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January 31, 2006

Even More New Challenges

This morning I woke up to a wonderful e-mail. "Justin, please ping or ring me when you get this". This coming from the hiring manager for a new position for which I had recently applied.

Long and the short of it is it appears that starting February 15th, I will have a new job developing education materials for new product releases. Building training classes, manuals, etc. And occasionally teaching a class or two.

All of this from the comfort of my home. I mentioned to my new boss that I spend considerable time at my "second home" in Utah. Turns out my boss is a skier himself.

This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. Work from home. Doing education. Working on new products. Cool team of coworkers. And it is going to free me up to finish my MBA since I have a stable work at home job.

I am on cloud 9 right now and can barely contain my enthusiasm. What a great day. Happy Birthday Jeremy.

Posted by Justin at 11:14 AM

New Challenges

Today is Jeremy's 29th birthday and I bought him a new pair of Burton Ruler boots for his freakishly large size 13 feet. I had an old K2 board with clicker bindings and boots that I bought from my friend Tim who ironically also has freakishly large 13's himself, so Jer has been riding some old gear that has probably seen its day. I happened on a pair of size 13 Burton boots this weekend while coming through Vegas and figured I better jump on them.

Problem with going from clicker boots to regular boots is that you need matching bindings. So here I am explaining how you need both to my wife and by the end of the conversation, I decided that the deal on boots was good enough that I am going to buy me a pair of snowboarding boots and the matching bindings too. Finding size 12 and size 13 boots late in the season is hard to do. Next thing you know, I have two pair of boots and new bindings. Well, what part of the combination is missing? Yep, grabbed a board. Don't ask how my mind works, but sometimes, I have an idea and figure I better just roll with it.

My wife is learning to ski, so in the meantime, I am going to learn right alongside her to snowboard. Jeremy is going to learn to two plank it. I am heading back up this weekend to give riding a shot while Jeremy and Tera cut some teeth on skis. I know that it won't make for entertaining reading to hear about crowded lifts on the bunny hill. When Tera is up with us, now we will all have a good reason to ski/ride together on runs called Hansel and Grettel or Powderpuff. =) Nothing is worse than when your friends abandon the beginner so they can go have their fun. Women just love that.

Posted by Justin at 01:29 AM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2006

Conditions Exceptional at Brian Head

Friday was one of the best days I have had for powder skiing. It was a weekday and there were no crowds at Brian Head (unlike today when it was way too crowded). Wednesday's storm dropped 15" and on Friday it snowed all day and dropped another 7". We had the pick of the mountain and the grooming Nazis had not gotten to it yet.

We started the day on Giant Steps and took several runs with my dad, 11 year old brother Jackson, my 9 year old Jake, and my brother and now fixture on my condo couch Jeremy. Still a favorite is Pillows Glade with is just to the left of the Giant Steps lift. It is shaped like a halfpipe at the top and runs down to a nice jump at the bottom, then ends into the terrain park.

We tried both the left and right sides of the mountain (Roulette and Dunes) and both were even less crowded. We finished taking lap after lap through the trees on Dunes. Thigh deep powder. Perfect length runs of untracked goodness. No crowds. No lift lines.

Today, I have a serious case of the burns in my quads. We hit the tub last night and when we went up today, I played instructor for my wife. We overslept the start of ski school with getting everyone ready, etc. I am proud to announce that she can snowplow down mild to mid-range greens. And she actually is starting to enjoy it.

Another storm is on its way, but this is my last ski day for about a week or so. Superbowl parties and such next weekend.

Advice--ski on weekdays. It is crazy crowded and there is a church group up here staying in several of the rental condos in our complex. They cannot recognize the difference between 306 and 307 and keep ringing our doorbell and running down the hall thinking they are funny. They are less annoying than the dumbass highschool kids that were here over MLK weekend though. Plus their chaparones are doing room checks around 9:00 PM so we can hot tub in the evenings without being bothered.

Posted by Justin at 07:39 PM

January 26, 2006

15" of Fresh at Brian Head

From the Brian Head snow report:

15 INCHES OF NEW SNOW LAST NIGHT

I am leaving as soon as my brother gets off work. He started a new job on Wednesday and asked his boss for Friday off. Talk about work ethic. Mom would be so proud. If not for the fact that his boss is one of his friends and they are overstaffed anyway, I might have given him some kind of ski-blog medal or something.

