The Line of the Week – Smooth Air
Photo’s by Ryan Salm
Rider & Words by Julian Hanna
Late March 2011
Today was good, really good. It started the day before with the upper mountain remaining closed as the front of the storm raged through and left Tahoians in anticipation of untouched fresh. Blue skies, cold temps, 40 plus inches of pow, and a midweek vibe set the scene that morning. The Palisades, Silverado and Granite all opened right off the bat. I was giddy.
All things considered, the crowd scene was light at Squaw. But don’t think that the rippers weren’t on it, they were. Lines were getting ridden hard left and right; air shows were plentiful. Today was the type of day where almost everyone won the Squaw game.
I chose my way to the upper mountain and shared in the bluebird stoke: Full reset! The wet Sierra storm glopped piles of snow onto Squaw’s steep precipices. Schmidiots got skied. Winter is relentless here: Squaw broke 700 inches for the season and there is a winter storm warning in effect as I write this (meaning another 1 to 2 feet). This last storm wave filled in a line that I haven’t ridden in a few seasons.
Looking up from the chair lift on Granite I saw two soldiers standing on top of the line I was eyeing. Good for them, bad for me. But early Silverado pow turns were worth it. By the time I hiked up and stood on top of Smooth Air my thoughts were confirmed: two bomb holes in the landing. I could see the take off pad that the skiers had packed down. Ryan skied down to set up for a shot (not before taking an air with his camera pack on), and I grabbed my board and strapped in about 10 feet above the ski tracks. It’s called Smooth Air because when you do it right it is one of the smoothest airs at Squaw (watch McConkey hit it in Immersion). I cleared the bomb holes that morning but Smooth Air remains on my rebate list once this next storm rolls out of Tahoe.
The Line of the Week will be a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography.
For more of Ryan’s work, check out http://ryansalmphotography.photoshelter.com