Friday, December 14, 2007

The most scared I've ever been...

Imagine a world where everything is spinning, you have perpetual mental cloudiness and you could never ski again.

It's like being drunk except it's never fun.

I took a bit of a hit one week ago on Teton Pass. Simply, it was a knee to the face. Didn't break my cheek bone and I skied out of the line 'okay'.

Without going over the top, I'll keep this quick. Wear a helmet. and most importantly, make good decisions

This doesn't mean skiing like a pussy, it means looking at a line and fully realizing what you are gambeling with and if it really is worth it. You can only throw caution to the wind and say "lets see what happens" so many times before it catches up to you.

The best skiers in the world have been the best by making these decisions with a solid idea of what they can/can't do. Here's the key, there are ways to discover what you can do/can't do without risking too much.

This means lots of snow, later in the year, steeper landings, no rocks etc. Not December 7th sending a 40 footer just cause it's a pole deep into a flatish (by JH standards) landing.

Let this be a lesson to all that read it. And I hope I'll come around to the person I've always been....back again!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Just a picture.

Just a picture, I swear we'll get more creative.

Somehow this doesn't get old though...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My creative energy is gone. I have no interesting observations or fun little stories (at least none that would go in this family-rated blog)

I do however have a few pictures

All of these were taken on Teton Pass. The snow was getting better and better until a bit of rain came through and ruined everything. A mean rain crust now resides on top instead of 10" of blower that never materialized from this storm. It could seriously mess up the backcountry. We'll have to see.

The good news is the new Praxis 195's rip. Since they are reverse camber and reverse sidecut the added 10cm doesn't effect the quickness factor as much as it would on a normal ski. In fact, I think these are just as good in trees/tight situations as the 185s except they get up to speed faster. The improved graphics are amazing and damn near works of art. I mention this only because I usually could care less about the way a ski looks and really only worried about the way it skis...

Pat said it best, the cool part about the Praxis is that they are good at pinning it yet still playful and surfy. There are tons of skis that do one or the other...Praxis does both.


Friday, November 16, 2007

December 1st

The move went smoothly...although when you can fit just about everything you own in your truck, it should go smoothly.

I must however say, besides a decent sunset, driving through Wyoming proves that stopping time is possible. Nine hours of driving can feel a bit more like 19.

Now, we didn't plan on showing up in Jackson and ripping pow from day one but we certainly didn't plan on riding our mountain bikes for a week before the snow even began to fall. We also didn't plan on the town being closer to a ghost town than a bustling ski community...I guess all those early season openings in Colorado lead us to believe Jackson was the same way. It's not. Hell, the resort doesn't even open at all until December 1st.

This can make for a rather tedious and difficult job hunt but you have to keep faith that the population-to-job deficit will eventually work out in your favor (there are more jobs than people here). It just takes till after December 1st!

The real problem is the gap between mountain biking season and the ski season. It can be tough. Cabin fever takes hold and you wonder what you did for fun before skiing and mountain biking. At the end of the day you just thank God for whiskey, tequila and beer as the locals do because the feeling of anxiety is enough to make even the most sane of men crazy.

Well, thankfully that gap is being closed as the snow (and rain!) fall. We were lucky enough to make a few turns on Teton Pass Wednesday.

It just enough skiing to make me wonder "what are these things attached to my feet? How do I turn them? What am I doing with my life? Etc. I can't say I was on it....and for only 2 hours of skiing/skinning (mostly skinning aka: ascending on skis) I was dead tired. The nice part was the weather stayed nice enough for some we tried our luck on the Snake, which is far too big to throw a fly at without a boat....still fun though. (and I must say it was cold enough for my eyelets to ice up!)

Thursday we decided to get out on the pass for some "training". AKA: Skin around until you can't handle it anymore.

We lapped a north facing pitch of about 700 vertical. It was pretty good, didn't hit a thing and the snow was soft although a bit heavy.

