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December 31, 2005

Brian Head update

We left the condo last night and returned home after three "not so wonderful" days of skiing. I got offered a couple of jobs from people that saw all the work we were doing on the condo during the course of the holidays, but as far as skiing, I only put in a little over a half day.

Jake and Jackson skied three days mostly on the Navajo side of Brian Head since Jacko is a beginner. He picked it up pretty easily and the two of them came home every day as excited and worn out as if they had been heliskiing in Alaska after an epic snowstorm. I didn't have the heart to tell my baby brother and son that the rest of us thought the conditions were so crappy and the resort so overcrowded that we passed on skiing to do WORK!

But the tide is turning for the southern Rockies (right after we left unfortunately). A series of storms is moving in today and it should open a lot more terrain at Brian Head shortly.

I am planning another trip north next week, but over the course of two weeks, the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, and Cavs all are making their trips to Phoenix. I have a horrible life when I have to choose between going to a Suns game or going skiing. Most of my friends just want to slap me. My brother thinks he has won the lottery by moving back in with me. =)

Posted by Justin at 10:37 AM | Comments (2)

December 28, 2005

Brian Head Conditions Less Than Ideal

I am at Brian Head right now and spent today skiing for the morning before finally calling it due to conditions. Several groomers are open and most lifts were running, but the resort was crazy busy due to the holiday rush. So hard packed man-made snow that is completely overcrowded by once per year skiers?!?! Not good times.

A major storm is supposed to come in this weekend, so I am heading home on Friday and probably back on Monday. Gonna take a few runs and snap some pics tomorrow and Friday before leaving, but we brought a load of furniture from IKEA and things are starting to settle in nice.

The cabinet installer is due tomorrow and the appliances are due tomorrow too. We are finishing some drywall work, painting, and the floors under kitchen. Ski during the day until the crowds show up, then head to the condo to work. Sounds like the way to spend the holidays to me.

Posted by Justin at 09:14 PM

December 26, 2005

RAIL JAM SERIES at Sunlight Mountain

Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, CO is hosting the 2006 Sunlight Rail Jam Series on the new Roaring Fork Centre of the Rockies Terrain Park. Sunlight Mountain has blown out its three rail parks with tons of metal rails, table tops, rainbow rails, volcanoes, and large jumps all new this year!

Trickriders compete on three consecutive Sundays - January 8, 15, and 22, 2006. First prize is a 2006-2007 Sunlight Season Pass. Smaller prizes given at each round to the daily points leader.

Registration fee is $5 per round or $10 for all three. Registration begins at 9am Jan. 8 at Sunlight Mountain. Riders receive a raffle ticket for each day they are registered. The raffle is for your choice of a new snowboard or pair of trick skis.

Each round consists of a morning and afternoon session. Morning session starts at 11am. Afternoon sessions start at 2pm. Each rider performs tricks on a designated section of the terrain park. Riders will be judged on their skill, style and trick difficulty. Their scores for the day will be averaged. Daily leaders and points placement for each round will be announced at 4pm in the day lodge. At the end of the final round, all scores are averaged. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place receive prizes. The final Award Ceremony and Raffle Drawing are at 4pm, Jan. 22.

Riders!! Plan to show up and win a Sunlight Mountain Season Pass! For directions and more info, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.

Posted by johns at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2005

December 25th, Enjoying Christmas

The ham is in the fridge since we did our big dinner last night. I leave on Tuesday with my baby brother Jackson (10), my son Jake (8 and by the way calling a 10 year old uncle is kinda weird), my brother Jeremy, and my dad Jeff, to head to the condo for a couple of days of skiing and to finish up the floors and cabinets. "J" names confuse the hell out of everyone.

I bought my Christmas gift to myself and my sanity by putting in headrest monitors in the Avalanche and a DVD player up front. We are still installing the monitors in the back and wiring everything up, but blew a fuse last night. This brings back my fondest memories of my brother Jeremy and me installing car stereos as dumb teenagers and occasionally having the puff of white smoke and the smell of burning electrical components.

All in all, my kids and family had a great Christmas, but I am glad that the holidays are ending because it means shorter lift lines (if we get any snow) when we head north. I can't wait to get some skiing in this week and it has been a month since my trip to Alta. That is just plain sad, but Mother Nature is not cooperating down south. Here's hoping for fresh tracks in 2006.

