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December 29, 2006

Powder Day, Rocks and Stumps, Wind Holds, and Core Shots

Still early season conditions, but plenty of fresh. Last night it snowed roughly a foot which was almost enough to cover the rocks that were still poking up. Worse yet, the entire upper mountain had gusts of up to 75 MPH overnight and into the morning which means two things--lifts on wind hold until 2:00 PM and whatever snow came down had relocated into wonderful drifts. So the upper mountain went something like this: lift, rocks, drift, rocks, drift, rocks, stump, rocks, drift.

We spent most of the morning until Giant Steps opened off of the Blackfoot lift poaching powder runs through the trees between Yaz and Desbah. We hit some great powder through the trees, but I also hit some nasty stuff below the surface. Stumps, rocks, all kinds of stuff that you would expect early in the season. Around 3:00, I stopped and took of the skis and had a nasty core shot that needed some Ptex and came fairly close to blowing out an edge.

Another great day on the mountain. Left a little early because my skis were in the shop, but my quads certainly got their workout in. By the last couple of runs, I was struggling to keep my skis parallel and burning through the powder. Jake and Jack continued to surprise me with their ability to hit almost anything on the mountain. I kept stopping to look back and they were right on my hip no matter how fast I was going.

Posted by Justin at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

December 27, 2006

A Day of Instructing

Up here at Brian Head and it is finally snowing although not as much as I would like. I brought up two buddies who are total Noobs and put one of them in "Learn to Ski" for the morning since I do not have the patience or ability to teach how to get on and off the lifts. Take the 2 hour lesson and then we can start working.

By the PM, we were taking runs together and working on technique. Just little stuff, but honestly, it was so much fun to work with new folks to the sport and get them excited.

I am actually hurting pretty bad because one of them took me out pretty hard. Probably as bad of a day as I have had injury wise in a while. I was riding switch trying to coach and caught an edge and twisted my knee, plus got wiped pretty bad when my buddy got cut off and could not stop and hit me. It was refreshing in a way because after two 30+ day seasons, you never ski with noobs anymore and rarely ski bad conditions. It just isn't that fun unless it is a dump. Today, we closed the lifts down and I can't remember the last time I did that when it wasn't epic. It is a good feeling.

It finally happened today for the first time. Jake was skiing with me and I got behind him and was just watching him come down off of Giant Steps. Knees touching. Skis completely parallel. Using his poles perfectly in his turns. For the first time, he looked like a better skier than I did. Jackson is damned near there himself. And both of them were just fluid. Hitting jumps. Making turns. My dad went out with us and got to watch them tearing it up.

Jake got in his sixth day of the year and will be at nine before New Year's Day. Jack is a day or two behind him for the year. I was coaching my two buddies today and working on linking turns. They are both at the point where all they need is time on the snow. I get jaded when I don't even want to go out unless the conditions are great. I am spoiled. But conditions are improving and I have a couple of good long days in which will pay dividends when we get our powder dumps later on and my legs are already under me.

I am a little worried about my right knee from getting sideswiped and from wrecking. I haven't had a good twisting fall in a while, but it seriously is so dangerous on groomers when idiots think they are Shawn White or Bode and cut you off. In this case he cut off a first dayer with no concern for anyone else and it got me hurt. I wanted to chase the dude down and give him a smackin', but instead was walking uphill 40 feet to get my ski.

Posted by Justin at 10:40 PM

December 25, 2006

Interesting Info on Aspen's Green Program

I wrote briefly about Vail and Aspen using Wind Credits to offset their power usage in September. I got an e-mail from Neal Dikeman from Cleantech Blog about an entry he had posted after visiting Aspen:

Then while taking a brief time out from skiing (I am not actually very good) I went in to drink coffee in the sunny lodge of the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain. The first thing you notice walking through the front door (besides the massage chair, which I really needed after a day of skiing) is the plaque which bills the Sundeck as one of the first 10 LEEDs buildings in America. Details of the Sundeck Restaurant project here. The total cost was $9.8 mm, or an eye-popping $425/square foot (I assume driven partly by LEEDs requirements, and partly by the top of a ski resort location!). But the part I liked the most was the re-use of 86% of the materials from the previous Sundeck building. Because at the end of the day, despite all the advances in cleantech - the real answer to our energy issues is still the same - Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.