I will post tomorrow on conditions. I am taking Jake and Jackson as well as my dad up. Gonna try to do some work on the condo which means my dad will be working while the rest of us are skiing. I am about as good of a son as my brother is a worker.

But it sounds sick up there. This storm should finally cover the stumps. =)

Posted by Justin at 10:13 AM

January 23, 2006

Weekend Trip to Brian Head Coming Up

Brian Head Forecast for the upcoming week:

  • Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow. Snow accumulation 2 inches. Probability of measurable precipitation 40 percent. Northwest wind 9 mph. High 29.
  • Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow in the evening. Snow accumulation 1 inch. Probability of measurable precipitation 30 percent. Low 8.
  • Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 30.
  • Thursday Night: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 40 percent. Low 7.
  • Friday: Snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 60 percent. High 27.
  • Friday Night: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 50 percent. Low 7.
  • Saturday: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 30 percent. High 25.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 40 percent. Low 5.
  • Sunday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 40 percent. High 25.

Interesting news. I am heading up with my wife this weekend, but will probably spend most of my time on runs named "Bunny Hill" or "Hansel and Grettel" or "Powder Puff" or the like.

In other news, just got a $900 bill for truck repairs to get the Avalance's 4WD fixed, brakes done, and steering shaft replaced. Figured that it was worth it to get things fixed right. The truck is in the shop now and was will probably celebrate her 100k Anniversary this next trip. 100k for a 2003. And she is still beautiful.

And as I blog, there is a story on TLC or Discovery or the History Channel about the Donner Party. Good times. Now I am hungry, so I am gonna grab something to eat. =)

Posted by Justin at 01:01 PM

January 21, 2006

Best Day this Year

Today was absolutely awesome at Brian Head. First off, the Dunes lift was open and there was extensive powder that was only slightly tracked. We skied several runs over on the Dunes side, but my personal favorite, Bristlecone Bowl, was not open yet. Since we have season passes, we did not poach, but a couple of folks tried to. We could hear rocks, so that kept us honest.

Pick of the hill though was Pillows Glade. This is a slight drainage that runs right above the terrain park and has a huge lip that several snowboarders were catching some large air off of. I decided to get up some nerve and see if I could land anything--mostly so that I could trash talk to my brother who complained of the "torn o-ring" last week. Not too bad, but I missed the landing on my last grab attempt of the day and took a nice spill.

This was the first time that I really took a few good falls in a while. I took a nasty spill in the trees off of the Dunes when I caught a branch with one of my skis and lost my balance. BTW, BE CAREFUL of obstacles if you hit Brian Head. There is some nasty stuff under the fluff. Took a couple more good spills on jumps. Two years ago, I would not even attempt to catch air off of the lip we were hitting today.

Wil over at 120 Days of Powder was writing recently about progressing. I am getting my ski legs back under me and taking more risks which means occasionally eating some snow. But I too am noticing an improvement and better balance. The conditions were awesome to take risks on today, but stuff is getting packed and starting to melt. This week is snow-free according to Weather.com, but the weekend may bring another storm. Cross fingers.

Posted by Justin at 10:10 PM

Brian Head Opens Last Lift

Brian Head has finally opened the Dunes lift. Today's conditions are picture perfect. Sunny. 20 Degrees. Still Fresh from two days ago. And new terrain open that is virtually untracked.

Jeremy and I are heading out to get some skiing in before we head back to Arizona for the rest of the week. He went up while I was working yesterday and stayed over to the left hand (Blackfoot/Roulette) side of things and said that conditions were awesome. Nice and soft. Fairly untracked. Just beautiful.

I will snap off some shots today and the only reason I didn't on Wednesday is that visibility was close to Zero due to the storm. Enjoy. Finally conditions that are worth skiing and writing about.

Posted by Justin at 10:08 AM

January 19, 2006

The Wait is Finally Over--First Real Powder Day

I am scheduled to be in Las Vegas tomorrow and travelling today. I figured I would stay at the condo and drive in to Vegas tonight and it just happens that the weather has finally smiled upon Southern Utah.

