|How I got started skiing year-round: Halloween 2000 was when I discovered the riches of my neighborhood. A neighbor, Greg Lange, and his barely 2 year-old son, Cedar, came over for Trick-or-Treating. Greg attempted to coerce Cedar into saying "trick or treat", but failed. Then, Greg pointed to a picture on the wall of me and a friend atop Mt. St. Helens with skis on our backs. Greg pointed and asked Cedar, "Cedar, what are those?" With a huge grin on his face, Cedar exclaimed, "skis!" It was then that I discovered the ski "streaker" in the neighborhood. The following August, Greg invited me to join him on a hike/ski near Heather Meadows. August 2001 began my streak.
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip: I'll admit I'm not TOO picky, but I guess a girl's gotta have her standards. I've been skiing ever since I was 2 years old, according to my mom, so skiing's in the blood. I have been lured into the backcountry the past two years, but I still love a free ride up. Therefore, I do count lift-assisted turns in my streak. However, I've still toured every month since I started anyway. As much as I love skinning to ski, I'm not afraid to strap all the gear to my back and go for a nice long hike to get some turns. So the means to the skiing aren't important to me, as long as I get some turns! I usually am able to get in at least 500' of vertical, but often quite a bit more with some yo-yoing, if necessary. Oh yeah - I've only cross-country skied once in my life, so I only count vertical skiing.
Biggest threat to my streak: Well, it's always the knee issues. Born with some problems and 4 surgeries later (3 amidst my streak), I'm still going. More recently, it's my current pregnancy. I have full intention to keep my streak up, but let's hope my body cooperates with my glorious plan :).
Type of equipment I use: I love to ski and I love my gear. Currently, I switch between two different set-ups. My primary is a pair of K2 Mt Baker's with Diamir Fritchis on them. Fantastic set-up-it can handle anything. My other pair are Rossignol T3s (tele ski) that I have Dynafits on. These have recently become my summer/ fall skis, but still will hold their own just fine in any conditions. I haven't skied on the Dynafits much, so I need to get better at them prior to playing in the deep pow & crud.
Strategy for skiing through the low season: Convince other fellow skiers that there REALLY is snow out there. Gotta have a partner! Drive a bit farther for better turns because it's usually worth the extra time! Muir Snowfield and Coleman Pinnacle (near Table/ Baker) area in those tough late summer-fall months. The best fallback: there's always snow spmewhere near Table Mountain, especially when you don't feel like driving all the way to Rainier (or when you're body just doesn't feel like traveling very far, either in the car or on the trails).
Worst and best backcountry ski trips: Worst: Snoqualmie Peak in January (forget what year)-went with a new grp of folks that didn't travel safely or communicate well. Came out in the pitch dark in poor conditions. Ended up walking last 1000' because it was the safest option (very sad).
Best: I love to say there really are SO many best trips!!! It's hard to pin them down, but definitely a hut trip in the Selkirks in March 2003 after HUGE storms already ripped through is one of the tops. We had 5000' of fresh powder vert with blue skies for 7 days straight. Yep, snowed every night, and calm and clear every day. But, skiing from the summits of the local volcanoes has always treated me VERY well-I've had excellent conditions and blue skies for every trip-not bad at all. However, Mt. Adams is my nemesis. Someday I will actually make it to the trailhead without being weathered off...someday....
Skiing activities in the past year: Not too much in the past year since life caught up with me in a good way (got married, had major knee surgery, got pregnant....). I mostly hit some *incredible* powder days at Steven's and Whistler in the early winter prior to the Feb knee surgery and had to stay away from big bc days due to the knee problems. Post-surgery, I still kept my streak up, taking it easy on the groomers, to the "I don't want to hear about it" woes of my surgeon and PT. Recently, Coleman Pinnacle area has just been a beautiful blast for the summer/ fall months. At the end of this season and next, I'll have a newborn, but what a great way to burn some calories and get rid of the baby weight! Still going as always, but do miss the long backcountry tours recently.