[YouTubeUlar] <— 329,674
How to throw an innovative and successful ski & snowboard contest … with both Men and Women.
1 – Let it snow
2 – Target a window of time
3 – Choose iconic location
4 – Let the athletes be judges
The 1st annual Kings and Queens of Corbet’s Couloir freeride competition took place during a window of time from July 31st to February 4th, 2018. The actual contest was held on February 1st and 25 athletes took the plunge into one of the worlds most famous ski runs.
Judged on three basic criteria — Speed, commitment and degree of difficulty of line, followed by innovative and progressive maneuvers with control and stomped landings revealed only a single champion King and one female Queen. After an athlete deliberation viewing party and video presentation of all the runs … King Karl Fostvedt and Queen Caite Zeliff were crowned champions.
This was a fantastic event to socially follow … each athlete had their own versions of instaStories to reveal what it was really like to be at and compete in such a great event. Jackson Hole at first rewarded the men with higher pay-days … but after some simple griping from the women they quickly corrected their decision and matched the same winnings to the women. I can’t really say I fully support this decision – but it was the socially correct thing to do.
11 months later, Jackson Hole finally released this video recapping the event … and in perfect timing to amp for the 2nd annual Kings and Queens of Corbet’s to take place during the February 10th – February 16th, 2019 window.
2018 Kings and Queens of Corbet’s Results:
1st – Karl Fostvedt
2nd – Sander Hadley
3rd – Mikey Marohn
4th – Forrest Jillson
5th – Hans Mindnich
6th – Griffin Post
7th – Cam Fitzpatrick
8th – Blaine Gallivan
9th – Blake Pau
10th – Mike King
11th – Jeff Leger
12th – Teton Brown
13th – Chris Logan
14th – Ryan Cruze
15th – Mark Carter
16th – Coen Bennie-Faull
17th – Rob Kingwill
18th – Griffin Dunne
1st – Caite Zeliff
2nd – Kara Munsey
3rd – Hana Beaman
4th – Veronica Paulsen
5th – Tami Razinger
6th – MacKenzie Lisac
7th – Sophia Schwartz
[YouTubeUlar] <— 20,238
The first two minutes of this Salomon TV tribute to JP Auclair and the history of the Salomon 1080 is filled with ridiculously awesome banger quotes. Take your pick, and enjoy the flick.
“JP JP JP JP JP JP JP” — Everyone
“I think the greatest thing you can do with one of your friends is to remember them in your hearts and in your minds… and here everybody is and I think it’s just the coolest thing ever. I really do.” — Blake Jorgensen
“Thank’s a lot everyone for coming out on the 20th anniversary of the New Canadian Airforce and honoring a great man … JP Auclair.” — Mike Douglas
“Here we are, Blackcomb wind lip session … it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something like this go down. It’s a throw back to the old days, the tribe has rallied… it’s just good to be here man, it feels like old times.” — Feet Banks
“It’s awesome to see everyone getting fired up, just sending it, just strictly out of love for him.”
“Vinny and JP’s and Szocs and Mike, they are just on the next level”
“Every single trick they did was groundbreaking and never been done before… and what really stood out for us is that a lot of the shots we saw were in Whistler”
Well, this is where we kind of learned a lot of this stuff. So to be back here exactly 20 years later is super super cool.” — Mike Douglas
“That was the first back flip mute I think I’ve done in about 10 years … that one was for JP” — Mike Douglas
“My back is sore, my shins will be sore… and I need a masseuse and a hot tub. I can’t do those hard landings anymore.” — Shane Szocs
“Back to 97 baby!” — Mike Douglas
“Back when skiing was just furry boots and malt cider and like kind of FIS bullshit, these guys stepped up, they turned it around, they took it backwards.”
“And that’s what made them rad.”
“A guy once told me that anything less than 20 years old is just news, it’s not history. And it’s been 20 years now since the TenEighty came out so… I guess we’ll see.” — Mike Douglas
“I sense snowboard coming really big two years ago like all new tricks I was like fuck man – should I change for snow board but, like I said in my mind – ah fuck there is something to do with skiing. There’s not because we got pole that we can’t grab so… last year I started to do flip like mistys and rodeo and I think skiings awesome and we can kick snowboards ass easily.” — JF Cusson
“Skiing was pretty much dead in the 90s, snowboarding was taking off.” — Jonny Moseley
“Skiing was your parents sport. Nobody — No one young with energy or that was cool was getting into skiing.” — Mike Douglas
“And the New Canadian Air Force came along and they invented twin tip skis … and that just like set it off.” — Jonny Moseley
Thought it would be worth sharing a couple first time visitors experience at Kirkwood! January 22nd, 2016 was another fantastic powder day to enjoy the fresh that the Kirkwood has to offer. Nikki Peterson and Ryan Johnston – Come visit us in Tahoe more often!
Coming straight from I Love Awesomeness…
“Let me explain ourselves a little bit. There are a few de facto standards of awesome things in this world. Snow sports and skiing are of course one of them… creativity and creative thinking are another… and the third most important ingredient to awesomeness in this world are *moms*. Never forget that all the awesomeness people alive on the planet today… had to come from an awesome mom.
This short movie reflects on quite a few of our awesome principals. We grew up watching Wendy Fisher in ski movies … now 41 (at time of shooting) and *mother* of two children she’s been put to the test to see if she still has it. Mike Douglas of Switchback Productions put this movie together two years ago and won best short at the 2014 Powder awards. Wendy’s fall at the 6 minute mark is sketchy at best … but like any championy awesome mom – she gets right back up to show off her awesomely beautiful technique of making skiing look absolutely effortless. Cheers to you Wendy … now what should we laser for this SUPER MOM!?”
