Souled Out: Can there be religion in snow?

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Dec 072012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

 

The snow falls, blanketing everything in its path in a white clothe. Suddenly, even the oldest buildings or the dirtiest streets take on an enchanting quality about them.

What is it about snow that gives the places it touches a new air about them? What would the reflection of God be in the snow?

To look at it in the eyes of a higher power, I might first note the truth that each snowflake is unique; individual to itself and never to be replicated.

Secondly, when the snow begins to fall, it is as if all falls silent. An atmosphere of hush falls around us: tranquil and serene. The stillness is a factor that invites us to recollect all the higher things in life.

The purity symbolized by the white snow is also intriguing. Without the filth in the panorama, the transparency becomes eye-opening to wonders so easily disregarded on a daily basis.

Not only does the snow symbolize purity but also innocent beauty. Coating branches, parks, houses and lakes in its shimmering hope.

According to Christine Fitzgerald, when one remembers that God, Allah or whichever deity you believe in, is the author of all creation, and has filled our world with beautiful secrets then everything becomes an exciting quest.

We know with certainty that if we open our eyes to view creation with an open mind and allow it to open our hearts, what we find will be awe-inspiring. Simply the wonders of nature are enough to strike up thought within one’s mind.

ADDITIONAL LINK FOR FURTHER READING:

Native American stories about snow: A website with stories regarding snow and the importance of nature.

Souled Out: Park, powder, scissor, shoot

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Nov 302012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Since snowboarding became cool, so has the park. In fact, these days hitting features on the mountainside has become a large part of the sport. It has gained so much popularity that entire competitions revolve around who can land the sickest tricks.

Professional snowboarder Aimee Fuller is a pro in the park. She makes back flips look effortless and flows through the features with an ease that makes you think doing tricks is for everyone. Nonetheless, the park is not all-embracing.

On the other side of the snowball are professional snowboarders such as Jeremy Jones or Ted Ligety, who make their place in the industry by dropping in on some of the most outrageous backcountry that audiences around the world have ever seen.

So, which beast is bigger? The park rat or the powder whore?

I’m sure the love for snow and being mountainside triumphs over all of them. A love for snow is not so easily shaken; therefore, it comes down to preference.

I have respect for all the athletes in the industry: park, powder and racing. But, my heart lies in the powder; the deep, fluffy, glittering powder.

Call it old school, but the origins of this industry revolved around the desire to be in the wild and the snow. The point was to be one with nature; with nothing separating you from the earth but a piece of board.

The powder people understand this innate lust to be waist deep in epic lines. In my opinion, they have a better understanding of the connectedness with nature that is at the heart of the sport.

Therefore, powder trumps park, but expect to run into some rocks and hopefully no scissors.

Souled Out: To snow or not to snow… that is the question

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Nov 232012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

“How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell
and lodged on my coat.”
–Henry David Thoreau, 1856 [1]

Ah, winter is calling; I can hear her. A time when the days become shorter and the nights grow colder. When frost begins to make its way back into my mornings, nipping at my lungs. Fall transforms its magical colors into a white palate mixed with sparkling greys and majestic blacks.

Fall marks a time of wintery anticipation as I pack away what little summer attire I own. While winter lovers everywhere begin to mark their calendars with potential ski dates, anxiously awaiting the first snowfall.

The question on all our minds: will this be a year of epic snowfall or a bust?

Weather reports render a divided nation.

Unfortunately, the Farmers Almanac for the 2013 winter has predicted a snowier then usual winter for the eastern states, leaving the western states in a less-then snowy state. This past spring and summer, the country has experienced some of the worst drought conditions in over 50 years.

Fort Collins can attest to this fact after spending the summer battling traumatic wildfires, which left our beloved Horsetooth Reservoir at pitiful depths. Last year marked the fourth warmest winter since 1985, with over 24 states experiencing less then average rates of precipitation.

So what will be the fate for us Coloradans?

As of right now, it’s looking like a mild winter with average precipitation.

However, let us not lose faith in Mother Nature quite yet. Meteorologists have been known to get it wrong and the weather is forever playing tricks on us.

So I recommend breaking out the old snow dance moves and shaking your tail feather because snow is a-coming; I can feel it in my bones.

You decide: will-winter-return-with-a-vengeance

Souled Out: The Dream Factory

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Nov 162012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Sparking dreams and igniting the crowd, Teton Gravity Productions new film, “The Dream Factory,” had the crowd on their feet with wintery anticipation. Highlighting America’s last frontier, Alaska’s true beauty was brought to life throughout the film.

The mystical awe of Alaska has lured pioneers for thousands of years. With not a soul insight, the message seems to be that the glory is not the gold, but rather the finding of the gold, and that’s exactly what Teton productions achieved.

