A Weekend at the Beast

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Unlike my usual weekends of riding with my bros, I set out to Killington for a weekend full of photo shoots, late night wifi/electricity hunting and of corse, sunburn.

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Friday : The Start

The weekend started at the 4th of July parade in Warren, VT. If you’ve never been, GO! It’s nationally known for it’s monstrous crowd of dancing humans in front of the Warren General Store. Every year since birth I had been part of the parade in a float with Peggy and Sparky Potter. For those of you who don’t know who those two are, they’re the mother and father of the one and only Gracie Potter.

Following the parade I met up with some friends from Mass, and New Hampshire who I hadn’t seen in a fairly long time (for a 16 year old). We hung out in the crowd of people dancing and doing our thing until it was time for me to meet up with my ride to Killington. The original plan was for me take a bus up to Sugarbush to meet my buddy Brooks, but things didn’t go as we presumed.

Apparently it’s a legal law stating that you’re not allowed public transportation with any kind of explosive. The way the bus driver told me that was more like “Get off my bus you hooligan it’s extremely illegal for you to carry that on here!” Thus I parted from my friends and was just standing there on the curb with a whole duffle full of bike gear in one hand, and a leaking propane tank in the other.

I was thankfully in Vermont where everyone is part of a community, aka everyone is very kind to any neighbor. So I walked to the nearest house and asked for the phone, called Brooks, and then waited, for an hour n’ a half. Sitting there with no service, because again, it’s Vermont. I just sat and sat knowing that eventually Brooks would show up to go have a killer weekend. Turns out he was late because his parents made him clean his room. Classic. We set out on our 2 hour drive to the base of Killington and began preserving iPhone battery life like it was our life that only had 20%.

Upon arrival we pitched or tent, built a fire, and went for a sunset shoot with our friends Evan and his younger brother Ian.

Eventually it was pitch black so we set back toward the parking lot where we would box of our own area with cars/trucks, sleep in a trailer for 2 nights, eat 26 burritos, and dream of the sick riding that was yet to come.

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Saturday : Shooting 

We all awoke at the same time, to the trailer shaking more than it had been all night. I say all night because we were rocked for 8 hours by the 45mph wind gusts taking over Killington.

After we all did the classic wake n’ piss routine we met went to the store downtown to buy a couple boxes of cereal that was supposedly going to last us 2 days. It didn’t.

Following breakfast we rode all day eventually taking a break for lunch around 2. We met up around the same time with another rider, Areg, whom Brooks and I had previously shot with before at NEMBA Fest.

We ate, we fixed the rear hub on Evan’s bike, and we snagged last chair up the mountain to shoot for the next 3 hours in dry heat with a zillion mosquito’s all over. We got some stellar video and great photos that will be up later this week.

After we had gotten our shots we rode down to camp and I took a river bath because I hate being dirty. Everyone always notices this when we’re camping and knows I’d be trouble to backpack with. I just needed to get the extra layer of caked mud off my body. I just didn’t want to try and sleep with feeling that gross. When I was back at camp we all pooled our money together, headed to the store and bought all the beef and cheese burritos we could buy. Turned out to be only 25. Yes, we bought all the burritos in the store. Grilled them up, and sat around the campfire sharing tales of injuries and memories of other good times. All the while we set of some fireworks Areg brought for us, then headed to bed.

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Sunday : Race Day

Sunday was the work day. Get up, eat, and get to the top of the downhill race track so I could start writing my pinkbike.com article. There was just one glitch, Brooks was sick.

Not just like a cough, but he could barely walk, let alone go hike around downhill track shooting photos. So he left. He left for the doctors, eventually just ending up back home in the MRV having learned he somewhere along the way got bronchitis.

Shooting the race was nearly a disaster. My speed light wasn’t working. Racers kept coming at awkward times. A 38 year old had to be taken down in a stretcher because they smacked a tree and we soon learned that they blew up their kneecap, thus causing a 30 minute race delay. When you’re on a mountain that has no cell service I was just sitting on the track waiting for another racer to eventually show up.

