Top Ten Ski Photos of 2013-14

And the mundane procession begins. More physical therapy today seeking range of motion, lots of rest and icing. All in all, I couldn't ask for much more two days after surgery. Save some pain on the inside of the tibia where they drilled a hole to insert the new ACL, the leg is feeling great. Elaine also seems to have turned the page, spending yesterday doing uphill running intervals in the mid-day heat.  For both of us, this forced down time for me is a chance to re-assess and figure out how to improve next year and each year beyond.

This is as good a time as any to do a "top ten" ski photos from 2013-14 post. It was a great year, with amazing skiing literally right out our door, an amazing trip to the Selkirks, tons of powder and a successful Elk Mountain Traverse. Without further ado, here are my favorite photos we shot this year:

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10. There was a time this February where it snowed as much as I've ever seen it snow here. Everyday, the snow piled up in inches and feet. There are few things better than loading up the pack with food and layers, walking out your door and skiing west, seeking adventure, solitude and turns. Here's Elaine, breaking trail, heading to some of our favorite places on earth. 

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9. This photo was taken three days ago on Monday. It was my last ski of the year before ACL surgery, less than 24 hours before going under the knife. I've logged the sensations in my head, especially the feeling of the turn, and every day plan to visualize skiing, so when the season comes again, it's automatic and better than ever. This photo signifies defiance, stubborness and a determination that this will not beat us. 

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8. Early season is a time of re-birth for skiers. In October we regularly headed up to Butler Gulch in search of fitness and winter soul (and occassionally, a little snow). Elaine and Stella make their way up to the top of the Continental Divide as the evening light and sky rage.

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7. Elaine and I both started skiing at age two. In between there have been lots of days at the resort, chasing gates, weaving through trees and bumps and searching for that perfection that only an untracked powder day can bring. Yet we've both felt a major renewal for the sport since we got married back in 2010. It's what we love to do, and it's the fact that we get to do it together almost everyday that makes it so special. This photo captures that feeling after spending a day in the Wilderness on skis, walking down main street and heading home, to do it all again the next day with the person you love most in the world.

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6. We're lucky to live where we do. This ski is a 30 minutes skin from our front door, and a source of the everyday morning (and sometimes evening fix) when long work days await. It's a short little shot through the woods, and when it's good it flows like a raging river. Here's Elaine finding that morning flow.

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5. On New Years Day, on a whim, Elaine and I decided to take a trip up to the mecca of North American backcountry skiing, Roger's Pass in British Columbia. The terrain here is amazing, and  it feels like the ice age is still alive and well. Here's Elaine breaking trail through a foot of fresh snow over a glacial moraine to bluebird, once-in-a-lifetime, above timberline powder turns off a Canadian mountain summit. It doesn't get much better. 

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4. There are few things more attractive than a good skier. Elaine has a certain cat-like quality to her turns. She's quick as a whip in the trees and bumps, and has a classic, balanced style in powder that I love. Here she is showing off her curves in Selkirk powder off Kootenay Pass, British Columbia.

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3. The Elk Mountain Traverse is a major objective. And while this year's reverse proved mentally challenging to the point that we had a bit of a break-down, you can't whine too much when you get the top spot on the podium. We have bigger aspirations moving forward, but are proud of what we accomplished this season.

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2. When we arrived at Rogers Pass the Canadian ranger told us that we should skin to the top of this mountain and ski down. Hell of a call. It was the first time I've ever skied in powder up to my shoulders, and it took a bit to figure it out. Elaine seems to have found the trick in this beautiful turn through snow clad trees and a winter wonderland. Days like this are a major reason I elected to have ACL surgery. Truth is, I was holding back skiing on this day, and it was deep down knowledge that my knee wasn't quite right that caused that. I'm looking forward to coming back to it with the freedom in motion that it deserves.

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1. No offense to Canada, but the deepest snow we found all year was about three miles west of our cabin in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It was snowing three to four inches per hour and it led to an amazing day of powder plumes, snowy dogs and huge, huge grins. 

Here's to a great 2013-14 season. We're stoked to wind it up and have an even better 2014-15 winter.

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