That’s exactly what Tyler Christoff, Anton Sponar, Caleb Wray, and I are all saying as we get off our 12 hour flight from LAX to Tokyo, Japan. (More later on that.)
No, the ouch was not from the two flights worth of being crammed into inhumane amounts (or lack thereof) leg space. The pain was coming from something none of us expected: our visit to Woodward at Copper just hours earlier that day.
Walking into the front doors we were immediately greeted by our instructor for the next couple hours, Tyler. Like most good instructors out there he asked us ahead of time what our goals for the session were. General consensus was back flips and front flips.
After some stretching and some mat drills into the foam pits we got to get on the trampolines. Backflips, front flips, and misty flips ensued. Even the gramps of our group (Caleb is the oldest) found himself upside down. With an hour left in our session we headed over to the ramps. Looking down from the top is actually quite intimidating, despite it being nowhere near the steepest any of us have skied.
Tyler sent us off the small jump the first time telling us to just do a 180.
Okay. He says, “Now go up there and go off the big one and throw a 360”. Okay we all know how to do that. “Okay”. He says “Now go throw a back flip.”
I landed on my head, but no consequences here. By the second or third time climbing the stairs to the top of the ramp everyone had nailed a back flip. I decided to go for a front flip.
I landed on my head.
Next time up, I got it around.
Next time up I decided to try a 720. I did it. I need a foam pit in my backyard.
“Alright guys, this is the last round.” I think we all agreed that this is probably good news. This is more tiring than most days of skiing. Last time down I stomped a front flip to landing standing up in the foam. It felt as good as that first faceshot on a powder day.
I’m not, nor will I ever be much of a terrain park guy, but Woodward was incredibly fun. And I think we will all be back sooner than later. In two hours I learned how to do a front flip, a back flip and to land them both on skis.
For two hours of Sunday we felt entirely like a kid again. Its like being at an extreme playground.
We have all been talking about how fun it is going to be to throw the first one into the deepest snow any of us have ever seen.
The progression that Tyler put us through was perfect and we were all amazed at how fast we were able to pick up the ideas he was laying down.
As I finish writing this we are on our descent into Hokkaido, so keep an eye out for a check in from Asia soon where the backcountry skiing will involve the deepest and best snow on the planet. We hope.
Jordan White is a strong alpinist who finished skiing all 54 Colorado 14,000 foot peaks in 2009. He guides, tends bar, and lives the all-around perfect life in Aspen.