Updated: December 24, 2009, 2:45 PM ET

The History of Hyphy

Rule: Every road trip must have a theme.

Backstrom By Ingrid Backstrom
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Adam ClarkMount Rainier, from Crystal Mountain.
Every road trip has a theme and sometimes you start with it from the beginning, like one in New Zealand with my friend Jen — Tangerines & Waterfalls — because it was orange season and we ate lots of those and visited as many waterfalls and rivers and hot springs as we could. Or sometimes you might start sans theme and only have a vague purpose. Then the theme emerges later, like this one: The Hunt for White November & The History of Hyphy.

It was about November 19th when my friend Emily and I loaded the Subie and drove north to Washington from Squaw. The fall weather in Tahoe was lovely but we had an itch for snow, bigtime. Luckily for us it happened to be absolutely dumping in the Northwest. We skied four days of pow at Crystal Mountain, my original home mountain and one of my favorite places on Earth.

Adam ClarkIB on Spanky's at Blackcomb.
Adam ClarkCoffee break — en route from Stevens Pass to Whistler.

Then Emily had to split. But since Utah was high and dry as well I had the good fortune to meet up in Seattle with Salt Lake denizens — and fellow powder pilgrims — Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Adam Clark. Their arrival happened to coincide with a warming trend (rain to the top), but their early season stoke more than made up for the slight regression in conditions they brought with them. We shredded a sunny day at Crystal followed by several wet, yet super fun, days at Stevens Pass.

Adam ClarkSage Cattabriga-Alosa on Calvin and Hobbes at Blackcomb.

Sage regaled us with tales of the history of the hyphy movement in Oakland to pass the long hours in the car (ask him about Danger Bee and L'il Whip next time you see him). We totally sent Thanksgiving at my cousin's house, we skied with Jim Jack — a local Leavenworth legend akin to Sasquatch — and we drank way more coffee than any human should, and soon we found ourselves amongst the hippies at the co-op in Bellingham having a snack and border-proofing our caravan for the drive further north.

You couldn't blink at your iPhone in November without seeing how much snow Whistler was getting and so we were like so many horses to the water. Arriving on November 28th, though, we missed most of the fresh. Still we got several inches (!!!) of awesome windbuff and a few cms (!!!) of new, and we met up with Dana Flahr, Ian McIntosh, Matty Richard, Chris Turpin, James Heim, and Giulia Monego (making a cameo from Italy). Some hiking ensued, and Caesar salads and a bison spaghetti feast at the McIntosh's, NO LIFT LINES whatsoever, Sage and Ian hucked everything in sight, and we listened to lots of hyphy in the cars and at our makeshift headquarters at the Tantalus Lodge.

Road trips are usually about a search for something, and then of course the music you listen to along the way. Also, they're about being spontaneous and even though you might not find exactly what you're looking for — meters/feets of deep blower overhead powder (!!!) — you're probably going to have a sick time anyways and a little hyphy never hurts.

Adam ClarkIB, pow leftovers in Symphony Bowl, Blackcomb.

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