Chuck McMahan, a true pioneer in unbridled exploration was responsible for the first ski airplane ride. Back in the eighties, when a helicopter ride was the price of a latte, $5, he helped pave the way for what lies just beyond the boundaries.

Limited only by their imaginations, Dream Factory successfully touched upon the progression the ski industry has undergone.

The riders’ ability to stand where no one has ever stood and to ski where no one has ever skied is a reality few people actually achieve in their lifetimes.

The attention to detail and story-like narrative has me convinced that everyone should partake in the unmatchable experience of solitude that Alaska has to offer.

One thing I did find puzzling was the lack of ladies with Angel Collinson being the only female featured.

Regardless, the snow-goers in this film show you what it means to be dedicated to pursuing the best days you can think of in an annual migration to Alaska.

The soundtrack left me longing in anticipation to hit the slopes. Leaving me wanting more, I give this film an A+ for electrifying the crowd.

If you’re looking to get gassed for the season, I definitely recommend this one.

Check it out:the-dream-factory

Souled Out: Lets get weird, embrace your inner Gaga

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Nov 092012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Creativity is at the heart of snow sports. Its common knowledge that making it down the mountain in a unique manner gets you major bonus points.

The mountains are home to all sorts of weird riding techniques where style and flare are highly encouraged.

Having worked at a resort, I’ve witnessed people of all types in costumes embracing their inner Gaga on the slopes. Everything from bunnies and intense camouflage to Pocahontas, you name it; I’ve probably witnessed it.

Yes, I have even watched a bride and groom take their first shred as a married couple decked out in wedding attire with their camera crew ensue.

It must be something in the air, but people are definitely letting their freak flags fly high.

Maybe the mountains help reawaken forgotten dreams; Halloween-like dreams of course. Where even the most established, professional people can get down with their free-spirited side.

Regardless of the reasons, I support these innovative peoples ability to laugh at life and more importantly, themselves.

It sure made my job enjoyable and reinforced my enthusiasm for the human spirit.

So this one is for all you love-lifers and snow-goers out there. Keep it weird ya’ll!

Souled Out: The pursuit of indelible equality

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Nov 052012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

I’d like to take a look at the word feminism. The definition of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

The topic of chick power is a rather broad one.

To narrow it down, chicks in the snowboarding industry are progressing unlike ever before.

So why are they being cut from contests such as the Dew Tour? Or only allowed eight spots at the X-games? Is there a reason they’re making less money off contests than men?

The pursuit of indelible skiing moments is at the heart of professional riders such as Spencer O’Brien, Jamie Anderson and Kelly Clark. They’re at the forefront of competitive riding with no signs of slowing down; throwing tricks with the best of them.

Furthermore, they’ve gained the respect of their male counterparts.

I reject the concept of physical build or neurological “confidence” being the deciding factor for female riders. If they can hit the jumps and clear the landings, they deserve the right to ride.

And ride they shall.

Pro-snowers such as Kimmy Fanasi have found ways around gender gaps and onto male crews. The experience has only fueled her flame and opened the door to some of the most epic lines of her life. “With more and more women pushing their limits, it’s clear we’re trying hard to progress,” says Fasani in an interview conducted by Transworld Snowboarding.

Women are climbing the ladder as the level of competition continues to rise. Landing double corks has reignited a push from the ladies.

A sport evolved from a passion for the snow shouldn’t be divided by gender. It should be about encouraging people to push themselves and to do their best. “As long as each girl’s goal is to progress the sport, we’re all working towards the same thing,” said Fanasi.

Women in snowboarding, this is a call to arms. To shred hard against the stereotype that women are not as athletic as men and to mend the divide.

Credit: bridging-the-gap-the-next-wave-of-womens-snowboarding

For more information on women in the industry check out this link. Transworld Snowboarding has a lot to offer the ladies.

Souled Out: Walking in a winter wonder career

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Nov 022012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

I cannot be the only person who seeks to ditch the norm of a nine to five desk job. The thought of being stuck indoors day-after-day while the seasons change around you, going unnoticed except for the brief morning commute, simply will not suffice.

Luckily, there are always options in life. So what careers exist for the wanderlust souls?

1)   Heli-ski Guide: What’s more exuberating then flying and hitting some of the most epic untracked steeps in desolately, breathtaking places such as Alaska? Of course you’ll have to be trained in avalanche courses, first aid and mountain guiding, but that will be well worth it when you’re the only soul in sight for miles.

2)   Photographer: You’ll need to have an eye and passion for the industry. Owning your own equipment and being familiar with editing software is also important to breaking out as a freelance photographer. “It’s absolutely incredible to get paid to travel and ski the most incredible places on earth,” said Ian Coble, a self-taught photographer who has shot editorial spreads for ESPN, Backcountry, Powder, Skiing, and more.