I know for a fact your mom can’t ski like this … mine can! But your mom – no. Haha – That still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ski with her this season. Be sure you get your mom out on the hill, or a big wheel … and document it! Love you mom!
[Vimeeeeee0] <— 151 I need to get the skinny from TJ Fry on this end of season creative piece... but it's worth the share and the laugh on where and when skiers began turning.
I’m still trying to find a way to process all the information regarding the loss of JP Auclair… this helps a little :)
Do you know where all your friends are tonight?
[YouTubeUlar] <— 203
Although I believe the Audi A3 is actually the first car from Audi that signifies the beginning of the downfall of sexy design from my favorite German auto manufacturer… I still love this car and especially love this commercial. Let me say it again… Bode Miller + Out of Control + Audi quattro = Genius.
For those of you new to my idealistic and very passionate representation of brands and technology here at hydle.com – I’ve been a major fan of Audi since the mid 1990s, bought my first Audi in 2003 (a 1997 A4 that now has 234,000 miles + counting) and picked up a 2013 S4 supercharged quattro just this past year. The original Audi quattro changed the automotive world. Similar to Apple releasing the macintosh in 1984… what Audi was doing in 1984 also took hold as the single most important development in the auto industry that would change my life down the road.
No pun intended… haha – It is hard to explain the difference of All Wheel Drive vs. 4 Wheel Drive vs. Audi quattro. I would gladly show you if you want to take a ride to the hills in our next snowstorm, but if you must read – start here. Or if you want to get your motion picture view on – go here.
Now, back to the beginning of the design downfall. How long does it take for a brand to lose it’s leadership in design? Well, let’s look at how long it takes to “build good design”, also known as “brand” an idea. It took an entire decade to build quattro and two decades to design and build the image of Audi around quattro. It can take decades to build something great… and design something that ultimately takes hold and is respected as a product leader, but in the end… I would have to say you can lose it much faster then it takes to build it.
Audi lost one of their key designers, Peter Schreyer to KIA back in 2006 and it is starting to take effect now. Peter Schreyer, who is now the President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai and Kia Motors was brought into that company with a completely blank design slate… and look what he has done. I won’t be the first one to admit that I’ve double checked a few KIA models in the last two years, but what he is doing at KIA is working… and what Audi is doing is starting to slide. It may not be a big slide, and I certainly hope Audi hasn’t quite reached it’s peak in design, but remember… you lose it a lot faster than you build it. I hope Apple, my other lifelong power brand realizes this.
Ultimately Audi could lose all their design luster… and I would still drive one simply because there is zero comparison for quattro and there probably never will be. Obviously Audi is part of a larger Volkswagen Automotive Group, but who drives those? Volkswagen’s are for girls. Škoda‘s are for Russians… and SEAT‘s… ummm, no – don’t even get me started. SEAT’s are for chinese mexicans… but that is what they said about KIA’s before Peter Schreyer started design cars for them.
Perhaps I could graduate to a Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini or Porsche in the future years… but I highly doubt I will ever find the passion of owning and talking positively about these brands. KIA on the other hand … hmmmmm?
As I peek into the life of Andreas Fransson, a man I never formerly knew… I am absolutely blown away at the documenting and stories he was capable of. Andreas Fransson perished with my good friend JP Auclair on September 29th, 2014 in an unfortunate climbing accident in Patagonia. These two skiing and mountain adventure pioneers were onto something special and I can only explore how they got there through the help of Andreas Fransson’s unbelievable blog of documenting his life and meticulously thanking everyone he ever climbed with. In such the modern day of media we live in today, it’s amazing how the writing is what still truly tells the story.
“I’ve learnt a few things the last few months; Life goes on and how we want it to go on is a choice and even if we want to escape, there is no-where to escape so we might as well make right now awesome.”
– Andreas Fransson
This is the ending of the final post on Andreas Fransson’s blog from February 13th, 2014. As I’ve alway been interested in examining people’s final thoughts and postings prior to unfortunate accidents like this, Fransson’s final official blog post completely blows my mind.
How did he arrive at this thinking… I’m finding out. I’m only through 2 months of Andreas Fransson’s posts and I’ve already experienced amazing adventures through his eyes and completely unbelievable patagonia climbing adventures.
JP Auclair is going to be a little bit harder to read into, because for the life of me – I can’t recall how long he has actually had this for his coming soon website. UP1 Whaaaaaat!? I fucking miss you dude.
Sad news today is crushing through the interManets about how JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson are reported missing and presumed dead in an avalanche that swept 700 meters on the face of Monte San Lorenzo which is located deep in Patagonia on the Chilean and Argentine boarder.
When I first heard about this I had to check JP Auclair’s last post and location check in via Instagram… and can only say I hope this isn’t true.
JP Auclair Posted 4 days ago on September 26th, 2014
Looking a bit deeper into the goals for this trip it sounds like JP Auclair, Andreas Fransson, Sweden videographer Bjarne Salen and photographer Daniel Ronnback were starting up a new web series called Apogee Skiing that was slated to start dropping episodes this fall. It sounds like Auclair and Fransson were climbing a couloir nearing the peak of the 12,159 foot tall glacier when something moved above them. The length of the slide is estimated at over 700 meters and carried all the way to the glacier below. Salen and Ronnback were unaffected as they were shooting from another peak.
You can tell the level of excitement everyone had from their final posts before the trip. Winter was definitely in the air.
JP Auclair Posed 6 days ago on September 24th, 2014
Andreas Fransson’s final post on September 26th, 2014
“Our Patagonia adventure just started! I’m so looking forward hanging out with @auclairjp @bjarnesalen @danielronnback (photo credit) for two weeks in the wild! You will probably not hear much from us in a while, but it’s worth keeping your eyes open for #apogeeskiing project which is a collaboration between JP and myself with first webisode dropping later this autumn!
