203 Down To Earth

203 Down To Earth - Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast from Parker Alec Cross on Vimeo.
Parker and the boys venture into the backcountry for the first time this season and do some man-boarding. Venturing into the relative safe zones of Cardiff Peak, Flagstaff Mountain, and Grizzly Gulch, the team gets a small sample of just how good the deep stuff is in the Central Wasatch. Jonesing for deeper and steeper lines, come watch as Andy Earl, Uriel Ruvalcaba, Derek Olthuis, Daryl Young, Stain Reichman, and Parker Alec Cross hunt for the goods and warm up their hiking legs for future episodes. Filmed entirely on the Canon 5D Mark II system, episode three is guaranteed to induce a hunger for the powder that can only be satisfied by staying tuned for future episodes.

For product giveaway information, visit http://parkercrossroadstudios.blogspot.com/2010/02/episode-three-give-away.html

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Episode Three Give-Away!

Special thanks to our sponsors SIEGE Audio and Milosport for participating in the give-away for Episode Three. If you don't have a Google account, you're just going to have to suck it up and make one if you want to participate in the contest. Also, at this time we're only able to extend the contest to people who are currently residing in the United States. So all you Canadians and crazy Kiwis, sorry, you are ineligible to win.

This time we're giving away a pair of Division Headphones from SIEGE Audio, as well as a skateboard deck from Milosport. All you have to do in order to enter the contest is leave a comment on this post stating your favorite Wasatch Podcast episode thusfar, and what you'd like to see in future episodes. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted before the release of Episode Four in two to three weeks. Good luck, and May the Force Be With You.


Too Much Fun

I definitely feel like I have a very privileged life. I got lucky enough to connect with super good people from various walks of life who all share a similar passion for the raw energy associated with the mountain lifestyle. Skiers and snowboarders share this crazy bond with each other and with the environment that translates into an incredible amount of fun, no matter whether we're riding in the terrain park, or hiking to the top of an 11,000 ft summit, or camping out waiting for the clouds to burn off, or sessioning an urban feature, that fun tends to bleed through the canvas of our lives and leave its footprint in everything we do.
I've found that the more time I spend with different types of people, the more appreciative I am of the fact that everyone is so unique, and brings certain attributes to the table. I won't bore you by giving too many examples, but one that comes to mind specifically was the other day when we hiked up Cardiff Peak, a 10,277 ft peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The hike starts at the Central Alta Trailhead at 8,650 ft, and switches its way back to the summit nestled between the Little Superior Buttress and Flagstaff Mountain. We popped out on the southern tip of the Reed and Benson Ridge and my friend Uriel Ruvalcaba was nearly overcome by emotion. It was the first time he'd summited a peak of that nature, and all his prior freeriding experience was from riding at Snowbird (which is where you should be riding if you want to ride steep, technical terrain in Utah, but don't want to buy a splitboard or snowshoes), and when he looked over toward Monte Cristo and the Cardiac Ridge Bowl, he was completely moved by the absolute majesty of the surroundings. I can definitely relate with that. I remember the first time I hiked up Grizzly Gulch on a clear day, looking at toward Alta and Mt. Superior being absolutely taken aback because of how amazing it was, and wanting to spend as much time as possible in the mountains of my homeland.

I would wager that 80% of my experience with Utah backcountry touring is in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The ridge system that makes up Patsey Marley, Honeycomb Cliffs, Davenport Hill, Flagstaff Mountain, Cardiff Peak, and Mount Superior has enough terrain to keep a touring skier/rider busy for years. I honestly don't think you could ski every face in the zone in an entire season. There's just too much to do. Combine that with the easily accessed Cardiff, Mineral, and Mill B South forks, and you have yourself a lifetime of untouched powder skiing, with no more than a three hour ascent for the best turns of your whole life.

Riding with Andy Earl, Uri, Derek Olthuis, Stain Reichman, Sean Tucker, and Daryl Young over the last few days has been some of the best riding of my whole life. It was kind of sketchy at times. We had to bite our nails and watch while Uri made turns that sluffed to the rock, and then he pinned it out into the drainage, and then onto the safe zone. All in all, no avalanches other than riding sluff, and no injuries, so it was a good couple of days in the back country. Super stoked. Here's a few more pics from the adventures. 



epic |╦łepik|adjectiveof, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics England's national epic poem Beowulf.• heroic or grand in scale or character his epic journey around the world a tragedy of epic proportions.best snowboarding day of the whole season thusfar : Sessioning the southeast face of Cardiff Peak today was one of the most epic days I've ever had.
This is one of those situations where I'm prompted to ask, "Need I say more?" Peep the video screenshot of yours truly below to see exactly what I'm talking about, and yes, this is a still-frame from the video.



