Saturday, July 5, 2014

New Website!

I am happy to share my new website! This is where you can find Blogs, Photo, Video and more! Thanks for following :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Corral Loop: Lake Tahoe

So spring is not letting us bikers down. With new work and developments on Corral Loop locals are having a blast getting back into biking shape. This is a fairly basic trail which anyone from beginners to advanced riders can have a blast on. There are not many trails that can say that. This week we have received much needed precipitation which has made biking epic! I got off work and jammed to the trail head at about 7:15pm. My friends had already done their last shuttle lap so I just cranked up to the mid point and got an awesome ride down before dark. I am super pumped to have our long days back! The new jumps are a blast so I'll go a bit faster next time to clear all of them. Yeahoo!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ice Caves, Big lines, Big crashes! 2014 Season goes off with a Bang!

Winter Sunset in Lake Tahoe
This winter has been more then I could have ever prepared for. I competed in 9 competitions all over the west coast. Started the season off traveling to Whistler and then bounced around hitting Colorado twice, making an event in Montana, touring around Lake Tahoe for all the Rahlves Banzai events and to finish off the season flying up to Alaska for some crazy action. I could not be more thankful to family, friends and sponsorship support. Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Oakley, Never Summer Snowboards, Dakine, South Tahoe Crossfit, Phar North and Great Basin Physical Therapy, you guys are absolutely awesome! Thank you all!
Kirkwood powder day with some fun exposure. This icy take off was a bit intimidating but made for a fun line.

Over and over I have heard talk of a "crapy snow year". Well that all depends on where you are! Yes my home had a significant dry spell but man just a bit east everything was going off. Lucky for me the Subaru Freeride Series was located in the depth of winter! Whistler had awesome snow and of course AK always is a blast whether it's a deep year or not.

Last summer I trained my butt off biking, Crossfitting and eating right in preparation for the coming winter. I am so grateful for this because I had know idea what my season had in store for me and strength was key to making every event.

Photo Credit: Jason Hummel  
Hand stand push-ups are a great way to create balanced strength all through out your body! South Tahoe Crossfit.
Whistler was my first adventure this season which I have previously blogged about:
It was a first for me being in a photo contest which was absolutely a blast. It opened my eyes to what I hope my future in snowboarding to be. Shooting photos and being creative with snowboarding is so rewarding and fun. You never know what the end product will be until your day is over and your staring at the computer. Some shots work out and some don't, but I felt so inspired after this trip to continue to shoot film and photos as much as possible. This shot Jason Hummel published in Mountain Magazine. Check out more on Deep Winter using this link!

Team Awesome! Deep Winter Crew
 Photo Credit: Jason Hummel

I was able to come home a ride locally for a bit before my next competition. My home mountain Kirkwood Mountain Resort went off! It was really fun riding Kirkwood during a low snow year. It changed all the lines that I have ridden numerous times into different experiences.  It was a necessary to hang with friends and get to see my partner Josh for a bit. We both travel a ton in the winter so it's important to embrace the moments we have together. He is my best friend so it's fun to come home and share the incredible experiences we have on the road, I love to hear his adventures as well.

Backcountry Fun!
 Photo Credit: Josh Daiek 

Sending it off the Kirkwood Chair 6 Cornice.

This was my 3rd season competing on the Rahlves Banzai Tour. It's such a blessing for Tahoe to have such an crazy race going on locally. The Rahlves Banzai is fast and intense. You never know what to expect. From one course to the other you encounter different obstacles and challenges.

Getting my racer on at the Alpine Meadows Banzai.

The first Banzai event was at Kirkwood. The course was pretty icy through the gully and a bit more manageable at the top. I was a able to clench first place in the first two heats.The 3rd heat was heavy. Iris Laz was on fire! I did my best to catch her but she was out of reach! I ended up in second which was definitely something to celebrate.