Photographer Daniel Ronnbacks Instagram post leading up to the trip posted on September 24th, 2014.
“I really dont know what to expect from my 18 days ahead of me. Last time i was out with @andreasfransson99 @bjarnesalen and @auclairjp this was one of our runs. Time will tell! #chile @fstopgear @armadaskis @oakley @dynafitna @douchebags”
I am super saddened by this news and can only hope early reports are not correct. Unfortunately I don’t believe this to be the case and the skiing community and I have lost another great friend :(. To Andreas Fransson, I can only hope someone can write about the final days of your life as well as you recapped the tragic death of your friend Magnus Kastengren from his fatal fall last November. Your writing is shockingly brilliant and you paid amazing tribute to the joyous last days of Magnus Kastengren. I wish I could have known your for this writing alone and could only imagine what you were about to write with my good friend JP.
To JP Auclair, I am so deeply sorry and know you were in your happy place creating amazing things when this occurred. From the days I met you resting your back and laying on the kitchen floor of Joel McCormick’s and my college hangout, to when I met Bo Bridges while picking you up from my garage to adventure you to Vail. I’ve done amazing things with Bo since then and I’ve done amazing things with you since the tragic passing of Joel. Edit parties, beach olympics and all night creative sessions, chatting and creating, chatting and creating… from across the world. Keeping in touch with you has meant a lot to me and you were one of the key initiatives into us moving forward with an idea that would spark the entire world of old school skiing with new school skiing. You were the only pro skier I confided with about the possibility of integrating Warren Miller into Level 1 Productions 10th film mixing the oldest audience in skiing with the youngest. The idea was a little crazy, and I wanted your honest opinion on whether or not you thought the ski industry could handle something so out of the box. Your response was so positive that we continued with the project of Josh Berman’s 10th film – Refresh integrated with Warren Miller. I wish you could have been at the premier on September 11th, 2009 at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. Greg Stump was there, we partied hard and when Warren Miller’s voice kicked in during the intro sequence, the crowd erupted in awesomeness. We created something unique and even though you probably didn’t think you were a part of this, you were. Just the same as you and John Decesare coming to Joel McCormick’s celebration and service back in 2003 – your presence was a major part of his service and I don’t think you ever realized how much of a positive impression you made on his family just by you attending. I don’t think people realize how much you actually created in this world or how artistic you were without skis on. The intro sequences to Session 1242 and Ready Fire Aim paying tribute to Joel McCormick were simply genius… along with everything else you put your hands on. I don’t know how to take this news of your loss, just like many others and I’m so terribly sorry and sad about this unforeseen accident that has occurred to you and your friends. My feelings are difficult to describe. May you rest in peace and realize your Alpine Initiatives of inspiring, connecting and growing is exactly how you lived your life. I will forever miss you… say hello to Joel.
[BioBioChile.cl – Spanish]
[Early Ups – Translated]
[ESPN X Games]
[The Globe and Mail]
[Freeskier Magazine Tribute]
[Freeskier – Celebrating the lives of JP and Andreas]
[Powder – Confirmed Update]
[VimeeeeO] <— 43,900
Just when you think the inspiration of the ski season is over… And Freeskier publicizes this awesomeness.
FACTION — Way to kill it with your new team and video series.
Adam Delorme – Why don’t you have a “the facebook”?
Etienne Mérel – Keep up the Awesomeness.
Song – God’s Whisper by Raury.
Who the fuck is Raury?
“I am one of the greatest lyricists out here, fuck it.” Help him Roar.
[YouTubeUlar] <— 442
***NOTE*** – Next week this post will be post dated back to December 24th, 2013
Merry EPIC Christmas-Holiday-New Year and Happy End of Work Day on December 24th, 2013.
As many of you know I have been charging around the world with a couple awesome people skiing and “in a way” competing in something called Vail Resorts Epic Race. The Epic Race was conceived by Vail Resorts as a contest for the first 10 people who successfully skied every Vail Resort in the 2013/14 season which included 26 ski resorts spread across 4 different continents. 12 were located in the US and the remaining 14 were in Austria, Switzerland and France — The reward for the first 10 people who accomplished this goal would be a Vail Resorts Lifetime Epic Pass. Of course, when I first heard about this randomly awesome competition in early October I knew it would be a fun endeavor to attempt to win what would be known as “THE” ski pass of all ski passes! What I didn’t know is that when it came down to the final day of the FINAL resort to open in Brides-Les-Bains France… was that there would be 131 people from across the world contending for this most EPIC of Epic Vail Passes. Vail Resorts didn’t even expect this kind of final day outcome… and even though Vail has stated that we would all know the final results from this most epic of epic races by end of work day today, I’m happy to announce that they have decided to take some “EXTRA” time to review all the content and all the angles from this 29 day race!
To summarize what Ashley Cooley, Devin L Rhinehart and I have all accomplished in the last month is pretty difficult to comprehend. I think it can best be described as a test in school, like your final final of the semester. Only if you didn’t pass this final, there was ZERO chance of you passing… or “winning” in this case – which all made sense to us. So I basically used that approach to find some motivation to get our team into and through the final day. All three of us from “Team Fun” were in the top 10 percentile through school as we grew up… so we simply needed to apply these rules of life to the final day and if we succeeded and tried our best … we should probably be ok on the final leader board. Sounds simple enough, however there were some additional requirements to get you to the top. 1 – time, 2 – paying attention to detail… and 3 – being sure all your previous content for the race was up to snuff. Of course there is always LUCK involved too, but we had plenty of that on our side with Ashley being the lucky one. Devin was our Time freak, and I was pretty much Mr Detail. Put us all together and we find ourselves at number 20, 21 and 25 on the final “unofficial” Vail Resorts Epic Race leader board. However, when you throw a little detail into it you will notice that 9 people in front of us automatically get tossed from improper uploading on the final day — Two of those don’t even have video links. Add another level of detail and 4 more get dropped for not following resort rules – aka “you can’t hike outside of resort hours”. That brings Rhinehart up to number 7, me at 8 and Cooley as the top girl finisher just out of the top 10 at 12.
