Hitting the road felt good, like a late bill finally being paid or a promise kept. Baker Boyd, Aspen’s youngest hotshot skier to watch and my favorite loose-cannon road trip buddy, picks me up in the in the dodge and we roll out. Crisp blue skies are interrupted by the cumulous clouds that set ones mind to skipping between analytical planning and dreamy fantasy. This trip in front of me has been on my mind day and night all winter, but it has changed so many times that I hardly know where I am headed. I planned this journey northward with my two surf gravity partners Joey Stokes and Nick DeVore. Both of whom are now home with injuries they incurred while skiing on our home resorts, Not flying high with speed wings or riding big lines in Alaska. They have taken the forced grounding with grace and I am proud of them for meeting the challenge with positivity and even excitement for having time to explore new facets of their lives.
With my brother warriors out of action I was faced with the question of how to move on myself, still having the ability to engage the adventure we all wanted to take. I had to ask what was important to me, where did I want to put my energy? I found I still want to ride big mountains. I still want to fly through new landscapes and use my senses to take in all the elements that weave together in the mountains. I want to meet the people who live in the mountain ranges of north america who can show me the myriad of ways to live sustainably in their habitats. I want to test my abilities and equipment against the natural world, and I want to have fun doing it with people who make me laugh.
So I reached out to my community. I was given all the equipment I needed and didn’t have. ION gave me cameras, POC Gave me protection, Icelantic gave me skis, Strafe gave me suits, and mom and dad helped me get the computer I need to share the story. I found friends who felt the same urge to head north, a whole flock of them. Nick’s sister Katrina DeVore and ripping snowboarder Dayla Robinson went straight up to tailgate Alaska in Valdez with the Shejumps.com crew of ladies. They already have had a week of big lines and powder and we hope to join them soon. Baker and I tried to drive straight to Montana but got turned around by a yellowstone park ranger because the road has not been opened due to government budget cuts. He was nice enough to give us a speeding ticket too. So we had a day in Jackson with our third member Owen Leeper. Owen just started a ski pole company Boldpoles.com and plans to promote them through this trip by giving neon colored poles to influential skiers and selling the rest. He can also ski faster than almost anyone and flip of anything, all four directions. I’m happy to have Owen and Baker to take this journey with. I am still trying to plan ahead and make contact with people along the way so we have places to stay and people to show us their ranges, but I am learning to do it with flexibility and without stress. I want very much to make this trip work, to produce the content that Nick, Joey and I wanted to be the beginning of the Surf Gravity project. However if I am to learn from the accidents that stopped them from coming I know I have to put all my focus on the present moment, the current stage of the journey. Awareness of my surroundings, respect for the mountains, patience and understanding when faced with change, cooperation and inspiration between my companions. These are the things I will focus on to make this trip a successful, safe, amazing way to grow Surf Gravity.
I Chuckle as I’m laying in bed with two shattered ankles reflecting on old poems and a mindset that got me into this broken situation. As I contemplate why this happened to me, why I deserved this, I realize that I may never find the answer, or that the answer is simple; I was being dumb and made a reckless impulsive choice. Why is not the question of importance. What really matters is how am I going to overcome this injury and grow from it. Maybe it was some past life karma I had to live through, or maybe it was just simply a stupid decision. Regardless of why, I am going to heal both physically, mentally, and spiritually, and grow into a stronger, wiser, and more compassionate human being. The following poem is a window into my mindset and how I like to live my life. After this injury I might not want to fly as high, as I have learned the hard way that indeed the higher I fly the further I can fall.
Whats the point he asked?
Empowered I celebrate life
I fly high and grow food
There are no limits
Unlimited potential, this is truth
Less money, more happiness
It can be challenging and I am stubborn
With perseverance comes freedom
Let go and grow with the flow
Act impulsive and see where you go
Trouble can only teach, is what I like to preach
For this is my path, and I am free
Free to see, free to be
The higher I fly the I more see
And yes of course, the further I can fall
But as seriously unserious as this game is
The point is to be me, to be free, to shred!
The point is to didge and to dance!
The point is to uplift and fly high!
By Nick Devore
May 8 2012
Jay Beyer Photo
All the stars aligned this day and DeVore found himself intuitively shredding alongside a freight train of sluff in the promised land of Valdez Alaska. The upper ramp was like a perfect barreling left point break. Once safely at the bottom he humbly remarked that he could now die a happy man, and still to this day the memory of this dream line reminds him that everything from here on is just a bonus.