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October 30, 2006

Why I Am Glad I Have a Tivo

I blogged a ton last year about Arrested Development and how disappointed I was that it went off the air. Well, I have a new crop of things in my Tivo and while they don't replace the Bluths, they certainly give me something to do on road trips and in between ski trips.

  • Heroes - This show is just awesome. Started this year and every single episode gets better.
  • Battlestar Gallactica - Now in its third season. Humans at war against Robots. Hot robots. That look like humans. Only they are robots. Genocide. Secret Tribunals. Death Squads. And awesome special effects... yeah, got all that.
  • The Office - Now in its third season. Quirky and off the wall. That is why I like it.
  • My Name is Earl - Redneck trying to fix past mistakes because of Karma. Good times.
  • How I Met Your Mother - More mainstream than the others, but certainly worth watching. Some good quirks and fun characters.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - No new episodes for a while, but this literally made me want to pee my pants a couple of times. Favorite episodes include "The Gang Goes Jihad" and "Underage Drinking: A National Tragedy".

That pretty much covers what I Tivo for later viewing. Rumors are Swirling that BSG may move to Monday nights after Heroes on NBC in High Def. That would pretty much be heaven. I take old BSG, Arrested Development, My Name is Earl, and The Office on roadies with me for viewing on DVD in the car with friends. Helps pass the time.

Posted by Justin at 09:02 PM

October 28, 2006

Ski Video up At Steamboat Blog

Gotta link to Jon's video of his son Alden throwing down in on the short runs of the hill across the street from his house.

My kids are dying to get the skis on too. I got Jarrett a season rental this week of 107's and some rear entry boots. Smokin' deal on season rentals in PHX at Ski Pro. $80 for the season and includes boots, skis, and poles until April. I ain't talking brand new twin tips or anything special, but he needs another year before he steps into Jakes K-2 125's and boots from when he was 6.

I straight up have the hand me down thing going. I bought Jackson some new pants and am looking for a jacket. Jake got his jacket that I bought last year but loaned to Jacko back. Jarrett inherited Jake's jacket and pants. Lindsey is all girly so I have to buy her crap that is pink and has fur on it, I am sure. She has another couple of years before we stick her on skis anyway.

I totally dig riding with Tim, Erich, Taufiq, Dan, Jake and the rest of the part-time crew that we roll with. But Jake and Jackson are the most fun of all to ride with. I can talk them in to doing stupid stuff and we have moderate co-pays on our health insurance. The rest of us are gonna start breaking hips pretty quick--well, not quite, but we have real jobs and in the back of our minds the thought of explaining to the boss how we broke our leg on a "sick" or "telecommuting" day would just kinda suck.

If you don't have kids, you are missing out on the fun of them explaining how they learned to "pizza" not "french fry" and doing wedge turns down runs named "Weenie Roast", "Bunny Hill", and "Fuzzy Wuzzy First Time Rope Tow". Then shortly after that, you miss the fun of them thinking that they can handle runs like "Suicide", "Widow Maker", and "Yard Sale". And Jackson and Jake are both cocky, so I trash talk my 10 year old kid and 12 year old brother. Especially Jackson, because as an older brother, I have no obligation to preserve his self esteem. And as an uncle Jackson has no obligation to Jake either, but Jake is still a better skier, so Jack gets it from both sides. Good times.

I figure I have about half of this year left before they are embarrassing me and trying to get my to jib and keep up with them. They can stay on the greens in the terrain park with the snowboarders. I'll take quad burning powder runs all day instead.

Posted by Justin at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2006

Busy Week in Sports Coming Up

Alright, so ski season is literally weeks away, but it ain't here yet. What is here is high school playoffs in Arizona, NBA Season, and a couple of huge games in College and the NFL for my favorite teams. Here is the lowdown on what I have going on:

  • Friday, Oct. 27 - Wickenburg at Sedona (driving up to see the game)
  • Saturday, Oct. 28 - ASU at Washington (watching on TV. This could be the difference between the podunk bowl and the craphole bowl for ASU.)
  • Sunday, Oct. 29 - Colts at Broncos (watching on TV. This could mark the beginning of the Cutler Era in Denver or could be the chance for Jake and the Broncos to finally break the curse of the Colts and solidify themselves at the team to beat in the AFC.)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 31 - Suns at Lakers (watching on TV. Opening of the season for the Suns. Rematch of last year's 7 game series. "Kobe Sucks" just in case you missed the chants in game 7.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1 - Clippers at Suns (opening night for the Suns and you know I will be there. Rematch of last year's series that went 7 with the Clips. Sam Cassell smiling as he brought the ball into the frontcourt and go whistled for an 8 second violation. Priceless moment there.)
  • Friday, Nov. 3 - Sahuarita at Wickenburg (3A Playoffs get started. Working the chains.)

