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Alta Is For Skiers
Alta Is For Skiers

Johnny B Podcast
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Why Ski Alta?
When you listen to Dave and Johnny discuss powder skiing in Alta, it's not only two classic personalities of Little Cottonwood Canyon interacting, but two good friends. They talk about their days working at Goldminer's Daughter and Dave draws some interesting parallels to his experiences skiing and surfing. Enjoy reading the transcript of Johnny B and Dave's dicussion or download/listen to the MP3 podcast.

Johnny B: Hello skiers. This is Johnny B for Altacam.com and today I'll be talking with longtime Alta local, pro freeskier, Dave McReynolds. Hey Dave! How's it going?

Dave: It's going well. How are you doing, bro?

Johnny B: Good to see you, man.

Dave: Nice to see you too.

Johnny B: Dave, to begin, where did you come from, how did you end up in Alta?

Dave: I started skiing in Alta when I was a little kid with my parents. We'd come on vacation from California, from the Bay Area. And I skied at lot at Tahoe and growing up in the Bay Area, skiing in Tahoe, surfing in Santa Cruz area. Then during the winter break we'd come to Alta, every year ever since I was one years old. So I just knew that I'd know the place, had to come spend some time and once I did, I made it my home.

Johnny B: I see. So dad and mom brought you out when you were a little grom and showed you around. That explains why when you first came here you seemed to know your way around a little better than more most people, and that was why.

Dave: Yeah.

Johnny B: So where did you start? What was your first job in Alta? What did you do?

Dave: Oh yeah, my first job. I worked at the Goldminer's Daughter with you.

Johnny B: Oh right.

Dave: Yeah, man. You remember that, you were behind the line?

Johnny B: Oh yeah.

Dave: Giving a big line of bs the whole time?


Dave: Yeah, it was classic. I rolled out with one of my buddies from Santa Cruz and worked the flat grill, burgers and fries. Good ski time, though. Real good ski time.

Johnny B: I remember you had good ski time. Well, what else did you have to do to get that good ski time?

Dave: You know, don't get the wrong idea, but I had to toss some salads.[Laughter] But that was later on. That was the job for a little while, tossing salads in the kitchen. And that was even better ski time. That was a couple of hours in the evening. Man, it was sweet! Elfreida Shane really hooked me up.

Johnny B: That's kind of a dream job for a lot of guys.

Dave: It was.

Johnny B: Ski all day, toss salad all night.

Dave: I know. It was so perfect, I couldn't believe it. Sometimes I had to pinch myself. Skiing powder all morning and then just something simple like tossing salads later.

Johnny B: Those were some deep times, the mid-90s.

Dave: Yeah.

Johnny B: A lot of snow.

Dave: '94, '95. Yeah, it was. Just right as fat skis started coming into the picture too and it was a good time, consistent winners, it was pretty easy to call Little Cottonwood Canyon home when it was that good all the time.

Johnny B: Oh man, those were the days. I'm sure we'll return to those days. It's well known that you're a surfer, Dave. You mentioned growing up surfing in California. How is surfing related to your skiing style and do you think about surfing a lot while you're skiing?

Dave: Oh yeah, all the time. I think ah, when I first, especially right when I first started spending full time in the winter, that's all I was thinking about, was trying to make skiing more like I would draw a line surfing or something like that. And it was kind of like I was forcing it and maybe it didn't look so good or whatever.

But I just kind of stuck to that program and then the skis continued to get better, you could start drawing similar lines and getting that same feeling. So it's always something that's in the back of my mind when I'm skiing. Or, you know, you see a certain feature on a mountain that reminds you of a wave or something like that. There's always parallels, just constantly.

Johnny B: You know, you've obviously experienced deep powder, overhead powder and deep barrels while you're surfing. Describe both of them and what do they have in common, being in the barrel, being in the overhead powder?

Dave: Whoa. Well, I think more than anything it's ah, one thing that comes to mind is that you're kind of playin' on, it's no longer really your terms that are dictating what's going on. It's really like the mountain's terms or the ocean's terms. All you're doing is really, is tapping into that energy at that point.

You know, when you're in deep powder you're not going to jump around and change it. It's normally like if you decide to ski a line and it's over the head pow, that's what you're skiing, because it's, you know, you've got 2,000 vert or whatever you're on and you're not going to be just stopping in the middle or forcing a left or right. It's pretty much you take the fall line, you get deep and you know, control your breathing, breath in your neck gaiter or whatever you have and you bring it all the way home. And that's what you do. If you try to stray from that line, you're going to pay, you're going to eat it, you might turn into your sluff.

And so getting in a barrel's really similar. You set your line, you draw your line, then if you're inside of a wave, it's not like you're going to be like, "OK. Well, I'm just going to try to through the curtain here" or whatever. You're pretty much dedicated to that line and you just stick to that line, let the energy push you through. And that's one of the best feelings, when you make it through.

Johnny B: There you have it, folks, Dave McReynolds, best of both worlds, powder snow ski riding, deep barrel surfing. Pretty interesting, Dave. Describe for us, if you will, Dave, the term "buttering".

Dave: Oh, buttering.

Johnny B: Buttering.

Dave: Buttering is becoming one of the more popular ways to turn a ski. That's just kind of like throwing em sideways, lettin' em slip a little bit. You can get a big face shot even if it's not that deep when you're buttering. You know, if you're going, if you find, like, a a feature. Just like throwing em sideways like a knife with a hot slab of butter, slabbing it across a piece of toast. You know you're just slipping across it at high speed. It's a cool feeling. Butters work pretty well when you need to shut your speed in a tight spot. You just kind of butter, get a little face shot and move on. It's just different. It's far from that throw the hip in snow gouge, that skiing used to be all about.

Johnny B: Just a subtle little butter.

Dave: Just a little butter. It makes it easier on the body, man. I think it could prolong your skiing career if you just butter occasionally.

Johnny B: And so today's skis, among other things, offer the opportunity to butter.

Dave: They do and they're getting even more butter-friendly every year.

Johnny B: There you have it, folks. You heard it right here in Altacam.com. Describe a perfect day at Alta. Take us back one of those deep days.

Dave: Deep day? Man, I think the perfect days are the days that start off maybe not so deep and then we just get those three, four inches an hour. Cycle's coming in and there's maybe just a handful of us up there, you guys, you and Gary "Gltta" with your brothers, all the locals that you see pretty much everyday and maybe a few other people. It's just free refill and no one knows how good it is, so it's uncrowded and you know those are the best days. You can go if you're going out to High Boy or High Boy, Lone Pine, Eagle's Nest and just kill it all day long, just you and your friends.

Johnny B: There it is, folks, Dave McReynolds. This is Johnny B for Altacam.com. We're going to go ski riding.

Dave: Yeah, it's snowing.

Johnny B: Looks like it's dumping right now. Dave, thanks a lot for your time.

Dave: Thank you.

Johnny B: Appreciate it.

Dave McReynolds: Yeah.

Johnny B: Good to see you out there.

Dave: We're out there.

Johnny B: We'll talk to you soon.

Dave: Thank you.

Johnny B: Thank you.

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