The North Face Masters: Part 1 - Preparation
Ride Utah staffer, Josh Scheuerman, prepares for the North Face Masters series at age 33. Armed with a huge beard and ambition to give it his best, here's to wishing Josh success at the Masters. Josh weights in on the approaching comp.
The 5th annual North Face Masters is about to get underway at Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington on Valentine's Day and I’m still unsure if I love this idea of signing up. The season with its begrudgingly slow start pushed the opening date at Snowbird from January 19 to the final stop of the tour on April 12-15. The day before the event was supposed to start, I had just taken a run down Silver Fox; getting attacked by shark teeth, ice chutes and cliffs stopped my breath in my chest. I’m very thankful for the reprieve at Snowbird and hope to do fairly well when it comes to spring storms and full coverage, but for the moment my only thought is turned to the northwest.
I have had a love/hate relationship with cliffs while riding for the past 20 years with varying results of pain and excitement. I’ve visited the Brighton Ski Clinic for stitches in my tongue, only to return a week later to sutcher up my eyebrow from dropping Hollywood under Crest Express. Add another lacerated tongue injury, (I’m planning on a mouth guard this time around), bruised eye socket, bruised ribs, torn ligaments in my knee and foot, sprains and aches. However, the flip-side is ridding almost every cliff on Millicent, hiking Wolverine Cirque, Claytons and Baldy every season for the past 10 years. Riding the 5 mile traverse out of Banana Chute at Snowbasin last season and tackled No-Name Peak and Middle Cirque. All these experiences gave me more confidence and my commitment grew to go bigger and risk a little more air time and overcome that fear I get from scoping the landing and diving in. I understand that growing up on light and forgiving snow has given me this lopsided view of big mountain riding and that mountains can be very unforgiving indeed.
For the past three weeks I have been preparing as best I can to tackle this challenge and hope the time I’ve put in will pay off. I rode Powder Mountain when Lightning Ridge opened and spent the day churning out 1,000”+ laps. I hiked Brighton, lapped Chips for days and more Powder Mountain full days under my belt I started to feel that familiar feeling of powder legs. I’m running during the week to clear my head and gain extra strength in my ankles and knees, which I know will be needed to handle Silver King at Crystal Mountain for the finals.
I signed up for the Masters to see how I can actually ride at 33 years old with no contest experience, besides three top 15 places in the Canis Lupis Challenge. I wanted to risk riding with my fellow riders in the arena and stand with them at the bottom. Snowboarding has been an undaunted passion of mine for more than half my life and I wanted to see what all that time on the mountain amounted to. I’m unsure what’s going to happen in two days time, but I’m glad to go in with fellow riders and give it my all.