But the big games come the next week:

  • Thursday, Nov. 9 - Dallas at Phoenix (Wouldn't miss this for the world. Last years opener against Dallas went to 2OT.)
  • Friday, Nov. 10 - Blue Ridge vs. Wickenburg at TBD site (Please let this be the year for Wick to beat these guys. Been waiting a decade for Wickenburg to actually have the team that can hang with the Jackets.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 11 - Wazzu at ASU (Hey, it is College Football and I have Season Tickets. And it is my Alma Mater. Otherwise, I would probably wash the car or something.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 12 - Dallas at Arizona, Pat Tillman Plaza to be Dedicated for Veterans Day (Dallas is always the biggest game in town for the Cards. Can the Cards take an early lead and find a way to lose this one creatively? I am predicting a fumble ala St. Louis, Chicago capped with a missed field goal in the comeback drive. Second favorite Cards moment was Larry Johnson's 80 yeard run to set up their go ahead score.)

I am in sports heaven. This will pass the time until ski season and Thanksgiving. I just can't justify missing these games to take a trip to ski a 20 inch base at Wolf Creek.

Update

  • Wickenburg 49 - Sedona 0
  • ASU 26 - Washington 23 (OT) (Great Game. ASU tried to implode, but found a way to pull it out.)
  • Indy 34 - Denver 31 (Another great game. Never give Manning time to beat you. It was over when Denver kicked off after they tied it.)

Posted by Justin at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)

October 26, 2006

Strange Days the Last Few Weeks

It has been a strange couple of weeks lately. I have become absolutely addicted to 3A Arizona Football. Wickenburg is 9-0 with one game before the playoffs. Assuming that we win our first round game at home, we get Blue Ridge High School which has beaten us something like 5 times in the last 7 years in the playoffs. Wickenburg is buzzing about the new coaching staff and possibility of a state title.

Phoenix Suns season is kicking off on Halloween. Got my season tickets, but already sold 23 of 44 games so that I have time to ski. Cardinals and ASU seasons are winding down with ASU having 3 home games left and the Cardinals having 4. Neither has been particullarly exciting, unless you consider disappointing last second losses exciting (Cards) or blowouts by Oregon and Cal exciting (ASU). Plus, I have my Jeep and have been taking a monthly trip with it on the Arizona backroads. Add in 8 straight weeks in California for work, and I am finally completely burned out. Literally.

I am taking some time off work to recharge. Bump up the anti-depressants, sleep in some, and get ready for ski season and high school playoff games. I am trying to get the condo ready and bit off another big remodel project two weeks ago. It is enough to wear a dude out. So if the posts get light, figure I am chilling to get back to normal. Posts will pick up in November.

Posted by Justin at 12:16 AM

October 25, 2006

Wil at 120 Days is Actually Alive

Wil at 120 Days of Powder is actually alive. Still waiting to get the scoop on the offseason and his plans at Steamboat for the upcoming year.

Wil and Jon at Steamboat Blog are both linked on the sidebar and keep me up to date on the happenings at the Boat. Steamboat is up for sale and Jon has more on that at his site. Intrawest and Fortress are both looking.

I guess this means the season is getting going again. Wil is back blogging, Jon is posting more often, and JP at Colorado Backcountry is ripping it up on the new sled and hitting waist deep pow. I just grabbed my son Jake some new boots today and grabbed a season rental for Jarrett for the year. 110's just seem wrong to me. I am going to try snowblading on them.

Drop by Wil's site and check it out. Last year he had tons of great posts, pics, videos, and such.

Posted by Justin at 06:18 PM

October 24, 2006

30" in 24 Hr--JP and the Gang Rip It Up

JP at Colorado Backcountry has some sick shots of thigh deep powder from this weekend. Face shots galore.

Stop by his site and it will get you in the mood for the season to get into full swing. I was jonesing just looking at the pictures.

Posted by Justin at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2006

Wolf Creek opens on Friday

Wolf Creek to open on Friday. This makes the third resort in Colorado to open after A-basin and Loveland last week.