Posted by Justin at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

December 23, 2005

Introductions and New Information on Sunlight Mountain, CO

John from Sunlight Mountain has offered to provide some insight and information for the site and act as a guest blogger. John works at Sunlight Mountain in Colorado and will be providing details on conditions, events, and information about Sunlight Mountain and anything else of note in the area.

I am going to start accepting guest posts periodically from partners, readers, and other contributors. I am in the process of setting up an e-mail for submissions and am already syndicating several blogs including JP's Colorado Backcountry and Wil's 120 Days of Powder site. Check the "Blog Feeds" at the top for links to recent posts at their sites.

I am also starting a series of resort profile pages that contain information and details as well as links to things of interest. Look for the changes and John's entries to start shortly and in the meantime, check out Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Posted by Justin at 02:53 PM

December 22, 2005

So You Taught Me a Lesson Not to Teach Lessons?

There are few things that I look forward to during the winter and it has been since probably Seinfeld that one of them was a TV Show. Buzz around Hollywood is that Arrested Development may not be dead quite yet. Fox is showing double duty on Monday nights with "All Time Classic" Episodes following the new runs of the 13 shows that they ordered for 2005-2006.

It appears that Showtime and ABC are both interested in picking up the Bluths for next season. Take the time to Tivo the show or if you really can't catch up with the characters, buy the first season on DVD.

Few things in life are as funny as watching a one armed man teach kids lessons such as "Always leave a note", "Don't Yell", or "Never teach lessons". But the best lesson of all is not to use people missing limbs to teach lessons. Thanks Buster!

Posted by Justin at 10:48 PM

December 21, 2005

New Case to Protect 5G Video iPods

Snowbliss had a post on the new iPod case for 5G iPods. I am still using my old 4G case for mine, but the headphones hole is in a different spot and the window for the display is not as large as it needs to be.

This looks like it will fix my problems and provide some protection for an occasional yard sale or two. I think I am going to pick mine up today.

Check out the EVO site to get yours.

Posted by Justin at 10:40 AM

December 20, 2005

Snowbowl Snowmaking Update

The hyperbole is overwhelming. I won't go into all of my rant of business interests versus the environment, etc., but being as A. this is a ski blog (hence the name) and B. I live in Arizona, I thought I would provide at least a small glimpse into what is going on in the courthouses of Arizona by several tribes hell bent on denying my use of BLM land in Arizona for skiing.

Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff needs to make snow or face going out of business. The drought for the last decade has taken its toll and in order to ensure a reasonably normal season, the resort wants to add snowmaking. Pretty standard fare for a ski resort. This year, Flag still has zero snow and the ski season is 1/3 of the way over. Since Flag has a huge water shortage, they want to use treated wastewater. We are not talking water with floaties or raw sewage, but water of the quality that is normally released back into our rivers every day by treatment plants.

The local tribes are hacked. It seems that their religious beliefs claim that the peaks are sacred. How hacked you might ask? Try this quote on for size:

The Hopis believe that the Creator communicates to them through spiritual intermediaries called kachinas, who live in the peaks from early August until midwinter.

The importance of the snowmaking issue prompted one Hopi spiritual leader to even testify where some of the tribe's most sacred sites are on the peaks, a heretofore taboo subject.

Shirley testified that putting treated wastewater on the Snowbowl ski area would be, for traditional Navajos, akin to "a child watching his mother get raped."

I would never advocate the raping of someones mother in front of a child. Wow. My activity of skiing on these peaks is akin to grabbing some Navajo's mom, probably by the hair, and forcing myself on her. Wha-what?

Let's get real. First, the local Indian tribes don't own the land. If it were on their reservation, then they should be given paramount importance and decide what is in their best interests. And judging by what they have done with their reservations, they would have a ski resort (see Sunrise, AZ) and a casino (see Hondah Casino, Bucky's, Gila River, etc.). So if we accept their status as a semi-independant nation, they have the freedom to regulate their own activities within their borders. Build all the casinos you want on your land. Good times. You need casinos to bring economic prosperity to your lands, fair enough and we will ignore the impact gambling has on our society and even not force state regulatory oversight onto you.

