You know how it goes… get so busy skiing every day that you seem to forget to update your blog… I’m not saying thats a bad thing. Hopefully next season we can keep up with a more regular blog update for all you internet surfers out there! Currently, I’m sitting on a boat heading for the ocean to start my summer of commericial fishing. Although eager to get back to work, I already am reminiscing of the amazing times and sick lines we were able to ski the last few months of the season.
The Brigade in AK
After an amazing three weeks living out of my camper and at friends houses in Revelstoke, BC, we returned to Bozeman in early February to start the editing of BSTV ep 2: Revelstuck. I would go into details of the trip, but I feel that the video highlights our journey nicely (most excellent voice overs, Rob).
Most of Feb, we spent kicking around the home land, skiing Bridger Bowl and making frequent trips to ‘The High Country’. Luckily, we had great snow and stable conditions and were able to get on some bigger lines that we had been eyeballing in Montana. We spent quite a bit of time shooting with Popovich and the Radbots, as well as young Colter Brehmer making a few trips to come film with us.
Anderw Daigh – Hardscrabble Peak freeze frame
Colter Brehmer – Cork 3 cornice drop freeze frame
Steve Popovich – Somewhere sick
We had an awesome month of shooting and by early March it was time to hunker down in ‘The High Country’ with Sean Fithian and the Radbots to produce our homeland edit, BSTV ep 3: Oro y Plata. ( Oro y Plata is the Montana state slogan that is on the state flag…Silver and Gold, duh).
If you have never enjoyed a Montana Nose Bleed you are missing out, and if you don’t know what one is…. CLICK HERE
Mid March brought the competition season. The Freeskiing World Tour Qualifier came through Moonlight Basin. Randy and Joe had two solid days of skiing, taking home 3rd and 4th place. Next up was the FWQ in Crested Butte, where K T threw down some nasty lines and took home a nice pay check for 3rd place.
Joe Jasper sending it day one of the Moonlight Comp
The last three years, we have been entering the Bridger Bowl Point and Chute video competition. The Point and Chute is a local comp, where all footage has to be shot within the Bridger Bowl boundaries during operating hours. Other than that, anything goes which is really cool having an open format like that. Last winter, we won the comp with an edit that we shot throughout the winter featuring deep pow, big airs, and classic lines at B Bowl. This year, due to so much traveling, we were lacking enough quality ski shots to put an edit together. We were brainstorming over some beers, and came up with the idea to make a Greg Stump style edit that pays tribute to his video segments shot at Bridger of badass skiers like Tom Jungst and Scot Schmidt. We collected some old school gear, trimmed Randy’s mustache, and headed out for a half day of filming that turned out to be the most popular video we have created.
The entire season, we kept saying that we were going to make an Alaska trip happen in April. It was up in the air and didn’t seem realistic until Randy won the Freeskier Magazine’s Ticket to Tailgate video competition. The guarantee of a fatty paycheck upon arrival to Valdez, sparked myself, Henry, Rob and Randy to quickly load my truck with 4 dudes and 5 snowmobiles and send it up North on the Alaskan Highway. It was a rough drive up there to say the least. The four place sled trailer we borrowed was a piece of shit and broke on us continually throughout the drive. (See video for details). Once we arrived in Valdez, we immediatley put the snowmobiles to use and sledded up to one of the sickest zones I’ve ever been to off Thompson’s Pass. After one amazing day, we were shut down by a huge storm that dumped 40+ inches in town. We laid low for 5 days and passed the time by skiing pow and pillows right above sea level.
Once the storm passed, high winds moved in. The 60+ MPH gusts scoured or loaded most every aspect we attempted, and after remotley triggering a wind slab on a low angle slope, we decided it was too sketchy on Thompson Pass. We had two options; wait out the wind event and be patient as the snow adjusts and settles in Valdez or load the truck and head South to Haines to attempt something new. We chose the later. We had been in touch with Bozeman local and SEABA hell guide Bill Buchbauer, and he was telling us of the great snow and conditions around Haines. He also suggested that we don’t blow our money on a Heli and rather go for a more authentic experience with a plane drop and some glacier camping. Then we met Drake. Drake is one of the most radical guys I’ve ever met and he truly loves what he does. He has been plane dropping people around Haines for years and is a very experienced pilot. He gave us lots of good Beta and dropped us in a couple really cool spots.
Randy took this one kinda deep right above base camp
White Fang – Haines
We got the goods in Haines, hiking from base camp to the top of every line, earning our turns was very rewarding. On the final day we got picked up and taken back to town with sore feet and exhausted minds. We knew it was time to head home so we began the 2,550 mile journey back to Bozeman. We were relieved that we only blew one snowmobile trailer tire on the way back. It truly was the trip of a lifetime! Check out our Alaska adventure in BSTV ep 4: Shallower, Closer, Shorter…
Also, check out an INTERVIEW we did with Sam Cox over at Coreshot.com
Ax & the Brigade