We are unstoppable. Everytime we strap on a snowboard, it's hammers left and right. People are amazed when we show up to a spot and there's seamless tricks being stomped time and time again.

Ok, that's total bull, and although there are some incredible athletes that come out and shoot with me, I think my camera must have some kind of crazy curse attached to it because whenever we're shooting something legit that is not the terrain park, nobody lands anything. Or maybe if we're lucky we'll get one or two shots. Speaking with a lot of other videographers and photographers, I've come to learn that this is actually pretty normal, and if you're doing a next level feature, the precision required to stomp hammers must also be next level, so it's understandable when it takes a rider a half-dozen attempts before they can put it down bolts. Nevertheless, when I'm sitting across the ridge, or at the bottom of a handrail, or perched in a tree, freezing my butt off waiting for a gap in the cloud cover so we can get a decent looking shot, it gets somewhat disappointing when everything looks good, until the tomahawk, or the upright snag, or the bomb-hole buck at the end. 

Even though it's frustrating, and sometimes feels like a big waste of time, as soon as Uri landed his first F/S 360 yesterday, everyone in the crew was so pumped, it made all the slams, and the hike, and shoveling, and dealing with the blizzard, and waiting for visibility all worth it, and it also makes the ibuprofen go down just a little bit easier at the end of the day. That's one of the things that I like so much about action sports. For those involved, they understand that there's really nothing more satisfying than sticking a trick after a bunch of failed attempts. The Little Engine That Could had it right, and if you can beat that mental game that tries to keep you on the ground, pretty soon it's going to be another stomped landing, and your camera guy will probably pee his pants because he's so stoked to actually have recorded something where the person landed. 

I'm just super stoked that Uriel Ruvalcaba, Mo Jennings, and Andy Earl were so pumped to come out and session the feature. And special thanks to Mr. Shelby Burton for coming up on Monday with Andy and getting the jump mostly built. A lot of people don't realize how much effort goes into building a jump in the backcountry. We don't have a $1 Million snowcat to push several thousand pounds of snow into a pile and then shape the lip to precision, so we resort to avalanche shovels and our boards/skis. 

40 lbs of camera equipment, my snowboard, shovel, avalanche probe, extra layering, and lunch makes for a moderately heavy load, but it's cool because when you take the extra time to generate a quality product, people tend to be a little more stoked on your brand/content/project. In a society that is less focused on quality and more interested in quantity (especially with downloadable and web-based media content), a little extra love and attention goes a long way with setting your product apart from the competition. I hope you guys enjoy this post, and get ready for Episode Three of Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast, dropping into iTunes sometime this coming week. Don't forget to become a fan on Facebook by clicking here, and also if you don't want to download each episode to your computer (what are you, a dinosaur?), then you can watch every new episode on the Wasatch Vimeo Channel. Enjoy these photos, and the fact that some of them are screenshots from some of the video outtakes.

Words to Live By

Tonight was pretty crazy for me. I got home from snowboarding with Andy, Mo, and Uri and we went to the rec center for a sauna/hot tub/steam room session. It was actually really relaxing after a day of hiking and sessioning a fairly sizable jump in Little Cottonwood Canyon (more on that feature in my next post). We then went to my house and goofed off while watching Hot Rod and transcoding some footage on my computer. After I kicked Mo out of my house due to the fact that I was nodding off to sleep, I was sleep texting some friends when suddenly I snapped awake and had the craziest feeling that I needed to be in Salt Lake ASAP. I honestly have no idea what it was all about, but it was an unmistakable prompting that for whatever wiser purpose than I can currently grasp, my presence was required in SLC. I kind of disregarded it for a few minutes, but when it only exacerbated the feeling, I opted to act on it. I quickly packed up everything I thought maybe I'd need (i.e. snowboard and kit, camera bag, toiletries, blanket, extra jacket, Red Bull, etc.) and got on the road.
You may ask, "Parker, oh my! What happened when you got to Salt Lake? What was the big deal?" Well, I wasn't going to bring it up, but since you asked, the answer is this: Nothing. Nothing happened. At least nothing h happened yet. I'm still in Salt Lake as I'm writing this post. But the whole experience left me with a few moments to think about a neat line from the Book of Mormon. It's a little anecdote that Mormon throws in to kind of justify why he included a bunch of stuff in his abridgment of the records that ultimately made up the content of the work published in 1830, and it goes a little something like this, 
"And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will (Words of Mormon 1:7)."
I honestly have no idea why I was prompted very strongly to go to Salt Lake City tonight, but I trust that it was something that the Lord wanted me to do, so I did it. It was kind of awkward, and I second guessed it a lot, but hey, what can you do, right? I know this departs from what I normally blog about, so forgive the seeming out-of-character nature of this post. Those of you who know me well understand that this isn't really out-of-character at all, but rather just a little more private most of the time.



