Morgan Ash, our Rental Shop Manager, will be back for his third season with Bluebird. If you’ve ever rented gear from us, you’ve probably met Morgan. You might not know it, but Morgan has done some crazy stuff. For example, this fall Morgan ran Run Rabbit Run (a 100 mile race that starts and finishes in Steamboat) and he crushed it! So if you come to Bluebird this winter and you’re looking for some advice about running an ultra-marathon, Morgan might be able to give you a pointer or two in addition to setting you up with all the gear you need for a day of touring.
Rental Shop Manager
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How many seasons have you worked at Bluebird?
This will be my third winter with Bluebird.
Why did you want to work for Bluebird?
Two real reasons: First, to finally put my knowledge of skis and splitboards to some actual use. Second, to try and be a part of lowering the financial barrier to try out this sport. Survey after survey has shown that the cost of skiing in general, let alone backcountry skiing, keeps underrepresented groups from trying snow and backcountry sports. Allowing people to pay a small amount to try the sport with some really good gear that they can be comfortable in and trust is a great way to help them decide if it’s worth investing their time and money into in the future.
What are you most excited for this season?
Every year the whole Bluebird team comes together with ideas on how we can make this whole liftless ski area even better. I know I have a few things I’m looking forward to making better in the shop, but I’m really excited to see what other people are bringing to the table this year.
Favorite skin track at Bluebird?
Lost in the Woodwards is just such a pretty skin track, it’s really hard to beat. Plus, you can hop off of it at any point for some really nice mellow aspen skiing. It’s a great one to get a lot of quick laps on and has had untouched snow every time I’ve skied off of it.
Favorite run at Bluebird?
The Plume always has great snow and has such a great view at the start, with an honorable mention to Ursa Major for some steeper tree skiing.
Outside of Bluebird, where else do you like to ski/ride?
Howelson Hill in Steamboat is a great little ski area with a few lifts for those days when you just don’t feel like skinning uphill. I only skied there a little last year, but it really feels like a small town ski area without all the frills that the giant ski conglomerates throw at their resorts. It’s also the oldest running ski area in the US, so you can have a pretty cool weekend of skiing both the newest and oldest operating ski areas back-to-back!
What’s your go-to après food or drink?
Burritos and a hot toddy from an insulated bottle are a perfect “welcome back” to me.
When not skiing/splitboarding, what do you love to do?
I tend to fully invest myself in my sports. I’ve always been an avid rock climber, and at one point was spending 20-30 hours per week training or working on my climbing projects. Over the past few years I’ve gotten really into ultra running and spend what feels like a similar amount of time training and racing in 30-100mi distances.
Aside from Bluebird, what’s your favorite type of bird?
Hot take, but I think magpies are pretty cool. They’re vocal, intelligent birds who look kind of like crows in formal wear. They have also occasionally exercised my dog by flying low laps over a field where we used to live so she’d chase them.
Do you have an insider tip for guests visiting Bluebird for the first time?
Don’t be intimidated by starting something new and asking questions! Nobody came into this sport knowing every little detail. We all picked things up little by little as we watched and talked to our partners, made mistakes, (a lot in my case) and figured out what works best for our own independent style.
If you could be any magical or supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Maybe a Sphinx, since a good riddle and a good dad joke are like 1 degree of separation from each other.
What is your favorite kind of burrito?
Al Pastor is the true measure of a good burrito, in my mind. I’m a strong proponent of pineapple on everything.
What piece of gear can’t you live without?
While touring – A GPS device/watch/app since my sense of direction is generally a liability.
While transitioning – Those little wrist elastic things that connect to your gloves, so you can adjust your gear and get things from your pack without losing a warm glove.
After the tour – A hot drink in an insulated bottle.
What’s the best backcountry touring tip you’ve ever heard?
Be bold and start cold! You’ll be amazed how quickly you warm up once you start moving, and leaving the base area cozy usually means you’ll be sweating 5 minutes into the skintrack.