In nearly two decades of writing more than 50 adventure travel stories for SKI, contributing editor Andrew Slough has competed in the famous Inferno downhill race in Murren, Switz; slogged through the grueling 52-kilometer American Birkebeiner cross-country event; survived a 1,000-mile road trip with Glen Plake and his new bride in a trailer; chased Dracula in Romania; and skied a variety of extreme terrain from La Grave, France, to Valdez, Alaska. None of it quite prepared the 52-year-old father of two and Sun Valley, Idaho, resident for his flying experience with Mike Dorris, a quiet, unassuming former U.S. Ski Team member whom Andrew profiles in this issue. "We were getting banged around pretty good," recalls Andrew of their flight above the Salmon River in Idaho. "Everyone in the plane was stressed—except Mike. He looked like he was doing the spring plowing, leaning against the door with his elbow out. For him, it's like a tractor in the air."
Contributing editor Nathaniel Reade celebrated his 30th birthday on an epic two-week snowshoeing trek in the Menihek Lakes region of Labrador. He was looking for a similarly legendary experience when he arranged to welcome his 40th on a SKI assignment in the Slovak Republic, where he hoped to find deep snow, cheep beer and abundant culture. Unfortunately, his experience proved to be something of a rude awakening, as he relates in this issue's "Beauty and the Bleak." "Sometimes you have to experience a bad trip to appreciate the good ones," rationalizes Nat, who lives in West Paris, Maine, near Sunday River. "It made me love America even more." For a make good, Nat has insisted on another trip for SKI. "Send me anywhere in B.C., and I'll be happy." On past assignments, Nat has toured the backcountry in northern Quebec, cat-skied in Newfoundland and raced a downhill in Vermont.