Mike Wilson throwing a Double Backflip at Squaw Valley USA. Skier Mike Wilson – Backflip

The Line of the Week - Line and Words by Mike Wilson

The Line of the Week - Line and Words by Mike Wilson


The Line of the Week - Line and Words by Mike Wilson


Photo by: Ryan Salm
Line and Words by Mike Wilson

When Ryan asked me to shoot a “line of the week” for UnofficialNetworks.com, at first there were so many options. Do I head straight to the Fingers? How about the Nest? Or better yet, the Palisades? I had been out for a few days with a nasty cold, hawking up blood and all, so i was stoked to feel a little better and go send it.

I got to the hill and called Ryan and found out he’s riding back in Granite. I never go back there. I mean, why ride a slow triple when there are so many high speed lifts on Squaw accessing the best terrain in the world? So a half hour later I find myself pulling into granite, hearing everyone rave about the snow. Sounds good. Ryan just got first tracks on the peak. Sounds better! But what the heck am I gonna do, I don’t know any “lines” in Granite, just some small cliffs.

On our first lift ride up, Ryan and I discuss my lack of knowledge when it comes to Granite, so I head to the only cliff I know, cause the lift runs directly over it. I go to step out a takeoff, and scope the landing, but the takeoff is too steep, and doesn’t work for what I wanted. Everyone on the lift was yelling, “there’s a rock in the landing” but I had no intention of being near any rocks. As I hiked up, about to give up on it, I noticed a natural wind lip about 30 feet back from the edge of the cliff. Perfect, I have a takeoff. I step it out to make sure it wont collapse, look again, all good. We spin a lap and Ryan sets up. I’m still kinda high on cold medicine so I’m questioning if I should be messing with this, but decide to go for it. I drop in, pointing it from the top of the lift. Right as I made the turn to send it, some snowboarder cuts straight in front of me, clearly not used to how we do things at Squaw. I was a little frustrated, but still hike back to the top to do it again. This time I decided I was going to take my time, wait on the sun, wind, and people. It’s good, so I dropped in and sent it. As soon as I take off I realize the Cold medicine is in full effect, and I’m flying upside down, with no idea what I’m doing.

Long story short, I missed my feet and blew up in a cloud of white. I was so embarrassed to have landed so poorly and let the girls down that I immediately decided to redeem myself and send it again. This time, knowing how much time I had, I decided a double was just as easy even though I was basically lost in the air. I got to the top and Ryan was ready. I waited on the wind for about 15 minutes as the peanut gallery built. I whacked my pole a few times for GNAR points even though I was hitting a kicker 30 yards away, and dropped in. Double backflip, check. As I saw my landing I was staring into the far side of some jerks bomb hole. I was jumping across the cliff, like 60 degrees to everyone elses angle. I hit, compressed, and felt my heels coming out. Next thing I know, I’m running downhill through waist deep pow trying not to fall, with both my skis still implanted in the snow where I first impacted.

I’m not wild about having photos run of me that I didn’t land. That said, had that bomb hole not been there, I killed this (GNAR claim). I didn’t land it cleanly, either time. But I decided that my cold medicine cloud wasn’t leaving anytime soon, and I was better off calling it a day before I did something dangerous. Time for Wildflower, I need a Cookie!

The Line of the Week will be a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest skiers skiing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. For more of Ryan’s work check out www.ryansalmphotography.com



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