“Now you see why we call them the gigglers”, Jim Jack said with a nod and the classic ear to ear grin. After a quick laugh he was off again… dodging in and out of trees, milking the 3 inches of fresh snow. I was trying to keep up, the gladed slope was creamy and fast. 2500′ vert later, gasping for air in between giggles, the four of us were speechless. How the hell did the snow end up being that great? We were told in the parking lot that a rain crust had turned the snow into an ice rink. While skinning up, we crossed ice, rot, and crusted over sugar. We shared skeptical shoulder shrugs and discussion of the skiing “not being worth the long hike”. But, the promise of a beautiful view and chance of finding some nice creamy turns kept us going.
And, wow, I sure am glad we did.
This was three weeks ago, and just one of those days; those days that forever stay ingrained in your memory. Those days that reconfirm that there is a reason why we do what we do. A reason why we rise before the sun, venture outside in nasty weather, push our bodies to hike all morning just to ski ONE run… and a reason why we accept certain risks that parallel the passion to explore, adventure, and play in the mountains.
Five years ago I was accepted into a community of passionate people who share a love for the mountains and skiing. These friends, who have become my family, have played a huge roll in shaping my life. The many faces with whom I have had the pleasure to share a few turns all communicate a similar exuberance. They exude a zest for life and a love for one another. I can say with certainty that the compassion and camaraderie shared by this community was influenced by Jim Jack. His high energy, carpe diem, passionate, and caring attitude rubbed off on each and every one of us. He gave his love to us and taught us all to share it with one another. I am so fortunate to have been influenced by such a great man. As are we all.
Now, lets make a point; as a community, to convey Jim Jack’s views on life, passion for the outdoors, and love for one another. Share a smile and a high five. Enjoy a good taste of R&R. Keep hiking. Keep laughing. And, in one way or another, you will find your own ‘gigglers’.
Wow Mckenna that was beautiful. Your writing is out standing. You were able to place me rite next to you guys skiing that day. We will all miss him so much. I feel lucky to have been in his circle of life. There is now a little Jim in all of us and we are now able to ski with him every day forever.
I love you Mckenna!