I am sorry that your religion teaches that creation started on these mountains and now I like to ski on them. Some folks just north of you believe that in order to get into heaven, you need multiple wives. I am all kinds of down with not having skiing in Flagstaff, but if you shut down my resort because of your religious beliefs, I will have no recreational activities during the winter. In the name of religious freedom, if you shut Flag down, you better let me have 3-4 wives so I have something to do during the winter in line with my new found religious beliefs.

I have a thought. Why doesn't the tribe buy out the ski resort? Why not raise the money and buy the place and shut it down? Why use the courts to try to take away the rights of all Arizonans to enjoy our public land (actually only 1% of the four peaks area) to appease the interests of a small group of people's religious beliefs?

The tribes are holding the economic interests of the entire community hostage and then making comments about raping someone's mother? Every time I see a bus load of grandparents riding to the Indian Casinos to lose their Social Security check to the tribes, I would say that is more akin to the raping of one's mother.

There are two ski areas in Arizona of any conscience. (Sorry Williams and Mount Lemmon) We are on the verge of having one go out of business over a "creation myth" of the Navajos. So now I have to drive another several hundred miles to enjoy the sport I love. Maybe I should quit skiing and start playing Texas Hold'em at the local Indian casino.

Posted by Justin at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)

December 19, 2005

Sunrise, AZ opens for 2005-2006

Sunrise, AZ is open for the season with what amounts to one run (actually 4, but you cannot count "Bunny Hill" as a run and the rest are all one run with a couple of little shortcuts).

Snowbowl is still locked in their battle with mother nature (no snow) and the local Indian tribes (the mountain is their holy land) so they have not gotten snowmaking capabilities for this year. The Four Corners region is locked in a high pressure system that is keeping the storm track off to the north and nothing on the immediate horizon is changing that.

I spent Thanksgiving at home for the first time in three years and Christmas isn't looking much better. I'll be damned if I want to spend Valentines Day with my wife instead of skiing, so make with the snow already!

Posted by Justin at 10:53 AM

Tentative Plans for Next Three Weeks

As Christmas fast approaches, it is time to start figuring out how I am going to make up for missing almost 2 months of the early season due to poor snow conditions. Here is the tentative plan for the next few weeks:

Dec 27-Dec 31 Brian Head / maybe Snowbird
Jan 4-Jan 11 Brian Head, Park City, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, and back through Colorado

We are going to make a big loop up through Montana and see family as well as get my little brother's crap from my Mom's house. I am going to try to get in 10 days between now and the first week of January.

Posted by Justin at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2005

Another Weekend Watching the Broncos Since the Skiing Sucks

The title says it all. I am heading to the Vine in Phoenix to eat some wings and watch the Broncos and Bills go at it. I have spent the last two weeks chilling with my little brother and getting the condo set up for ski season. Bought him a season pass at Brian Head for his hard work at the condo.

Today I broke down and bought a new In-Dash DVD player for the Avalanche. The Kenwood DDX-7017 has an iPod interface and Sirius radio capability all in one package. Right now I have an aftermarket input for my iPod and Sirius, but they are bulky and the new unit keeps everything compact. We are heading up to Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado on an epic snow trip in Early January, so I figured that the comfort factor is a big deal right now. I sure as hell didn't pay $1300 for the thing from Crutchfield, but bought it off of E-bay for around $800.

I am going to try to meet up with JP from Colorado Backcountry and with Wil from 120 Days of Pow while I swing through CO. Spending the last couple of weeks at the condo and not skiing at all can only be compared to going to an all you can eat buffet with your jaws wired shut. Skiing hard packed runs with the Bode wanna-be's is about as exciting as sucking Ensure through a straw. But if the conditions don't improve soon, I am gonna do it because I am literally starving to death for some time on my planks.

Highlight of our last trip was sitting next to a Sorority party at Applebees and hearing three of the girls talking about getting a "box of wine" to finish the night off. This started an internal debate between me and my brother about the respective quality of boxed wine versus screw top. Boone's Farm wins out but followed closely by the boxed variety. Fortified wine comes in a distant third.

Posted by Justin at 03:52 PM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2005

The Snow Still Sucks Down South

Just got back from Brian Head. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the skiing is horrible. Brian Head has a whopping 4-5 runs open. The good news is that new photos of my condo are up and we got more work done than anyone should during ski season.