On Friday, October 27th, Wolf Creek Ski Area will celebrate its earliest opening ever with 57 inches of snowfall from September and October! Wolf Creek Ski Area is reporting an all-natural snow depth of 15 inches at the midway and 25 inches at summit. Early season conditions do exist.

Treasuer, Bonanza and nova Lifts will open at 8:30 a.m., while construction continuesj on the new Raven Lift.

The ski school, rental, sport shop, Wolf Pup building, Wolf Creek lodge and the Pathfinder Bar will also be open.

Posted by Justin at 08:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2006

New Pics of Jeep Trip to Turkey Creek

Just posted some new pics of the jeep trip to Turkey Creek in the photo gallery.

Check it out.

Posted by Justin at 07:57 PM | Comments (2)

Snow at Brian Head

What a long week. I got up to Brian Head on Sunday evening and demo'ed the old upper loft and the closet in the lower loft. My dad came up on Monday at around 2PM but was beat so we only got a little bit done. By the time we finished taking out all the old framing and drywall, we were too tired to go down the 3 flights of stairs and take a load to the dump that night.

BIG MISTAKE. We awoke to find an entire truckload of 2x4's and now wet drywall covered by almost a foot of powder.

It absolutely dumped on Monday night at Brian Head and it made the place look so much better. It always looks better when there is snow on the mountain.

Posted by Justin at 11:33 AM

October 16, 2006

More Remodel Fun at Brian Head

I am up at the condo this week doing some remodel work with my dad. We are taking out a closet so that we can install some new closet organizers from Ikea.

I am thinking that the new closets will be much more organized then the current setup, plus we lose part of the existing closets because there is a bunk bed in front of one of the doors. We are doing a little bit of drywall work around the place and buttoning some things up before the season starts.

The upper mountain has a skiff of snow on it and it looks good. I love how it looks with snow on it. Praying for a good winter with lots of early snow.

Posted by Justin at 12:42 PM

October 13, 2006

Gas Prices Continue to Drop

The Arizona Republic reports that Gas Prices continue to drop:

There's good news at the gas pumps this morning for Valley drivers.

According to AAA Arizona, gas prices this week dropped for the twelfth week in a row. Statewide, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline dropped nearly seven cents since last week and is now $2.281 per gallon, a low not seen since Jan. 6, 2006.

AAA says motorists are enjoying the lowest gas prices since the beginning of the year largely due to ample crude and gasoline inventories and oil prices remaining below $60 per barrel. On Wednesday, the price of crude oil fell below $58 per barrel to the lowest price in eight months.

Based on the current situation, AAA estimates that gas prices will continue to decline through Thanksgiving.

My condo is approximately 900 miles round trip. My Avalanche gets roughly 15 miles to the gallon. Let's do the quick math... 60 Gallons to take the trip north. Gas prices have dropped almost $1.00 per gallon over the last few months and I go to Brian Head a couple times a month during the season. This translates into some real money that I can use on more important things like... gear and lift tickets.

Posted by Justin at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

Ski Season Officially Opens Today at A-Basin

I just woke up and guess what:

IT IS SKI SEASON!

WE ARE OPENING FOR OUR 2006-2007 SEASON FRIDAY OCTOBER 13!

Join us at 9:00am on Friday, October 13th for our 60th year in operation!

Intermediate skiing only - no beginner skiing yet

Lift Hours
Friday, October 13 9:00am-4:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 8:30am-4:00pm
Monday - Friday 9:00am-4:00pm
Exhibition Chairlift
Open Everyday

Alright, it is white ribbon of death time, but today Arapahoe Basin officially opened the lifts. It is not even the middle of October.

Posted by Justin at 07:21 AM

Forest Service Approves New Triple Chair for BMSA Serving Back Bowls

Brokeback Mountain Ski Area has received Forest Service Approval for a new high speed triple chair to serve the back bowl over the ridge from Jack's Notch.

From the BMSA website:

Environmental Impact Statement has been approved by the federal authorities in favor of BMSA plans to provide ski lift access to the back bowl located directly behind Jack's Notch. Several environmental groups have applauded BMSA on its long standing dedication to wildlife and plant species protection.

"In the era of high speed six-packs which carry thousands of skiers per hour our proposal to install a moderate speed triple chair has received a unanimous approval," says BMSA Director of Lift Operations John Clark.

The moderate speed triple chair will deliver fewer skiers and thus reduce adverse environmental impact. It will also provide for longer lasting, untracked powder.