Of course, these are unofficial results — even by my count. I have no idea what Vail Resorts will ultimately choose to do or how nitpicky they are going to get in judging this most EPIC of epic races! When you start digging into 26 mountains of content it becomes pretty overwhelming pretty fast! How do I know? Because I’ve done it. One of the cool things about this race is that everyones piece of content from accomplishing all 26 ski resorts is public which is why I am happy to see them taking the extra time to get the correct 10 finishers on top of the board. After jumping into the 52 photos and 26 fifteen second minimum videos from each contestant, I know who gets tossed and who sticks around. And almost every other racer knows too… Except for the one element that is publicly unknown in this race, which is who actually emailed Vail Resorts a photo of their completed European ski stamp passport by 11:59:59pm on December 20th, 2013. Assuming everyone in front of us accomplished this 1 simple task … I see myself finishing in 7th place – Rhinehart moves to number 6 and Cooley… well there is a super slim small chance that she could pop into the top 10, but even though I know there are technicalities with some uploaded content between us, I do not expect Vail to jump to that level of detail to pop her into the top 10 — If they do choose to go that route, then I would probably be dropped for having goggles or sunglasses on in one of my photos or videos. Sunglasses were never actually addressed, but goggles were recommended to be off your face as you must be visible in all photos and videos and you must include #epicrace in your titles and your Facebook posts and you must choose 1 video and 2 photo locations from a list of required elements at each area and have all your content upload by midnight of the time zone of the mountain you were visiting and you must have lift scan data from the given mountain on the given day and you can only ski 1 US mountain or 2 European mountains per day and you must accomplish this all during resort operating hours and you needed to shoot horizontal video opposed to vertical iPhone video and you need to talk loud through plastic on GoPros and and you can’t promote other brands or use copyrighted material on and on and on… can you see how run on and on this contest could get let alone judging it all!? Either way, at some point there needs to be a line drawn in the final judging criteria in order to release the official leader board and award the top racers their Vail Resorts lifetime season pass!
If we are on that list — Fantastic! If for some reason we don’t quite make the official top 10, then we will still enjoy the experiences that have been had and the Vail Resorts Epic season pass for next year that will be awarded to anyone who completes all 26 Vail mountains in the 2013/2014 season. In keeping with the original spirit of “Team Fun”, I will end this post with the 1 simple rule we had while blowing over 2700 miles in the car and almost 14,000 miles in the air to accomplish this 1 impressive task of skiing 26 ski resorts in 29 days in 4 different countries — “Skiing is fun… and that’s about all!”
It was amazing meeting so many *awesome people* on this incredible adventure! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!
Nick and Scott Annis
Joe Jensen, Weather Man Steve Sacco and John Victor
Michael Lahey + Epic Race Mom Sharon Mcmonagle
Devin Rhinehart, Ashley Cooley + Greg Hydle … “Team Fun”
Bill and little man Charlie Fiveash
London man Steve Curtis
Japan master Zoe Huebner
The Beard of Ando!
Golden locals Michael + Nila Ferrone
Newlyweds Jessica + Dave Schnoll
Sister + Brother team Jannah and Jeff Din!
The Wilson Duo
The Beard of Sean Regan!
The Jackson Hole Greece of Nick Greece
My manager… Kim Jackson!
Windy Wendy Smith
Ultimate video bomber Parker Jackson
The always proper Carolyn Pope!
Crazy Face Troy Martinez
The child in Annie + David Childs
The always Rad Rad Roubeni!
The hair of Tom Slazinski
Epic start with Matt Dority
Webmaster Will Tran
Crazy Man Kai Whittier (never actually met but heard ridiculous stories)
The Curls of Kim Klopp!
Tera + Garrick Keatts
The Silent JK Johnny Kuo
Sock Firestarter Zac Irwin!
The Humor of Jason Walence
Master Ski Sabbatical Jay Irwin
The entire Liu Family!
Will you marry me Matthew Walence
Ryan Garnett, “Pets Heads Falling Off” Colin Dean, and Backflip Trevor Posey!
Green Icelantic Machine Hollis Carter
Our Shit Got Jacked Alexandra Malkin + Aaron Marks :(
Completed the Epic Race Right Jessica Jackson Hill!
The Finished in Fine Fashion Lawrence Bayer
The Dreads of Jonathon Blair Ermer
Yellow Man Giovanni De Francisco!
The Ned Man Kip and Legitimately Last Place Final Day Finisher Kip Lagorin
One Take Timmy Jarred Simpson
The One and Only Man of Epicness Himself … Adam Warot!
[VimeeeeeO] <— 1,500,000 Wow - This is hypnotizing. Having recently visited the Chamonix valley in Europe and getting to whitness Mont Blanc up close and personal… and now with this single genius camera shot, Speed Riding Mont Blanc doesn't seem that far fetched :)
Well I’m writing this post two days after the race (not a lot of free time and poor internet connections), but I will recap how the day went for us in full detail! The morning started off for us around 6 am since we wanted to get prepared and be fully ready to go at 9 am when the race officially started.
