28 October 2015

My Friends Are The Best

My friends are the best. They're so great, in fact, sometimes I feel bad for stealing all of the best people in the world and hogging them for myself. #SorryNotSorry.

Want to ski on your 30th birthday....in May? I've got the crew for you!

Why are they so great? Aside from being smart, ambitious, inspiring, creative, kind, and really really ridiculously good looking (that's right, I'm talking to YOU!), they are the type of people who mobilize a card mob for someone's birthday. They bid on you in a date auction. They travel far and wide to go climbing or run a half marathon. They embrace being ridiculous. They're incredibly supportive, and together we've built a 'Community of Awesome'.

One of my favorite things is the way they show support. As humans we like to "classify" people - put them into "buckets". It makes it easier for us to get through the day. I am often put into one of three buckets:

| Tutu | Skiing | Poop |

You may take issue with such a classification system, but I am fully on-board. These systems serve as shorthand to start a conversation. Nowadays it can be weird to pick up the phone and call someone. But it's NOT weird to post a Poop Emoji Dress to someone's Facebook page. Online engagement is the new social currency - a way of interacting with someone else. If putting me in the "poop bucket" makes it easier for someone to have a conversation with me, I'm all for it.

With that, here are some of my very favorite things recently shared with me:

Tutu: I wrote about the little girl in a tutu in my post on why I embrace being ridiculous, but I really was genuinely touched when a number of people shared this photo with me over the course of a few months: folks who I know well and people who I hadn't talked to in years. I'm a big fan of the man embracing a pink tutu as well, and fully support his pink tutu efforts.

My life motto.

A man wears a pink tutu to amuse his wife fighting cancer. It turns into a movement

Skiing: My passion for skiing may be the most well documented love story in the history of the blog-o-sphere, so it came as no surprise when more than a few folks pointed me towards this 'ski like a girl' t-shirt. I'm also a big fan of the #adventurouswomen meme, which has a few different presentations, all of them awesome.

You can buy one for me here ;-)

Poop: I don't know when I became known as "that girl who won't shut up about poop". I do talk about poop more than your average Jane. I also spend more time outside than most people, and that makes poop part of my everyday conversation. My high comfort with the brown stuff inspired my buddy Nick to encourage me to get a poop emoji dress and I don't disagree. Or, I could just buy the new poop stool. An incredible invention presented through an unforgettable video presenting a unicorn shitting rainbow colored soft-serve ice cream. Only it's not offensive and is fully educational. Just watch it.

See more photos (and buy it for me (-: ) here

This is why my friends are the best. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find some inappropriate videos to share with them on the topics of Subarus, Instagram, and Beer. What? You all have a bucket too!

22 October 2015

Turns All Year Month 48 - FOUR YEARS!

People love to hate social media. I get it. It's invasive. It takes the place of real relationships in your life. It causes FOMO....

But it's also kind of awesome. One of the things that I'm really loving lately is #ThrowbackThursday, or #tbt if you're hip (yes, I have to include the hashtag in there, get over it). Facebook has recently embraced is this "memories" thing, where it will show you what happened in your life on 'this day' in previous years, and it provides an opportunity to look back on your life in a way that seems to be very meaningful to people. I know it's meaningful for me.

Last week, I took a personal day to make yet-another visit to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier to mark my 48th-month of consecutive skiing. On the way I couldn't help but remember my first trip to Muir seven years prior. When I got home, I posted this #tbt to Facebook:
I continue to be humbled and amazed at just how much life has changed. A little over seven years ago I made my first trip to Mt. Rainier to climb to Camp Muir. I was overweight and out of shape, and it took me over five hours (not including breaks) to get to camp. It was the hardest thing I had ever done to date, and I was barely carrying a pack.
Fast forward to yesterday, and I took a personal day to ski for my 48th consecutive month on the same snowfield. With 17lbs of skis + 15lbs of regular gear I made it to Muir in under four hours (including 45 minutes worth of breaks). Then I got to ski down. And it was FUN! We had the mountain to ourselves, the views were spectacular, and there was no suffering.
I think it's neat sometimes to be reminded just where we came from to see just how far we've come. So today for ‪#‎ThrowbackThursday‬ I want to share my original trip report from that first fateful day on Rainier and just say that changing your life is hard in many ways, but finding your happiness is oh-so worth it!

