Gerry said not to be late because the ski patrol would be waiting for us. He was right. They were. If there was a day to be on time, it was this one. On a powder day at Mt. Bachelor, with the lightest, deepest snow the resort had received in, well, it’d been a while since conditions like these had lined up. And with zero wind. The good folks at Mt. Bachelor had given us the gift of an early ride up the mountain to slash pow with Gerry Lopez before the resort opened.
For at least this one moment in my life, I was on time, frothing like a child, ready to ride with Gerry, his son Alex and Leah Dawson. But, as fate would have it, our skilled cameraman was late, held up in the apocalyptic snow storm that was pummeling the Pacific Northwest at the time. We weren’t going to make that early chair with Gerry and worse, we were holding him up on the most pristine of powder days.
Whenever there’s anything written about, or filmed with Gerry Lopez, there’s always a well-worn line buried within the content about his iconic style on pretty much any board he has ridden in his life. And well deserved. But what’s understated sometimes (or maybe I just hadn’t slowed down enough to remember), is how good of a person he is. How patient. We’ve worked on a few projects together over the years, always with a similarly even pace. Gerry didn’t say much when I walked up to the lift and told him we were behind. He just sort of exhaled and said, “well, we’ll meet you at the top. Text me when your guy gets here.”
My cameraman showed up 20 minutes later. We scrambled up the mountain and rode all day with one of the most epic humans of all time, surf or otherwise, in the most surreal conditions imaginable—just one reason the Hawaiian moved his whole life to Bend, Oregon three decades ago.
Gerry Lopez rips for a man of his age. And he has a way of teaching you things without ever trying or going out of his way. He doesn’t even think about it. It’s just the essence of who he is. Hang around him, even for only a short time, and you can pick up clues on how to live this life better.
Cover photo by Tyler Roemer.