We had scoped out our places the day before – we drove through Brides les Baines, Les Allues and scoped out all of the landmark type places around town that we thought would be potential places for us to hit. Also, when we skied Meribel, we tried to get familiar with all of the lifts and landmark type places on the mountains also.
We had all agreed that our best place to start was down in Brides les Baines (fyi – there is no skiing in Brides les Baines, it is just a town at lower elevation that has a gondola lift that takes you up the mountains to the base of Meribel where the skiing actually starts – Les Allues is a little higher up the mountain but still has no skiing, only has a gondola stop taking you up to Meribel also). Our theory was that we would be faster at running through town in our tennis shoes, having our skies and boots stashed at the base of the gondola in Brides (in our car so they wouldn’t get stolen/cold/wet) and then keeping our tennis shoes on for Les Allues also and just stashing our skis and boots by the gondola again, and then changing into our ski boots on the final gondola ride up from Les Allues and tossing our tennis shoes off to the side at the top, skiing over to the correct lift, and then finishing the race at the top. We chose this path because if we would have skied first, we would have had to ski down, and then ski or run in the snow back up to the gondola which would have been a lot tougher for me at least because I’m pretty bad at skating on my skis (and also we figured if the final clue was at the top of the mountain, it would save one small leg of actually skiing back down the slope to finish at the bottom two gondola rides).
So, we started in the center of town in Brides. Some people started in line at the Brides lift gambling that the location that Vail would require us to hit would simply be riding the lift. From the emails we had received from Vail, we assumed we would be having to find something actually in town, and since the gondola was on the outside of town, we decided to begin right in the center of town.
The email with all of our clues and locations for each town came out right at 9 am. Everyone was on their phones ready to run, however I don’t think anyone expected the clues to be as difficult as they were initially. Vail made the clues tough in order to try to slow us down and spread us out, amazing race style, and it worked.
For Brides les Baines, the clue we decided to go with was “This street is named after an assassinated French politician, and the number is the number of consecutive world titles Lindsey Vonn has won” – it tooks us longer than we thought to figure out the name of the street that was named after an assassinated French politician, since obviously there was more than one, and there are a lot of town names in Brides also. Fortunately for us, we had befriended Bill and Charlie Fiveash – a father and son team from Canyons, Utah (Charlie is only 13!). We had hung out with them several times from running into them throughout the trip so it helped on the last day to be buddies with them. Somehow Bill figured out the name of the French politician matching a street name in Brides was Joseph Feranet, so he pointed at the map where we needed to go, said “oh come with us, we want you guys to win too” and started running.
Hydle and Rhinehart at first weren’t totally sure if it was the hunger games and if they were trying to throw us off, but I trusted them because I knew they wouldn’t be running in a direction just to throw us off. I figured I could google Feranets name as we were running to confirm, which is what I started to do. I yelled at Hydle and Rhinehart to follow and that I was confirming it was true, and they kinda followed me, but at a slower pace because they were still working on the clues. (We had decided before the race started that we would try to be calculated and smart before frantically taking any actions, which is kinda what I was doing, but I also felt confident Bill knew the French politicians name correctly, especially because Brides is a small town with not a lot of street names).
While running, I pulled up Google Maps, and found the exact address of 6 (world titles for Lindsey Vonn) and Joseph Feranet street. I had the map feature route me straight to that address, and while running (assuming Hydle and Rhinehart were following me still) I saw Bill and Charlie one street above us (they missed the left turn). Since they had helped us initially on finding the Feranet street, I yelled to them that they had missed their turn and that they needed to follow me because I had it on maps.
Bill, Charlie and me found the address shortly after, and there was a red gondola there, so we figured that had to be the location. We stalled for a second trying to figure out where the Epic Race sticker actually was – and Charlie looked around and found it on the side. We were the second group of people to get our video taken in front of that gondola that morning.
I had assumed Hydle and Rhinehart had been following me the whole time in my frantic distraction of finding the sticker with Bill and Charlie, and when I looked back, I realized they weren’t anywhere to be seen. I had a minor panic when I thought I may have lost them (not a good thing to do during a foot race like this) but since our team had a lot of notoriety by the end of this race, I yelled at the next guy who was running toward the gondola “Hey did you see Hydle and Rhinehart back there?” and the guy said “Yea they’re back there still” – so I ran back to where the guys were standing (a few hundred yards back still) and said “what are you guys doing? I already found the sticker, it’s over there at the red gondola, hurry!”
They were like “you didn’t tell us you knew where it was, you should have told us to follow you” and I said “I thought you were following me, I didn’t realize I didn’t make it clear that I knew where I was going!” and then I thought about running back to the gondola with them again, but then they yelled at me to just keep running back to the gondola at the base of Brides, which they were right about. They were way faster runners than I was, so Hydle tossed me the car key (where we had stashed our skis and boots at the base of the Brides gondola) and said to hurry over there and grab the skis for all of us.
They were so much faster than me, that they ran to the red gondola, got their videos taken, and then ran back and still caught back up with me before we even got halfway back to the Brides lift. Rhinehart was super fast and grabbed the key from me, ran ahead and took out my skis and boots for me, and hoofed them up the stairs to the gondola for me. He yelled at me to just keep running all the way up to the gondola, and yelled at Hydle to grab the poles and his own skis.
I was SO tired by this point, it must have been a ¾ mile total run at full sprint in ski gear, sweating our butts off, but as we were climbing the stairs up to the gondola, the Vail team was there cheering us on, and a couple video and camera guys were shooting us. Rhinehart had already loaded up my skis for me (what a champ) into the gondola, so I dove into it with him right as it was about to leave the loading area. Hydle was behind us so he had to jump into the next one behind us. I also had a small moment of panic there when I asked Rhinehart if he had grabbed my ski boots, and fortunately he had!