The yet to be named back bowl is on the northern aspect and its legendary powder has been a favorite of backcountry skiers for many years.

The proposed chair lift will be in operation for the 2007/2008 ski season.

This is good news as it indicates that the resort is growing and the area is so sparsely populated that this provides some solid economic tourism dollars to the region according to Beth Clark, their director of PR.

Posted by Justin at 07:10 AM | Comments (3)

October 11, 2006

More News on European Flights from Mike in Megeve

Mike sent me a new link to Easy Jet, a European short hop flight service. You can fly from London to Geneva for approximately 20 euro one way. So fly into London using BA or another major, then take the short hop to Geneva. My tickets round trip from Phoenix to London on US Airways run under $450. Add in another $100 on the short hop, and Geneva gets even less expensive.

Check the link to Easy Jet out and check out Mike's site and more links over at Ski Pros Megeve.

Posted by Justin at 12:05 PM

Wolf Creek gets 22" During Latest Storm

Wolf Creek has already received 42" of snow so far this year and got another 22" the last couple of days.

Today is my birthday and for my birthday, it appears that both Brian Head and Wolf Creek got some snow. But the best part is the news from Arizona Snowbowl:

Ski fans will rejoice to know that while it will be a sunny day in the Valley today, a light dusting of snow last night added to the about 2 inches of snow that fell Sunday night and Monday morning at higher elevations outside Flagstaff. The Arizona Snowbowl ski area reports snow at about the 9,500 foot level.

Snowbowl Marketing Director Dave Smith said, "Hopes are high here among all of us that this snow is the first sign that we're going to have a great season. It would be terrific if we could be open by Thanksgiving."

Let us hope.

Posted by Justin at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

October 10, 2006

Ski Europe on the Cheap

I spoke to Mike at Ski Pros Megeve last night. I posted about the guided trips that he does and his private lessons and skiing packages, but last night we finally stopped trading e-mails and talked for 30 minutes or so. I did a little math. From Phoenix, I can fly into Geneva for $750 round trip. Megeve is less than 50 miles away. Mike and I were discussing what exactly he does. He is not a "tour operator", but rather a guide. He assists with setting up hotel and other reservations, but for the most part, he does little other than point out the best bargains and best deals. He focuses on the skiing.

Mike will arrange to pick you up at the airport (usually himself in a van) and get you settled into your hotel. Basically, once you are on the ground, he makes sure your trip happens as planned. He spends the entire week doing private lessons and guiding you and your group around the mountains and out of bounds areas like a local would with his friends or family when they come to visit. Helps you find the best deals, best food, best time for your group. He takes care of ground transportation and takes you from resort to resort so that you get the very best experience possible. Oh, yeah, and what kind of instructor is he? We started talking shop about instructing and he has basically every kind of PSIA (US) or French Certification possible and has been instructing for 35 years.

He straight up ambushed me with his genorosity last night. First, he wants me to spread the word about what he is doing, which is never a problem. The guys is solid and knows his stuff. I am a good judge of character and of people and he is top shelf. Second, he said, "Look, come over here for yourself. Check the place out. I have room in my studio condo for you to stay. I will pick you up and take you out with one of my groups. Tell them you are my cousin from the US."

I am doing the math on a ski vacation to Europe. All things being equal, I don't view Aspen or Vail or US resorts as worthy of spending several grand to go spend a week. But I am insanely spoiled and spend 30+ days skiing per year. If I want to ski Colorado, I drive up and spend a few days and slum it. But here, we are talking $750 per person to fly into Geneva and even if all of the other travel costs were another $2000, that is doable. If I stay with Mike, I literally need to cover food and lift tickets (and those are the same as anywhere else) and I get to spend a week skiing in Europe for the cost of an airline ticket.

I am going to put together something with several of my buddies next year and come back with information about what we want to do and see. This is a scouting trip. If you are interested in heading over with us, let me know and drop me a contact e-mail. The more people we can get the cheaper it will be. Mike said he can work prices for us and I will have more info once I get to sit down with Mike.

UPDATE: I forgot to Put in the right link to Mike's site. Go over the check it out. The link above was to my previous article.

Posted by Justin at 09:57 PM | Comments (3)

October 09, 2006

Yankees Season Ends in Detroit

The Yankees have a special place in my heart right next to the Dallas Cowboys, Osama Bin Laden, Vanilla Ice, and New Coke.

