Vail Resorts Epic Race – Explanation of Awesomeness

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***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!

*Awesome People*

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!

Heavenly – Operation Elevation Email to Todd Rudis

Operation Elevation with Ashley Cooley, Greg Hydle and Chris Hansen

Aloha Todd Rudis!

I just wanted to send you a quick email and photo about how awesome operation elevation is at Heavenly!

It was my first time ever getting to ski the amazingly beautiful Heavenly yesterday … Although it was frigid cold, I couldn’t help but nearly freeze my hands off snapping photo after photo on this first day to heavenly adventure. The overlook on the way up the gondola is gorgeous, but the highlight of the day was definitely being selected to take part in your operation elevation experiment. Riding in “the beast” to the top of the mountain during sunset to experience all of what Heavenly really has to offer was a completely unexpected treat for Ashley and I. Chris Hansen killed it in giving us an awesome ride in “the beast” and I even turned him into a little photographer to help us document the adventure at the top!

I will have a complete write up and video of our experience available online soon as we progress our way around the world for Vail Resorts Epic Race. But I just wanted to reach out to you now and say thanks for the perfect ending to this Epic Day. Operation Elevation is the shit!

Check out this bad ass photo we snapped :)

UPDATE: September 1st, 2014 … unfortunately Todd still has yet to reply… WTF Vail.

Epic Race Mountain 09 Northstar

The drive to Northstar was Rhinehart’s first real view of Lake Tahoe “til you know!” It was a sunny bluebird day so the lake was beautiful, and Darin Talbot narrated our drive around the lake so Rhinehart could learn some facts about Lake Tahoe!

Once at Northstar, we rode the gondola up to the mid mountain and took a total of 4 runs, two of them were through the park so Rhinehart could do his daffy of course. By then it was time for the Bronco’s game to start, so we headed back down the gondola to the village.

We went straight to the Rubicon pizza place in the village and sat at the bar to watch the game and ordered some pizza. The game started off with the Broncos down, but after halftime they started to get it back together and pull ahead. A mom from outside kept coming in to watch the game while her son was skating at a birthday party, so we eventually bought her a beer and celebrated the Broncos together.

At around 3:30, the smores people came out, so we ran outside to get our photo with the smores (it was one of the items on the list) and then went back in to finish up the game with a Bronco’s WIN!

After the Bronco’s win, we finished our beers and headed out to take some spins on the ice skating rink. It may have been the beer, or it may have been that it was the end of a cycle before the zamboni came back out, but I was pretty shaky on the ice. We messed around a bit and took some spills, which I’m paying for today with some bruises, but it was worth it!

Finally, once we were done with ice skating, we headed over to Tavern 6,330 which was our last photo spot (we had taken a pic there earlier but we wanted to hit it while it was open). The bartender Trever was telling us that the signature drink there was a Bloody Mary and that all the other Epic Racers that were coming in were ordering that, so we decided to go against that and told him to make us his other signatures, which he did, and they were all three delicious!

It was a long day, but super fun and worth it with the Bronco’s winning, and we drove back to my place where the guys powered down some soup from the night before and edited their videos.

This morning we got up to check the snow report, and Heavenly is CLOSED due to wind…ugh, what a bummer, especially for Rhinehart considering it’s his last day here and he’s never been able to ski it before :( But we’re off soon to go play somehow before we head to take him to the airport!

Epic Race Mountain 02 – Vail Resort

Rocked out Vail today for mountain number 2 of the #epicrace. Beautiful bluebird day early resulted in complete awesomeness all around the mountain with our stellar team. Ashley Cooley’s turns are coming around and Devin Rhinehart continued to warm up some acrobatic maneuvers while sipping on fresh home made coffee in the air. So EPIC.

Rhinehart’s Video

Cooley’s Video

Cooley’s Update:

“Day 2 – Vail
Day 2 started off early with arising to the quiet sounds of Ryan Rhinehart stirring in the kitchen making us his famous pre-skiing oatmeal (thanks Ryan!), accompanied with him dropping his hilarious one liners all morning, like “shouldn’t you guys be on the road already” “wait, I thought you guys were going to be on the road by now” as Mary was pushing us to get going and out the door.