Check out the condo demo pics. My favorite is the makeshift end table (old toilet from upstairs) that we used to go with our matching lawn chairs. The hole for the tank is the perfect size for a bottle of Corona to fit in.

Posted by Justin at 10:15 PM

December 11, 2005

Crazy Week at Brian Head

I was planning on leaving for the condo on Tuesday morning and making preparations for the trip Monday afternoon. All the sudden I get a call from my grandmother in Montana's house. Imagine my surprise when answering to find out that my little brother and his wife are on the outs (again) and he was needing a place to stay.

Long story short, he flew in on Tuesday AM and has been working like a dog at the condo with me. I keep his snowboard and boots in the downstairs closet for such emergencies as his wife and him fighting, so he is down with some holiday skiing. He worked off most of a season pass doing floors and drywall in the condo this week.

The blogging has been light because we have the entire place torn up and have been working 12-16 hour days doing remodel work, but the lift just opened to the top of Giant Steps today at Brian Head and the snow looks... well, adequate. We are waiting for one good storm to come through and get things kicked off.

I will be posting some new pictures shortly. We tore out the old toilet upstairs and for lack of furniture, were using it for a coffee table. The place was a total disaster, but the clubhouse hot-tub sure felt nice after a hard day's work. It is a good thing the conditions are so crappy, or we would have gotten nothing done. I am heading back up with my brother and dad on Tuesday for some more work.

Posted by Justin at 01:52 AM | Comments (2)

December 04, 2005

Heading North Again

I am heading north this Tuesday for the rest of the week. Brian Head is still open in name only since two runs is not really "open", but I am taking my skis with. Might try to get a few turns in and take a couple of pics. The last few days they received another foot or so of snow, but it still barely coats the slopes. Nice thing about a season pass is it costs the same to ski a bad day as a good one. Say a short prayer that I don't get hit by some 16 year old on the two open runs that thinks he is Bode Miller training for the Super G.

More work on the condo this week as we are expecting new appliances and cabinets to show up shortly as well as my dad and I are putting in the hardwood floors and finishing the painting. The place is almost ready for prime time.

Christmas break is almost here and I plan to spend almost all of it at Brian Head teaching my middle son, Jarrett--age 4, to ski. My wife has only got a day or two on the mountain in her life and is an Arizona native, so I am hoping that she gets back up there too. I bought her a padded "girdle" similar to what football players wear with hip and butt pads so that she doesn't break anything.

The best part is Jake is such a little jerk that the entire time he will be taunting Jarrett and Tera with, "You suck" or "This is so easy". Last week he was wedging down the blues because he hadn't been on skis in a year. I wanted to make fun of him and pay him back, but decided not to--very much. I stopped playing Playstation or X-box because of him, so I try to enjoy the last year or two of skiing where I am actually better than him. Another few years and I won't even be able to beat the crap out of him anymore. The joys of parenting I guess.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)

December 03, 2005

Steamboat is Sick, but even sicker when it is A. Free and B. You get first tracks

Why does Wil torment me like this:

A gift from the gods I tell you. That’s what we received last night. It snowed a rock-star 15″ on the mountain and this morning, yours truly enjoyed first tracks! I moseyed to the head of the line, grinning as if getting away with something criminal, while no less than a hundred or two ski patrons waited for the gondola to open I could only think, “Wow, this is going to be awesome isn’t it?”

The answer was, of course, yes.

As the gondola zipped up the mountain Rich, my volunteer supervisor, and I spoke a little bit about Steamboat, the amazing snowfall, and so on, but deep down inside all I could think was, “This is going to be sick isn’t it?!”

And, as you already know, the answer was yes.

Rip it up dude!

Posted by Justin at 04:05 PM

CBS4 Denver Ski Blog

CBS4 in Denver has a ski blog that merits checking out. I am throwing my hat into the right with Wil at 120 Days.

One dude, one truck, a couple of rugrats, a quiver of skis, an iPod and a job that my boss doesn't miss me. A recipe for an awesome winter.

I would love to post periodically if I have something worth saying. =) ... And rip it up this winter.

There are two big reasons to live in Colorado -- the Broncos and Skiing. The Broncos season might interfere with my weekend ski plans and blogging until the first week of February, but I don't think anyone will mind.