And for another year, I can celebrate the Yankees not winning a championship. I remember the first time they did not win a championship after their last title. And every time they lose, it reminds me of that time when they lost...

Mark Grace against Mariano Rivera. Choke up. Get a hit to start it. Gonzo. Choke up. Get a hit to end it. It has been 5 years since the 2001 World Series and every time the Yankees lose, it seems like just yesterday. So here is a thank you to some of my favorite recent teams:

  • Diamondbacks
  • Angels
  • Marlins
  • Red Sox
  • White Sox
and now Tigers.

Bye Bye boys. Enjoy the offseason. Maybe there is some other $20M a year player you can sign... how about Bonds? He can play in the same outfield as Schef and you can negotiate a package deal for Giambi, Bonds, and Scheffield on The Cream and The Clear from Balco.

Posted by Justin at 01:03 AM

October 07, 2006

First Snowfall at BMSA

Got a note from Beth Clark at Brokeback Mountain Ski Area and they have received their first snowfall of the year. They are actively making snow and hoping for a mid-November opening.

Beth e-mailed me a copy of some recent press clippings about some improvements they are looking to make over the next two years. It seems that the movie has brought in a fairly large influx of new business and they are struggling to keep up.

Sounds like they want to expand a new area on the backside of Jack's Notch near the Uranus lift. Possibly a used triple or even a quad. Folks are hiking to get first tracks on Jack's Notch now when the upper runs get tracked up.

BMSA apparently has an old flavor to it, but isn't getting a lot of media attention. I am hoping to take a trip through when I head to Jackson Hole this year. Beth offered to comp my trip if I would give them some much needed PR. They sound like an interesting resort and they have a 2000' vertical drop and great terrain. A little remote, but that is why they have the old school flavor.

Posted by Justin at 01:40 AM

October 06, 2006

Catmus is Today--h/t Adam at Highly Obsessed

Shout out to Adam at Highly Obsessed for pointing out that today is Catmus:

Totally off-topic: Today is Catmas, also known as "Post a Picture of a Cat to Your Blog Day", referring to the cliche that people always post pictures of their cats on their blogs. This holiday is also known as BlogACatMas. Frankly, I'm upset that I have to be at work on such a special day.

Here is a picture of Mittens playing with Lindsey. Mittens is MY cat and pretty much hates everyone else. I am the only person she will let pet here and that is fairly rare. Our other cat, Fat Kat, is more lovey dovey. I don't name them, I just own them. The kids are not particullarly creative.

Posted by Justin at 03:19 PM

Reading Old Entries--How to Fill Time Between Ski Seasons Part II

I was doing some site clean-up and deleting the spam trackback and comments when I decided to go through some of my old entries. One that was particullarly awesome was from November 2005:

It is getting tough as hell to write about skiing during mid-November when I still have ZERO days on the snow for 2005-06. My Brian Head season passes for the family look wonderful hanging on their lanyards with my ski equipment but are doing me no good. Last year, I already had close to 10 days in November alone. I am working on my condo and getting some extra football time in this year while waiting for the snow to fly in Utah.

I took my dad up to the condo with me to help paint and remodel and it was so cool to talk about 15 years ago when the two of us would go skiing. Bad back and all, I am trying to get him to throw on my cruisers and last year's boots and spend a few days on the mountain with my sons and my baby brother. On a personal note, the trip really reminded me that a huge part of why I love skiing so much is the fact that it is usually with friends or family. And you spend several hours in the car or truck together talking on the way up and way back. Maybe it is sharing a hotel room or having a nice dinner after a long day skiing, but even without getting to ski at the condo it was so cool to spend three days with my dad. It reinforced that I spend almost every weekend with my sons building and strengthening our bond and ski season is the best time of the year.

This was before my brother Jeremy moved back all of the sudden in early December. Turns out that the winter was even better than I had hoped. Dad made at least 4 more trips up north and got in several days of his own with my son, brothers Jeremy and Jackson, and me. It is odd to think that I can go back almost exactly one year ago and I have a journal of my life. So you can pick up the entries from a year ago and see what I was doing and thinking, then look a year later and see the progress that I have made.

One thing that is missing this year is the newness aspect of running the blog and fixing up the condo. I had a vision of how I wanted things to unfold and now, the condo is basically done. I am literally looking for projects to work on there. Moving around a closet. Rerouting an electrical outlet. Putting in a Washer and Dryer. Changing the upper loft around. But these are minor changes, especially compared to the complete gutting that we did last winter.

