1) Ski 100 Days
It’s a cliché benchmark but a 100-day + season is a sign of true dedication. There’s just something different about a skier after they complete a 100-day stint. Although it’s just a number; it does mean something and those dedicated to the sport will make the 100-day season happen at least once but should aim for two or more.
A lot of people side-step into the “most dangerous run in North America” but a self-respecting skier will enter the gate, ski right past the peanut gallery, and edge a turn into the couloir. Note: This is a BEST SKIER ON THE MOUNTAIN move. Not to mention, that turn inspired some 50 year old destination skier, who’s always thought about dropping into the couloir to maybe—just maybe, do it tomorrow.
Every dignified skier must make a pilgrimage to the east coast’s wildest ski area—Mad River Glen. “Ski It If You Can” is the motto and the single chair will drop you into some densely wooded, ungroomed, and especially spicy terrain that takes courage and time to master.
Instagram feeds of Chamonix are often limited to shots of the top station of the Aiguille du Midi. However, self respecting skiers need not even ride the sickest tram (or cable car) in the world. All that’s required is to wake up, drink espresso, eat a croissant, and then ski anywhere in the Chamonix Valley. Come back at the end of the day and repeat the previous steps.
No need to explain this one. Just make sure you time it right.
In honor of Shane, hike up to the Palisades, take a few steps back from the edge, and pole hard off the top cornice. Whatever you do—do something. It doesn’t have to be a McConkey backflip but do a spread eagle and stomp it. If a yard sale ensues, deduct 1000 GNAR points.
Since we’re on the subject of GNAR… Every skier (respected or not) needs to ski a BN, preferably inbounds, at the home resort, in balls (or vagina) deep powder. No more of this waiting for it to be warm crap. Just do it in January.
There’s nothing like an old school helicopter. Arms stretched out to the sides, feet together, and a look of determination that exudes confidence make the helicopter a must do for any ripper. Although it might have faded with the early 90’s and the innovation of twin tip skis, a true helicopter is eternal and it’ll get skiers laid… True Story.
A wise man once said, “if you’re not tomahawking, you’re not trying”. And any dedicated ski bum will, one way or another, experience a season ending injury that blows—big time. However, without the worst times, it’s hard to appreciate the best times. So after the comeback, when magic snow puffs are billowing over the shoulder, smiles become that much bigger.
Whether it’s the Haute Route or a yurt in the middle of nowhere Idaho, hut trips are essential to a well-rounded ski bum life. No service, no problem—just ski. However huts can be smelly and loud (because of the smelly), so earplugs and nose plugs come highly recommended. At the end of a day of ski touring, crank up the fire and drink whiskey. Is this heaven?
Sell the dog, the car, your body—whatever it takes to get to Alaska, rent an RV, and camp out in the parking lot of the closest Heli-op. Whether it’s Haines, Cordova, or Valdez, it doesn’t matter. Just get there. It may take a freshly opened credit card and a mountain of debt to make it happen but after being dropped off on a knife edge ridge, above a 50 degree face—everything fades away. Take a deep breath, pole off the top, and send it pussy.
Although not as significant as skiing a 100 days, skiing every month of the year is pretty core. Getting turns in September is an exercise in futility (trust me I’ve done it) and salutes are in order for those that commit to completing the feat.