Squaw Valley was the next stop. The course was icy, bumpy, slushy and just overall crazy! The girls were riding well but no one was having an easy time. I did great in the first two heats but in the finals I had an epic fail! I fell in the worst place possible. A long heal side traverse where I was wallowing in snow that felt like quick sand. As I watched every girl go by frustration overwhelmed me. I still placed 4th so I can't complain about that.
3-2-1 Send it!
Alpine was where I finally had some redemption. The course had fast big swooping turns and then your flying through a mogul field where you have to straight-line to carry speed into the flats. This had to be my favorite course cause I was able to use my skill in handling high speeds. We all stayed neck and neck in the finals so it was hard telling who would come out in the end. I finished first and I felt so pumped to finally get the win!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale getting launched into the crowed, a fun part of making it on top of the podium!
Going into the finals I was in first overall, but not by much. The finals course at Sugar Bowl was insanity. Anything you would hope not to be in the race was! Featuring blind roll overs, one man shoots, icy moguls and more. 
I had a great first heat which put me into to semi finals. Unfortunately I blew my drop-in and missed the first gate completely. I had to stop and hike back up and around the gate so I didn't disqualify. I thought there was know way to win but I also knew I had to give it my all to catch the other girls. I went as fast as I possibly could and to be honest was wildly out of control. I was able to pass the 3rd place girl but couldn't manage to get 2nd and 1st.  That unfortunately solidified that I would not be the 2014 Banzai champion. I ended up in 5th place overall after a redeeming performance in the small finals.
My time for redemption! In the small final I had so much fire and focus, eager to win this one to get the 5th place spot.

I ended up in 2nd overall which I was absolutely stoked on. The competition has stepped up a bunch sense the previous years. After placing 1st overall the two years prior it was awesome to pass the torch on to the beautiful and talented, Audrey Hebert, who has a bright future in snowboarding ahead!

Audrey Hebert, Canadian ripper!

SFS started at Crested Butte, CO. It was great to start off the season placing second. I was stoked on my run day one and had a blast in my run day two. Day one I had my first ever Sick Bird nomination which alone was a huge reward! I did have some mistakes in the finals day two which made it impossible to clench first. I have a detailed account of this event in another previous blog:

The second stop of the SFS was Telluride, CO. I had been to Telluride only once before and that was with Josh for one of his competitions. I remembered it being extremely steep and my memory served me right!
 The snow off piste was not ideal but it was sure fast which made for high speed descents. Day one in competition I got a bit lost and missed a couple features. I placed 5th which got me enough points to get into finals. Day two there seemed to be one obvious winning line. It has really gnarly snow and only one major feature. That didn't appeal to me. The judges always express they want to see you having fun. I chose a line airing 15ft off the top then had two ten footers lined up at the bottom. I stomped the first air and went flying full speed into a big shoot. I almost made it out when I hit an ice chunk I didn't see coming. It sent me flying into a front hand spring off my head landing right back on my feet. I just kept rolling with it and stomped my next two features. With that huge fall they placed me in 6th.  I was absolutely devastated. I had a really hard time with this one because Marry Boddington won both Telluride and Crested Butte which fizzled out any chance of me winning and getting the one spot available on the Freeride World Tour.

The last SFS event was held in Big Sky Montana, by this time the Banzai Tour was over and knowing that I could not make the FWT, I was burn't out on competition and not sure if I really wanted to compete.  My body was pretty warn out by this time. I had rolled my snow machine on top of my self messing up my back and crashed hard a few times, I had not been sleeping well and eating pretty poorly from being on the road. In the end I womaned up and decided to stick with the plan. I promised my self this event I would just have fun and ride some memorable lines. Which I made happen! Big Sky is extremely big with rad lines everywhere. It was a huge snow year for them so we got to ride faces you would not typically get to ride in previous years.
 The event was held on the most beautiful competition venue I have seen in a long time. Sistain steeps for at least 1,500ft. There were features all over the place which made for some great action and to top it off the viewing area at the bottom was huge.
Big Sky Day 1 Competition Venue. Ain't she a beauty!
Day one I chose to hit a few smaller features up top which were easily landed. Then for a  much larger feature at the bottom I got snagged on some rock on the take off which sent me flying to the left into a uphill landing. I went straight to my butt. My heart sank when this happened. I knew I would not make it to finals.
Hazel Birnbaum, fellow Kirkwood Kid, Placed 2nd which solidified her spot on the Freeride World Tour! Go Hazel! 
 I finished 11th at this event which put me in 5th overall for the tour. 5th isn't bad though when my goal was 1st it definitely felt a small bite of failure.  I now reflect back and am reminded of all the events I have competed in over the years. I have learned so much about self, friendship, traveling and so on. I have won and I have lost, unfortunately your emotions connected to these outcomes are easily manipulated. Self doubt and self love can be effected by how you preform in a contest. I feel my biggest triumph had to be not abusing myself mentally for not performing ideally at Big Sky. It was the first time I didn't care, I truly felt blessed to be alive experiencing a new adventure full of excitement and beauty. That alone was a moment where I loved my self. I knew if I landed my run I could win and if I fell I could lose. Which it's as simple as that. The outcome should never change my love for self. It was awesome to see where woman's snowboarding has come and all the ladies who made it onto the podium killed it! Way to represent!