After a later than desired start, and a little photo op with Ryan destroying us in the “I look so amazing nobody can handle this” competition while shoveling snow, we got on the road and headed to Vail.

It was a beautiful morning with sunny groomers, and we took a few laps through the park to also get some of our video content.

Next up was a gondola ride to the top, and then somehow we stumbled upon the mountain opening chair 2. Everyone was lined up at the ropes, and then when the ski patrol opened it up, it was a gnarly Chinese Downhill straight to the chairs (see Rhineharts video for proof!)

After that we hit a sweet powder run that had some of us struggling but was fun and worth it to get to the burritos and gluten free burgers at Mid Vail!

After lunch, we cruised down some more groomers and Hydle decided it was time for some “drills” as some of us are not as advanced of skiiers as he is! So we unbuckled our boots, and snowplowed through a bunch of runs, which teaches us to “turn” and stay forward on our skiis.

The drills were a success (although Lauren won the award for not listening the most lol) and then we called it a day and headed back to the Rhinehart cabin.

More editing and flight booking for the night after another fantastic meal of bratwursts and mashed potatos, and then calling it a night early for a big day 3 at Breckenridge tomorrow! Epic!”

Happy 50 Years Vail

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“It was a lifestyle. A totally undefined lifestyle. And you were not judged at all on what you had been, or where you went to school, or whether you had a nickel… or a million bucks. None of it mattered. Everybody was evaluated for what kind of person they were… what kind of sense of humor they had. And it was a given that everybody was there because they loved the mountains.”
– John McBride

Happy 50th anniversary to Vail. I can’t say it you are like nothing else on earth, but I can definitely say that you are unique and I have enjoyed skiing you. Not as much as I have enjoyed skiing and growing up at my home mountain of Winter Park, Colorado – which celebrates 73 years of awesomeness this year – But I certainly am excited to take it down your backside on a hefty powder day.

Ted Archuleta – Courage Classic

Here’s the wrap up of the ride….

After 21 years, this ride is a well oiled machine. Great support, great people, great scenery.

I checked in on Friday with plenty of time to relax, listen to some music and drink a couple “soda pops”…hey, I had to carb up. ;)

Day 1: Saturday the ride started in Loveland, but since Eli and I carpooled and he needed it to get to Loveland on Monday, I didn’t really have a ride to the starting line…so I rode my bike. It was 30 degrees at the top of Freemont pass and the fog was so thick I could only see about a bike length in front of me. I made it to Loveland and basically turned around and rode back up over Tennessee pass, Battle Mountain and Vail Pass (King of the Mountain). This ride is commonly known as the “Copper Triangle”…a GREAT way to start a 3 day ride.

Day 2: I knew it was gonna rain around 2pm so I got out there early for the Century option. 100 miles that takes you from Copper to Silverthorne, North on Hwy 9 to Ute Pass (pass line picture, myself and 3 other strong riders average about 27 mph to Ute Pass. It’s awesome when you ride past a car radar and it flashes SLOW DOWN), then back South on Hwy 9 through Silverthorne to Keystone, up over Swan Mountain into Frisco. Frisco to Breckenridge (for lunch, my “power lunch” consisted of ½ a can of Coke and a cherry pie Lara bar), then Breckenridge back to Copper. I demo’d about ~$5000 bike (Full Carbon Specialized) from Wheat Ridge Cycling and CRUSHED the ride. I spent 5:25 in the saddle and only got caught in the rain for the last 5 miles.

Day 3 came early, and another ride up Freemont pass, this time with some wonderful company. Finished up with a short ride around Turquoise Lake (I highly recommend, it’s straight out of an MC Escher book, the road seems to continually go up). At the finish line I received a gold medal from a Children’s Hospital patient in a wheel chair.

Over the 3 days, I rode 230 miles, climbed over 15,000 feet of elevation, spent ~14 hours in the saddle, and raised $334 dollars ☺

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.