#turnsallyear Since 2004
Getting 'Er Done Since 2005
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.”