Once I had gathered my self to start taking good photos the racers began to come again. What I didn’t know what that the list of racers was almost done, and I was only at the half way mark. It seemed impossible, upon reviewing my shots, to bring my self together and write an overview of the race that would seem likely to ever be read. Turns out it was liked enough that it was put on the homepage of PinkBike.com in front of thousands of riders worldwide. Over all the weekend seemed to work out better than planned. I went into it just hoping for a good time and some great photos, but turned out to be sick ridding, excellent photos, but all in all just a great time. I’m looking forward to shooting more races and potentially being able to write more photojournalism, and potentially have it as a career.

You can find my article here : POC ESC Downhill Cup #2 – Killington, VT

My photos can be found here : POC ESC Downhill Cup #2 – Killington, VT

Into Spring

With ski season coming to a close the summer option of still shredding down the mountain has begun. Check out this short film taken yesterday (Saturday May 10th) at Sugarbush.

The idea of making a short mountain bike film arose amongst my friends and I in a group chat just brainstorming fun things to do for the weekend. So, thus the film. Made over the course of 7 hours on the mountain; thats 3 shooting film, 4 shooting stills, all the while lugging 50 lbs of gear on our backs. It was an epic way to start of the shooting season with my friends Brooks, Ben, Brandon, and Zak. We ended up not going to bed until 3 am Sunday because I wanted to prove that I could finish a short film in under 24 hours, and not turn out half bad.

On Sunday Ben had to return home to Wellesley, Massachusetts for mothers day, while Brooks and I headed to North East, Vermont to go ride Kingdom Trails. I hadn’t ridden there before so Brooks insisted that I join him and over all turned out to be quite the epic day of riding.

With my muscles torn to bits and in the healing process I now head to a mothers day dinner at a local restaurant. What one hell of a way to start the summer.

 

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Home Town Hero’s

Local freestyle skier Johnny Egan recently attended a national Junior Free skiing Championship out West at Big Sky, Montana. After fundraising his way to the mid-west to fulfill a “dream come true”; Johnny showed his north eastern shredding style by flying down some of the gnarliest terrain available in North America. Though Johnny wasn’t seen amongst most to be in the top, he sure showed his many years of shredding the mountain and filling the big shoes left by his father, John Egan, who has starred in many ski films across the globe along with his brother Dan Egan. Hopefully Johnny will continue to show his talent at the world stage for years to come, and it’s an honor to say I grew up learning the sport of skiing with this incredible athlete.

Johnny was awarded 11th place after the first day of competition and then moved up to 8th on the second and final day of competition.

I would also like to congratulate another local free skier, and friend, Ben Friedman on his stellar performances out west.

Make sure to check out his video from his two day’s of competition at Big Sky below.

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Back in December my friend Ben blew out his ACL from landing a ski jump “wackky”. Since then he has been able to pretty much do just about anything, and because of a recent concussion his surgery isn’t going to happen for a while. Since his injury we’ve been searching for ways to incorporate him into our edits. Thus was born a “slEDIT” aka “sledding-edit”.

We spent about 5 hours hiking up and down throughout his backyard trying to get some footage to throw together, and overall I don’t think it came out nearly as bad as we thought.

I hope you enjoy it!

“When in doubt, sled it out.”

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3 Days of POW

Wednesday night was the start of a dream becoming reality. As the snow started to fall that day, the moral of Sugarbush skiers was boosted to the peak of “stoke”. We as a community were thriving for more snow. After only getting the “Valentines Day Storm #2″ the woods started to thin again. With the exception of a few inches here and there end of winter was almost in sight.

Over a week before the storm would hit, we received alerts from all the weather services issuing a Winter Storm advisory, with over 15″ inches of snow expected. That’s 1-2 inches ever hour. Wednesday was perfect for prepping our legs for the days ahead.

Wednesday nigh was spent in a hut at the top of one of Sugarbush’s peaks. We waited throughout he night waiting until we could unleash our selves from the cabin we were ‘trapped’. By the time we all fell as sleep there was already 5 inches of fresh flurrying around the porch outside our window. Finally passing out next to a heater, I remember just dreaming of powder pilling up outside.

When we awoke on Thursday morning our dream came true. We stepped outside the hut and clicked into our skis, the winds were howling throughout the area. The drifts were over 4 feet tall in some spots. We made out way down with explosions of speed jumping in and out of the waist deep snow below. It was a fresh 22″ up top, and as we descended it dropped to only 12″. When we finally took a break, just before exiting our run, we turned and saw only that our tracks were covered up almost entirely from the winds moving the snow back into a flattened surface. It was like we hadn’t even been there, only the memories remain from that run. The soft gentle beat of snow flying from my waist to face in a smooth movement. It was truly  dream come true.

