#turn­sal­lyear Since 2004

Getting 'Er Done Since 2005

SkiTrax - - Day Ask - By Steven Threndyle

Mike and Andy Traslin have en­dured all sorts of grief from hik­ers as they slog their way from park­ing lot to tree­line in mid-septem­ber with skis on their pack. “Yeah, it can turn into a bit of a heckle-fest,” the older Traslin (that would be Mike, age 48) says. “They’ll start out with “Why do you have skis on your back?” and progress to “Don’t you know the ski re­sort is closed for the sum­mer?” or “Are you guys sure you’re not lost?” Some will get smart-ass and say, “I’ve heard the pow­der is su­per-deep over there!” Most hik­ers are just a bit be­wil­dered or cu­ri­ous. Mike says, “If they hap­pen to be back­coun­try skiers or snow­board­ers, they will of­ten say, “Wish I’d brought my skis,” and even “Are you the guys who do turns all year?” Andy, 44, an­swers sim­ply: “Why hike when you can ski?”

For the past dozen years, the broth­ers have made it their mis­sion to ski at least once a month. And while there’s plenty of ice on the Coast Range and Cas­cade glaciers to skit­ter down, usu­ally by mid-septem­ber, the of­fer­ings get pretty mea­ger. As of Septem­ber 2017, they’ve skied for 132 con­sec­u­tive months.

It all started back in Fall 2004 when the Traslins skied in south­ern Chile (Patag­o­nia), looked at their diaries and dis­cov­ered that they had skied al­most ev­ery month of the year. Mike says, “Around 2005, we caught the Cas­cade/sierra vol­cano-ski­ing bug.” In­deed, most of the ma­jor vol­canic sum­mits in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia have a bit of a sum­mer back­coun­try-ski­ing scene; it’s more com­mon to see skiers down there in Septem­ber than, say, on the North Shore moun­tains or even in the Coast Range near Whistler, B.C. There’s even a sup­port group known as tur­nal­lyear.com that of­fers sup­port and up­dates con­di­tions reg­u­larly.

As am­bas­sadors for a wide range of ski and out­door com­pa­nies (Gen­uine Guide Gear [G3], Dissent­labs socks, Ed­die Bauer First As­cent, In­tu­ition Lines and D-curve eye­wear), they’ve roamed far be­yond their na­tive North Shore moun­tains and ex­plored sum­mits in Nor­way, Ja­pan, Switzer­land and France. Mike notes, “We’ve skied on four con­ti­nents; we hope to bag them all some­day.”

Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, of course, present the big­gest chal­lenge be­cause they are out to ski more than just a turn or two to say they’ve done it. Mike says, “For the most part, we like to hit 1,000 or more ver­ti­cal feet, and some­times a lot more [they’ve both skied off the sum­mit of Mount Baker more than 20 times each – a run that can yield more than 6,000 ver­ti­cal feet in the right con­di­tions].”

In­deed, the sib­lings push each other in a way that ski­ing or climb­ing part­ners might not al­ways be able to. Mike says, “We’re both very com­pet­i­tive [they’ve been on the moun­tain-bike rac­ing cir­cuit, and love noth­ing bet­ter than bash­ing away at each other on the ten­nis court], and some days, we need to egg each other on a bit to over­come low mo­ti­va­tion. We’ll tease each other by say­ing “Don’t you wish you were at the beach or do­ing some­thing nor­mal right now?”

Their clos­est call with not re­al­iz­ing their goal came a few years ago on Mount Baker. Mike says, “It had been a re­ally bad ski sea­son and then Oc­to­ber came around. We headed down to the Sholes Glacier on Mount Baker. It was hos­ing rain with heavy cloud cover and we were walk­ing for hours to find some­thing to ski. Fi­nally, the clouds parted and we could just make out the toe of the glacier.” They skied ap­prox­i­mately 400 feet on some hor­ri­ble sun cups be­fore calling it a day. Mike says, “It does not al­ways have to be pretty to be fun.” His younger brother agrees: “Some­times you’re just stoked to make turns and sur­vive.”

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