-These are the best days that we've ever had- written by Scotty VerMerris
When asked if I wanted to travel on the road to over 60 resorts and 9 different states to help host a Demo/Ski Tour for Icelantic this winter season I calmly answered "Yea I'm in" like it was no big deal. Really on the inside I was elated. It's not often that someone like me gets an opportunity to travel around the west in a bad ass truck with his buddy and favorite dog to ski North America's best terrain while sharing a homegrown product that he loves and believes in with as many skiers as possible. Of my few concerns going into this, snow conditions were one major factor in my thinking. As a dedicated skier and powder addict I could just see us driving in the opposite direction of a storm in order to make our next destination, or leaving Utah and hearing every week that home is having the best season of the decade and we happen to be missing it due to our nomadic lifestyle. Well we win because these pessimistic visions have not even been a near reality. So far the epic tour experience that one could only hope for has been our reality. For the first month of our journey everywhere we went it was dumping snow and good times.
It all started on Saturday, November 29'th at Winter Park. Ashley, Sam, Logan and Thomas kicked of the '08/'09 Icelantic Demo Tour in style bringing a new Demo Truck, 30 pairs of skis, plenty of Bloody Mary mix and a wolf dog named Thor to greet the public and introduce the Warrior line. –It Was Dumping-
On Sunday Parr, Annelise, Ashley and JC pulled into Loveland ski area with a lineup of enthusiasts ready to try the skis. Everyone got their first legitimate face shots of the season. –It Was Dumping-
I flew in Sunday night. On Monday we met up with riders Cory Zila and Eric Mowatt. Logan, Ashley and team riders showed up for two days in Breckenridge. Access Denied = setting up on the sidewalk in front of Mountain Wave. One guy tried the skis and then went inside and bought a pair. You can't stop us.
The snow began to fall again as we ascended upon A-Basin on Wednesday 12/3. Trivy was watching the webcam throughout the morning and he called to inform us that we were late and the ski rack he designed was set up perfectly. Thanks to Kim at A-Basin for everything! Thursday the 4'th marked what Ashley and I would call an epic day in the gallery in Denver. For Sam, Ben and Annelise it was just another day in the office. Artist Josh Weiner spent the day installing 7 sculptures. The next two nights were filled with gallery festivities and art showing. Pro rider Cory Zila showed up in style sporting two kegs comped by Tommyknockers Brewery. There is nothing like the Icelantic gallery on firs
t Fridays. Good times, GT's.
Ashley and I had a big night and woke up to a fire drill and made it to Copper Mountain just in time for the Demo. We laughed the whole way up I-70. We were granted parking on the bricks for two days next to the chairlift at Copper in front of our condo. We had another few solid ski days with all the locals testing the skis and loving it! I think my favorite moment of the Copper Demo was when Joey Gaper from Amarillo skied his rentals hot onto the bricks next to our tent demonstrating a perfectly executed scorpion to yard sale. No one offered him anything for his stuff so he picked it all up and strutted away all nonchalant like it was no big deal. Zila gave him a perfect score of 10.
The tour then moved to Steamboat to let people experience skiing the Icelantic's through their incredible Aspens groves. We lived large in Anne's condo and met up with Tele ripper Kevin Olsen for 3 days of, sledding, and demos. Team riders Eric Mowatt, myself, Kevin and Zila went off to shoot with photographer Jeff Nass in the backcountry up on Buff Pass. We got some descent shots, however Zila unfortunately broke his sled taking pow turns into a hidden rock. Meanwhile Ashley was on full throttle manning the demo tent for the masses. The next two days were filled with some solid turns and fresh snow. Thank you Angela at Steamboat for all the support!
The next morning we hit the road in a white out blizzard to Aspen. With a pocket full of dreams and a truck full of skis we set out and soon encountered what would be our first major bump in the road. Dude's car got a little dinged up. The folks in Aspen asked us to turn our vehicle around at the demo to hide the damage. Apparently Aspen has a dress code. At night we went out for live reggae by Don Carlos who is an example of the word "stoked" and he and Zila became friends. So many people loved the skis. –It was DUMPING!-
After our two best powder days yet at Aspen Highlands we spent a day at Snowmass and then barged down to Gunnison/Crested Butte. Good music and fresh powder snow skiing in Aspen where the beer flows like wine and the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano all served as reminders that life is good.
On the way down to Gunnison Ashley and I experienced a classic Tommy Boy moment while driving the truck through sketchy weather again. The wind was as intense as Ashley’s focus on the road that evening. It was almost like the wind itself was the cause of Ashley’s pearly white knuckles on the wheel. Our silence and the steady drone of the diesel engine was suddenly interrupted by a shockingly loud THWAP! as the hood of the truck was blown back against the windshield by the wind. The damage from our previous incident apparently caused us to suffer this compound consequence and of course our immediate response was to look at each other and scream “aaaahhhhhhhhhhh.” Luckily Ashley was able to pull over safely before we even had time to examine our unfulfilled lives flashing before our eyes. Due to the hood’s impact against the windshield it resembled a large bird bath with a one degrees celcius logo on the bottom. Being the professionals that we are we were able to successfully close the concave hood again by jumping up and down on it right there on the side of the road. We recovered the truck’s grill which flew off a ways back on the highway and then carefully made it the rest of the way to Gunnison. Never a dull moment.