After a few epic days of freeriding at Big Sky, I then jumped back on a plane for the Arctic Man Challenge in Alaska! Many people have been asking me all about this event and I had know idea what it would be like. Well to sum it up in a few words:

 Crazy-Wild-Snowmachines-Techno-Ice-Powder-Crashing-RedBull-Beer-Friends-Adrenaline-Chaos-Fireworks-Bonfires-Northern Lights-Dance Party-Fastest Racing!

When I arrived to my connection in Seattle I linked up with my dear friend Shelly Robertson and Jason Hale who I had just met that season on the Banzai Tour. These two where awesome travel buddies. Full of positivity and excitement of whats to come. We got picked up at the airport by the event organizers security team. These two guys were amazing. Covered head to toe in Camo and fully equipped with a crossbow, fireworks and Whisky! I knew we where with some real badass Alaskan folk. We partied in the RV on the way up to Arctic Man celebrating Shelly's birthday!

Upon arrival we toured the Arctic Man City. The camp was full of massive beer tents, food trucks, rock'n snow machines and endless parking spots for the RV'S which would be arriving the next day. This place can get up to 13,000 people and most of them have snow machines. It honestly had to be the most chaotic place other then San Francisco I have been in my life. Me being from South Lake Tahoe, I was a bit overwhelmed but ready to take on the adventure.

This race has to be the most gnarly race I have ever done. The race course is about 2 miles out side of camp. The course starts at the top of a peek where you ideally straight line and carry speed for a few miles and at the bottom of the canyon you hook up with a snow machines and get towed up the canyon. Then when you drive for a couple miles at a point you have to release from the snowmachine and slingshot to the next pitch going as fast as you can to the finish. Total the course can very between 5.5 and 7 miles.
The Axhelm Camp.

View from my camp.

Shelly Robertson and I being Posers :)

I met my puller (Snowmachine Driver), Ashley Axhelm, for the first time at the event. She was small like me and super fired up to get started. I was not very confident but also thought I shouldn't be freaked out until I saw what I was getting myself into. 

When we came up to the course for the first time we sat and watched some people at the hook up. It looked easy enough. You come down the hill, puller holds out the handle, you grab on and go! Ashley and I practiced a couple times and I started to get the hang of the quick throttle. I was having a hard time hanging on through the chop, you can't see anything cause the snow machine kicks up huge chunks of snow and you basically are at the whim of your driver to pull you in a smooth line. By the third practice I thought I would try and hang on through the first gate. I had been letting go because the G forces were so strong I kept getting ripped off. This time I was going to hang on for the long haul. I made it through the first gate and saw I was headed straight for a huge hole! I slammed so hard I felt all my ribs flex and my back crack, I tomohawked  multiple times going who knows how fast. I laid there for a second and realized I had snapped my board in half. This really set the pace for how gnarly this event really was.
The view from the race course.

I just hung out for the rest of the day trying to heal from the crash. Day two I grabbed my extra board and put it into the toboggan that our teams gear was being pulled out to the competition base in. I was determined to do well and redeem myself from the day before. We arrived at the hookup again and I started to get anxiety being back in this zone. It was hard to remember that even though I had never done this event before it was just snowboarding and one thing I do know how to do is snowboard.

