like you were an ambulance, and eat the road-kill whence they’re off to do more slow-dancing with gravity. Suckers.

2) Hover about and constantly comb your un-eaten crop like a u.f.o, only dropping in on half-chewed trays – like a fully-starved varmint or a raven – when the time is right.

3) Big-eye kids with small stomachs, and when Dennis or Denise the Menace get antsy for more skiing – and could give two-bits about those final few fries – sling shot your backside in for the kill (or some other germ-free fodder.)

4) Try your own method! Get out there sport! The world is wasteful and this means bounty for your broke ass.

It’s a fun, sustainable and victimless crime. Plus, foraging from the careless rich, boycotting big food industries and actively hunting like a real live ski-bum will actually put food in your starving and potentially underpaid stomach

Photo by Stewart Medford

A discretionary notice would obviously read that: eating off of other people’s plates could and probably will cause (especially in Whistler): herpes, hepetitis, menegitis, the mumps, death etc. So do it at your own risk, eh?

But really: how many hunter’s have we lost in the heat of battle? You’d be in good company.

Really. It’s noble.

And to all of you critics: mine-sweeping the rolling racks in the ski chalet could be worse. It’s certainly not robbing from the homeless like those full-bags-of-day-old-nabbing, dumpster-diving, suburban-born university students do. Those senseless spoon-fed kids – who claim to ‘take back the streets’ every time they raid a grocery stores garbage bin before Jeff the schizophrenic can – sometimes even have the nerve
to brag about it.

The nerve, eh?

Ben Wannamaker

We love you, just remember that.

Tearing with Razors and Ripping Up the Roots

By Ben Wannamaker

I don’t want to isolate the ladies in the crowd, but before both sexes go any further, it should be noted that this is an article about being emotionally attached to one’s beard. If there are ways that ladies a) want to relate to this relatively male-specific experience or b) want to personalize the subject with their own example of aggregating hair follicle growth and it’s sadly required destruction, I welcome anyone in the audience to substitute whatever physical real estate they’d like in place of the word / concept that I implore through the use of ‘my beard.’

Spring is an absolute: the one season which seems incapable of laying bare new births without accompanying them with the timely death of others. Simply, spring must kill – even to ‘be’ – as it paves the way for new life, the old must obviously move on or be absorbed; but all seasons kill really, and while spring also creates, summer also maintains, fall also considers and winter also sleeps: all seasons kill. Exposing the throat while the shears come close to it, I tepidly take down centimeter by centimeter of winter warmth in my bathroom. The last aspects of what can be known as ‘distinctly definable spring’ are conducting themselves outside my thick window: spring-time warm-rain, spring-time brisk winter wind at noon, spring-time smelling like a pregnancy blooming, spring-time teaspoons of moistened dirt; the scent of wet mud, wet sun after gray rain on your gray porch… so soon it will be too hot to wear a beard and so, off it had to come. But the beard hairs would not go without a fight, they proved to have emotionally rooted defense mechanisms that made me think twice – three times, four times – about showing them the blade. Because coaxing the long-reared soldiers out of the depths of my face, to begin with, was a labour of real need.

As a young boy, I felt destined, nay, instructed by God herself – weather I had the genetic makeup to back it up or not – to move to Whistler and foster a beard with enough breadth and weight that I could hang icicles off of it while skiing off pillows and through deep coastal powder, just like the ski heroes of my youth did. But be careful what you wish for and keep an eye on your identity, folks. Like superstitious Superbowl socks, the hard-earned beard had to be taken off. It’s no longer winter, but spring. Spring the mother, spring the executioner. I wondered in the mirror – as I watched my once fertile crop falling like a falling-leaf in the swarm of black flies collecting in the pit of my white sink: would I have a tan underneath when it all came off? Would I be left with some sort of shameless ‘Farmer’s balaclava’ about my cheeks and chin to be ostracized about? It was coming off and nothing mattered now. I’m far past the point of conceivable retreat and I promised myself to live with no regrets long ago. Besides, I’d already been trimming for nearly fifteen minutes, waxing thoughtfully alone, preparing for the final bris; straining my neck back and forth and making faces like a monkey, I started to reveal soon to be wind-affected cheekbones that previously had the plushest of protection. How can I explain what it feels like to tear the razor edge across a full field – across a whole family – you raised for months and months on end? In the harshest of mountain conditions, no less; every day, each memory that we shared together indeed gets torn out; ripped with the root. The memories of finding ‘beard-brother’s’ in the bar, getting props on your bristly, bustling community from a baby-faced stranger underneath the bus stop one night, swooshing together – me and my beard, together – dipping a little deeper whilst tree skiing to accentuate the intended icicle affect. All the memories plummet toward my ever-clogged-up plumbing and I choke backed teary condolences while simultaneously trying to celebrate each strand, each corn stalk and every adult beard hair, excavated and seemingly executed before their time. When is one’s appropriate time to go? No. It can’t be named. The universe is all chaos, vagueness, striving and human attempts at making sense. I had to focus on the final swipes of my task and as my eyes widened in the mirror, I felt the need to regain motive and strength: anything to continue with my regretfully obligated slaughter. Summer is too hot to wear a beard; life is a tragedy. Staring then, at my strangely skin-covered face, the feeling of emptiness and loss was palpable – perhaps going hand-in-hand with my disenchanted attempts at ski-bum emulation, youthful utopianism and the assortment of realizations that one comes to after spending an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror. After all, winter was over and I did end up having a farmer’s balaclava on underneath it all. Nothing a Yowie can’t fix!