It's easy sometimes to discount the journey. To forget that we weren't always this way. To fail to see just how far we've come. If it takes social media to remind us...I'm all for it.

With the journey in mind, I want to share some photos of my September turns with you - four YEARS of skiing at least one day a month.

And it's only fitting I went on this journey with Theresa. We met just a little over two years ago on Mt. Hood, and since that time Theresa and I have shared 37 days in the mountains. Together we've stood on summits and slept in tents and built backcountry toilets and made camp mac n' cheese and smelled each other's boots in cramped quarters until our eyes watered.

And I've loved every second of it. Because being in the backcountry with someone creates a deep bond of trust. It puts you in a place where you can see your weaknesses and admire someone else's strength. This person - laying next to you - will save your life and risk their own if things go south. There's nothing more important than that.

Maybe I'm getting nostalgic in my "old age", or maybe looking back has forced me to appreciate where I am now and what's ahead. I don't care. I've spent the last 48 months skiing at least one day a month, and I am a better person for it. Thanks to all of you who've come on this journey with me.

Here are my favorite pictures from skiing in October:

The snowfield. My friend Imran asked me if I pooped and smeared it all over. He's not far off from the truth.

Looking down at Mt. Adams. 

Theresa enjoyed a hard earned Ra-nya.

My happy place.

Amar built us all lovely beer coozies.

The smile of a skier who has found some summer corn.

The smile of a skier about to suffer through some summer glacial ice.

Just taking our skis for a walk.

Skiing in October. Who knew it could be THIS good?

Happy crew of TAYers. Amar (13-years), Theresa (5-years), Kristina (4-years)

Sunset on Zee Mountain. Photos never do it justice.

For a more technical trip report, check out my TAY post here.

15 October 2015

Turns All Year Months 45-47

All of the TAYers (as we call ourselves) were pretty worried about finding snow this summer. Well, as it turns out, when you're mentally prepared and physically conditioned for suffering, it's never as bad as you think it's going to be. Or something like that.

What I'm trying to say is skiing in July, August, and September was surprisingly fun this year. To start us off on the easiest possible track, I took at look at the calendar and realized that July 31 was on a Friday this year. That meant we could take Friday off and go somewhere to ski two days in a row and get two months in a row. I don't have good ideas often, but I have to say this one was genius!

July (45): With Friday off from work, Theresa, Cori and I loaded into the trusty Jetta and drove to Mt. Hood for a few days of skiing shenanigans on Thursday night. Between food stops, traffic, and a minor infraction my bumper experienced with a hidden parking curb, it took us 6+ hours to get there. The drive should take 4 hours.

We arrived well after dark but found buddies in a campsite, threw back a few cold ones, and set up a ridiculous number of tents for how few of us there were (4 tents, 2 bivies, and a hammock for 7 people).

In the morning we got up and drove to Hood with the crew. Three opted to skin and four of us wanted to get drunk ski on the chairlifts. All of use enjoyed some summer corn, then took to the lake to cool off when it got too hot to ski. Yes, it really did get too hot to ski.

Mik, Craig, and Cori = Team Skin.

Colin, Theresa, Kristina, and Tony = Team Beer.
This is what getting on a chairlift in July looks like.

After skiing we went for a dip. It was almost 90-degrees.

August (46): Much like July, we got up and drove 5 minutes from our campsite to Timberline Lodge for skiing. Not wanting to spend the $62 on a lift ticket (yes, you read that right. It's really that egregious), I opted to skin up with Cori. We had SO MANY options for skinning, but we managed to get through the route finding portion of our trip unscathed and quickly met our friends and took a few laps. All in all, a very efficient and successful weekend! And funnily enough we ended up running into the same guy who took our group picture last year - so he took one again!

Saturday Team Skin.
Skin track.

