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August 10, 2014

Ten Years After

I could have chosen any hobby.

There was golf, an extremely popular choice in my family. There was gardening. Maybe gourmet cooking.

Instead, I started hanging around with people I met on Turns-All-Year, a Seattle-based backcountry ski forum and began pushing my ski season further and further into the summer and fall. Some people thought I was nuts; that everyone needed a break once in a while to heal and recharge, but as someone who always felt a letdown when the lifts closed it was perfect.

If you aren't familiar with the Turns-All-Year concept, there's no real rules or guidebook, but the generally accepted protocol is to ski at least once in each calendar month year-round. Most people shoot for a minimum number of vertical feet, but there is pretty much universal agreement that if the patch of snow you've walked 4 miles to get to is only 200 feet long, a couple of laps will do fine. I finished my first full year of TAY skiing in July of 2004 and proceded to "rest" on my laurels, thinking I'd done a cool thing. I missed the month of August by a few days on either end, skiing July 29th and September 2nd, and soon found out that all my TAY friends had all checked off August turns without me. Since then, I've managed to hit every month - though I came close when I broke my fibula at the beginning of December of 2006 and barely made it out to ski on the next-to-last day of January with a short and somewhat painful one lap trip to Hyak.

When Alex and I hit the "Cowadise" area on Rainier yesterday for two excellent corn runs on a perfect day, it marked my tenth year of year-round skiing madness, and it felt good. There are people I ski with who have much longer streaks, but it seems like 120 months is a sort of milestone separating the committed from the masses. Along the way I've made some great friends, skied some great lines, and expanded my grasp of the sport of skiing many-fold. Now for September turns!

Alex busts a move on the lower Paradise

Bumpy but fast corn on the steeper side of Cowlitz Rocks    Alex Meilleur photo

Alex killing it on the Paradise

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China: Wandering in the Middle Kingdom

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"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .

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