We hit the mountain late today at around 11:00 AM because we drove all night last night. By 11:00 AM, there was already at least 6" of freshness. It is almost 3:00 PM right now and a complete whiteout. We finally had to come down because we cannot see at all.

Brian Head is sick today. We stayed either to the Roulette or Giant Steps side, but Roulette/Blackfoot is the best idea since there is less wind. There is plenty of wind let me tell you. Temp is not too cold, but bring the extra layers.

THERE ARE STILL HIDDEN ROCKS AND TREES that you would expect in early season so watch out. The very top of Giant Steps is very windblown so you cannot ski right off the face. It is probably the worst. Best bet on the mountain is Wild Ride or the far left side of the main area.

Poppin' Fresh. And it was well needed.

Posted by Justin at 02:48 PM

January 16, 2006

15" of Fresh and a Bluebird Day

Some days I hate my wife. We were sitting in the condo Saturday night and having a fairly heated argument about priorities. She seems to think her job and being at work on Monday after taking a Friday off is more important than 15" of Fresh, 30 degrees, and sunny. ESPECIALLY after the crap ski season we have had down south so far.

I lost. It was when she brought up my new Kenwood DVD player in the truck, the Xbox 360, the new iPod, my new PDA, new skis, etc., and "Why is it that whatever is important to you is always first."

She rarely pulls that one out, plus the kids were fighting and bugging the heck out of all of us, so we decided to head back on Sunday and beat the storm. I spent yesterday driving instead of watching the Steelers game (a true classic that we listened to on Sirius) or preparing for an epic powder day. Wife-1 Skibum-0.

On another note--we did get to see Denver return to the AFC Championship for the first time since Number 7 played at the old Mile High. We would have gotten thrown out of our condo complex when Champ almost housed his pick in the 3rd QTR, if not for about 100 high school kids that were on a trip to Brian Head. They must have assumed that the only people that would be that loud and obnoxious were high schoolers, but they sadly underestimate the power of a Broncos playoff win to make idiots out of my brother and me.

Posted by Justin at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)

January 14, 2006

Major Storm Moving Across Utah Tonight

A major storm is coming tonight and I am lucky enough to be at Brian Head. They are expecting as much as 2-3 feet at Alta/Snowbird, but considerably less down south where I am.

In other news, my Granite Countertops are in and I have a sink now. We had been brushing our teeth, doing our dishes, and getting our water to make coffee from the bathtub. I am going to publish a bunch of pics later today, but suffice it to say, PIMPED is the only way to describe the place.

So here's hoping that tommorow, the powder is at least ankle deep and that I stop to use the new sink to fill the coffee pot and brush my teeth before getting too excited and hitting the slopes.

Posted by Justin at 10:33 AM

January 11, 2006

Ice, Ice and More Ice

Brian Head is now about 50% open, but it is funny to watch them open new runs when they have not gotten any real new snow accumulation. That may be about to change starting Sunday though. A small storm is rolling through that may provide 3-6" of new snow--that is just enough to make the rocks and the ice harder to see under the fluffy blanket of white stuff.

I hit a couple rocks last week when I was near the top in one of the areas where they were't doing tons of snowmaking, but that is really my own fault for thinking a small powder stash was more than a small hiding place for rocks.

I am heading north on Thursday again and have the folks coming to do my countertops on Friday AM. Let's hope that the winter is finally on its way for the Southern Rockies. Season is over half over.

Posted by Justin at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2006

Workin' to Pay the Bills

I am heading to San Francisco (actually Concord) for three days next week to work on a customer engagement. I love the Bay Area and had hoped to throw skis in and hit Tahoe on my way back to Brian Head. HA HA HA! Except that I left my skis in Utah for the first time ever since I have to be there next Friday to get my countertops installed.

Can I ever win? For that matter, I don't even have a jacket or gloves in Arizona anymore since Brian Head is supposed to be my base of operations.

The Weather Pattern looks pretty much the same for the upcoming week--sunshine and lots of it. High temps and sun make for pleasant days for the kiddies, but not much fun for me. I am going to be skiing next weekend at BH and may take a trip further north to Snowbird if the conditions warrant.