Aspen also fuels its snowcats with biodiesel, from Blue Sun Biodiesel. The best part is they actually publish on their website an interesting description of the impact of the biodiesel use: "In the winter of 2002, ASC experimented with an 80% diesel/20% biodiesel blend. Mechanics noticed that the fuel, which makes snowcat exhaust smell like french fries, radically reduced black tailpipe smoke and that the snowcats ran smoother, a result of biodiesel’s higher lubricity, a quality that also extends the life of mechanical components. Based on our testing, ASC has now switched its entire fleet of snowcats to biodiesel. The cost is about 20 cents more per gallon, a small cost to pay for benefits that include hydrocarbon emissions reductions of 20% and CO and particulate reductions of 10%. The one drawback is that biodiesel typically increases NOx emissions by 2%."

I really dig the move to biodiesel, but have a major problem as I wrote about in the previous article with Aspen paying their ticket clerks $9.25 an hour, yet being willing to pay that extra $.20 a gallon for biodiesel. Do the math on $9.25 an hour times 40 hours per week ($370 less taxes) times 4 weeks in a month ($1480 a month). And also keep in mind that most of these jobs are only part-time. It is a mixed bag for me. I am always one to say that before you worry about global issues, have your own house in order. That means pay your workers enough and have affordable housing for them before you save the world. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't minimize your impact on our natural resources. It just means that I am not going to get all ga ga about being environmentally conscious until wages and housing are also addressed. But putting that aside for a moment, it is awesome that Aspen is reusing their old materials and using biodiesel and wind credits.

It is tough for me to be an "environmentalist" or think like the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club opposes snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks at Snowbowl because it uses reclaimed water in Flagstaff, yet they also opposed Aspen using water from Snowmass Creek to make snow at Aspen. The environmental movement doesn't want skiing to exist (see AZ Snowbowl) or wants to stop things like snowmaking that allow the industry to exist. They have opposed expansion projects at Snowbasin and most other projects including the new Village at Wolf Creek that Colorado Wild and the Sierra Club oppose. In addition, the Sierra Club opposes nuclear power as an alternative to coal based power, saying, "Switching from dirty coal plants to dangerous nuclear power is like giving up smoking cigarettes and taking up crack." But that does not make them wrong about things like reuse and recycling. It does not make biodiesel less of a great idea. It does not make wind power a bad idea either. And Aspen doing these things is good for all of us.

I hope that the ski industry is able to adopt policies that allow for moderate expansion, upgrades, improvements, and growth so that we can get more people to enjoy the sport I love and enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The biggest problem in skiing that I see is that due to the scarcity of resources and the high cost, the sport is unattainable for anyone but the upper middle class and above. Simple supply and demand dictates that if there are more lifts and more areas and more space, prices would be lower resulting in more skier visits. But this goes contrary to the exclusionist image that the industry wants. They want the sport to be more expensive and fewer people to be able to do it. I don't have all the answers, but I know this, the people working at resorts make next to nothing and your average middle class American cannot afford to ski because of the high prices, part of which results from lawsuits like the one at Arizona Snowbowl funded in part by the Sierra Club. Going green is great, but not at the cost of worker wages and housing and not at the cost of making the sport even more exclusionary with higher and higher prices.

Posted by Justin at 09:20 PM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2006

Brian Head is Now Almost 50% Open

Just in time for Christmas, Brian Head is now almost 50% open. I was getting worried because the place gets crazy busy over the Holidays and if Giant Steps Lift and the main mountain are not at least half open, the lift lines will be insane.

I am waiting to see how open Roulette is because it usually does not have lines since it is a mid-mountain to the top lift. Dunes will not be open and is my favorite lift, but has a south facing exposure which I think hurts snowfall and snow retention.

The Navajo lift and most of the runs on it and Pioneer are open also. We are heading up with two friends from Wickenburg, one of which is a first timer. The other has been a few days. I am probably going to do more coaching that personal skiing, which is probably good for me anyway since the conditions are mostly corduroy.

Other news is that there is a storm expected mid week next week, but I am getting conflicting reports from the different weather sites. I am going to finish most of the work in the loft, the painting, and get the place completely put back together including finishing the carpet and tile in the loft this trip. Tera and I may go back the following week, but we are not sure yet.

