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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
October 3, 2013 | Categories: Bolton, Surf Photos, Surf Related | Tags: alpine live, Alpine-live.com, alpinelive, bolton, Bolton Valley, Bozeman, bozeman montana, Bridger Bowl, bridget bowl, east coast, hurricane forecasting, hurricane swell, new england surf, new hampshire surf, ryan denning photography, Skiing, slushman's, slushman's lift, surf photography, surf photos | Leave a comment
I woke up about 25 times on Wednesday morning to check the snow accumulation up at Bridger, having gotten 5″ the day before it would be good no matter how much snow fell. Turned out to be about 10″ when we got up there on Wednesday morning, with 15″ total from the 48 hour mark. Out East most people don’t ski in storms and they would rather ski groomers than deep snow, out here it’s a bit different. There is a wild hustle in Bozeman and up to the mountain (20 min. drive) on powder days and I got to see first hand how it works out here. Bridger is also very unique as it closely watches the water content of the new snow, the lower the water content the drier and better the powder will be. Well Wednesday was showing 5% water content which is pretty much as dry as it gets. The line at the lift was crazy, lots sketchy locals sliding their way up the line as well as a anxious vibe that was a little uneasy. We probably got one of the first 25 chairs and got to watch some of the first turns being skied down below us and it was f’in awesome. Below you can watch how the day went through the lens of my camera.
In other news the Eddie Aikau memorial surf competition is supposed to be on today, check it out at:
Bridger needed some snow and 5″ falling overnight almost out of no where was just what the doctor ordered. There was some really awesome skiing over at the new “slackcountry” Slushman’s lift and it looks like the snow has continued. It’s been dumping up at the hill since about 5pm and they’re reporting another 5″ at mid-mountain. With another 5″ or so expected to fall, tomorrow could be the best day yet. Pretty frickin’ stoked, hope everyone is getting at it back home — Lucas was doing some nighttime backcounry tonight and I’m excited to hear back.
We have had some really warm weather these last few days in Southern Montana. Needless to say there hasn’t been much skiing going on, so what are some things to do during these off days:
-Drink beer, the same sport as the East coast with a much more expensive taste.
-Browse ski shops, some seriously awesome gear in a ski town such as Bozeman.
-Boiling river, haven’t been down yet but hopefully this week.
-Fly fishing, I’m more of a saltwater spinning reel fisherman but Casey is really into fly fishing.
Temperatures finally dropped below freezing about an hour ago for the first time in a few days. Bridger is reporting an inch but word is there was at least 4-5″ at last chair. The drunk and delerious weather forecasters are continuing to predict 1-3″ overnight for the next few nights — the same forecast as the last 5 nights with no avail. We are located in South Western Montana, at the edge of the purple cloud that is directly off of the pointed angle in North-Western Wyoming.
Casey and Andrew went out for a little fly fishing today and Casey nabbed a 9″ trout, unfortunately the GoPro ran out of batteries for the fish. Back to Bridger tomorrow hopefully, fingers crossed.
Misc. – Coming home on Saturday, it looks like the East Coast mountains are getting bombed again tomorrow. Unfortunately the Nikon camera that I sent in for maintenance was sent back in peices, they couldn’t fix the camera and we’re sh*t out of luck. I’m looking into the D3100 with it’s full HD and continuous auto focus. Stay tuned!
January 18, 2011 | Categories: Fishin, Mantana, Snow Photos, Snow Related | Tags: Bozeman, bozeman montana, Bridger Bowl, bridger bowl cold smoke, bridger bowl powder, bridger bowl resort, bridger bowl weather, bridger bowl weather forecasting, Montana | Leave a comment
Took the last two days off due to dwindling funds and no new snow but finally got the fire to head up this morning. It looked pretty meager as we took our first run down Pierre’s Nob but as soon as Slushman’s opened and 10 we begun the search for the illusive 3 day after-the-storm powder. We found a variation of conditions with ice, hardpack, powder and chopped up powder. NOAA is forecasting 10″ up at Bridger and close to 20″ up at Whitefish in Northern Montana. Hopefully the Bridger cloud will hang around for a while and we will be able to stick around town but if Whitefish reports significantly more we’ll be traveling North. Here is today’s meager offerings — bare with us, the real stoke will be back online soon.
January 12, 2011 | Categories: Mantana, Snow Photos, Snow Related | Tags: bridger, Bridger Bowl, bridger bowl montana, january 12 powder skiing, january 12 powder skiing bridger bowl, Montana, whitefish mountain | Leave a comment
Well today was day 5 in Bozeman, pretty stoked to have an edit for each day of this vacation. I started off just making two on consecutive days and realized that I was going to be collecting a ton of footy, why not just post one a day? Here is a little screenshot sequence from this afternoon. Each passing day is the best day I’ve ever skied.
It’s getting a little tough finding music, we get our music from the Podsafe Music Network, or music.mevio.com. These site (both the same essentially) are royalty free and make finding music less stressful. I could spend much more time searching through that network than editing footage though. I still have that permanent grin on my face from today, finally we got to see a little bit of sun. The 1″ that Bridger reported overnight was more like 4″ at Slushman’s. Check the posts below for information on the Slushman’s lift. Enjoy the edit, I think it’s our best yet….
January 9, 2011 | Categories: Mantana, Snow Photos, Snow Related | Tags: bozeman montana, Bridger Bowl, bridger bowl montana, bridger mountain range, bridger mt, bridger range, cold smoke powder, mantana, mt, powder skiing, slushman's | Leave a comment
Super bad visibility today at Bridger, they reported 4″ overnight so we headed up. We got up there around 9:30 and the place was practically empty, when we left the parking lot was completely full. There was more like 8″ of snow over at Slushman’s where we spent most of our day. Slushman’s lift is a very unique one, it was bought a few years back from Alta and services a previously backcountry only area. The spot where the lift is was once a secret spot for most of the Bridger locals. At the bottom of the lift there are to hanging beepers to beep in your avalanche transceiver, there aren’t many lifts in the country that use a system like this. Hopefully I’ll have the camera back soon and I can take some photos of the terrain that the Slushman’s lift accesses including the ominous Saddle Peak, a 9,172 foot gargantuan that is hike-able through the Bridger ridge.
Even with the terrible visibility we still got a few good clips, check it out..
Screen shot from Thursday at Moonlight
We got to Bozeman safely and immediately indulged in some fast food and cheap beer. The time zone change is a little hard to get used to but things are coming around. We got up at 8:00am and saw Bridger was boasting 7″ of 5% water content blower powder. Like every new snow day that I’ve experienced here, Bridger welcomes you with avi explosives going off up on the ridge throughout the morning. It’s a little intimidating putting your boots on in the lot and hearing the bombs going off but something about it gets the blood flowing.
NOAA is forecasting 25″+ here by Saturday night, looks like it could get pretty ****** insane! Time for bed..
Still without a camera I had to rely on the trusty GoPro. Here is what we came up with, Day 1 of 18. Enjoy!
January 5, 2011 | Categories: Mantana, Snow Photos, Snow Related, Uncategorized | Tags: alpine live, Alpine-live.com, Bridger Bowl, bridger bowl cold smoke, bridger bowl january 5 2011, bridger bowl montana, cold smoke, Montana | Leave a comment