Friday, October 29, 2010

Preseason Stoke Meter: HIGH

If you live anywhere near the Pacific Northwest you’ve heard the headlines: SNOWMAGEDDON 2010/2011 IS COMING! Every major news source in the area has run multiple stories/articles on the predicted La Nina phenomenon brewing in the oceans, which is poised to bring a colder and wetter than average winter to the area. KIRO TV actually hosted a half hour special on the upcoming La Nina. With memories of past lowland snow events (see: December 2008) still fresh in local minds, the First Snowflake Freak-Out Lady from the infamous Pemco Insurance commercial is already…..well, freaking out. Of course, on the other hand, the rest of us skiers and snowboarders are rejoicing.

If you’re anything like myself, you’ve already got the board(s) waxed, taken the snowboard rack out of storage (along with new stickers applied to the fairing), and gotten the snow tires ready for the Subaru. Sure it’s only the end of October, but the light dusting of snow we received above 4000’ is really giving us powder whores a sno-ner (snow boner for those not in the know). I can’t recall a previous season where I was this excited so early.

Mount Baker Ski Area also posted a quick tidbit that didn’t help my anxiety. They brought up the fact that the last time they had a La Nina season directly follow an El Nino year in ’98-‘99, they set the world record for snowfall at 1,140”! Just FYI, that snowfall total is 80% MORE than Baker’s total snowpack for last season. They actually had to dig out snow underneath some of the lifts in order for them to run! If we get anywhere near that snowpack, I’ll be in heaven.

Despite all the talk about a great season, I’m really trying hard not to get too excited. With the stoke meter so high this early in the season, it’ll be an extreme disappointment if the local ski areas don’t end up with record-setting snowpack. In my mind anything better than last season will suffice, but I can’t help but think of the extreme possibilities of an epic snowpack that is possible with a La Nina year.

So fellow sno-nerd, how high is your preseason stoke meter?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fresh Tracks

Welcome to the inaugural post of The Chronicles of Gnarnia! I figured I’d spend the first post introducing myself, and this blog’s purpose. First I’d like to get one major thing out of the way: I am in no way, shape, or form a writer. Rather I am engineer, a technical species that is known more for numbers and social ineptitude than someone who can form letters into words, words into sentences, and sentences into complete thoughts. I wanted to broach this subject before I start getting negative feedback about my blog because of my obvious lack of grammatical control. I will have to give some props to my editor; the Social Narcissist (read her blog at

Time to fully introduce yours truly: I like to think of myself as your average mid-twenties, college-edumacated, young professional. My favorite food is milksteak, and favorite hobby is magnets. I like ghouls, funny little green ghouls, and dislike people’s knees. I’ve spent the majority of my life in the Pacific Northwest, aside for an unfortunate stint in dirrrrrty south.

Most people think that since I’ve spent so much time near the beautiful PNW Cascades, I have been snowboarding since my youth. This is not the case. My parents are originally from the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota for those not in the know) and have never known the joys of big mountain winter sports. Instead, their idea of winter entertainment includes snowmobiling and ice fishing. Even after their move out west to start a family they failed to pick up the beautiful art of skiing. Don’t worry mom and dad; I don’t resent you for not exposing me to snowboarding earlier in life.

It wasn’t until age of 16 that I strapped on my first snowboard to attempt my first turns. I was immediately hooked, but only as a casual enthusiast. For the next few years I averaged 5-6 days on the mountain. I never had a consistent string of snow days to elevate my skill to the next level. That is, until I started hitting the slopes with a friend from college, DBro.

DBro opened my eyes to a new level of skiing/boarding. He grew up in Colorado and has been skiing since he was a wee little tyke. Riding with him took me into terrain I would have never considered riding, and helped push me both mentally and physically to the next level of shreddage. Instead of being content with my ability, I now had the drive to push myself further than I ever thought I was capable of.

In the time since DBro and I started shredding together I’ve spent every mountain day I’ve had pushing myself further than the previous day, evolving from a casual hobbyist to full-blown snowboard addict. Last year during my first full season riding with DBro, I chalked up a total of 29 days conquering 10 different mountains in four states and one Canadian province. I’m poised to top that this season with trips planned to Whistler, Mount Bachelor, Schweitzer, Tahoe, Colorado, and an epic cat ski trip in the Canadian backcountry, along with my usual local PNW mountains.

Why start a blog and write about my adventures? I’m no pro (or even close to it) so why would anyone care about where I go and what I do? For the most part, this blog is a memento for myself. I want to be able to go back, 5/10/15 years down the road and recall some of the best times of my life and share it with close friends and family. I also want to write this blog to inspire the average Joe weekend warrior. Snowboarding is all about evolution and progression, whether it’s a pro pushing the physical limits of the human body or someone like me trying to evolve to the next level. I’m hoping to inspire those like me to continue to push their own limits and share their story with others as well.

Hope you enjoy my rambling future posts of epic greatness and The Chronicles of Gnarnia!