Redefining what it means to be a good surfer

Tuckerman Ravine

With the ski season winding down, I started to think about what was next for me.  The idea of driving/surfing my way down to Panama and back was something I had been considering for several months, but hadn’t fully committed to until just before The Skillet.  In preparation for this massive trip, I would have to make sure my van was SUPER dialed.  I did a bunch of research about what type of service, repairs, and upgrades I’d need to make to my van in order to head south of the border with peace of mind and confidence in my vehicle.  So, with help from my Westy tribe, I put together a list and reached out to Metric Motors in Utah about doing the work.  Silly me, I thought this would take just a few days, but they quickly let me know that it would be 3-4 weeks in order for them to complete to the work.  Three to four weeks?! Wow.

At first, I was bummed about the length of time because the early season south swells were already starting to hit and I was eager to get on it, but then I realized 3-4 weeks would open up the space for me to go visit family and to hopefully do a 10 Vipassana meditation.  So, before The Skillet I got on the waitlist for a Vipassana and when we got off the mountain I had been accepted, woohoo!  And so, after The Skillet, the plan was to drive to Salt Lake to drop off my van at Metric Motors and head back East for family and meditation.
On the way to Salt Lake though, a crazy idea popped into my head and that was to ski Tuckerman Ravine.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it wasn’t on my radar at all.  I did a tiny bit of reserach, made some calls to homies, and sure enough, plans for an impromptu Tuckerman’s was confirmed.
Tuckerman Ravine is another Classic and was something I’ve wanted to do for so many years.  Skiing it was lifelong goal and skiing it with two of my oldest friends in the world would make it even more special.
I landed back home in Boston on the 18th, and met up with Doug and Boris at 5am on the 20th to go ski Tuckerman.  We drove a several hours north, stopped for some insane doughnuts, and got to the Mount Washington Visitor Center around 9am.  We weren’t in a rush because want the snow (ice) to soften a bit so we took our time getting ready and started the mission around 9:30am.
The first part of the day was a casual mellow hike through the White Mountains.  Walk, talk, laugh, and hang with my oldest homies was quite nice.
After a few hours of walking, we finally made it to the bottom of the infamous, Tuckerman Ravine!
Standing at the bottom and looking up, it looked way more intimidating than I was expecting, maybe because the entire face was frozen solid.  Lots of people were up there looking, but no one was really making the attempt up the Ravine.
After a bit of waiting, we realized that sun was hitting the lookers right little chute and it appeared to be softening up.  So, we decided that was our way up.  Doug stayed behind while Boris and I kept going.  We booted up the chute, then did some bushwhacking, then a lot more boot packing all the way to the summit of Mount Washington!  That wasn’t quite our plan but Boris and I were both on borrowed skis (I was on my Dad’s) so we thought heading up into the snow fields above the Ravine would be an easy and less consequential spot to make sure we don’t immediate eject out of our skis on a steep, narrow, icy face.  And so up, and up we went, all the way to the top.
It felt like we crossed through so many different micro climates on our way up.  Dirt.  Snow.  Alpine.  Once we were up there, it sure didn’t feel like we were in New Hampshire.  The scenery was amazing and it was really cool to come straight from Tetons to New Hampshire.
After a few hours of climbing, we made it to the top and enjoyed some fun turns on the way down.
And it wouldn’t be a proper East Coast day without a little of this..
After skiing Tuckerman, I spent some time with family before heading into 10 days of silent Vipassana meditation.
Family time was special and the meditation was profound and intense.. two meals per day, complete silence, no eye contact, no physical touch, no reading, writing or exercising, nothing for 10 days.  In the end, I would describe it like type two fun, kind of like climbing a mountain.  You prepare and your stoked, you begin and it’s going well, then you get half way to the summit and the storm rolls in, the visibility worsens, and you’re like, ‘why the hell did I chose to put my self in this situation’.  Then the storm clears you make the summit and return home energized, filled with gratitude, a sense of accomplishment, and so many profound insights.  This Vipassana was one of two non skiing goals I had for my sabbatical, so it was awesome to complete this goal.  The timing (while my van was being worked on) and the location (Massachusetts where my family is) made it even more perfect.

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