Thump, thump, thump. Ryland Bell punches into a near-vertical wall to claw his way up a steep, undulating face of chutes and spines.

Thump, thump, thump. Kael Martin kicks steps toward a closeout air below a Seussian stack of ribbed rollovers.

Thump, thump, thump. The DJ plays his house mix as he does every afternoon. He picks up the pace little by little. We can hear it here, several thousand feet above the mid-mountain village, and see the building après scene down at the confluence of a collection of gondolas. The pair of Moscovian go-go girls is probably onstage by now, dancing for vodka-fueled vacationers from frozen cities up north.

Thump, thump, thump. Moss Halladay unconsciously bobs his head to the beat as he prepares to launch the drone. Ryland’s almost ready to drop.

We pretty much took the lifts to get here. A two-minute hike and one rope line, that’s it. It hasn’t snowed in four days. The sun has cooked south-facing slopes, but there’s stable, consolidated, untracked powder on most other aspects. Few, if any, have touched these lines recently. No one comes here to ride spines. This is Sochifornia, man.


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