Steal my skis, but you can't steal my powder!
Early last week the Wasatch range of Utah was getting pummeled with a 55 inch snowstorm. Sunday the Powder Posse skied Alta but due to some serious power issues caused by the weight of the new snow, we were forced to leave the resort still begging for more. By the time we pulled out of the Wildcat parking lot at Alta the storm totals were approaching 35"! As the storm continued to rage Sunday night, forecasters were calling for at least another foot of snow. Needless to say, my expectations were high for Monday morning and the crew was planning on meeting at the Brighton parking lot at 9 am. As the night went on I continued to monitor the weather radar and the snow study plots all over the Wasatch. I noticed huge amounts of snow were falling and it looked to be another blown forecast but this time we were going to be on the right side of the error. I tried to force myself to sleep but I just couldn't knowing what tomorrow might bring. All in all, I probably only took down a solid three hour nap between 1am and 4am (in between jumping up every half hour or so just to make sure it was still dumping out there). As 5am rolled around, snow totals from the various resorts were starting to come in and what do you know? JACKPOT! Brighton Resort was reporting 34" of snow in the past 24 hours!
After reading the reports, there wasn't a chance in hell of falling back to sleep so the next move was to get the gear and hit the road. Upon arriving at Brighton it turns out my crew was mutually as excited as I was and by 8:15 am the entire Powder Posse was sitting in the first two rows of the Brighton parking lot. High fives were going off just as often as the avalanche bombs were bursting. The stoke meter was off the charts! First step - boots on, helmet, goggles on. Now there was only one thing to do, hop up on top of the truck and grab the tool of the day, the fattest pair of skis I own. Grab my key to open my Thule box and like a punch in the face it's empty!!!! WTF!!!! My first natural reaction was to think, “who on earth is messing with me.” It's the deepest day of the season! Standing there in shock I start calling every single person I know. The phone calls went kind of like this, "Yo dude, please tell me you messed with me last night and hid my skis on me? You then forgot to put them back in the box right? Please tell me you are messing with me?" Everyone around me was as stunned as I was and just stood there in silence as the panic really set in. Finally, Adam the first brave soul said, "Dude are you messing with us, honestly?" Telling him, "no" in a super calm voice, I asked him politely to please hop up on my truck and check for himself because I just couldn't bring myself to do it. He did and as he dropped back down to the 2 feet of freshly fallen snow in the parking lot he just looked at me and said, "I am so sorry man..."
At that moment I was in full on in shock. I don't have kids but I honestly felt like someone had just kidnapped my entire family. Rage, anger, sadness, disappointment and panic ran throughout my body. Within the next few minutes, I happened to run into the entire Ski Utah Crew and being the optimists that they are, they all expressed their sympathy for my situation but they tried to tell me to try and not let this ruin my day. "Just rent some skis and we will figure this out." FIGURE THIS OUT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Someone just stole my three best friends and by extension my passion. I was enraged!!!
The next step was to admit defeat for the day but by God there was no way in HELL I was not going be skiing tomorrow. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the challenge was on!
9 am - Race back to Park City Police Department and file a report.
2013 Rossignol Super 7s 195, mounted with FKS Rossignol bindings
2012 K2 Obseth 189, mounted with Marker Dukes bindings
2010 K2 Hellbent 189, mounted with Solomon STH 16 bindings
10 am - File a claim with USAA Insurance Company, normal claims take 3-5 business days to be completed. Panic sets in again.
11 am - Call USAA repeatedly and explained to them that I understand you are probably dealing with people all over the country that have had their homes damaged by a floods, fire or tornados so I totally understand my problem should be placed at the bottom of the pile (I mean come on, we are talking about skis here) however, if there is anyway they can do something to get me back out there tomorrow, I would be the most grateful customer on the planet. After my insurance agent talked me off a cliff, she said to me in an extremely calm voice, "Normally we don't do this sort of thing but I can tell you are totally stressing out over there and while I hate the snow, I feel your passion. If you have an hour or two we can spend it on the phone together, I can do my research on your skis and we can get this taken care of today."
That was it, that's all I needed! Just a little bit of hope, and I was off and running, literally.
2 pm - The claim was finished and now I was on a mission to replace my entire stolen quiver. I was like a pinball bouncing around every single shop in Park City. You name it, I was there. Bit by bit I was piecing it back together.
5 pm - Having exhausted the Park City market I was still in need of replacing my wide ski brakes, one set of skis and two pair of bindings, so down the canyon I went to Salt Lake City. Once again nailing most, if not every shop along the way. My travels finally landed me in West Valley City at the Backcountry.com retail store. I spoke with an incredible Gear Guide on the phone, she told me of a similar story when she had her bike stolen a few years back. She truly felt my pain but told me they had everything I needed waiting for me in the warehouse. There the final items were purchased. Still I wasn't out of the woods yet. It was 6pm and now I had to find someone who could mount my bindings like NOW so that I could be skiing first thing in the morning. Sure enough the folks at Backcountry.com were willing to do that for me as well and for free!
9 pm Arrive back in Park City, mounted skis and all, full on exhausted but ready to shred tomorrow.
Thanks to Elizabeth Sanchez at USAA and the incredible Gear Guide at Backcountry who listened to my plight and felt my passion. Also a special thanks to Raegan at Jans Park City for hooking it up! The ski community in Utah truly is the best. I can't tell you how many calls and texts I got from random ski shops telling me they were keeping their eyes out for my skis.
This is how it looked the day after the deepest day of the year ...