Thanks Outdoor Technology!

-Ben Wannamaker (who rides for Liberty Skis, Trew Outerwear, Outdoor Technology® and TMC Freeriderz; his writing has been published in SBC Skier, The Ski Journal, Concrete Wave, SNAP and more.

We love you, just remember that.

3:10 to China

Emotions are a matter of choice, YOU are in control of your feelings… at least that’s what i was telling myself on the 10:30 flight from Guangzhpu to Xiamen.  
The only words to explain this flight are consistently terrifying.  I’m seated next to an Asian man who must be well into his sixties, and appears to be stricken with some sort of over active salivary glands disorder.  He keeps making a slurping noise and looking at me.  Like he’s trying to suck a piece of beef from his 2 front teeth, but the inordinate amount of saliva is keeping him from getting enough suction to remove the thing.  Or maybe more like he was sucking on something really, really sour the whole time.  It wasn’t until he coughed into (inside of) my ear that I thought that I might throw up on him.  I’m so angry, and this plane ride is terrifying.  The turbulence is constant and heavy.  The entire ride feels like we’re sliding down a steep, rocky mountain.  Luckily the flight is being narrated by a woman screaming in mandarin, immediately followed by the robotic English translation.  “ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing turbulence, please take your seat and fasten your seat belts”.  I know we’re experiencing turbulence, I’m pretty sure everyone knows.  The salivating Asian man stares at me concerned and sucks his teeth.  We finally understand each other.  Caro is asleep, he’s bouncing around like the drunk hostage that got knocked out by one of the bad guys in a heist movie.  All I can do is grit my teeth an pray for a decent landing.  I begin feel the choice of fear vs bravery.  I have the choice to be calm and up until that point i’ve been pulling it off; but I feel the tempt of fear pushing into my mind.  I start loosing my cool and begin to think – Just give in, feel the fear… And here it comes, a brief wave of panic.  I’m trapped, there’s nothing i can do to save myself from this situation.  If the plane decides to go down I’m going with it.
We love you, just remember that.

Flex Hours for Lackadaisical Louts

By Ben Wannamaker

 

Photo: Stewart Medford

What motivates people to get out of bed and go to work? Is it the alarm, the paycheck or the habit of experiencing the day-to-day act itself? Understanding that sleeping through one’s alarm will put undue work square on the shoulders of one’s co-workers – ‘co’ being peers that one can empathize with -causes a drive in us, compelling enough to convince some lackadaisical louts to fulfill their obligations and in one way or another work through hungover or hesitant bodies with we: the thankful co-workers of the world.

I work in the terrain park on Whistler Blackcomb,so my motivation to get out of bed is quite often to get the trick I’ve been working on, to plane through the powder that had been pad-padding throughout the cold cold night – blanketing my commute to the park entrance – or simply, selfishly, to get that morning coffee in my handfor the rolling chairlift trip that I’ll ride while rubbing the crust from my eye’s outer rim.

Either way, it occurred to me one day when I wokeup cursing my alarm clock that perhaps if the company that so gratefully employed me, as wellas – theoretically – all companies instituted ‘flex times’ like an honor system, that allowed their employees to come in to work between, say: 8:30 and 10:30: whenever their bodies felt most appropriate – rather than making them feel that they were being dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn against their will – there really wouldn’t be much taking advantage of this experimental system; we wouldn’t see an over-excess of workers showing up at 10:29 each day, especially within the union of terrain park employees like yours truly, who have an appreciation for contribution to a team, enjoy shaping and skiing their personalized snow sculptures and of course, don’t hate the paycheck that comes along with getting up those few extra hours earlier.