As Ashley says, I had “a moment of brilliance” the next morning in crested Butte by following through with our ongoing joke. I hired an intern to help load, unload and have folks sign waivers and comment cards. This made for more skiing in yet another day of fresh snow. Thank you Eric from Western State for paving the way for all the college interns in the future of the demo tour. All interested please submit resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Why have a college internship that is not epic?
Speaking of epic, Wolf Creek was our next stop on the tour and was by far one of the major highlights of our whole December leg. Wolf Creek is a quiet resort with some loud terrain to be found if you know how to look. Populated mostly by locals this mountain has a lot to offer including privacy. We set up our tent and demoed skis right out of the parking lot and crushed it. Cory and I explored zone after zone filming mixed technical terrain and what seemed like endless freshies. Hitting cliffs for three days meant for a lot of good shots and sore necks. Nobody seemed to be skiing where we were and -It was power dumping- Thanks to Rosanne Pitcher and everyone in the Marketing Dept., couldn't have done it without you.
We left Wolf Creek with smiles on our faces and barged into Telluride right into a place way out of our league. Not to brag our condo was larger than life and had heated floors and a Jacuzzi. All rooms sported steam showers larger than one of T-Ride's gondolas and the whole crew including Pro Rider Nadia Kaliszewski showed up to celebrate and ski. Going from Wolf Creek to Telluride was perfect. I felt like I wasn't worthy of my own lifestyle. I have always said that T-Ride is my favorite town in the U.S. because every time I go back there I have the time of my life. I actually had a chance to say this on local television. Ashley and I did a short interview about the demo on plum TV. We acted so natural they wanted to hire us (inside joke sorry). This time was no different, we had a blast on the hill and in town. It's fun taking the Gondola to the bars. I really enjoyed the middle aged woman who sang Kareoki rock and pop songs in her opera voice and thought she was the coolest thing since MJ. The Fly Me Over The Moon Saloon still has my credit card.
Special thanks to Melanie from Hestra for coming down and joining us and thanks to Don at The Landings for the hook on the penthouse. Props to the Jagged Edge shop for all the support and just for being rad, oh and also for rescuing me with last minute Christmas gifts.
Everyone came together in Telluride with the common goal to shred Silverton. So after a couple days on the Mountain in Telluride that's what we did. Silverton is a special place just past Ouray over Red Mountain Pass. They sell tickets by reservation only, ther
e is one chairlift and in order to access the terrain one must be fully equipped with backcountry gear and the willingness to hike and traverse. Along with a couple handfuls of other people our posse slayed the front portion of this backcountry resort in style all day long. At the end of the day we were offered the opportunity to be guided up onto Tiger's Claw. We shredded two barely touched aspects on the way down and left fired up after crushing some legit big mountain lines. I was amused by the old UPS delivery trucks and buses they use for shuttles back their one lift. I'll go ahead and speak for our whole party when I say it was fun doing apre in the yurt which serves as Silverton's resort complex. There's something to be said about telling war stories and drinking beer crowded around a wood burning stove on recycled furniture from previous decades.
After a nice little break from the road for the Holidays we resumed tour and kicked off the New Year in Jackson with our new and definitely temporary Penske rental Van. You may remember me mentioning a mishap with the demo truck. Yea, well a couple weeks prior on the way to Aspen, we were driving through a storm in the boondocks and I hit black ice and slid the truck off the road. We travelled around for a couple weeks with a mirror and flashlights duct taped to the side and front left of the truck before we got it to the shop for repairs, hence the folk’s disaproval of the battered truck in Aspen and thus the new Team Penske, the bright yellow van reading “Dedication At Every Turn” down the side. This new and I assure you temporary vehicle quikly proved to be a liability with it’s awesome two wheel, rear wheel drive setup. Nonetheless we pulled this thang up front and center at the resort with pride ’cause like I said before you can’t touch us. Anyway, Jackson is always a favorite. So many good people and so much phenomenal terrain. We got a condo in Teton Village and set up shop in front of Teton Village Sports by The Mangy Moose for three days. Local pro-riders Nadia Kaliszewski and Jason Berning once again showed us the goods. The new tram is sweet. We saw the likes of Matt Hanson of Powder Magazine who made this blog possible. It was great Hanging out with you Matt, thanks for everything, I'm SUPER bummed I won't be able to make it to Japan with you guys. We also kicked it with Dustin from Teton Gravity Research. Dustin gave me a full tour of their offices and Keith was kind enough to give me some help and advice with video editing. Thanks to the boys and girls at TGR and TVS, thanks to Lisa in JHR Marketing, Neil and everyone else that helped us bring in the New Year with style. Thanks a lot to the guy who politely kicked me… I mean asked me to leave the store late-night, I mean early in the morning on New Years.
To be continued…