PM360 recently spoke to Michael Ruta, Digital Capabilities Lead at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, about back country snowboarding.
PM360: How did you get started with snowboarding?
Michael Ruta: In Massachusetts, with long winters, you either ski or you skate or you’re going to be bored to death. So I joined a ski club when I was seven or eight years old and as I got older, I became a chaperone for the club. I skied for about two years and then I switched over to snowboarding because all of my friends were starting to snowboard. After that it was strictly snowboarding—and still is.
What do you enjoy most about snowboarding?
The certain connection you get from just being on the mountain and being outside. It’s where I like to go “offline,” and just get away from my phone and my laptop. I’m away from those distractions and I can just hone in and recharge far out among woods, snow, lakes, and wind—and experience a kind of spiritual connection.
Do you have any particular places you like to go to snowboarding?
Every year I try to make it a point to travel somewhere that I haven’t been, but one of my favorite places to go is Jay Peak up in Vermont. It’s actually on the Canadian border, so when you’re at the peak you can see over into Canada. My other favorite place is Heavenly out on Lake Tahoe. I don’t get to frequent there much, but I’ve had some pretty amazing snowboarding days there.
Do you have any dream destinations?
Yes, I have a bucket list of places I am trying to visit with my brother. This year, we went to Namath Mountain out in California. Next year, we’re going to try to make it to Chile. And then the big one is the Matterhorn in the Alps. That’s probably one of the tougher places to snowboard.
Can you do any tricks?
The trick days are over. But growing up I was definitely spending a lot of time in the park doing the rope tow to the top, the rails, and hitting the boxes and jumps to see how far I could clear. Now I mostly stick to freeriding, tree riding, and also some bowls. But my favorite is back country snowboarding, where you hike a couple hundred yards to find some fresh packed powder in the trees.
Why do you enjoy that style of riding the most?
If you’re looking for that connection with the outdoors then nothing is better. You get a snowboard that can split in two, strap some skins to the bottom to give you traction, then hike up a path, and ski down it. It’s a great feeling and a really good workout. The one issue is you probably only have about one or two good runs all day. It can take a while to hike back up.