A good friend came to town and we did how Aspen does: ski, apres, party, sleep…repeat. Jonny Klemchuk (@JonnyKlemchuck) was only in town for a couple of days, so we took advantage of sunny skies and warm temps to have a lil costume fun on the hill. Reprising his original role as Buddy the Elf, Jonny found himself experiencing the allure of Aspen’s frontside and even worked his way through the Nastar for giggles. Big Thanks to Trew Gear for keepin us classy and AspenSnowmass for the hospitality. Oh yeah…and to Silver Queen & Pat Sewell for the nightlife. “Best Day of my Life!”
The Pat and Tats Show is back on program, and we’ve kicked it off with our first season of Saddle Up with Pat and Tats, presented by Tecnica/Blizzard. With minimal snowfall this early season, Pat’s dreams have been full of powder shredding and good times from last season’s escapades. Throw in some dirt skiing and you can call it early season!
Watch this and pray for snow…it’s time to shred again!
Caught some good turns saturday with some great friends – Casey Vandenbroek and Pat Sewell. We hiked Highlands bowl for the first time this season, and although the conditions are still a bit gnarly, we found a nice windlip to have some fun with. Enjoy the pictures, courtesy of Jeremy Swanson and Aspen SkiCo.
The winter season here in Aspen has started on a slower note this year, with a big snowfall before Thanksgiving and next to no snowfall since then. This has made for a different approach to December skiing. Upon my arrival back from the East Coast, I’ve been hiking for some turns, mostly just to build up some leg strength for the long season ahead. The downhill portion of the experience has been a good amount of groomer skiing – about as fast as my baggy Trew Gear will let me go – down runs like the infamous Spar Gulch and Copper Gulch on Ajax. I’ve seen more carving and racing skis on my friends skis than I’d ever imagine, as the off-piste isn’t really begging to be skied yet. So, groomers it is and people have just been flying down the hill.
With a dearth of new snow, the call was made to gather atop Buttermilk for a sacrificial bonfire to appease the Norse God Ullr. With Ullr being the god of skiing and hunting, everything from old pairs of skinny skis to collected bacon grease was offered to the fiery pit, in part with some theatrics to complete the effect. It is like the mountain town equivalent to the burning of tires and plastic coolers to mark the end of the Indy500, supposedly to appease the race car gods. We even wrote our wishes down on scraps of paper and burnt them in hopes of their coming to fruition. Coinciding with the full moon, the hike up and the ski back down were perfectly lit for some early winter antics and some squirrelly turns. Hopefully, Ullr’s patronage has been sparked, and the snow will start to accumulate in its fluffy depths.
Just found this photo online from our opening day at Highlands. We wanted to get some slash turn shots on the cornice at the top of Highlands Bowl for the AspenSnowmass #contentcrew, and after a few slashes Pat Sewell came in oozing with style. As you can see, it ended well for him – surprisingly there were no rocks – and he got back up grinning like the stoke monkey he seems to be. Haha…classic!
This week, I’ll be the live-in chef at the POC house in Breckenridge for the first stop of Winter Dew Tour. We have some athletes competing in the park and pipe, and I’ll be lending my burgeoning cooking skills to the team. Bacon, eggs, lasagna, burgers and spaghetti will be the name of the game this week, and after our enormous shopping frenzy at Costco, we should be stocked for the week. It’ll be great to connect with my jibbing counterparts and maybe I’ll pick up some shred tips throughout the week. With guys like Tucker Perkins, Joss Christiansen, Walter Wood and more, it shouldn’t be too difficult to learn that backflip I keep thinking about. After last season’s Freeskier ski test and my first backflip attempt, I can truthfully say I’m at least halfway there!
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.