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Mountain Sledder Magazine | December 11, 2017

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A Look Back at the Last Ride of Spring

A Look Back at the Last Ride of Spring

| On 08, Oct 2017

With fall hitting and the riding season coming, it’s hard not to reflect on the last ride of spring from the previous season. It was April 8th, and there was still snow in the parking lot. The morning dawned with heavy, wet snowflakes falling. By the time we were started up the mountain, it had switched to rain. That’s the beauty of the mountains; spring rain often means snow, you just have to climb for it.

 

Last Ride of Spring with Clint Miller

I met Clint Miller a few years back, in a funny sort of way, reminding me how small the world is. A friend showed me a photo of some crazy Ontario guy sending it huge in Golden, BC. He said he’d try and work an introduction, and that I should get out for a ride and shoot with the guy.

Turns out I didn’t have to wait long. Shortly after, I was chatting with Julie-Ann Chapman about going for a shred and she mentioned that there would be a couple of extra people tagging along. Low and behold, one of them was Clint. That first ride, we dragged Clint through deep spring snow on his 600cc snocross race whip and had a blast.

Clint lives in Ontario, but most seasons he makes the long haul across the country for some spring riding. He drives north from South Central Ontario and then west, finally hitting the brakes just shy of the coast.

 

Last Ride of Spring

On previous trips Clint wouldn’t have been out riding on a day like this. Crap vis and deep, heavy snow are not conducive to hitting big cheese wedges in the alpine. Photo: Matthew Mallory

 

The following year I got out for a couple of rides with Clint again, and shot stills while he was filming his segment for Fourcast III. After that, there were a couple years where he didn’t show up and I couldn’t line up rides when he did make it.

But last season was different. After three years, we were back to our usual snowfalls. Even though the spring didn’t come through quite as well as it usually does, it was still good, and Clint was back for close to two months.

 

Last Ride of Spring

The author digging deep turns down a corridor in the milky light of the low clouds. Photo: Clint Miller

 

Last Ride of Spring

A short access trail and we were into the treeline; the fun stuff. It was the first I’d ventured into the trees with Clint. For years he only showed up with a race sled. Finally, with his landscaping business firing on all cylinders, he’d picked up a 146 Freeride and finally got his ass out west when we still had good snow.

 

a-day-in-the-life-of-matthew-mallory

It’s a long drive from the Muskokas to Whistler, over 4,000 kilometers—all for this. While his Ontario bros are prepping their boats, quads and bikes, Clint lays into some phat spring pow. Photo: Matthew Mallory

 

Busting through the trees into the meadows, it was shredtastic. There was no one around but us and blankets of untouched snow. We carved our asses off, tracking up each opening as we moved higher.

Like most spring days, as the hour hand moved past noon the deep, almost-pow turned closer to the consistency of wet cement. Clint and I kept going. It wasn’t really any harder to move with my 165”, but Miller was full pin everywhere on his 146”. We made pulls through the trees, sidehills, popped off pillows of snow and rode some fun creekbeds to end the day.

 

Last Ride of Spring

Rare shots of Clint not only with his track on the ground but riding in the trees. Photo: Matthew Mallory

A Fine Finish to the Season

The ride out was damp, and we were tired after five hours of aggressive, pretty much non-stop riding. Descending through the fat, milky clouds, I was surprised that the snow fell just until we exited the lowest clearcut and hit the trail home. Four kilometers of rain greeted us to our trucks.

It was the type of weather that always has you guessing as to which offers the most comfort: a long, chill, slow ride, or pinned but soaked. We ended up somewhere in the middle. Loading our sleds it was easy to be happy. Clint’s stoke is infectious and while many stayed home, we had a blast ripping the trees in the wet schmoo on our last ride of the season.

 

— Matthew Mallory

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