The Traveling Kendama

Martin Kuprianowicz |
The Traveling Kendama has seen places from New Mexico to Nicaragua to Lookout Pass in Idaho, where this image was captured. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

“Best season of our lives.” We would consistently tell ourselves that last summer when discussing the approaching winter. We would say it when we were trying to distract ourselves from the fact that it was actually summer and not winter. We would say it when life felt stagnant, and we needed something to look forward to. Or when we wanted to forget about the world. We were genuinely stoked to be living in Utah the next winter—the first time we would live together in a place with as good of skiing as Salt Lake.

But everything changed when Alex passed. He moved on while we—his friends, brothers, fellow skiers—stayed behind, faithful that we’d meet him there when our own numbers got called. Until then, we carry him with us in our hearts wherever we go. I also carry his Kendama with me.

Michelle, his sweet mother, gave me Alex’s Kendama as a gift a few days before his memorial service. “To remember Alex,” she said. I’ve carried that Kendama with me ever since that fateful day, taking it to summits, ski areas, and faraway lands few and far between. To remember Alex.

I’d take a picture of the Kendama in every new spot and text each one to Michelle so that she could see it was being put to good use. Alex took it just about everywhere with him, so why not keep the habit alive along with his memory?

These are the picturesque places I was able to take the Traveling Kendama this past 2020-21 season (in chronological order) in memory of my great friend and fellow skier Alex Robert Davis. And there will be many more to come!

Suicide Chute – Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah 

A little early season couloir-skiing near Alta, Utah. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Maple Canyon – San Pitch Mountains, Utah 

The author took this one from the top of a 5.8 sport climb in the Utah-classic sport climbing crag, Maple Canyon. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Ski Apache – Ruidoso, New Mexico

Believe it or not: the author, Alex’s older brother Israel, and this Kendama found an inch-deep patch of snow to ski at Ski Apache on December 25, 2020—Alex’s 21st birthday. Sparks were flying off of our skis from our edges scraping against rocks in the mountain twilight.  | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Monarch Mountain – Salida, Colorado 

This image was captured this past winter near Salida, Colorado: home to Monarch Mountain—one of Colorado’s best ‘little’ ski areas. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Grand Targhee – Alta, Wyoming 

The Traveling Kendama juxtaposed with the Grand Teton, captured from Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The author and his father Cezar took the Kendama to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in January of 2021. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Alyeska Resort – Girdwood, Alaska

Alaska was easily one of the best trips of this past winter. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Lookout Pass Ski Area – Mullan, Idaho

16-inches of new snow fell the night before the author took this photo at Lookout Pass Ski Area on the Idaho/Montana border. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Oquirrh Mountains – Ophir, Utah

Ski touring in Utah’s Oquirrh Mountains last spring provided amazing corn skiing.  | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Mount Tukuhnikivatz – La Sal Mountains, Utah 

The Traveling Kendama on the summit of one of Utah’s most classic ski descents. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

Moab, Utah 

After a scary descent on Mount Tukuhnikivatz in the La Sals, the author spent a couple of days climbing in the red rock desert surrounding Moab, Utah. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

San Juan Del Sur – Nicaragua 

After 143 days of skiing last season, it was time for the author to hit the beach and do a little surfing. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains.

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