The Cult of Stoke

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david mccue cult of stoke

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Personally, I’m ready; I’m jonesing, antsy and it’s time that I should be skiing. Come on it’s almost November! My irrational exuberance knows no bounds; never mind the fact that only once in my life have I skied in October and then only because of Super Storm Sandy.


But I am forever spoiled now.  In August of this past summer – I started looking up last year’s ski movies, to get ready.  While there is something soothing about watching crazy lines being skied in the Chugach when it’s 100 degrees here, it adds to my delusion and I tell myself the ski season is coming soon.  Then in September I buy a pass, and some new used skis, and start ill-informed shop modifications on my existing inventory.

Let’s face it, since we are all dedicated to a sport that is only viable for four months in a good year around here; we have to do everything we can to keep the hope alive and the stoke burning during the long off season. I know the purgatory is officially ending when the new batch of crazy ski films start hitting the screens, in Jackson, Golden, Seattle and Chapel Hill.

teton gravity's paradise waits

I have never gone to one of the big screenings before but Bryan on the message board arranged for TGRs Paradise Waits to show here.  So I pulled myself away from trying to glue actual fish scales to the base of a pair of old K2’s. It was cool, much extreme stoke

To briefly review; there were a lot of great skiers doing incredible things that I will never do in places I am very unlikely to ever visit.  There was not much plot; it was arranged episodically around the various months of last year’s season, with an acknowledgement of how bad it was in parts of the west.  Next time there’s a bad January in North Carolina I am definitely going to Japan; they have a lot of snow and seem very friendly. I think the producers could have tied things together a bit by having Sage Cattabriga-Alosa sporting a peg leg and harpoon and telling the heli-ops that there is a great white spine beyond that couloir. Actually he kind of did… and Angel Collison was amazing, extreme girl power.

Still it’s a trip to view this stuff; it’s like an NBA all-star jam.  The general feeling is one of “WHOA no way,  DID you see that, OH  S#$&T!”  I am never going to dunk like Vince Carter, and I will not ever ride like those guys (by the way if you doubt these skier/snowboarders extreme status, check out their mortality and injury rates, an NBA career is a reasonable retirement plan in comparison)  So yes you leave and you are stoked… but stoked for what?

2015-10-29-David-McCue-Cult-of-stoke004A skiing hero of mine is Glen Plake, who is no stranger to ski flicks as he was part of the first wave.  He said this in a 2013 interview:

“How do you define “adventure”? It’s an opportunity to go out and experience something unfamiliar, to take things into your own hands.  It doesn’t need to be dangerous, but it might be uncomfortable.”


Whether it is what those athletes do or what we do around here it is still a continuum of risk and fear and fun; that’s stoke. There is something around here that has you worried;  the top of the Black diamond that you always ski by,  the tight tree entrance,  the gap you never hit big; there’s something — Do them all! Stoke is subjective; make THIS your epic year.


by David McCue, Contributing Reporter


david mccue of skisoutheastABOUT DAVID///

David McCue grew up in Amarillo, Texas and annoyed the natives of New Mexico and Colorado by skiing on their mountains throughout his childhood and teens.  He put down his neon 200cm GS skis for nearly twenty years until the fateful day he took his own young sons for a half day to Cataloochee.  He has never looked back, except when alone and deep in the trees. A carpenter by trade, the uncertainties of the housing market have further honed David’s snow skills.  He now resides with his patient wife on the banks of the Haw River in central North Carolina and annoys the natives of West Virginia by skiing on their mountains.


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