3)   Ski Resort Social Media Manager: Duties consist of updating websites, skiing, checking twitter, skiing, meeting professional athletes, skiing… you catch my drift? A job where people work hard and ski harder… where do I sign up?

4)   Ski shop employee: You may be taking a pay cut on this one; however, the discounts on gear and free mountain pass could quite possibly make amends. I’d recommend picking an epic resort to work at such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Park City, Utah.

The opportunities in this field are endless.

This industry is forever evolving and will always be driven by creative minds. Take a leap of faith into the wintery unknown; it just might become the best decision of your life.

Souled Out: I go where the snow blow

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Oct 292012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Snow enthusiasts understand the meaning of dedication.

Not only do they subdue hours on end in sub-thirty degree weather, but they are also willing to travel countless miles for the freshest powder.

But let us not forget the dedication we have for snow culture.

The X-games bring together some of the worlds most prestigious snow goers on this planet. Willing to hit the biggest jumps, throw the sickest tricks and risk their lives in the name of epic soul sports advancement is the reason we travel far and wide.

Having attended my first X-games last January 2011, I have a new-found respect for these thrill-seeking athletes.

I strongly recommend making it out to Aspen this January 24-27th, 2012 to witness everything from freestyle and big air to snowboarder x, slope-style and super-pipe. The television simply does not depict the magnitude of skill these adrenaline junkies embody.

Witnessing them throw down just 20 feet from you while the crowds cheer on in admiration and respect is life-changing.

You’re also given insight into the riders personalities and personal style. Shaun White kills it on the super-pipe while you couldn’t slap the smile off Luke Mitrani’s face.

They are doing what they love and it shows.

Don’t hesitate to start planning your trip now. Grab four or five friends, preferably one with a car, book a hotel and start saving some cash. While I’d sleep in my car all over again, you wont have to defrost your contact lenses from a hotel room in the morning.

Check out the video of Shaun White’s 100% victory lap at last years X-Games!

Souled Out: The art of snow sports

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Oct 262012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Emerging in the 60s, snowboarding has since gained global recognition as one of the top soul sports. Tom Sims, Jake Burton and Chuck Barfoot, to name a few, are the original brains behind the art of “shredding the rad.”

Personally, I cannot recall the exact date it occurred; my childhood is a blur of snow-covered memories.

Aside from the obvious reasons, there is something truly rejuvenating about spending days at a time outside in the bitter cold. A sparked vitality and awakened soul are just a few of the side effects likely to emerge from a blue-bird day.  Nonetheless, there’s more than meets the eye for this glorious passion.

Snowboarding is all-encompassing: The natural beauty, the people you encounter, the trails you blaze, the laughter, passion, the freedom of expression and style, like-minded souls, hilarious wipe-outs, random chairlift conversations, the young and the old, all coming together.

I have met some of the most inspiring and bad-ass people while on the mountainside. From an old man who used to wrestle crocodiles to an eighty year-old woman who told me, “I’ll be damned if my grandkids think they’re going to out ski me!” People from all walks of life who concur on one thing: the art of snow sports.

My inner snow goddess simply cannot get enough of rocketing down powder drenched mountainsides.

Every ski day is an unknown adventure waiting to be explored. Every person you encounter has a story. Every trail you ride has a message.

A wise man once said, “Many people attach snowboards to their feet, but very few attach them to their soul.”  I am one of the few, the proud, the soul rider.

Visionary Tom Sims life is highlighted by ESPN: He was a visionary and pioneer for this industry. A truly influential mind for snowboarding and skateboarding. Rest in Peace.

Souled Out: Up, up & down, a snowriders guide

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Oct 242012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

The Snowriders at Colorado State University are dedicated to getting you to the mountains for some much-needed mountain time.

So much in fact, that we have planned our first day trip before the snows started falling.

Saturday, October 27th, join us for a day of fun and shredding at A-basin.

We have rented three vans that fit roughly 12 people each. For members, the cost is only $15; non-members pay $20,

Sign up today during our office hours in the sunken lounge in the Lory Student Center.

As for upcoming trips, Jackson Hole is happening January 3rd-8th, 2013. For the low price of $620, the trip includes transportation to and from Jackson and the mountain, lift tickets, lodging, sustenance and beer. If you are an avid snow goer, you do not want to miss out on this trip.

People have already started putting their deposit down so get saving! A $100 down payment can be made online through our website to reserve your spot. Bless the hole, let’s get weird!

Currently, we are trying to plan a trip to the Winter X-games January 25th-27th, 2013. We are looking to rent a house for up to 15 members. Check back for updates and details soon!

As for spring semester, we throw down for a spring break house, movie premieres, day trips and socials. Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean we can’t follow the snow!

Check out or website and Facebook page to stay updated on our events:

Snowriders Facebook

Snowriders Homepage