Yep, it’s January, and while a good chunk of the snowboard world glued their eyes on Jersey to see which pipe-players would officially snatch up official U.S. Olympic Team spots at the final Grand Prix, me and a carload of able-bodied snowboarders decided to do the exact opposite. That is, we decided to meet up in Colorado’s high alpine and spend the week simply riding.

Leanne Pelosi, TJ Schneider, Dustin Cravin, Ryan Thompson, Josh Sherman, photographer Scott Serfas, and Salomon’s Alex Pashley joined me in the plundering of glorious deep-winter snow around Vail and Summit County, then down south to Red Mountain Pass and on to Silverton. Bombs were dropped. Tricks were stuck. Tweaks were poked. High fives were connected. Locals were befriended. Haunted hotels were stayed in. Jukebox Johnny Cash songs were overheard. Crystal-clear powder mornings were awoken to. The white room was entered. And not a single snatch of conversation about competition or “the Olympics was had.

Most importantly, over the course of seven or so days of solid riding, we did not do one turn under 9,000 feet. The lowest point of shred was probably had in the town of Breckenridge at 9,000 feet, and the highest would be somewhere around the mid 12,000s up on Red Mountain and at Silverton. Ahem, do you know what it feels like to hike at 12,000 feet? Let me explain. Your once supple expanse of sponge-like lung constricts into a tiny straw-like thing, causing you to struggle relentlessly for every small gulp of thin mountain air you can suck in. Each step up the boot pack is a monstrous feet of energy exertion. You feel light headed and loopy, and every now and then a mysterious altitude headache pierces your peaceful skull. But here’s the payoff: football fields of light, dry powder that engulfs you as you lay in turns—it shoots up and over your head, momentarily blinding you and obstructing your airway, and lingering in the air for several magical moments once your gone. It’s a thing of beauty, and we had more than our fill of it, and all while hundreds of poor, poor people stood around in the wacky Jersey weather waiting to watch the next competitor drop. Ha ha! Sorry Annie.