January 17, 2017: It takes many little things coming together to hit a cliff like this—attention to detail is paramount. On this particular day, the landing was perfect, but was shrouded in clouds as I made my way to the take-off. There was every reason in the book to walk away. Imagine dropping into a cloudy abyss. It was pretty intense.
I spent a good thirty minutes working on the take-off, manicuring it just right. I side-stepped back up the hill and assessed the speed a good 10-plus times. There was a tree on top of the cliff… I forced my head through all the branches, hugging the tree, breaking branches with my face, essentially, enabling me to see the landing. I’ve jumped this cliff once before and had studied the landing zone in the summer. Today, as I said before, was a mega-primo, super-deep day. Still, I always want to either probe the snow myself or talk to and watch someone I trust probe the landing. Adam [the photographer] probed to my satisfaction. It was green lighted. I threw a few snowballs, communicating with Adam about trajectory, to ensure he’d nail the shot.
The cliff was a bit of a journey on a mostly cloudy and mysterious day. Once I was ready towards the end of the day, it was pretty cool to be in the woods with just a couple of my buddies with no one around but us and this beautiful cliff. I was ready. Adam was ready. I tilted my head to the stars, took a few deep breaths, let the calm settle in—pure concentration. I said into the radio, “10 seconds.”