On another note…

The link below is a one minute edit from a lap or two that was filmed during the off days in my office by Nevin Falloon.  It was tossed together with the deadline of one day: intended as a last minute contribution, a ‘commercial’ for the Golden Film Festival in Golden B.C. Thought I’d share! Check out the Yowie!

Click the link to watch on Vimeo

Thanks Outdoor Tech, Liberty Skis, TMC Freeriderz, Surefoot, Crossfire Designs and Trew Outerwear.

Ben Wannamaker

We love you, just remember that.

Best Bluetooth accessories right now (roundup) CNET REVIEW

Our buddies at CNET did a roundup of the best Bluetooth gear out there, and guess who was included?  Yeah, that’s right mom.

Below is our spot, read the full review HERE  

Outdoor Technology Bluetooth Tags
It’s hard to find stereo Bluetooth headphones that are comfortable, provide a good audio seal to shut out ambient noise, and are attractively compact. That’s why the Bluetooth Tags from Outdoor Technology are a real gem. Made to hang around the neck like a pair of military dog tags when not in use, this gadget connects to phones without a tangle-prone wired connection. A built-in mic and physical controls lets you avoid fumbling for your handset to answer calls, and the Tags also come with plastic clips for securely attaching to ears. Read the full review of the OT Bluetooth Tags.


We love you, just remember that.

Pro Skier Problems, by KC DEANE

 

Most people that you talk to look at professional athletes and think, man they got the life.  Travel all over the world, just doing what you love, what an easy life.  Now I’m not saying that isn’t exactly the case.  I get to go ski and see amazing places all over the world, and that indeed is pretty awesome.  Even as a teenager looking up to pro skiers and thought the same thing,  but you never really comprehend what the athletes go through year to year.

This year for me has been tough.  The winter started off by an amazing trip to Japan. Great snow, amazing people, and of course the food is always a highlight being over there, but the list of injuries this season seem to have started off there.  While carrying a 70lbs backpack filled with flash and camera gear I got pulled off a large drop and hurt my knee.  3 days later after my knee started feeling better I re-injured the same knee which plagued me for the rest of the trip.  As an athlete its so frustrating to not be 100%.  Imagine going to work everyday and only being able to do it at 60%, not exactly the best recipe for success. After Japan I took some time to get my knee strong and headed north to British Columbia to start filming with Voleurz.  After a few weeks of being there, and only getting to film a few days I was hitting a jump and went a little to large and severely sprained my left ankle.  When I came to a stop I was in so much pain I couldn’t even stand up.  I limped over to one of the sleds and sat there shaking in pain.  I ended up filming the rest of the day and just tried to fight through the pain.  After one more day of trying to film the pain was too great and had to take the next 8-9 days off just to get back to being able to get my foot and ankle into my ski boot.  Finally back to where I can ski, only about 75% but still good enough to shoot and start filming.  Only a few days after finally feeling strong again, I’m back in Mt Baker shooting and decided to ski a line that I have been looking at for a few years now. Widowmaker.  It’s a 2 hour boot pack to the top of the peak, followed by a multi pitch rappel to get into the 50 degree line filled with spines.  As I got in and took my first few turns the snow quickly turned to ice and I began rag dolling down almost the entire face before I self arrested.  Mid fall I felt myself cartwheeling through ice chunks, at one point I was sure that I snapped my right arm, and or dislocated my shoulder.  As I slid to a stop the pain in my shoulder and knee quickly took over.  However I did hike back up get my ski and ski the line I had just fallen on.  After the adrenaline wore off the pain really started to sink in.  Sitting here as I write this, my knee resembles some sort of large fruit.  ACL test showed my knee is intact but I have massive swelling and can only bend my knee to 90 degrees.

Seems like just as soon as you get healthy enough to get back out there something else pops up, wether it be a nagging injury or a new one.  The most frustrating part is not being able to ski, or in some cases not being able to ski 100%.  Not exactly something I had imagined when I dreamed about becoming a professional athlete.  They never showed this in the movies, but then again when I’m headed up to the top of a line at sunrise, surrounded by mountain peaks as far as you can see and perfect snow, I think about people that aren’t able to do this so what am I complaining about?

We love you, just remember that.