Now, I'm laying here a bit sick, a bit tired and having found a job at . Seems like a great place, they run tours all over the area and it gives me some much sought after sled time. I'd love to pick up another job with a catering company or bar tending one of the many bars in town but many of them aren't even open for business yet! December 1st. December 1st.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A tribute...

However goofy it may sound, I'm actually sacrificing a big part of my life to go live in Jackson. What possibly could it be you ask? Burritos.

I love burritos. I love them so much, that I almost pulled the plug on Jackson because I had not found a decent Chipotle-eske burrito joint to get my fix at up there. And while you may hate on Chipotle because they are a "giant publicly traded company", I still love there burritos. A lot.

But I also love other burritos. Here is my take on the Colorado burrito scene, which may be the best burrito scene in the country...what alta is to skiing pow, the front range is to burritos. (yeah, I said it)

Chipotle-Good solid burrito.
Size: 8
Variety: 7
Quality: 9
Guac: 9
Meat: 9

I dig all their options and will go with almost any of them. Now that they offer corn tortillas for their tacos they jumped a a few notches in my book. Their meat is always the tastiest. No better way to end a day of riding than with one of these big boys.

Wahoo's Fish Tacos
Best fish tacos in town. Period.
Size: 8
Variety: 9
Quality: 9
Guac: 7
Meat: 8

It may be an outliar, but Wahoos is good. I usually don't get the burrito from these guys but it's still one of the best around. More akin to Baja Fresh than Chipotle or 'Doba. Their margs are pretty solid and the all day Sunday happy hour is a nice touch.

Q'Doba Mexican Grill
Good Tortillas make good burritos. Ancho Chili? Why not.
Size: 8
Variety: 8
Quality: 8
Guac: 8
Meat: 7-9

Q'Doba, the old Z-Teca, was the first bite of "gourmet burrito" I ever had. I was instantly hooked. 'Doba is the franchiseable version of Chipotle (all corperate). This leads to some variability based on location but they are all pretty damn good. They offer some different options such as queso, pesto and ancho chili which takes away from the pure beautiful simplicity of the burrito. Some people dig it more than the rest...I still say they are good but not the best.

Baja Fresh
Biggest burritos. Great salsa selection.
Size: 9
Variety: 9
Quality: 8
Guac: 7
Meat: 7

Baja Fresh is like a rare October powder day. They are few and far between but a nice suprise when you finally find one. They have a small segment of the Denver market, but I get pretty excited whenever I get to go for the "Dos Manos". Seriously, this is two burritos as one meal. It's unreal. Try skiing a 14er then going for a mtn bike ride followed with the dos manos. You'll still struggle to put it down. And the toasted tortilla is a good touch.

Illegal Peats
Mixed up unique taste.
Size: 7
Variety: 8-9 (bar!)
Quality: 8
Guac: 7
Meat: 8

In this burrito game, somehow Peats seperates itself with a slightly different flavor. Peats has a cult like following in the burrito game only rivaled by Big City Burrito. (Boulder vs Fort Collins I suppose) The cool part about Peats has to be the upstairs bar at the Hlll (Boulder) location with a solid beer special and free chips and salsa. It's a good place to kick it and watch a game or plan your next adventure...

Big City Burrito
A different take...
Size: 9
Variety: 8
Quality: 7
Guac: 6
Meat: 8

Big City has a following so intense that I knew kids to choose CSU over CU just because of this place. Whether or not that says something about your average CSU student, I'm not sure, but the burritos are certainly different. What really seperates these guys is the amount of options when it comes to tortillas and the added option of potatos to any burrito. (I like this) While not as "authentic" as some of the others on the list, they will fill you up. I personally like the size choice, giving me a smaller option for those days when I can't handle the V8.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A new trip....