Maybe this is the best part of blogging. I get to remind myself of the things that I accomplished since I started the site. The condo and the site as well as the ski season just seemed to turn out even better than I had originally planned, and a huge part of that is because of the people that helped me with all of them.

Posted by Justin at 12:08 AM

Ski Bargain Hunting Advice Online

An absolutely awesome article on about.com regarding ski shopping and bargains that can be had. Couple of quick nuggets, but read the whole thing at the link above:

Become familiar with the skis you are checking out online. If possible, find a pair of skis in the brand and model that you are looking for, and make sure you are comfortable with the heft and feel of the skis. Remember, buying online you give up the touchy, feely part of ski shopping, but the money you save may very well counter the hugs and rubs you usually give a new pair of skis before you buy them. ... More than a few skiers buy skis in lengths recommended by the testers in ski publications. A lot of this is strictly a fad that can go out of style the following year. If you don’t mind being seen on a super ski that is a leftover in 167cm when everybody that’s anybody is skiing in 160cm, you can save big money. A rule of thumb is the longer the last year’s ski the cheaper you can buy it.

I have posted several times about e-Bay'ing equipment and the deals that can be had. You usually won't find the hotest, greatest stuff for a bargain, unless you time shopping just right. Honestly, if you are not already geared up for this season, you missed the best opportunity that comes along as shops clear their inventory in April. By now, the prices start rising again and there are less choices. It is like going to a yard sale--and that is a reference to the places where old folks hang out on Saturday morning to buy your old crap, not to following me down the mountain--the early risers pick through all the good stuff first thing, so if you want a deal, get there early.

For point of reference on skis, let's compare the skis I am currently using--Atomic AFT Stomp Mid Fat Twin Tips. These are a hybrid somewhere between a Park and a Powder ski. This is the guy that sold me mine on e-Bay:

2005-06 Atomic AFT Stomp 186cm - $379.00
2003-04 Atomic AFT Stomp 186cm - $189.00

Now I am not saying that these are the best skis in the world, but essentially, the only difference between the 2003-04 and the 2005-06's is the graphics. I normally don't care all that much about the graphics, but about the performance. If you are willing to ski with a 3 year old graphic, why buy the latest greatest? Save the $200 or so for lift tickets. You need Powder skis, make sure you have enough money for the powder days.

Honestly, you have to know what you are looking for. You have to know the differences and do the research. Talk to people. Demo stuff. Then check e-Bay for bargains. That is my approach. And get there early... just like when I go Yard Sale.

Posted by Justin at 12:01 AM

October 05, 2006

The Joke is on Me--Brokeback Mountain Ski Area

You ever take stuff too seriously? I had a fairly serious e-mail exchange with Beth Clark of Brokeback Mountain Ski Area in Wyoming. First, a couple of days ago, I got a contact e-mail:

Great blog. I thought you may be interested in checking out Brokeback Mt. Ski Area website. We were the best kept secret of the Rockies but now the secret is out of closet.

So I head over and start looking around at their site. Not a lot of content, but it appears to be exactly what it is--a small resort on part with some of the other small resorts around the country. Not a lot of web development, not a lot of info, but a trail map, some stats, etc. Then I start looking at the runs:

Here are the lifts:
  • Giddy Up
  • Ride'm
  • Uranus
  • Pony Up
  • Howdy Partner

Alright, let's check some of the trails:

  • Over the Rainbow
  • Glory Hole
  • Peter Pan
  • 8 Seconds
  • Ramrod

Alright, that is not crazy off the wall. I mean, it appears a little odd. So I check out their PR area and they have a couple of articles about the goals of the resort, etc. I send a note back to "Beth":

So what is up with this:

http://www.skibrokeback.com/pr1.htm

"The recent Hollywood film "Brokeback Mountain" has generated unwanted attention to Brokeback Mt. Ski Area. The management of the Ski Area would like to stress that the aforementioned movie is based on a literary source and is a work of fiction.

"Contrary to some media reports the Ski Area was never involved with the filmmakers nor does the ski area have any interest in utilizing the popularity of the film to further its marketing goals. While the story of the film contains positive messages, Brokeback Mountain Ski Area is a family oriented resort and as such shares little in common with the fictional characters and situations depicted within the film.

"It is our understanding that the filmmakers and the author of the original story were unaware of the fact that the Brokeback Mountain Ski Area in Wyoming has been in business since 1965, long before the story has been written."

