This week we are going to do things a little different.
Yesterday we lost an amazing person. Emily’s dad Chuck. Before Chuck was diagnosed with ALS in his early 60’s he was the best skier I’d ever skied with (even at 60+). A complete badass. And an even better person and friend!
I remember very early in my relationship with Emily, when we absurdly decided to run around Mount Rainier (The Wonderland Trail) in 3 days (93 miles).
At that point I’d only met Chuck a few times.
Anyway, it was the end of the first day (30+ miles), and as it was getting dark, Emily and I, tired as could be, trudged up a brutal hill that led to our campsite.
And as a surprise, Chuck and his wife Sue (also an amazing person) showed up at our campsite located in the middle of Mount Rainier National Park, very far from home just to support our crazy journey.
At that time I had no idea if Emily’s parents thought we were insane… (which we kind of were/are). But I remember being so surprised that they showed up in the middle of nowhere to support us, and when he (and Sue) arrived they both gave me a big hug. It was in that moment, feeling beat down from the 30+ miles on the trail that I knew Chuck (and Sue) were very special people that I was lucky to have in my life.
In Chuck’s honor this Feel Good Friday is going to be about skiing/snowboarding powder days, the best powder days I’ve had, and where you can find them.
Crystal Mountain Resort
The home of the heaviest power days I’ve ever experienced. Steep and deep (as they call it). It will swallow your skies or board whole if you aren’t careful.
Also, home of the most amazing Mount Rainier views on bluebird days.
If you are advanced, and get a chance to ski/board here, make sure you hike The King, home of Chuck’s favorite run at his home resort!
An awe inspiring ski resort that ranks near the top for most skiers/boarders, which is the home of one of my earliest major (light) powder days. Where my brother and I skied/boarded waist deep laps from the Blackcomb Showcase T-Bar. It was EPIC!!!
This is also the home of one of Chuck’s biggest family gifts, and biggest ski trip blunders :-).
He planned and paid for the WHOLE family to rent a sweet on-mountain condo!
The only problem is… you can’t predict snowfall when planning ski adventures (even in January), and the mountain hadn’t been getting any snow. In fact, there was so little snow that people were mountain biking (on dirt) under the lower ski lifts.
We all still had a great time hanging out and skiing/boarding (ice) at the top of the mountain, but whenever we brought the trip up with Chuck it would get a bitter response :-).
Steamboat Ski Resort
Home of the world renowned Champagne Powder and the best mountain bus system that I’ve ever experienced (and it’s free)! If you can afford the insane lift ticket prices ($200+) you will find powder bliss here. The lightest and fluffiest that I’ve experienced!
This is home of the deepest power day that Chuck ever skied. Chest deep, light powder that dreams are made of! That’s right, chest deep!! We heard this story often, and I’m still searching for chest deep powder at Steamboat!
Grand Targhee Resort
On the west side of the Teton Mountains, Grand Targhee is the home of the most powder days I’ve every snowboarded.
A small mountain feel, with light, deep snow, where you can ski/board refilling laps all day long!
Not to mention you can park in their lot overnight, and walk from your RV/van to the lift in about 5 minutes. Don’t tell anyone! 😉
This is also the home of the best powder day I’ve ever had, courtesy of Chuck (via FaceTime) encouraging us to ABSOLUTELY pay the extra money for Early Tracks (where you pay money to get on the mountain an hour before the rest of the crowds, with a guide)!
We had the whole mountain to ourselves, and although Chuck wasn’t there, his encouragement made this day happen.
Now that Chuck is gone he will be missed more than any words that I can write, but I will think of him every ski/boarding day I have, and especially after my biggest crashes! If you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning!
PS if you need anything… I am here for you!