We immediately dove into trying to solve our next round of clues for Les Allues. The clues were legitimately tough. But there was a riddle that said
“What am I?
A mountain is tall, but I have more stories.
I don’t have ski runs, but I do have aisles.
You have an Epic Pass, but I have many Epics.”
I assumed this was the church, which we had scoped out earlier and knew how to get to. I mean, churches have stories, aisles and epics. Hydle got off his gondola and I said I thought it was the church and he agreed, so we all went for it and ran straight to the church. Probably another ¾ mile round trip run. Turns out, we found out later that clue was actually for the public library which was RIGHT across the street from the gondola. Duh, makes sense that libraries also have stories, aisles and epics, but when you’re in a rush, things don’t seem as obvious as they do in hindsight. Bummer we missed this because we did know where the library was, and if we could have found the sticker there instead of the church, it probably would have saved us 5 minutes total, which I think would have definitely put us really close into all being in the full running for the epic pass. Orelle!
Bill, Charlie, Hydle, Rhinehart, and Vail videographer friend, Eric ran full sprint to the Church where Hydle was the first to find the sticker. We all snapped our photos, and ran back as fast as we could to the gondola. Everyone was faster than me again, but they were so cool about waiting for me to catch up, grab my skis, and Hydle, Rhinehart and Eric (videographer) jumped into the gondola for our final ride up to Meribel where skiing actually begins.
We put our ski boots on in the gondola, and everyone agreed that they knew the last clue would be to get up to the top of the Toughnette lift (it turns out you could take either gondola from the Meribel base and find an epic sticker at the top). I had no idea how to solve the puzzles for Meribel, but the guys seemed confident they knew where they were going, so I went with it. (I’m not great at maps, and navigating ski areas, so the whole week I hadn’t really been on top of navigating, but the guys had assured me they would have me back when it got to the skiing part at Meribel since they were pretty comfortable with navigating the lifts and the resort).
At the top of the gondola ride, which leads you to the base area where all the lifts and gondolas are to actually ski from, we saw Kaylin Richardson. We had skied with her at Courcheval for some filming, so we knew her pretty well. She had a go pro, and said she was gonna go with us for our final leg of the race. We had to pop on our skis, and then skate on them over some pretty flat base area to get to the actual gondola. Dude. She’s an Olympic skier, and strong as shit, so of course she killed it. I was dying by this point because of all the sprinting in our ski gear, and my legs were so tired, but I had to try to skate as fast as I could to get to the gondola. The guys were way ahead of me because they are so much stronger and better at skating, and so was Kaylin.
When I finally got to the gondola entrance, you had to unlick out of your skis, grab them, and then head up these ramps to get up to the gondola station area. There were quite a few people slowly walking up, and Hydle, Rhinehart and Kaylin were way ahead of me, like already at the top of the station waiting for me. I pushed my way as hard as I could to get up the ramp, and then Hydle yelled at me to get in the left lane line area, so I moved over to the left lane which was moving faster. Even without people in line, I was so tired I’m not sure I could have gotten up to that gondola much faster than I did anyway.
I finally made it, and by then the guys had already loaded their skis up and there wasn’t anymore room to put them on the outside of the gondola, and they were yelling at me to just dive into the gondola holding my skis (lots of the other gondolas on the mountain allow you to bring your skis inside the cabin with you, so I didn’t think much of it).
Well the gondola liftie guys were NOT happy about me trying to do this, and started reprimanding me in French and making me get back out (all of this is happening while the gondola is about to take off because they never actually stop). So I jumped back out with my skis while the rest of the group (including Bill and Charlie again) were all sitting in the gondola together. I tried to get on the next gondola, but by then the spots to put your skis was full in that one too, so I found space in the third gondola after the guys, and jumped in.
I had a few minutes to catch my breath on the ride up, and wasn’t sure if anyone would be waiting for me at the top, but fortunately everyone was waiting shouting at me to grab my skis and hurry, because we had to get on one more lift.
I made this transition ok, and we all somehow got onto the 6 pack lift with another Epic Racer who I’m not actually sure what his name was.
At the top of that lift was our home stretch. The clue said “Come ask me a question atop _ _ U _ _ _ _ _” – the guys knew that was the Tougnette lift because it was the only lift with a U as the third letter, and I told them I knew it would be an info station because I had seen those throughout the mountain near ski patrol offices. At the top, we saw the info station, and had to actually skate or run uphill to get to it. Hydle skated all the way up quickly, and Rhinehart told me to unclick out of my bindings and run up with him. We got to the top with Bill, Charlie, Hydle, Rhinehart, me, and Kaylin (and the other guy I didn’t know, who was actually only on his first clue of the day). We all snapped our photos really quickly, and all had our submission pages pre-loaded with our video and other photo, so all we needed was to pop in our last photo.
I popped in my last photo super quick, and pushed submit for my final submission and my stupid webpage refreshed and started back at blank (I knew it was possible that this would happen because we had tested it before, but it sucked that this happened to me right when I was submitting). So I had to preload my content again – which I did do really quickly – and then submit again. I know I had my initial page submitted just as fast and Rhinehart and Hydle, but because I had to pre-load again, it slowed me down, and then my submission actually got hung up for maybe 30 seconds for my final submission to clear through. By that point, three more people – Bill, Charlie, and a guy we didn’t know named Steve – had jumped in line ahead of me on the leaderboard. This really was only the equivalent of two submissions though because Bill and Charlie got to submit as one person because Charlie was a minor. It was ok thought because I would have wanted Bill and Charlie to have a shot at winning before me, they were so cool and were our alliance on the final day, and it would be super cool especially for Charlie to get an epic pass for life being only 13!
