Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Poach

Hanging with this group of individuals is like hanging with a group of pirates. Only pirates with with a serious addiction to powder. The reason that we can actually hang together without literally killing each other or without just pissing each other off is because there is a loose code among us. Honor among thieves if you will. A couple of good example are thus. On Chris Clarks birthday he was awarded with the bottom line, aka the "Birthday Line" , yes it was his birthday all day, but of course he was given just ONE line, not two, not the whole day, just one. Another example is that when Tree would ski with us, the only female in the group (Tree has been our cook over the years and we greatly appreciate she can deal with us), generally there was a waving of the arms, a bow to her and a presentation of at least one set of first tracks. Yes honor among thieves. However, there are times when the code comes into question and its ethics must be questioned. As you know, just like any good artist, you must know the rules in order to break them, or at least to know when there is a loophole that you can exploit without losing your honor.
I say this because I was the exploiter on one such loophole. It was on one of the last days of the trip. Lars mentioned that there was a peak that was yet unskied in the valley. As he put it, he put all his time in doing first decents on the major peaks and now it was time to fill in the gaps. So as fate would have it, late in the day we ended up on said peak. All the usual suspects were lined up over the choice lines. Lars of course, Hatten high and to the left, Chris Clark in front of me to the right (always a bad spot for me) Mark just between and behind me and Hatten. Lars of course took the goods right off the bat, he has the guide clause so what can you say. After Lars though there was a pause, an unsaid moment where all of us were close to just fucking ripping the next line. When you look at the skinny picture on the post you can see there is a left line down the face. That is where Chris and I were standing. Hatten looked at Chris and for some reason found it in his soul to give him the nod. I was bummed because I knew right where he was going to go. Hatten, altough chivalrous as hell, was really just trying to make sure that Clark went left because he had already staked out his own line to the right. Nothing but seconds for yours truly. Clark jumped in and had sort of a jerk and then a jolt and stopped dead above the line. His bindings had malfunctioned and had gone from locked down to "tour" mode. There was an awkward silence as we all drooled over his line. Now to fully understand my thinking you should know that there had been some other business that had ensued before the skin track up. Now this business may or may not have been attributed to Chris Clarks binding malfunction. We will never know but to me this was a loophole. Did the bindings malfunction due to Chris's hedonistic lifestyle? Did he basically screw up? IF so that was warrant for a demerit in my opinion. I voiced this question out loud to the other addicts, hoping that none of them took the clue quicker than me. To my surprise there was nothing but praise for my interpretation of the rules and I was urged to go for it, which I did. About halfway down, snow up to my knees, rock walls floating past me, the valley spread before me, I heard Clark exclaim in anguish AHGHGHGHGHGGHG. Like they say, ski it like you stole it.......

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