Posted by Justin at 02:00 PM

January 05, 2006

Condo Remodel - New Pics

New Photos are up. Have a look. Stuff is getting closer to done. We have furniture and cabinets. Sinks and countertops will be in next week.

Posted by Justin at 01:21 AM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2006

Brian Head finally starting to open some runs

We arrived at 4:30 AM last night, so we overslept a little bit. Fortunately for us, the countertop guy who was measuring for our granite showed up at 9:00 AM, so it was wake up time and off to the slopes.

We took our first run off of the Giant Steps lift and Jeremy and Jake stayed on the groomers while I took a direct line down the only black open on the mountain. Giant Steps (the run, not the lift) was pretty tracked, but ungroomed and at the top was nice and soft, with an occasional rock, weed, small tree, etc., that is to be expected from early season. After a couple of runs and a couple trips through the terrain park, we came back for some lunch and a nap.

I have two sets of skis in my quiver, my Atomic cruisers with deep sidecut and narrow waist, and my Atomic twin tip mid-fats with a 90cm waist for powder. I debated on using the twin tips since we were riding around the park. I chose the cruisers--like old faithful, my first skis, but they never get jealous and are always willing to take me back. Note to self, skiing backwards on twin tips, good, skiing backwards on cruisers, bad. I took a header and reminded myself not to be a jackass. My brother had a similar situation when he took a spill on a jump. He landed hard on his butt and complained that he has major bruising and possible a torn o-ring. =) The terrain park is icy and there are still way too many kids that are on break. One snowboarding 12 year old cut me off on one of the jumps and I almost had to ditch.

But the best news of all is that I stopped in at Walmart (sorry Eric, my liberal anti-Walmart friend) at midnight in Kingman to get something to eat and figured I would check electronics. Low and behold, they had an Xbox 360 Core System. As evil as Walmart is, they are in my good graces tonight. Tonight is filled with a trip to the hot tub, some Call of Duty, and some USC vs. Texas.

Posted by Justin at 08:44 PM

January 03, 2006

Stop Lying--7" of Fresh at Brian Head

Yep, believe it or not, the ski report does not lie. Brian Head rec'd some actual snow (7" in 24 hrs to go with another 4" from two days ago) meaning that the conditions are no longer man made and icy.

I am packing my bags as we speak, but have some actual work to finish before I can go. Probably leaving to head north in a few hours. Will let you know how it is tommorow.

Posted by Justin at 10:08 AM

January 02, 2006

Starting 2006 Right

It has been 9 years since ASU went to their last Rose Bowl. I can always keep track of the fact because my son Jake was born two days later. I bought him swome PS2 games and cabled up the Avalanche with all the stuff so that he can play PS2 or Xbox in the backseat during roadtrips on the monitors I just installed. Happy birthday, little man. Another bowl season winds down this week and I am probably going to be planted on the couch watching Notre Dame and Ohio State today and eagerly anticipating the USC versus Texas matchup that is coming this week. But all of these are just appetizers to get me in the mood for the NFL Playoffs.

2005 was a great year. I skied powder so many times I am spoiled. I barely want to leave the house unless there is a 100" base with two feet of fresh. I had a great year at work. Had my third child and first baby girl to spoil and turn into a princess. Bought my condo in Utah. The Suns went to the Western Conference Finals and I was there for every game in the Second and Third rounds of the playoffs. My Sun Devils teased me with the most exciting first half of football I ever saw live against USC and an equally exciting, yet disappointing game against LSU. And the Broncos... well, they gave the Jake haters in Phoenix a taste of their own medicine with a 13-3 record.

I am planning an epic road trip starting shortly to include stops at Sunlight Mountain to meet up with John, Steamboat to ski with Wil, Big Sky to ski with Dax, and maybe a little bit of pass skiing at Loveland if JP can get free.

Thanks to all of the folks that read the blog for coming by and thanks especially to the wonderful people that I have met through the site already. I have a full two days of skiing in for November and December, but I have been able to avoid depression by watching videos JP posts or reading about Wil living large in the pow at Steamboat.

Posted by Justin at 11:03 AM