We waited and waited for our gear to arrive and when it finally made it I ran over to get started. I grab my board and realized from camp to the race course something had happened. There were 5 inch long gashes running up and down my board. I was so sad. I looked around in disbelief. "Ok it this a sign that I am just not mean't to do this!" Thankfully my friend Boby saw my face and came over. Asked what was wrong and I showed him my board. He laughed a little and said "I think I can help you out!" Thanks to Boby I had a bad ass race board with prime waxing. Probably a better board for this race then anything I had brought. It was a wide board in a 162. This was much larger then I was used to but when your planning at going 60 miles per hour behind a snow machine you want something stable and yes durable.

Ashley ready to get some!

We then finally started day two of training. I did my drop in from the top alone twice just to get some more confidence before we practiced the hook up again. When it came time for the hook up Ashley and I nailed it multiple times. I also got redemption pulls through the first gate and making it into the canyon. By the end of the day I had rode the entire course start to finish and felt confident I could run the course top to bottom on race day.

Race day we started with the Adaptive riders and then move into woman ski, woman, snowboard, men ski and of course finishing off with men snowboard. The adaptive riders where absolutely amazing! They were fearless dropping into the steep run. The woman ski charged and so did the snowboarders. When it came time for me to drop in I was convinced my goal was to finish. Not worry about anything else. I dropped in on this board I had on rode once before. It was a bit grabby but man was it fast! At the hook up Ashley was waiting, when I saw her start to approach I knew it was game on. We had an ok hook up, yet nailed it through the Canyon. At the sling shot we where going between 54-60 miles per hour. When I released I was again on my own. The speed wobbles at release were insane and I was so freaked I was going to go down. I know I lost some time but so stoked I didn't crash. Who knows what its like to crash on hard pack going that fast!  I carried as much speed down the last pitch and made it through the finish alive!
Ashley and I placed 4th! I was so pumped and felt alive. Your in an extreme tuck the whole way down so I could barely walk off the course because of a dead leg! I had a vision of marathon runners who come through the finish and just lay on the ground. I totally get it now!

We celebrated all night shooting off fireworks and dancing our butts off! Arctic man is not for the weak! I definitely think I need to harden up a bit before I ever consider doing this event again.

The next day I got a ride from the event to Valdez Alaska where I finally felt like I could really just relax and come back to center. I met up with a dear friend who also is an amazing photographer, Justin Befu. He had be guiding up at the Alaska Snowboard Guides Heli operation for the season. We were able to get out and do some shooting freeriding. This is where I finally felt at home in Alaska. It's the most freeing place. Justin and I only saw one other person out that day and were able to get fresh lines. If only I had a private photographer every where I went! :) Justin produced some epic shots that I of course hope to be published. We shall see! Regardless of that I had some fun soul shredding which revitalized my spirit after a crazy season.

Justin Befu shooting photos in the Valdez Glacier

Exploring the Valdez Glacier. This was an unbelievable experience. I am one with water :)

The forecast wasn't looking ideal so after just a few days in Valdez I changed my flight early and headed home.
 Reflecting now it's unreal how many incredible experiences I have had. Challenging every aspect of self. Battling with ego and staying true to the essence of snowboarding. Feeling alive and knowing this is where I want to be.

Life is but a dream! It's so delicate and short we should never waist anytime being unhappy. A small note to all of you who managed to read through this long blog...

Anything you want is just a small effort away. If you just believe in your self you can do anything!  The impossible is just your mind playing tricks on you, give yourself some credit and live your dream.

See you all next winter and let's hope the snow gods shine down on Tahoe!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014 Banzai Tour Kicks off at Kirkwood Mountain Resort!

2nd Place in the Banzai at Kirkwood!

Special Thanks to my Sponsors!
Kirkwood Mountain Resort-Never Summer Snowboards-Dakine-Oakley-Phar North-South Tahoe Crossfit

Red Bull finish you can see where the rock ends at the very top of the mountain, that's the start.
This will be my 3rd season competing in the Banzai events. I am unsure of how many stops I will be able to compete in but I am psyched I was able to make the Kirkwood event. The athletes are getting better and better every season, there is no telling who is going to win. The course was as gnarly as ever with moguls, jumps, icy turns and an overall wild ride. 

Alaskan Air awarded the person with the biggest air something special.

