When I moved back to east coast Vermont, I found more in settling for less.
Always smiling, always ready to go- Ralph Kucharek, folks
I know that statement contradicts itself, but please hear me out. For some context, up until last year I’d spent the past five seasons riding out west. I found myself posting up in locations like Glacier, Washington; Bend, Oregon; and Lake Tahoe to get the full experience of riding mountains and couch surfing. Whether it was bottomless powder or under the warmest sun my landlocked skin had ever felt, the conditions I experienced were the best of my life. However, despite all of that- last season I chose to live in Vermont full-time as a college student. Living where I grew up and honed my skills as a rider made me realize snowboarding in Vermont was the most-bare bones form of snowboarding I had experienced in years.
Who says you don't ride powder in VT? Ralph sends up a spray behind him as he exits the trees
When I say I have found more in settling for less what I mean is that I started appreciating the little things. It’s contrasting conditions that we endure all season long that make the “good” days that much better. The cycle starts with hiking the first snowfall of the season, usually 6-12 inches over wet grass in October, because you can’t wait, and getting core shots the entire way down still counts as a good day. The first day at the mountain waiting in an hour lift line go up Killington’s rickety double-chair and ride down a white-ribbon of death with a thousand other people is a good day. Finding a trail of freshly blown, soft whalebacks that create a tranny finder’s paradise and ripping it to shit with your friends is a good day. Finally in January temperatures warm and the base melts back to nothing, but you’re out there riding in the rain in a garbage bag to stay dry, because it’s a good day. Hiking to the top of Mount Mansfield in waist deep powder to ride above the trees or trying to stay afloat in the same amount of snow on a hill that has 500 feet of vertical is a good day. Watching the snow melt away in the spring as the sun hits it and you finally get to wear a hoody comfortably and feel free is a good day.
The Static Jacket is a great partner to take with you when tackling east coast snow conditions
All situations in-between, whether they are good or bad, just build perspective. East coasters have been historically known to be the most dedicated and creative riders, because you are taught to work with what you have in front of you. We have no choice.
Living on the right coast is about having heart, settling for less, and making the most out of any situation. Add this mindset to your own life, add some friends into the equation and you’ll find wherever you may be that snowboarding will always be fun, which is why we all started in the first place, right? Mountains are not just challenges, conditions can be too; so go challenge yourself next time things are less than ideal.
Dropping cliffs, whether they're covered in ice or snow- that's how a true east coaster rides