So that’s how we completed our final day. We knew immediately that we were not in the unofficial top 10, because our leaderboard showed us coming in around 28, 29, and 33 I think. We still high fived and cheered a little bit at the top just to have it done, and Kaylin got a few final shots of us on the go pro up there.
Now, for the leaderboard. Vail was very clear in their instructions that for the final day, you HAD to have your photos and videos include the Epic Race stickers. The leaderboard changed throughout the day because if you submitted the incorrect content (ie: no sticker in your photo) you could email Vail and have them take you off the board and resubmit the correct content. The leaderboard changed throughout the day because I think people realized they had posted the wrong content, so we kept moving up. By the end of the day, we had moved up to 20 (Rhinehart), 21 (Hydle) and 25 (me). Now, the sticker rule alone should still disqualify 4 people as it stands just in the top 10. Then, from going through everyone from 1-19, for final day content alone, the guys have determined they think it is possible/likely they may move up to 10 and 11th place. Now, one more variable. The first 4 guys on the leaderboard all hiked up to the top of the mountain and found the snowman with the sticker up there before operating hours of the resort. Vail was pretty clear about this not being allowed either pretty early into the race since they wanted all content to be recorded and submitted during resort operating hours. It is also unclear if Vail would have approved the guys hiking up to begin the race at the top of the mountain since we also heard that another guy had emailed Vail prior to the final day asking for permission to hike to the top to start the final race day and they told him no. This is hearsay, and there are a lot of variables left on Vail needing to go through everyone on the leaderboard’s content, but bottom line is it is still possible that Rhinehart, and potentially Hydle, and even super small chance of potentially I could end up in the top 10 depending on how stringently Vail follows their contest guidelines. They told us they will need at least 3 business days to validate all of the content for everyone on the leaderboard, and that the final winners will not be officially announced until after that, so we will see.
All that said, I would also like to state that I am the 2nd girl on the leaderboard right now. The only other girl in front of me actually did not post a video for her final day. I’m not sure what happened there, but that should likely disqualify her, and it also may imply that she did not in fact fully complete the final race day requirements prior to me. So, it’s possible that I am the first girl finisher of the Epic Race. As hard as it was for me, I guess I should be proud of myself for being capable enough to be potentially the first girl finisher of the race, as well as being on such a champion team that allowed me to hang with them on the final day. I was really nervous that I would cause the guys to lose because of being slow, and I even told them prior that I wanted them to leave me so they could go ahead and finish. But they both rocked and said no way that they were leaving me, and that they didn’t’ even want to win unless all three of us could win. So, thank you Hydle and Rhinehart for sticking with me!
It is a bummer that the final day actually came down to physical capabilities for RUNNING. This was supposed to be a ski race, and unfortunately it came down to being a fast runner more or less (hence no girls being in the top 10). If I was a better runner, it’s possible that all three of us would be easily in the top ten. And, if we knew to hit up the library in Les Allues, I also think we would definitely be in the top ten.
BUT, all of that said, we had so much fun. I wouldn’t change anything about the entire trip, including how we conquered the last day. The friends we have met were so much fun, and hopefully will be long lasting connections for all of us. There are some things that could have been better about the way it ended and was handled, but all in all, I don’t think too many people on the trip have anything but fun memories to bring home.
Thank you to Hydle and Rhinehart for being literally the best teammates anyone could ask for. Our team became pretty famous among the Epic Race by the end of the trip, and everyone knew who Hydle was!
The rest of the day we spent actually trying to figure out the other clues (Hydle was set on wanting to know if he could have figured them all out, and obviously he did because he is so damn smart!). And then we went back to Brides, changed our clothes, and drove the car back up.
We finished off the day by riding the gondola up to the party at La Folie Deuce. Dang. That was a party! It was a pretty sweet venue for après ski if you’re ready to club. They had loud club music with a live band actually playing along with the music which was super sweet. Everyone from the Epic Race was there, and we all got to hang out and mingle. One couple from the race got engaged at the party, and then the Vail team handed out some prizes at the end.
We had to ride the gondola back down at the end of the party around 4:30, and we got to do our final gondola ride of the Epic Race with Hydle, Rhinehart, Adam and me. Adam was one of our most favorite friends on the trip and I couldn’t’ think of a better crew to have our final gondola ride down for the Epic Race. Love you Adam!
We finished off the night at Jack’s in Mirebel with some dinner, and some of our favorite friends from the trip – Jay, his son Zac, Carol, Sarah, Adam, Rhinehart, Wendy, Nick and and Scott (top ten finishers).
What a crazy final day, we did it! And, at least we all have guaranteed epic passes for next year, thanks Vail! And thank you to all of our family and friends at home that followed along and supported us. Based on this final day we realized more people were following along than we realized, so thank you to all, we love you!
This morning Hydle and I actually woke up before Rhinehart because he ended up going out a little bit last night and we stayed in to catch up on some sleep. Last night, I ended up knocking my (empty) wine glass off the armrest of the couch and broke the glass. This morning, while shuffling around dealing with breakfast stuff, Rhinehart broke a glass. Then, Hydle and I were ready slightly before Rhinehart, and we were giving him crap because partially why he was ready after us was because he was cleaning up his broken glass.
So, then, Rhinehart finished up getting ready ready first and walked out the door just to prove he actually was ready before us, and Hydle was like “fine, then this is why I’m late too!” and he threw his glass off to the side and it bounced onto the patio (the door happened to be open) and broke on the patio. Haha, of course when he breaks a glass on purpose, it breaks outside, so convenient!
