Aaron Desrochers is a local backcountry enthusiast who happens to be the East Coast Representative for Grassroots Powdersurfing, December Snowskates, and MTN Approach Ski Snowskates. He works with us here in the Chace Mill in Burlington and can often be found out in the woods looking for perfectly spaced trees and pillowy soft snow. Below is his account of the early part of the 2013/14 season… Take it away Aaron!
The winter of 2014 got off to a pretty awesome start. A healthy November storm system dropped enough snow on the Northern Greens for the first powsurf mission of the year, which happened to be on 11/12/13, it seemed like a fateful day for an early adventure in the mountains.
My good friend Pete Banta and I headed up to Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort to surf some pow on the mellow grassy fields. Over the years Pete and I have been experimenting with riding our snowboards without bindings, we have found that the optimal time for honing our skills is when the ski resorts are closed and covered with snow and shared with only a few hardy souls willing to hike for their turns. Low angle runs that can be boring on a snowboard are all time without bindings. In some ways riding bindingless is like learning all over again, but at the same time is like riding a bike if you come from a snowboard, skateboard or surf background. After riding pow bindingless at Smuggs in the spring of 2010 and catching the surf bug all over again, through persistence and good will, I am stoked to be the East Coast Rep/Brand Ambassador for growing snow surf companies Grassroots Powdersurfing, December Snowskates. After a few draining years of postholing and snowshoeing up mountains, I am also thrilled to now be the East Coast Rep/Brand Ambassador for the MTN Approach ski system and am just now getting the hang of skinning up and surfing down! It’s amazing how much energy is saved using a touring ski with skins versus a snowshoe when earning your turns!
I had been waiting anxiously to use the new MTN Approach kit since early Fall when I had received two demo setups from John Kaiser, UVM Alumni and MTN Approach founder, who is now based in Idaho. On 11/12/13 Pete and I were able to get in two powsurf laps, one on Spruce and the other on the Perry Merrill trail on the Mansfield side. Conditions were certainly low tide and Pete and I hit the reef a couple of times (surfing terminology applies well to powsurfing too), but we got in some quality turns and the stoke fires were lit to try and powsurf every possible opportunity in the winter of 2014. Now during low tide conditions we wear our skateboarding pads and generally take it real slow, but we have been mining the pow on closed resorts for over a month now and have made many quality turns! Here’s a little video edit I made from our first powsurf mission during the early part of winter 2014:
The recent ice storm certainly seemed to put a damper on our Powdersurfing season but it didn’t last long. We stayed positive and were back at it by the end of December, finding that the ice had set up a solid base and the snow was quickly piling up again. Just days after the ice storm we made our first powsurf turns of 2014 in the VT backcountry #BCVT. We found that an inversion had protected the higher elevation trees from the dreaded icing and even though we lost some snow, our favorite #BCVT playgrounds were very much intact and still rideable especially where the snow really piles up. Here is another little edit I made from our first #BCVT Snurfari of 2014, Enjoy!
We hope to surf deeper into the Vermont Backcountry this season once winter comes back and the snow starts to pile up again… stay tuned and pray for snow!!
*Anyone interested in trying out the sport of Powdersurfing or the MTN Approach kits don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.