Yeah I've been called crazy, obsessed, even a psycho by some. I've heard, "Yeah, you're just not normal" no one wakes up at 5am in October so that they can be the first guy to photograph new snow up in the Wasatch Mountains. I mean it's not even like I'm skiing. To me this sort of behavior is normal, and yes, I AM obsessed with winter and snow. So when it falls, I follow it no matter what the cost or where it will take me. I have a ton of stories that I could tell you... like how two years ago in October, my Chevy Tahoe nearly got stuck at 11,000 feet on top of a snow packed road at Brian Head Resort. But this blog, isn't about me. This one's about a fellow snow rider whose obsession... while similar in nature... is far more impressive.
Last weekend, somewhere between Brighton Resort and Park City Mountain Resort at about 10,000 feet, Kevin accomplished what he set out to do almost 5 years ago to the date. After the incredibly good snow year of 2007/2008 Kevin got inspired. His plan was to snowboard in Utah at least once a month for a year. Well, he blew that year out of the water! Fast forward 60 months... Kevin has boarded every single one of them. During that incredible 07/08 season, Alta Ski Area saw 701.5", followed up by a monster 696", 560", 723", and last years 390" inches of snow. These were all monster winters, but as you look back last years wasn't quite as impressive, you might understand why this feat wasn't the easiest for our friend, Kevin.
This past winter, the storms and snow totals just didn't stack up. In March, Kevin knew he was going to be some trouble. But... that trouble doesn't come when most of you would think. The general belief is that July and August would be the most challenging months because it's so hot in Utah. Turns out, the real challenge for Kevin always comes in September and or October when almost all of the previous seasons snow pack has melted off the tops of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
This year that fear was realized in a big way. No longer could Kevin ride the Snowbird Tram to 11,000 feet, then march his way over to a 40 to 50 foot long frozen snowfield. That was gone. This year, Kevin was forced to really earn his turns. This year he would have to take on the the Mount Timpanagos snow field. That hike, is 6 1/2 hours IN ONE DIRECTION! So, hats off to Mr. Kevin Rapf for keeping the streak alive. It's all downhill from here.
Here are a couple of Kevin's own thoughts from his facebook page after taking on such adventures;
Snowbird on 09-2009
After making it out of Pipeline Bowl, 90 minutes later, around 8:30pm. Near the bottom, in the pitch black. I saw something. Something big. Something big, and black. Smaller then a moose or a deer, but bigger then a raccoon. Did I mention big? It was moving back and forth from one side of the road to the other. I didn't have a flashlight. I was trying to scare it by yelling, throwing rocks and flashing my camera. It stayed in the road. I gave up, and had to walk across a wide unmowed trail in the pitch black, falling in mud and getting really scratched up in the process. This was the worst part of the evening.
Alta on 2009-10-02
Got my October turns! Woot. Poached Alta (lol) with other boarders. Kickers, rails, and... Surprisingly good snow!
Snowbird on 2010-09-12
Hell hike to icy dirty bulletproof snow. No way I was hiking back up to the tram by 6:30 so I hiked out down the access road. Gad valley was a nightmare, I hope I never have to hike up there again in the summer. Loose rock, steep, boulders, I'm amazed I didn't get hurt. Made turns though.
No bears this year either.
Mount Timpanogos on 2012-09-23
I dreaded this day for the last 4 years & 11 months. A crap snow year plus a warm summer means you have to take what you can get. Sadly for me this meant I had to hike Timp to get my September turns. REALLY hope I don't have to do it again in Oct.
Guardsmans Pass on 2012-10-14
You know, even though it was very thin. Fresh snow beats bullet proof ice. 6 "Runs" of about 40-45'. I'll take it. October is done. And just like that, I've ridden snow in Utah, once a month, for 60 months. 5 Years. Wow. November will mark the beginning of year 6, and I must admit I will probably not try and continue my streak next summer. I had a mini goal of this, but now that it's completed I think I'm good. Time to find other ways to stay in shape during the summer.