For me, the best part of winter isn’t found in chasing big storms, long mornings on a steep skin track, or even sitting in our favorite bar trading ski stories after a long weekend in the mountains. No, the best part of winter is sharing these experiences with your closest friends, and if you’re lucky enough, getting to be a part of something that is a once in a lifetime trip.
Those days spent in search of deep snow or steep ice don’t have to be in some exotic location. It’s easy to get lost in the idea that we have to take an epic vacation to capture the best moments, and we forget that sharing the stoke with the people we love can happen on a trail after work, on the first chair at the local ski hill, or even just sitting around a kitchen table with a few drinks planning the next weekend adventure.
I was lucky enough this season that every time out on the snow was one of those best moments, as I taught my fiancee, Kenzie, about backcountry skiing and riding fat bikes in the snow. Sure there were a few times when I thought we both might be a little crazy – afterall, we’ve all got that buddy who ruined a relationship by dropping a girlfriend or boyfriend off at the top of a sketchy mogul run with a simple, “see you at the bottom!”
However, if you’re smart enough to stay patient (and have a significant other who is infinitely more patient than you), every yard sale, sore muscle, and struggle with your ski boots is worth seeing their reaction when they get to have a once in a lifetime “first” moment.
We had one of those kind of weekends recently on Saturday morning hauling ski gear on our bikes on closed roads close to home in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. We loaded up skis, bikes, and dogs for a long stretch of snowy closed roads to get some turns in, and headed off in search of a spot to take a few laps.
It was Kenzie’s first big pedal-to-powder tour, so I was more than a little worried about everything going right. I shouldn’t have feared though because after a morning on the snow and trading in pedals and ski boots for a hammock and picnic, we were both just stoked to be out in the mountains sharing what we love to do together. It hit me then that this is what adventure is all about. Winter or summer, epic expedition or weeknight trail time, sharing the stoke with your closest family and friends are what makes the memories last. Those perfect moments of watching a friend see a mountain sunrise or bomb deep powder for the very first time are what keeps me out in the mountains all year.
Author: Mountain Hardwear Ambassador Austin Parker