Through my recent travels to Argentina I had the "pleasure" of spending time in Mexico City's airport. Besides the fact they don't have enough gates to usher in the high volume of flights that come in and out of the airport thus forcing you to sit endlessly on the tarmac until this frankenbus-thing comes to pick you up and transport you to the terminal; they also have the absolute bear minimum of amenities. Yes, this is Latin America and it IS just an airport, but being I spent a total of 8 hours in the airport, I started to feel more and more like Tom Hank's charecter in The Terminal.

Except this airport had no half way decent places to eat, no book stores, really nothing more than one giant "LDF" (Latino Duty Free) Store. It sucked.

However, the place had one very redeeming factor. On the way out of Mexico City, as the 767 climbed to around 29,000 feet, I noticed two mountains that appeared to have snow on them. Yes, these were in fact big giant mountains rising from one of the most populated cities on earth.

Skiing is very clearly on the brain, but so are real trips. I was just coming back from visiting one of the most under rated cities on earth, Buenos which I absolutly plan on doing a return trip to in order to do some skiing, fishing and more wine drinking/meat eating/city wandering.

The trip aside, these mountains got me thinking...what would it be like to ski outside Mexico an expedition even worth it?

Damn! A ticket to Mexico City alone may not be worth the adventure...but then again, it might. Especially since I learned the mountains are named exotically-Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl.

Here is the kicker, according to many sources, the skiable vert is over 6000 feet on a good year. Tack onto that that both have year long glaciers on them and ski trip becomes more and more is after all do-able year round.

Imagine, knocking off a half way sick line off a volcano then enjoying tamales and corn tortilla tacos in Mexico city. Hell, if you do it right, you could just make sure you have a 2 or 3 day "layover" in Mexico then travel to South to Argentina for some late summer pow in Las Lenas. Yes. This is a trip that will be filed in the "Must Do" pile.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This post was published to PowderCast at 11:30:37 PM 10/9/2007


Last week Jeff and I went for a nighttime mountain bike ride at White Ranch, relying on the full moon and one collective headlamp (which was used sparingly) for light. The plan seemed pretty foolproof at first, although a consistent cloud cover made the ride a dark one. It was a cautious but fun ride, one where its more about just being out there than anything. Riding downhill was full of surprises, as rocky terrain appeared no different from smooth singletrack. You just had to trust your bike and go with it. The ride reminded me of maybe the coolest “day” of the past ski season, skiing Russell Peak (Berthoud Pass area) under a full moon. This never made it into the blog, so here goes.

picture: Jeff skinning at Berthoud Pass

The full moon hadn’t risen above the surrounding peaks yet, so headlamps were necessary. The full moon rose right before we reached the summit of Berthoud Pass. The moon rose quickly, and the surrounding peaks became clearly visible. We never had a real plan, other than to just ski under the full moon. Russell Peak looked glorious illuminated by moonlight, so we decided to give it a go.

The hike was quick, and we were soon enjoying beers on the summit. It was surreal to say the least.

After taking some pictures and enjoying the celebratory beers, we picked out a line to ski. This was somewhat of a nerve-wracking decision as the full moon illuminated the mountain, but it was still pretty dark for skiing. Fortunately the snowpack was about as stable as it gets in Colorado and we picked a solid line that we were both comfortable with. We skied right down the center of the peak through a wide chute, and then cut a hard left turn above some rocks and we were home free in some wide open terrain. Jeff dropped first and laid out smooth and easy turns all the way down to the apron. I dropped in next and felt good, making nice easy turns.

This was skiing on instinct, like the “full moon” mountain bike ride last week. I hate to allude to every cliché ski movie narration ever and say that I was “one with my skis,” but that does a pretty good job of describing the feeling. Because my sight was limited by the darkness, I wasn’t thinking about the technical aspects of skiing. I was simply thinking “just go over there, ok, now go that way.” Sometimes I will get too wrapped up in the technique of doing something, rather than just doing it. Skiing (or riding a bike) in the darkness is a fun way to recognize this.

Below- Russell Peak as seen from the bottom

It felt good to leave home at 7pm to go skiing. It really wasn’t all that difficult and there was no need to overthink it. All I had to do was go.