There were only a few snowboard woman at this event but all were in it to win it! It was an absolutely challenging competition. 

Being at my home mountain competing has to be one of my favorite things. Of course I am comfortable on the terrain but mostly I love having family and friends rooting me on and down to celebrate after events no matter how I finish.

The beautiful Cirque at Kirkwood!
Iris Laz took the top spot, she charged fearlessly down the course. In the finals we had four woman in the gate. We all had a descent start and were within just a few feet of one another. Iris lost control at the second gate and collided with another racer. I took a low line around the girls and thought it would be my chance to get in the lead. Iris had something else in mind. She was up in seconds and managed to get to the much quicker high line to the third gate. I did my best to catch her but she was on fire. We stayed about a gate length apart for the remainder of the race. I felt like I was chasing a carrot.

Again Iris placed first, I finished in second, Lindsay Wexler in third, and Audrey Hebert in fourth. I was so pumped to meet Audrey especially cause she had drove 20+ hours from BC to compete in the Freeride Qualifying event which got canceled at Squaw Valley. She was pretty psyched to find out that there was another event to participate in while she was on the road. I hope to see her in Telluride, CO for the FWQ 4* at the end of March!

Alaskan Air sender!

For more information on the Banzai tour check out: or

Monday, February 24, 2014

First event of the season! Crested Butte FWT 4* Event

On February 9th I started the long haul to Crested Butte from my home in Lake Tahoe. It's always very exciting to set out on another adventure full of anticipation. Tiffany Noel a long time friend and fellow competitor was meeting up with me in Reno and we would continue on together. Crested Butte was calling for a few feet of snow so I was amped to finally get to ride some pow after a painfully dry season at home.

The Tahoe crew amped up at the comp.

After picking up Tiff we where on our way! First stop being Salt Lake City. The drive was a bit sketchy with the rain coming down so hard but that was just a reminder of the powder ahead. We arrived in Salt Lake and stayed the night at our friend Shannon Yates house. The next morning went and hooked up with the one and only Mr. Tom Patton who styled us out with lift tickets to Snowbird! We jammed up to the mountain and got 3 tram laps in before we set out on the last leg of our trip. Here is a short clip from our morning at Snowbird... For higher quality video click on this Vimeo Link

The last section to CB was super intense for me. The snow was coming down pretty heavy and wet so the visibility was close to none at times. It was so great to see the lights glowing from the little ski town in the middle of know where. My friend Mary Boddington hosted me for the week. She is also a competitor and she was psyched to compete at her home mountain. I have heard so much about CB from Mary and she said the snow was deep and fun. She wasn't kidding, the next morning I quickly realized what all the hype was about. Every turn was steep and deep! I was riding lines that had not opened for three years due to low snow. I lucked out and took full advantage. Mary took me to many of her favorite spots. The terrain is so different from Tahoe, steeper and rockier. I don't know if I have ever done that many hop turns in one day. The pillow lines had to be one of my favorite experiences of the trip. It was a blast to send these drops into steep landings and having to shut it down or just be super precise to avoid the trees. It explained why Mary is such a bad ass, riding that mountain everyday would really instigate progression in anyone.

Finals Venue the Big Hour Glass

So after a couple days of pow shredding it was time to start thinking about the contest. The two venues where very short but had awesome lines. Day one I chose a line that suited my style of riding. I was having difficulty choosing my line for this contest was accumulative points. You want to ride well enough to qualify for the next day and not risk falling doing a difficult line but you want hold back to much and have to make up for your low score the next day. In the end I decided to do the line that looked the most fun and was also the most intimidating. I said to my self "If I can ride down the Mac Daddy Face in Revelstoke, I can do this! So sack up and get it!" I am so happy I had that conversation with my self cause I was sitting in second place only two points behind 1st day one.