From there we traversed out onto the path of others who had skinned up that morning. When we finally got to the base we realized that almost all the chairs were on wind-hold, including all the lifts at Mt. Ellen. The line’s at the base of Lincoln Peak were crazy. Over 300 feet from where the first chair was.

As we went skiing past all the people in line they were in obvious aw at how much snow was coating our apparel. We made our way in side to thaw out, after all it was -10 with the windchill. For breakfast it was egg n’ sausage McMuffins perfectly packed with flavor and protein that would get us through the rest of the day.

I then parted from the group that I spent the night with on-top of the mountain. I meet up with my dad (Todd) who I hadn’t taken runs with since I was 3. It was a really great couple of fast pow runs starting off with “The Mall” which is his favorite trail. I took a big spill near the bottom after boosting almost on to my father, but instead made my way off to the left side and loosing control. Then backwards tomahawk’d for a solid 30 feet. It was quite the way to wake up entirely, mostly because the inside of my jacket was coated in snow. We then parted ways after two more down “Twist” to “Moonshine”, then a “Murphy’s” to “L. Bird Land”.

I meet up with a crew that I stuck with for the rest of the day.This new group was more pumped up about this day than I was; pretty hard to beat if you ask me. But they were not going to be waiting around, so we immediately left the lodge to go shred into some lower mountain woods. After two runs there we got word that ‘Castle Rock’ was off of wind-hold and made our way through the 20 minute lift line, over to the top of ‘Heaven’s Gate’. The trail to get there consisted of big wind drifts and parts that were balls deep when ascending. It took the whole group 40 minutes to get over to a trail called “Paradise” and on that day I couldn’t have given it a better name my self. Even though it was already skied by others, you really couldn’t see any of they’re tracks. As we made our way down it gave me the exact same feeling as that morning.

Towards the end of “Paradise” the trail is known for a rock that’s 15 feet tall and just absolutely beautiful. On most days you can’t actually send it off the thing because there’s always a foot ball field of moguls afterwards. But instead we were gifted with only powder. So we packed it down, hiked up and ended up going way bigger than planned. It was something that we East Coast Ski’s don’t get to do everyday. The rest of that run was pure bliss. By the time we got back to the base it was 2pm and all of us were burned out. So we grabbed my camera and went off to take some woods runs. *The video from that will be in a film soon to come. If you follow my blog you’ll know when it’s out and where to find it!* As the day came to an end we went our own ways and look ahead for more pow to come.

Friday morning was a different kind of day. I meet up with a friend from UVM and shredded hard from 10-3 just lapping under the lifts at Mt. Ellen. Since it was closed the day before due to weather conditions, the soft 22 inches was still there. The snow was a lot heavier though; it was very dense and didn’t seem like we were going to have much fun. But when there’s snow out there, it’s hard not to just spend all day skiing it.

We took the camera out for a lap and shot some photos on “Upper FIS” which was the my hypocritical trail. It went from being a sheet of ice, to big powdery moguls.  The feeling of charging lines down that trail is always fun. Anytime you go airborne you’re going no less than 15 feet. The photos and videos from the past 3 days can be found on my photography website: snophotography.com

Keep those snow dances going because winter isn’t over yet!

High Fives 2014 Final

The High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon  was a total success this year. A day full of fun, fast runs. Starting at 9 and proceeding all the way until 4 lapping The Summit Chair at Mount Ellen.

In the morning it was overcast, cold, windy and had about a fresh 4 inches of snow on top of the freshly groomed surface. I spent the better half of my day on the chair with a new friend, and long time (for a 20 year old) photographer, Brooks Curran. Most of you might know his father from Curran Photography. They’re an amazing studio jam packed full of creativity. Brooks is the mere prodigy of his father. Go check out their website here at Curran Photography.com.

All in all the day consisted of good food, good friends, and plenty of high fives to go around.

Thank you everyone who donated this year! You helped me make my goal of $500 and also helped The High Fives Foundation make their goal of $80,000!

Check out the video and you’ll see both me and Brooks be awarded A TIE for 1st place. He got the skis, I got the “swag bag”.

Enjoy!