Dark skies began to creep in from the west as we took a right at Provo and headed up into the Wasatch mountain range Our fully loaded BMW GSs sped along the canyon road, skis and snowboards strapped to our panniers. Despite our cold-weather gear we could feel the temperature starting to drop. It was going to be close, but if we were lucky, we might beat the snow to Park City. We rolled on the throttle and banked into the next turn. 40 miles to go.
The idea behind Aether Chasing Winter was to combine two of our greatest passions: motorcycle riding and skiing. To get the best of both worlds, we planned a trip up the Rockies in early April, from Telluride to Jackson Hole, hitting the first of the open roads and the last of the spring skiing. We carried all the gear we needed with us on the motorcycles, including poles, boots, and skis. It wasn’t the most practical way to travel, but with the crisp mountain air rushing past and scenic landscape unfolding before us, it was definitely the most exhilarating.
The team consisted of Jonah Smith, Palmer West, and Michael van Vliet of Aether Apparel; Raphael Bertolus of Rawhyde Adventures, the BMW off-road motorcycling camp; and Davide Berruto of Shelter Half, purveyor of handcrafted American-goods. For this journey we rode BMW GSs that were specially modified to carry ski gear, including one, which was outfitted with an off-road sidecar rig.
Our route took us from the idyllic Colorado ski town of Telluride, across the red rock arches of Moab, to the famed slopes of Park City, and up the windswept plains to Jackson Hole. While we had initially rode out in of chase winter, it became clear midway through the trip, winter was in fact chasing us. We battled freezing temperatures, navigation errors, mechanical failures, and a freak spring snow storm. However, despite the hardships, we got to experience the Rockies in a way that few ever have, and probably ever will. It was an adventure, in the true sense of the word, and one we will not soon forget.