Girls being Girls

Day two we got to ride a permanently closed area called the Big Hour Glass. The face ranges from 40-60 degrees. The face is only around 500 ft long but man was it impressive. I felt honored to ride a face that has only been opened to snowboarders once before in a contest. Unfortunately I did not ride my best. I didn't even have a set line in mind until I left the start gate... which is very odd for me. I started down the steep face making smooth turns then I started to hit rocks, they where everywhere. I made a right hand turn and almost got taken out by my slough! That's a huge no no in any circumstance. Thankfully I got out of this situation quickly and made my way to the next feature. I sent this air probably 15 ft and managed to shut down speed to catch a small air at the bottom before the finish. I didn't see anyones run so I didn't know where I could end up. My stomach turned waiting for the result. The result came up that I was still sitting in second with Mary B in 1st and Iris Laz in 3rd! This was really great to be on the podium with both of these ladies. We all have been competing for a long time together and have developed sister like friendships. Huge congrats to Mary for winning at her home mountain. There really isn't a more rewarding win! To share that moment with these ladies was extremely special. Of course I made some mistakes in my run but I am always learning and growing as a rider. I look forward to the next event! Thanks for reading about my adventure and hope to have some more stories this winter for ya!

Mary Boddington and I showing off our new bling! Go team Never Summer!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Deep Winter Photo Challenge: Whistler

This past week I have been involved in the Deep Winter Photo Challenge. A contest put on by Whistler Mountain. The event consists of 6 invited photographers and they have 72 hours to shoot as many epic shots as possible and create a slide show. The idea is to have a theme and a story to tell.

 I had know idea how big this event would be. At the show I soon realized my head would be displayed on four big screens to a sold out crowed of 1,100 viewers. Pretty scary.

I worked with photographer Jason Hummel and a team of 3 other ladies including Liz Daiely, Holly Walker, and Suz Gramm. We all worked extremely well together. Even though we where stressed at times, we managed to keep it together and pull out an impressive show.

Liz Daiely and I met in Chamonix, France last season. I knew she would be in the states for a short time before she would return to Europe. I reached out to see of there was any possibilities of doing a snowboard project with her and that's when she introduced me to Jason. Thankfully he thought I would be a good fit for the project and the rest of the story is history.
Liz is an incredibly talented snowboarder. Very graceful along with extreme power. I admire her versatility and dedication to snowboarding and mountain life.

Holly Walker has to be one of the most kind people I have ever met. Holly being the local was able to pull together much of the logistics along with facilitating the execution of much of the project. She also hooked us up with our mountain guide, Alex whom we would have been lost with out. Holly also is of course and fabulous skier who really got some epic shots in the slide show.

Suz! So I can't say enough about this girl, she is absolutely phenomenal. She was so calm and cool through out the entire event. Her skiing talent is among the best I have ever seen. I am a little bias because I have been a huge fan of Suz for many years. Her being one of the only female ski BASE jumpers, I have admired her progression in the sport. Her and I have similar personalities which made it fun to play and mess around even under the pressures of this event. I can't wait for another adventure with Suz.

Whistler was amazing! The mountains are huge and the terrain epic! I am sad to head home knowing that it still has not snowed in Lake Tahoe and my boyfriend Josh is still in Europe for another three weeks. I think Kirkwood should do an event similar to this! We have such great terrain and talented photographers!

Lake Tahoe is home and its always nice to get back, who knows maybe the Mtn. Bike trails are clear... I have a strong feeling they are after seeing people post pictures of going to the beach on Face Book.

I hope you enjoy our show! I feel very fortunate to have been part of this project and hope to possibly do it again.

The winner this year was the beautiful Zoya Lynch...

She had a very creative theme with awesome photography. It was well thought out and she really connected with the crowed. I am sure many of you will relate to her story. A well deserved win for Zoya!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Colors in Lake Tahoe

Every year as fall takes hold and winter starts showing it's teeth, we get to enjoy this incredible evolution of seasons. The leaves of the Aspens start turning multiple shades of gold, red, orange, and yellow. The meadow grass moves like an ocean, as the wind rips through our valleys. This time of year I can get out an really enjoy nature. The peacefulness of Tahoe, without all the summer hustle and bustle. Vanessa and I took advantage of a few hour break from work, and set off on a little adventure. She took me to a very special spot, which is just fifteen minutes from my house. I could not believe my eyes when we arrived to the most epic swimming hole, which I can imagine in peak water level, would be even more incredible, for there is a waterfall which cascades from hundreds of feat above. 

I hope you enjoy the pics and don't for get to get out and enjoy the last bit of fall!