It's been a long time coming, but finally after a long season so far, I was able to send a method into a powder landing. This was my first powder jump of the year, although a few of my friends and even some of the Wasatch crew have been out in the woods building features, due to avalanche danger I haven't really been able to get out on a nice creamy day and catch some sky, and the above picture is a screenshot of the video of yours truly doing just that. JP Sokolowski and I met up at about 9:00am and quickly jumped on the Crescent chairlift at Park City Mountain Resort, and after a quick recon of the conditions, opted to head over toward the McConkey's chair. What we found was delightful. Thanks to whomever built the jump before we got there, because it was primed for take-off, and it seriously took us all of 3 minutes to sweep off the transition and make a new run-in. Here's a couple more screen shots from episode three of Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast, which will be coming at you sometime next week.
JP on the Crescent chairlift
Me dropping into the trees off Sunnyside, camera in hand. Terrifying.
Always business, all the time.


"Heroes get remembered..."

"...But Legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you'll never go wrong." I was driving away from The Berrics after shooting with Guy Mariano for the first time in my life, and that line from The Sandlot kept echoing through my head, and it was one of those interesting experiences because I knew how big of a deal he was in the skate community, and I'd seen his part in Lakai's Fully Flared (embedded below. It's epic, trust me), but I didn't know the whole story behind how truly awesome it is to have him skating the streets of Los Angeles again–a story about someone whose heart led him back to the sport that he loved.

Guy Mariano basically took a hiatus from skateboarding to inadvertently pursue a career of self-destructive partying. As addiction took hold, his break from skating turned into a slump, and eventually he just faded from the scene completely. After finally deciding that he had hit rock-bottom, Guy sought help at Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, and after sobering up jumped straightaway onto his skateboard again. He's not a young buck anymore. He's been a professional skateboarder for almost twenty years, and to have him not film a video part for over eight years, taking a 5-year break from a skateboard, and coming out of retirement to have a part like he did in Fully Flared is just unreal. Guy is a man dedicated to giving back to the sport that gave him back his life. After treatment, it was only on his skateboard that he could kick all the demons of negativity that consistently get at you. When he was on his skateboard he wasn't worried if he was going to relapse or if he would be able to pay his bills or whatever, and he was happy for that moment, and that was the strength he needed to push through his addictions. I feel privileged to have been able to do photo and video work with someone to whom I will look up for a lifetime.

Pizza's Papa

Shooting with Joey Brezinski was one of the funnest things I've ever done since getting behind the lens full-time. We were primarily interested in shooting his video bio for SIEGE Audio while wearing a Snuggie, mastering the Slap Chop, and utilizing the muscle building powers of the Shake Weight, however, we did take a break to shoot a couple portraits with Joey and his beloved pug pooch Pizza (say that ten times fast). They turned out hilarious and I had a killer time shooting an incredibly talented skateboarder that I've looked up to for a long time. Check out his part in the Cliche Skateboards video, embedded below. One of the cool things about shooting with Joey is it reminded me that this whole shindig is supposed to be fun. If you take life too seriously, it can really eat you up, so it's always good, in my opinion, not to have too high opinion of yourself. Obviously you don't want to adopt a false modesty, but rather just realize that you're a normal person, just like everyone else. A-list pro skateboarder Joey B has this mindset on lockdown. Feel free to follow him and Pizza on Twitter.


Manny Santiago jumped in on a photoshoot a week ago Tuesday night in Los Angeles rocking a pair of The Eleven headphone by SIEGE Audio. He's a pretty smiley guy, but also one who can really get things done. It was pretty cool to meet him and take a couple photos while I was there. He also took us to get the best chicken quesadillas in all of LA (at least that's what Manny says). It's not often that I get to hang around with skateboarders, and it's a funny thing because they're totally different than hanging out with snowboarders. Don't get me wrong, that wasn't meant to be derogatory by any means, just indicative of the grand difference between the cultures of the two sports. Enjoy the photos, and at the bottom I've embedded one of his video parts from another production company. Ultimately, although indifferent to his skateboarding career prior to the meetup, I'm now a big fan. Check him out on Twitter. He's always jonesing for more followers.


Quick Round 2

Here's a few more pics from our trip to Los Angeles. More to follow very soon. It's been a crazy couple of days, trying to catch up on schoolwork, then maintain the blog and the Twitter, as well as attempt to have a social life, and a family life, and get cracking on episode three for Wasatch. Realistically we won't have any content to publish until at least the 23rd, but possibly not a full episode until March rolls around. Sorry for all you folks who are chomping at the bit for more video content. I'm doing my best though. All these photos are from Shane's point and shoot and I took them into Photoshop and messed with them ever so slightly.