And then the new logo? And the names of the lifts and runs? Did you guys change the names and the logo to embrace the references to Brokeback Mountain? Just curious, because it seems to contradict the previous strategy. I would love to write about it and talk to you.

I get a note back that has more details, and I got my chuckle at the names of the runs. I am trying to be all PC and wanted to send a note back, but decided to start googling the authors of the magazine articles that they have in the PR section. Then the magazines. Then the people listed like Beth Clark or Jack Dunn. All come up zero. As I am scanning the listings in Google for "skibrokeback.com", there is nothing except this single post on a bulletin board called Gay Outdoors:

Hello All,

I am sure a good number of you will laugh quite a bit on this one. I've just completed a virtual Ski Brokeback resort project (http://www.SkiBrokeback.com). The site has been built in tradition of the Molvania project and I am sure you'll have fun while visiting our virtual mountain.

Best,

Elvira
Ski Brokeback

Alright, Molvania. What the heck is Molvania... Check the Wiki on Molvania:

Molvanîa ('A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry') is a fictional country set in Eastern Europe for the mock travel guide Molvanîa: a Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, described as "the birthplace of the whooping cough" and "owner of Europe's oldest nuclear reactor.". It was created by Australians Tom Gleisner, Santo Cilauro and Rob Sitch (of The D-Generation and The Panel fame) to parody travel guidebooks.

The book became a surprise success in Australia, sparking a bidding war for the international publication rights. However, the book became a centre of controversy when the UK's former Minister for Europe Keith Vaz accused it of exploiting prejudices about Eastern Europe.

There has also been some confusion about whether the country actually exists. This could be partly due to the fact that the name is close to the real eastern European country of the Moldova, the circumflexed letter "î" also being characteristic for Moldovan (Romanian), the language of that country. It has been claimed that some tourists who read the tour guide book believed that the country existed and made plans to go there, but this story is probably apocryphal.

Then I got it. I had been duped. But this is exactly the kind of thing that I find hysterically funny. Just real enough that I don't immediately pick it out as a hoax, but also off the wall enough that I am not sure. You don't want to make fun of it because it is so un-PC, but at the same time, you chuckle to yourself.

So go over and check the site out. Pay attention to the pictures. They seem strange, but not too strange. Everything is funny and off the wall, but not too funny and off the wall.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Posted by Justin at 12:35 PM

October 03, 2006

Arizona Growth Projections and Why Snowbowl Needs Snowmaking

This article in the Arizona Republic describes the rapid population growth that is expected in Arizona in the next 30 years:

A University of Arizona economic researcher pulled out his crystal ball - and some U.S. Census data - and looked into Arizona's future. He says he saw a lot - a lot of growth involving a lot of people.

Arizona's population will double in the next 30 years, with the Phoenix area essentially merging with metro Tucson to become one urbanized complex, with significant development from as far as Sierra Vista in southeastern Arizona to Kingman in the northwest, said researcher Marshall Vest.

The state will add roughly 8.5 million residents by 2036, adding to the current 6.2 million and reaching 14.6 million, said Vest, director of the Business Research Center of the Eller College of Management.

Metro Phoenix now has 4 million people and will rise to 9.7 million by 2036, while the Tucson area's current population of just under 1 million should hit 1.7 million, Vest wrote in the October issue of Arizona's Economy, published by the center.

Consider that if the sport of skiing has a future, places like Arizona represent need to provide for the growth of the industry. Snowbowl is less than two hours from a metropolitan area of almost 4 Million people that will soon be almost 10 Million. Phoenix is becoming an increasingly affluent population of baby boomers that are coming here to retire. But retirement means something else to baby boomers. As the life expectancy increases and people stay healthier longer, the industry needs to continue to retain these core folks.

Snowbowl has some real potential if they can add snowmaking. The area provides a much needed recreational opportunity for the state of Arizona.

No matter what anyone in Flagstaff wants, these people are coming. Flag and other cities will not remain the same as they are today, nor should they. Growth provides opportunity and helps sustain our economy. And these projections are not just true for Arizona, but for Nevada as well. This makes Brian Head an increasingly attractive destination and justifies the need for expansion of new terrain.

The Southwest is growing for a number of reasons, but a major one is that you can escape the brutal winters, yet still have mountains to vacation to for skiing in the winter and for cool temperatures in the summer.

