In the early 1990s, the late, great Alex Lowe began rallying a small crew of co-workers at Black Diamond who would wake well before first light, skin up, ski down and make it in to work on time. Dubbed "Dawn Patrol," the tradition has grown from a cult-like ritual to the ultimate local institution, embraced by Black Diamond employees and passionate locals alike.
Most people don't get up at 4:00 a.m. because they enjoy it. But necessity is a mother: fact is, working a 9-5 job gets in the way of taking advantage of the latest storm totals. For the dedicated, the choice between losing a little sleep to ski powder and staying home is no choice at all.
Boots on. Beacon on. Go time. No time to waste. Speed is of the essence, because even the most epic, all-time blower run of your life is not a legitimate excuse for being late to work.
Running on a cup of coffee and little or no breakfast, the skin track can be a place of either quiet morning reflection or intense cardiovascular suffering. Whether under heavy snow or starlight, the click of bindings and the swish of nylon measure out the climb, cold air clearing the lungs and shaking off sleep.
The warm bed, the early alarm, the creeping fatigue and the frozen sweat on your lower back—they couldn't matter less. Whether it's thigh deep or dust on crust, it's all gravy. Because for those who take part in Dawn Patrol, skiing isn't just fun, it's an essential part of life. And who's gonna let a job get in the way of that?
The Dawn Patrol Digital Catalog highlights a small sampling of the gear we make. To see all the apparel and equipment, and to watch how-to videos, learn more about our technologies and read athlete trip reports, visit BlackDiamondEquipment.com