Check them out for more info.

Posted by Justin at 08:41 AM

December 02, 2005

Bootfitting Article of Interest

My last pair of boots have not seen their last days, but certainly were not performing as well as I wanted. First, I bought them over three seasons ago and they were starting to get packed down. Second, the liner was starting to seperate and would occasionally clump up meaning I had to undo the boot and smooth it out. Long and Short, I needed some new boots.

I shop around a ton, especially on the Internet for deals, and wasn't about to go to the local shop and get ripped off. I found the exact boots I was looking for, the Nordica Beast--not Beast 10 or 12, but the full Beast, at REI.com on discount for $289. Local price even with sick end of season discount was over $500.

I have read about bootfitting a little bit, but thought it was mostly custom footbeds and that sort of thing, and I'll be damned if I am spending 3 days worth of lift ticket money to get a footbed. Boots are boots, right?

Seems that lots of us make that mistake. I had major problems with my boots that are taking a week to heal completely. After four runs, my ankles and feet were shot. I took my boots in to Deep Powder House at Alta and it took them less than an hour to make my performance boots MINE and shape them to my feet and ankles.

In case you want more information check this article on bootfitting. My boots retail for $700 and though I got a deal on them, it is not much of a deal if they are uncomfortable. I figured I just needed to break them in. Now they are dialed in and the rest of the season and the next several on them should be much better.

Posted by Justin at 10:31 AM

Big Sky Gets Second Deepest November in 33 Year History

Dax at Big Sky reports the following:

Fresh powder and lots of it!! We'll see continual snow throughout the day.

Big Sky has already eclipsed the 100 inch snow mark this season, we had the second deepest November in our 33 year history.

The Tram is open, along with powder conditions off the Triple Chair and Challenger chair, we've been open since Nov. 13. Lifts and terrain continue to open early

Join us tomorrow, Friday, all lift tickets are only $10. With all this new snow, it is the deal of the century.

The Northern Rockies are stealing all my Southern Rocky Snow. That is a good thing though. Maybe the entire state of Montana won't burn in Forest Fires this year. Let's hope that this cures the drought woes.

Posted by Justin at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2005

New Photos of Condo Up

I have posted new photos of the condo from my trip north last week. You can already see things taking shape. In the Gallery, I tried to keep before and after side by side you can compare. You can see the old paint under the counter and still see the remenants of the old cabinets where the sink is. But the purple and green is almost gone as is the yellow paint color. Check this:

The Link to the Photo Gallery

As you can see, things are changing and the place is taking shape. The new cabinets arrive next week and the new floors and countertops will soon follow. But THE PAINT HELPS A TON! Green and teal just ain't cool.

Posted by Justin at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

Slow Week Blogging about Skiing--So Quick Note to Save Arrested Development

Right now, the nearest snow is over 7 hours away, so this weekend will probably be spent chilling at home again. The only thing on my calender for the upcoming week is on Monday when new episodes of Arrested Development return to Fox. Gotta throw in a quick plug here that short of a miracle, the best show on TV is going to die in only 8 more episodes. One of the three shows that I Tivo religiously, AD, the Office, and My Name is Earl.

Until you have seen a fake drug bust meant to scare your child straight because you think he is trying to buy pot perpetrated by a group of Male Strippers called the "Hot Cops", you have no idea what you are missing. "So you taught me a lesson not to teach lessons?" is second only to "So this is how you repay me for how I repay you?". In case you need to get ahold of me, I will meet you down at the "Big Yellow Joint". For those of you road tripping with me this year, prepare for a heavy dose of AD on the drive since you are captive audience.

Where is my winter? Welcome to December 1st, and I have exactly one day skiing so far. Instead I am talking about a Fox sitcom. Geez.

Posted by Justin at 04:15 PM

Brian Head to open this weekend

Brian Head is opening the white ribbon of death (thanks for the term JP) this weekend.

With the recent cold temperatures and snowfall, we will be able to begin our 2005/2006-winter season with a limited opening this coming Saturday, December 3rd. We will launch the season by opening Chairlift #3 with two groomed runs and a small terrain park.

I am still working on getting another longer trip up north lined up for Christmas time.

Posted by Justin at 03:32 PM