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Saddleback, ME | March 13, 2014

Rob Brown and I spent our Vulcan at Saddleback, Maine. It was a great day to explore Saddleback, this was my first time up there and we practically had the place to ourselves. The drive up on Wednesday night was a bit treacherous, we were almost sidelined by a logging truck (or two) and we saw a bit of carnage on Route 4, particularly on the hills. We saw one state plow sliding down a hill sideways, scary. Thanks to Rob’s buddy Eric, we had an outstanding lodge to stay at for the evening in Rangely. The morning came around and we checked the STE Weather page for snow totals – lots of snow across the board, Saddleback was reporting almost two feet. I think we got on the 4th or 5th double chair, when they let the first double on there were like 15 people lined up. We headed straight for Casablanca and it was deep, it’s not often I get to ski on my 195 Praxis Pow Boards but this was the day.

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Myself, my brother and Rob Brown went up to Camel’s Hump yesterday to see how VT fared with Vulcan. Right from the parking lot we realized the snow had gotten really wet and dense the night before and it was going to be a challenge. Although the new snow depth seemed to be much deeper than what we had seen in Maine – the quality had gone to sh*t. The wet snow and my old touring setup didn’t work well – after 4 years of hard touring, my tired Naxo bindings broke at the toe piece, just like everyone told me they would. Skiing back down on 1 ski was a challenge, but a good workout. I’ll chalk Camel’s up as a cardio mission. It sounds like another 8″ fell in places last night and the rest of the week is supposed to stay cold. Spring temps are here and skiing is as good as it’s been all season, eventually we’ll have some stabilization of snowpack on George and we can get our annual pilgrimage underway.

Fail on pictures.

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Return of Winter (Part 3) | January 21, 2014

What a ride it’s been.

So grateful to have a patient touring crew for Tuesday, -10 degrees and not a single complaint all day from anyone. We checked out an old zone that I haven’t ventured into this season and it paid off pretty well. Bolton was reporting like 10″ since the weekend started but it seems as though this East aspect we were skiing (Bolton being West) had atleast another 4-5″. Our crew consisted of John Howland, Sam Chalek, Ryan Kinner and a wonderful new addition – Morgan Marzo. Enjoy!

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December Powder

Quite an active December so far, unfortunately it’s looking like there could be an ice storm coming this weekend for the mountains.

With the slow travel on Sunday I decided to try and stay close to home and find somewhere to skin, I suppose in an effort to save cash and stay away from the kooks. Weekends obviously suck and I’ve had zero inclination to wait in lines or get elbowed by the crusty old powder hound in the line for first chair. That sounds pretentious I guess but I’ve given into the notion that I may be turning into a Hermit. Call it pretentious, call it snobby – the rat race is unappetizing.

Here’s how the first turns of the season went.

I love skiing groomers just as much as the Jersey plate passing me at 75mph with 8″ of snow on 95 who I will eventually have to speak to about stepping on my skis in the madness that is Sunday River’s lift line but at some point, astonishingly quickly actually, it just becomes stale and mundane. Maybe a few nights sleeping in the parking lot at Bolton will help. Nothing like forgetting what day it is up at the 1500′ village. That 300″ average annual snowfall adds up somehow – in the form of a surprise 3 inches, twice weekly. Let hope this incoming system is kind to them because Northern Vermont is almost in, almost.

I’m real stoked to be skiing with a new crew from Burlington. I met John and Dane last season and they’ve got a great group of skiers and riders – Tuesday morning we took a trip up to the NEK for some exploration. The snow was significantly dryer than what I had seen in the Whites on Sunday and much dryer than what I had at home on the coast. Great skiing for sure, not bottomless but just enough blower for the tunnel effect. There is some potential up there this winter, see for yourself below. I’ll be back for sure and now that Andy’s living up in the area, game on!

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Skiers: John Howland, Sam Chalek, Ryan Kinner and Taylor Luneau

Hoping to get at it again on Saturday morning here in NH, before the ‘R’ word rolls in.

Away from the ski lift obviously. Carbon footprint bro.

Season of the hermit.

Erica + Nathan | York, ME

Erica and Nathan’s beautiful York, ME wedding is our first feature wedding film. It was one of the funnest weekends of the summer and an incredible experience for the team.

Contact us for next season’s availability. Thanks for checking out Alpine Live – enjoy!

Erica+Nathan | York, ME from Ryan Denning on Vimeo.

One Winter Day

A look back at a wonderful sunny day last season in Vermont.

One Winter Day from Ryan Denning on Vimeo.

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Fall on the Seacoast | October 1, 2013

Finally! What a release.

After a long, flat, ordinary summer and a dismal hurricane season (so far?), we’ve received a welcomed autumn swell. The small Easterly swell direction and funky tide made for wobbly and sometimes walled out conditions in many of our favorite spots. Alternatively, it lit up some not-so-frequented spots along the coast that accept the E swell exclusively. Regardless, I spent most of the morning Tuesday doing the run around bullshit. The ‘is it better over there?’ complex.

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I face this conflict all the time when we go skiing. I ski at Bolton enough to know what spots will be poached first and which spots don’t see much traffic. The conflict often arises on powder days, evaluating the risk/reward for going to spot A on first chair vs. spot B or C? The classic maneuver is leaving your super secret stash for later in the day because you’re confident no one’s going to poach it. It’s more practical to ski out the more popular and usually better/steeper/deeper terrain until it’s tracked out.

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Short but semi-relative tangent – My brother used to tell me that when he arrived in Bozeman, MT in 2007 and got his first season pass to Bridger, The Ridge terrain was preserved until the afternoon. Skiers wouldn’t hike The Ridge from first chair, primarily because everyone was under the ‘code’ that inbounds terrain was first to get tracked out and when it’s done, then everyone can pillage the ridge. This was well before the Slushman’s backcountry access lift was put in.

You’d think that a new lift put in place to turn previously out of bounds terrain into new resort sidecountry might help to spread skiers out but instead it seemed to just add more chaos, and with the chaos came the cave-in and relinquishment of the ‘code’. It’s difficult to draw a parallel here and I guess there’s really no way to compare the two sports in this manner.

…..BUT if there ever was a similar code in surfing, the last bit of the foundation caved in when the first stand up paddled into a wave.

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Crowds aside, most of the time these small one day swell windows make for crunch time decisions on the high tide. My solution is simple, and probably common:

Follow the speed limit and scope every friggin spot in question.

At the least get some recon from a friend. As annoying and unnecessary as it may sound, I can relax knowing I made the best possible decision. Additionally, for as long as I can remember I haven’t had to endure any ‘Oh man, you should have been there’.

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I’m sure everyone scored on this last swell. It looked like there were good waves at every spot I passed but for me, in the end it’s about the adventure and maximizing the potential of the day, the lighting, the subject or the equipment and it’s also about producing an image I’m happy and confident showing to other people. Unfortunately for me, these photos just don’t come from simply driving down to Rye and clicking the shutter.

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The photographer has the ability to reference the images and prove that the team has made the best decision, in the case that they did make the best decision. Unfortunately Matt and I didn’t win on any images Tuesday, we didn’t even come close – but it’s good to work the rust out, remind the surfer of his weaknesses (just kidding, not his flailing arms) and explore new spots that we’ve never seen break.

DAMNNN it feels good to be shooting at the ocean again.

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A little all over the place on today’s blog – it’s been a while since I posted anything and I may be in a state of seasonal confusion.

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