Silly skiers.

July? Check. August? Check. Amazing leggings? Double check!

September (47): September got off to a great start with a dusting of snow on Rainier the first weekend. Not able to make it Saturday or Sunday, Erica, Nick and I took advantage of Labor Day to go skin the Muir Snowfield. We were socked in for the first 7k, but once we popped above the marine layer we enjoyed a sunny day and some fun summer corn! Bigs ups to Mr. Drake for coming out of retirement for this one!

I love this shot: "Rainier Tease".

Snowfield suffering.

Always stoked to be at Muir.

Some freshies! What a great September to make turns with a few of my favorite people!

08 October 2015

Turns All Year Months 42-44

I'm on the record as saying it was a pretty dismal winter, and I also mused that skiing this summer was going to be the worst. While both of those things remain true, skiing is still skiing thus AWESOME, and skiing when no one else is skiing makes it all the sweeter. Thus chasing snow remains fun even though the snow you find is sub-optimal.

I last updated you on my Turns All Year progress in mid-April. I'm happy to say the streak has remained alive, and I celebrated 47-crazy-months at the beginning of September skiing in my favorite place: Rainier National Park! A a lead up to that, I was surprised by great snow and stoked friends in late April and all through May into June, so without further ado here are some of my favorite photos from skiing in late spring:

April (42): April wasn't over when I wrote about an April 4 trip to the Nisqually Chutes, which turned out to be so much better than anticipated. Here's a trip report if you're interested.

On April 26 I found myself again in Rainier National Park, this time with seven friends on Naches Peak. I'd never been to that part of the park before and was excited to explore a new area. We did a lazy circumnavigation of the peak - maybe gaining a thousand feet of elevation - while enjoying beautiful views, good company, and interesting terrain.

April 4: Freshies on Rainier.

April 26: Ready to charge Naches.

Yes, that is powder in late April.

To the surprise of no one, I made everyone line up in ROYGBIV by ski boot color.

May (43): May has been my best ski month of the year for the past two years. With five good days this season was no exception. I spent two days on Glacier Peak, a long day in the North Cascades, and two more days in Rainier National Park chasing turns. Glacier Peak was an epic - the summit eluding Theresa and I yet again - and will earn its own blog here in the future. The Birthday Tour has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I wrote a quick trip report about that on the TAY forum. Then it was another friend-filled celebration to Rainier for Theresa's 30th Birthday Ski and a quick trip up to Muir just because.

I have SO MANY photos from May. Here are just a handful of my favorites:

May 2: Theresa on Glacier Peak.

May 3: Imran at sunrise at Glacier Peak.

May 3: The cloud of defeat.

May 3: We didn't summit, but I sure did have a fun time skiing. Photo by Theresa Sipple.

May 10: Goat prevents Stephen from moving up on the Birthday Tour.

May 16: Happy Birthday Crew on Inter Glacier (Rainier). Yes, you do count 20 people with backcountry skis.

May 16: Pretty standard day in the alpine.

May 16: Jordan climbs Inter Glacier.

May 16: Happy Birthday ladies at the top of Steamboat Prow!

May 26: Taking the skis for a walk on Rainier.

May 26: Made it to camp!

June (44): With June seeming to "come early" this year, I took a Wednesday off at the beginning of the month to guarantee turns. Theresa and I headed back to Inter Glacier. We were SHOCKED by the conditions, noting the melt-out was much more what we would expect to find late August, not on June 10. But we had a fun time despite her forgetting ski poles (it's only her 56th month of TAY.... she's pretty new at this) and I wrote a fun little trip report of our day.

Then just a few days later Jordan and I went to Adams to ski it in a day. That wasn't the original plan actually, but we opted for more comfortable sleep and lighter packs. We therefore climbed Adams in a day, skiing back down the climbing route because we ran out of time to ski the famed SW Chutes. It was a sufferfest, but very rewarding when we hit the top!

June 10: Becoming experts in 1-pole kick turns.

June 14: 5am sunrise look at Mt. Hood.

June 14: Up, up, up we go!

June 14: Summit.