Posted by Justin at 04:08 AM

October 02, 2006

Brian Head Summer Photos Posted Including Proposed New Terrain

Pictured below is a view of Giant Steps looking toward the proposed site of the bridge and the new terrain (across Highway 143).

For more pictures of Brian Head taken this summer including details pointing out the new Brian Head Lofts condos and the Cedar Breaks Lodge / Timberbrook condos from the top of the peak, check the gallery.

Posted by Justin at 02:14 PM

New Pictures in the Gallery--2006 Wrangler

I posted some new pictures of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited in the gallery. Check them out.

Posted by Justin at 02:06 PM

The New Digital Age of Wrong Numbers and Product Promotion

I got a wrong number series of text messages about some woman named Jen today:

Jen is trying 2 make me jealous. I don't want 2 b with her.

OK, so that is awesome because now Jen is going to be single. Unfortunately, the person sending the text was not Jen, so no dice.

Then I got the following:

I am riding with Jen now

So I have a digital text message soap opera going. I am waiting to see if Jen is going to end up with whoever.

Now here is what is sad... I figure this is a legit text message that is just to a wrong number, but it seems in this digital age, companies are using stuff like blogs and text messages and e-mail threads to promote movies and other products. They start a blog about some 16 year old and her problems with her boyfriend to build buzz around their story, then it turns out that the whole thing is actually building up a new movie that is coming out.

I guess that is not as bad as blatant product placement in TV shows and movies though. In one of the season ending episodes or How I Met Your Mother, the gang was talking about how good some crab at Red Lobster sounded, then it showed them going into Red Lobster. Then after the break, Red Lobster commercial for their new crabfest. Notice how the Pepsi can is always perfectly lined up for you to see it is Pepsi in movies nowadays... It is most certainly intentional and it would be nice to see what the price of these things are.

Posted by Justin at 12:18 PM

October 01, 2006

Wanna Take a Family Ski Trip--Don't Skip School

The attendance Nazi's are out in force in California. This article from the Ventura County Star talks about California's anti-truancy policies:

Parents who are thinking of taking their kids out of school for a few days to visit their grandparents or enjoy some uncrowded skiing in Mammoth might want to think again. School attendance policies have gotten stricter over the past few years, catching some families by surprise.

The reasons, educators say, are both financial and academic. School districts lose money if kids aren't in class. Plus districts are under pressure to make sure students do well on state and national tests, so educators want kids at school.
...
There was a time when schools got funding if a student's absence was excused, that is, if the child was sick or had a doctor's appointment, but that changed about five years ago. These days, schools get state funding only when children are actually in their seats. If a student is absent, whether that absence is excused or not, the school loses money, about $35 per kid per day.

"It doesn't matter if they're sick or skiing; we don't get the money," said Tony Knight, superintendent of the Oak Park Unified School District. "If a kid's out for a week, that's a pretty substantial amount of money."
...
Under the state education code, students who have three or more unexcused absences in any year are considered truants. They're also considered truants if they're more than 30 minutes late for class three or more times. That means that even high-achieving districts have a high percentage of truants. In the Conejo Valley Unified School District, for example, 21 percent of students were truants last year under the state's standards, said Deputy Superintendent Richard Simpson.

Many parents believe the stricter attendance policies are unreasonable. Schools should not be penalized when kids get sick, they say. Parents should also be able to take their children on trips that may be even more educational than a week in the classroom.

My son Jake is a straight A student. He is bored most days in school. I love his teachers the last two or three years and they are genuinely good folks who do their best, but I am his parent. I decide what is in his best interests. I understand that the government may not agree that skiing trips are beneficial, but the government has also stopped funding athletics or even PE in school. They don't teach Art or Music in many places. So it becomes the parent's responsibility to demonstrate good and wholesome recreation like skiing.

Now for those of you that believed any of that, good for you. That is the line that I give my wife and anyone else that would question the merit of me skipping work and Jake skipping school to ski that Monday and Tuesday that we both were supposed to be back and stay the extra powder day. IT IS EDUCATIONAL TOO. I AM TEACHING THE VALUES OF RECREATION TO CREATE A WELL ROUNDED CHILD.

And to the school and educators that are worried about their $35 per day of funding in California, tough. Sorry. And I wish more parents home schooled. The entire educational system is out of touch when they start telling parents aren't smart enough to decide for themselves what is important for their own children. Thanks Nanny State.

Posted by Justin at 09:24 PM