After that we headed off to the mountain since we knew we had a long day ahead of us checking off St Martin de Belleville and Les Menuires. Hydle has been “training” me all week, giving me lessons and drills on how to get in and out of my skis the quickest, skate fast between lifts, pop my bindings off and grab my skis and run fast, etc. So, I initially had trouble pulling my skis apart because the brakes were criss crossed, and when I finally made it to the first gondola line of the morning, Hydle was there tapping his wrist to let me know I wasn’t fast enough. Everything is a test, and he’s like a drill sergeant in training for this final race day on Friday!
We first skied straight over to St Martin de Belleville where there was a sign at the top of the run that led into the village that warned us that it may be poor coverage and dangerous and to be safe. Haha. It turned out to be one of the most fun, sunshine lit, smooth, soft groomers we’ve skied yet, with full coverage!
We lapped that twice, got our stamps done in the village, and then headed back up to then make it over to Les Menuires, which was a ways away also. Of course we ran into Adam like we always do en route to Les Menuires, so he grouped up with us for a bit too.
It took us a few runs/lifts/gondolas to get up to the top of Les Menuires, La Masse 2 lift, and we ran into Trevor, Colin and Ryan, other epic racers we hung out with at the top of Verbier! We chatted with them, and then next up, we ran into Jeff and Jannah Din who we had lunch with yesterday! Jannah’s knee was hurting her, so she said she was going to take the gondola down, and the rest of us skied down a pretty fun run, into a sunshine filled deck at a restaurant that had “La Masse” in the name I think.
Adam branched off, and we had a nice lunch on the deck with Jannah and Jeff. The sun went down on the deck at the lunch spot right around 2, so we decided to head off and go get our stamps done at Les Menuires.
We rode the funnest lift yet on the way to Les Menuires. It was a 5 pack people mover that basically crossed you over the road into the Les Menuires village. Since there were 5 of us, we each grabbed one of the people movers, and had some fun taking pics and videos on the ride over with one of us per people mover all lined up in a train formation.
From there, we got our stamps, and then started to make our way back to Meribel, since you have to start kinda early to make it back to your home base village when you’re on a mountain this huge.
On our way back, we got distracted by a super sunny deck that had tons of lounge chairs facing the sun. We grabbed a round of beers there, took more fun panoramas, and kept saying we felt like we were at the beach, except we were epic racing!
Jannah’s knee was hurting pretty bad by this point (she is recovering from knee surgery, and kinda re-injured it yesterday she said). So, we cruised nice and slow back towared Meribel.
On literally the last run of the day. The home stretch run. The crew was skiing pretty slow actually because we were making sure Jannah was going to make it down ok, as she was taking her time with her hurt knee.
I have NO idea how this happened, but I was cruising last in line of the 5 of us, Jeff was 4th, and we were all going at a moderate speed for our normal pace, and Jeff somehow caught an edge and launched himself forward up and over his skis. I really have no idea how he crashed this hard, he’s an experienced skier, and there was no bumps in the snow that would have really explained how he crashed, but somehow he went sailing forward over his skis, and his shoulder and head hit first, and then he somersaulted over and one of his skis popped off. It was so gnarly. I haven’t seen a crash like that in a long time. Ugh.
I stopped and asked him if he was ok as I was picking up one of his poles. At first he seemed alright, but I told him “Dude chill out for a second, that was a super gnarly crash, don’t try to get up yet.” So he sat there for a bit, and I kept asking him questions like “did you hit your head? What hurts? How do you feel?” and he got a little bit more out of it with each question and I said “you look really sick, you’re out of it, I’m going to get someone to get ski patrol for you.” At first he was insisting he was fine and that his shoulder just hurt a little bit, but I kept saying there was no way I was letting him stand up yet because it was clear he was pretty out of it. As I was telling him he should just relax and lay down because we were gonna get ski patrol, his eyes kinda rolled back and he laid down and fainted/passed out, but with his eyes open.
This freaked me out because I was worried that he was passing out because of a head injury. But when he came to about 30 second later, he was actually a lot more coherent than before. I still insisted we were getting ski patrol because I was still worried that he passed out because of hitting his head. But then he started answering all of my questions normally, and he said that he has a history of fainting any time he has an injury, or even when he gets his blood pressure taken! When he said “Cooley, I know I can ski back down, I’m ok” I started to realize he was probably ok, but he did say his shoulder was still hurting. So I asked him if I could see his shoulder, and unzipped his jacket and felt it and he had a big bump/bone lodged up from his shoulder.
The ski patrol finally came, but Jeff was pretty insistent on not wanting to get loaded up in the toboggan because he knew he could ski it down, and then when the ski patrol told us if he took the ride down, it would be considered a rescue and it would require insurance paperwork, etc, I realized it probably would be ok for him to ski down.
So, we took it nice and easy, and skied down, and finally made it to where the rest of our group was waiting for us (this was probably at least 25 minutes after his crash, so they had been waiting a while!).
Jeff ended up going to the doctor, and this evening Jannah sent us a Facebook message with a picture of his xray that showed his collarbone was broken. ☹ Poor guy. They are so cool, I’m super bummed that he broke his collarbone, and Jannah reinjured her knee. Ugh. But at least we made some new friends, they are awesome, stoked we met up and got to spend the day with them, hopefully we will get to still hang some more too!
Now we came back to the room, and Hydle and I decided to try to go to the mini grocery store/market across the street to try to find some options for dinner. Well, Rhinehart is gluten free/celiac, so he definitely can not mess with having any gluten. This is difficult because none of us know French, which all of the food labels are in, and the grocery store didn’t’ have a lot of options. So after striking out on every idea we had for dinner (and being pretty tired of eating meat and cheese only) we decided to forget it and that we would go out to dinner.
So we are about to head out for our first night out in Meribel, hopefully it rocks!! Feel better Jeff!
Hydle’s Video – Saint Martin de Belleville