Pay It Forward: Michele Manning

Michele Manning ends every sentence with a contagious giggle. Driving home from Leavenworth, Washington, after celebrating her 33rd birthday, Manning, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, pulled off the freeway somewhere in Oregon to give me a call before she lost cell-phone service on the roads winding high up to the Cascades. Bright, loud bursts of laughter littered our conversation. Karl Kelley said it first when he recommended I speak with Manning next. A lover of the mountains and former competitor on the Freeskiing World Tour, she bounces from place to place, driven by a desire to meet new people and live among snow-covered volcanoes and peaks in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Utah. Here’s her story:

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Pay It Forward: Karl Kelley

Karl Kelley, 47, a chef by profession, has cooked his way through ski towns across North America—Crested Butte, Tahoe, Crystal, Taos, Salt Lake, B.C., the Sawtooths. A climber in the offseason (he just wrote and published a climbing guide, High On Moab), Kelley takes three months off every winter to hit the skin track and farm fresh turns in the backcountry with his wife. Read on for tales from the kitchen at Alta’s Peruvian Lodge, how to get married in Alaska, and some advice on pursuing a lifelong love with the love of your life.

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Pay It Forward: Happy Hyper Hugh

As skiers, we make friends easily. We all share the same mind, the same values, the same stoke. We ski together, drink together, and sleep on each other’s couches. We all know each other.

In that vein, I’m starting an interview series. My aim is to find the guy or girl in every single ski town, everywhere. And the next guy, and the next girl after that. The catch: Each person I interview will recommend the person I talk to next. It’s a journey. We’ll see where it takes us.

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Opposites Attract in Chile

I drank too many pisco sours the night before, which tends to happen on South America ski trips. That much was evident as we drove up infinite switchbacks on a dirt road that would take us to the top of the world’s second highest mountain range. Our driver, Frederico, his rosary beads swaying and jingling from the rear view mirror with every rock, rivet, and rut, eased off the gas to a crawl. But my face was still as green as last night’s cocktails. In the front passenger seat, POWDER contributor Heather Hansman kept her eyes closed to curb the nausea. In the backseat next to me, Paula Froelich, a New York City columnist, popped a large, white pill from Vietnam that was half epinephrine, and half dopamine—magic “hangover pills.” She offered me one. I thought about it, but shook my head. My only cure would come at the end of this car ride, several thousand feet higher in the cool winter air of the Chilean Andes.

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Crossroads: In the face of its most dramatic development in 55 years, what is the future of Squaw Valley?

I am the product of a Squaw Valley romance. In 1974, my dad moved there to join the ski patrol, a job he had been dreaming of since he was a high school misfit growing up in Sacramento. Six years later, he met my mom, a Chico State college student who spent her winter semester loading chairs. They fell in love over deep Sierra snow and lived happily as newlyweds in a shack on Squaw Valley Road that was so cold the water would freeze in the dog bowl every night. They taught me how to ski at Squaw, and as a result, I’ve pursued a life in the mountains. But the home I know is on the precipice of a radical change.

 

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Greg Hill Crushes Another Record

Greg Hill is a machine. Last month, he met his goal of climbing and skiing 100,000 meters of vert, or 328,000 feet. It’s a bit difficult for us mere mortals to comprehend how much that really is, so look at it this way: 5,000 feet is a fair estimate for a solid day in the backcountry for your average, strong skier. Double that and add another 3,000 feet, and that was Hill’s daily routine for the month.

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Kim Havell Skis a Female First in the Tetons

Last week, Kim Havell, Pete Gaston, and Brian Warren caught the Otterbody in just those conditions. Seventeen years after Coombs and Mark Newcomb’s first descent, in 1996, Havell became the first woman to ski the Otterbody Route, a feat worth recognizing for the line’s sheer exposure and full commitment. (The first female descent of the Grand was by Kristen Ulmer in 1997, down the Ford-Stettner route.)

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For the Davis Chapel, a long search for a new home after 2003 fire

Despite a history of poor money management and nearly a decade of homelessness since the fire, the congregation has maintained its faith and continues to give. They have hope that the skeleton of a building in North Richmond will resurrect into the church it once was. They believe that when they move home, their ministry will grow.

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Two Junior Freeskiing Tours

The Tahoe Junior Freeride Series started about five years ago as a friendly competition between the Sugar Bowl and Squaw Valley freeskiing teams. There were 10 boys and five girls in its first events. Those days are long gone. Young athletes are flocking to big mountain freeskiing programs, and the demand for junior competitions has increased exponentially. DesLauriers said his Squaw Valley big mountain team has doubled its numbers of kids more than twice in the last five years.

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Laugh Out Loud: A profile of snowboarder Iris Lazz

Granite Peak opened on a bluebird day. A stream of powder-hungry skiers and riders hiked the boot pack to Squaw Valley’s highest point. Walking along the ridge, I passed a snowboarder who was eyeing a line that would send her off a cliff and into the apron at full speeds. I couldn’t see her face behind the goggles and gear. But then she laughed.

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Inside the West County Detention Facility

The West County Detention Facility opened about twenty years ago to house Contra Costa’s non-violent criminals. Inmates have a key to their cells and come and go when they want, except when officers are counting the prisoners. The cells look more like college dorm rooms. They are built around a lobby where inmates can hang out and watch TV. Still, the cells are sparse.

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