Pat Sewell is one of a kind. Considered by many to be the pied piper of Aspen, he’s most often seen skiing with throngs of friends, family, and fans tailing him around his home resort of Aspen/Snowmass. More specifically, he can be found soul shredding on his home mountain, Ajax, where you can be hard pressed to beat him to the bottom of his favorite runs like the Zaugg Dump, Face to Chair 6, or Trainors Ridge. A skier like Pat can test your skiing creativity and bravado, with swift, calculated turns leading the way down Aspen’s famed steeps and deeps. Or maybe it’s his smooth, creamy style of skiing, like a jazz guitarist’s fingers playing a silky riff. He is as much the heart and soul of the ski hill as he is the wild pillager, slashing his way down the fall-line zones leaving no powder stash untouched.
This is why I decided to partner up with P.Sewell this season. In an effort to better understand Aspen through one of its most interesting skiers, I was excited at the prospect of not only learning the nuances of a 3200 vertical-feet, 675 acre hill and the little town nestled below, but also the the chance to share some of the road-tripping stories and influences I bring with me in the TatsVan. A big part of this experience has been traveling with Pat this season, outside of the Aspen bubble (and his perceived comfort-zone) and onto the open road.
The following edit is from our TatsVan trip to Jackson Hole for Powder Week, one of the magazine’s biggest shred sessions and parties of the season under the guise of a ‘ski-test’. We were brought up to represent Blizzard skis, as testers from Powder threw on some of our new FlipCore skis like the Bodacious and the Cochise for some turns on the frontside and in the backcountry. Add in a grotto-like hot tub and some of the best freeskiers and freeski writers/photographers this side of Kathmandu, and the week was full of debauchery. Late-night parties, fresh powder, gelande quaffing championships, and meeting Benny Wilson and the Jaded Local were some of the highlights from the week.
It was an all-time high for us ski bums lucky enough to make the trip to Jackson, but as is with most good things, we were delivered with some tough news to balance it all out. Following a fall at the recent Kirkwood stop of the Freeskiing World Tour, our friend, and Blizzard teammate, Ryan Hawks passed away in his hospital bed in Reno. The news hit hard, and with memories of C.R. Johnson’s death the previous year at Powder Week, it was something that many in the group had experienced personally before. It is interesting though, to witness the effect that a few inches of fresh snow, some bro-hugs, and some late-night philosophical discussions can help a grieving heart.
Big thanks to Frank Shine & Jed Duke at Tecnica/Blizzard, Matt Hansen and Staff at Powder Magazine, the staff at the Snake River Lodge & Spa, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and to Ullr for once again delivering powder during Powder Week.
You may or may not have heard of the old TatsVan. She was a trusty wagon, fit for hauling adventurers of any capacity. Her time was spent on the open road, in search of nasty road conditions, with which she proved her mettle time and time again. The dings and dents, scratches and rust – she always took a beating with such grace – nothing could mask her innate ability to make friends and keep her seats filled with travelers of the ski and raft bum kind.