In my last blog, I wrote about the various legends I’ve met around Squaw Valley. I wrote about all sorts of interesting, and rad skiers and boarders I’ve met.
Well there was someone I failed to mention, because I didn’t know he existed, and as it turns out- he’s not a skier or a boarder. To think I had to travel to Alaska to meet one more Squaw ‘Legend’.
Meet Mono-Man. Lee Dube.
I’ll blog separately about our Total Heliski Alaska trip. But one of the things I just love about heli skiing is whom I meet in the process. Lee Dube? Who is this hippie, French-Canadian born, Truckee resident of 25 years?
Well, he’s the world’s pre-eminent radical mono skier for one thing. We bumped into Lee Dube at the airport in Valdez on our arrival for our Total Heliski Alaska tour. The airline had lost his clothes bag, but as we were all salvaging our bags off the conveyor belt, someone said ‘Lee, here’s your Mono’. I knew what a Mono Ski was (I’d spent two winters in the French Alps after all) and Mono skiing was a particularly ‘French’ sport). So when I heard this word, my head turned in surprise. I looked at the ‘Mono’ bag lifter. It was a long-haired, late 40’s something man. My immediate thought was who in the year of 2015 does this? This Mono-skiing you ask? Well as I was to pleasantly find out over the course of the next week in Valdez, it was the gentle natured, Zen, ‘Dude’ lookalike- Lee Dube. That’s who.
I spoke about edgism in my kite boarding post recently. In a world where Mono-boarders have been scoffed, it was refreshing and awesome to hang out with Lee Dube. He happens to be radder as a mono boarder than most skiers and boarders I’ve met EVER. A true original. A true legend. He hucks stuff I wouldn’t dream of. Photo evidence here in. He was a pioneer of mono boarding back in the- well way back when it was invented. As such, he owns 60+ mono boards. But here’s the best bit- he also owns a large number of the original Salomon rear entry boots to complete the retro piece. I mean, who does this?
Over the years, Lee Dube has appeared in countless ski magazines, he famously tandem mono-skied in a pond crossing competition at Squaw with Shane McKonkey. He tells the story of the day he swapped his Mono with Shane for Shane’s skis and had to ask for his Mono back because Shane liked it so much! Lee even features in the Book of GNAR (read my last post on Squallywood). It’s 500 GNAR points if you can beat Lee Dube on a line at Squaw Valley- he gets to choose the line. But be warned- he goes straight down! He usually chooses Chute 75.
And why does Lee Dube love the Mono? Well, apart from the uniqueness, it’s better for the knees he tells me. You can go very fast, with a lot of stability. I had to chuckle at the aptly written article about how Lee Dube is the only person surprised that Mono Skiing never took off. And if you ever need convincing- if you are ever grouped with Lee Dube in a heli ski group at Points North- Quinner will personally promise a free heli ski day IF you can beat Lee Dube down the mountain. He’s never had fulfil this offer yet.
And it’s not just about the Mono, it’s how he gets to the hill. Lee Dube rides his Harley Davidson- rain, hail, snow or shine to the hill with Mono-hitch rack. Styling!
So there you have it- Annual heli skier, hucker, hippie, California, free-spirited, adventurer- Lee-Dude-Mono-Man-Dube- another Squaw Legend. One of a kind.
P.S. I’ve been promised a go on a mono next winter. Stay tuned.