Posted by Justin at 01:27 PM

December 19, 2006

New Snow in Flag, but no Base to Open With

New Snow in Flag, but no base to open with according to the AZ Republic:

Snow predictions ranged from 2 to 4 inches in lower elevations to 4 to 8 inches above 6,000 feet and 5 to 10 inches in the White Mountains.

Although the storm is carrying plenty of cold air, not enough snow is likely to fall on the San Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff, to allow Arizona Snowbowl to open, said David Smith, publicist for the ski resort.

"We're thinking we might get a foot of snow, but we need a packed base of 2 to 3 feet," he said. "That takes a couple of big storms. We've been looking forward to a big one since October."

The benefits of Man Made Snow are incredible for making a stable base and preparing a resort for the natural stuff. Here is how it works:

1. Resorts start snowmaking as soon as night time temps drop into the low 20's and high 10's.
2. Resorts build a stable base.
3. Resorts begin getting natural snow and as soon as it arrives, it is compacted and the base is completed.
4. As more natural snow arrives, more of the resort opens.

Snowmaking is critical for building the base. It provides stability and the ability to open at least part of the mountain as soon as the natural stuff starts falling.

Here is the economic reality--Snowbowl is missing the Christmas period because of lack of a base and because of lack of snowmaking. They cannot open during the busiest time of the year most of the time. Christmas is when most resorts go into the black, and without a good Christmas, most resorts lose money for the year.

Yep, expect a late opening for Flag, yet Sunrise who has snowmaking should be open for the Christmas rush. The WMA tribe will get folks to stop at Hondah for some gambling and stay at local hotels in Pinetop or at the resort's hotels. And Flag will miss out on folks coming up the hill for skiing. Kids that go to NAU will not have jobs over the holidays. Ski shops will not sell skis. And if it continues long enough, Dave Smith at Snowbowl will be out of a job just like the kids that run the lifts and ski school because the ski area will stop bleeding and finally shut down.

Enjoy the Peaks this winter and enjoy the warm feeling that the Hopi Gods give people over the holiday season. Every kid in school in Phoenix that wants to go to Flag for some skiing over the winter break can thank the Hopi Gods for stealing their Christmas like Jim Carey in the Grinch. They don't want us there. They have not since their lawsuit over their religious freedom in 1979. They want our kids to stay home because the San Francisco Peaks are where their Gods created all life on Earth.

If I tried to shut down a business because Jesus told me to, people would flip. You cannot even put up a Christmas tree anymore. Hopis and their Gods can shut down any business they want, yet a display of the Ten Commandments is not allowed. You cannot even call the school break "Christmas Break", it is Winter Break. Yet the Hopi Gods are given opportunity after opportunity to prevail in Lawsuits by the same 9th Circuit that wants to eliminate all other religious displays.

I hope Snowbowl puts up a massive Christmas Tree and huge Menorah right at the top of the peak since Christians and Jews should have the same right to enjoy their religious freedom at the Peaks that the Hopis do since it is public land. But alas, Snowbowl would be crucified over something like that. Displaying Christian Symbols or celebrating the Christian faith over Christmas would violate the Hopis' religious freedom. Christians don't cover the mayor's car with urine and toilet paper when the city of Flagstaff doesn't display the Ten Commandments or put up a Nativity Scene, yet the opponents to Snowmaking and the Hopis do.

That my friends is Religious Freedom right there. I hope the Sierra Club supports Christians and Jews with exercising their religious freedom on public land they way they support the Hopis. Because that is what the Holiday Season is all about. Religious freedom--but only for religions that want ski resorts shut down.

Posted by Justin at 12:42 PM

Brian Head Receives 21" in Three Days, Set to Open Giant Steps

Brian Head is finally getting some snow. And it is about time. If BH does not have decent snow for Christmas, they lose a key period for their business. Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for resorts and at Brian Head it is by far the busiest time of year.

The only chair that is not expected to be open by this weekend is the Dunes, which happens to be my favorite lift. All of the beginner runs and most of the intermediates should be open, we are just waiting on the top areas of the big mountain.

I am heading to BH on the 26th with about 20 people. I swear it is going to be packed. We are taking three friends from Wickenburg, plus my dad, Jackson, Jake, Liz, and possibly Wil and Chris from 120 Days are going to stop by for a day or two. We are talking almost a dozen people in the condo. Plus the whole complex will be totally full. Plus the remodel work is not done so we have to bust the work out the day we get there and get the carpet laid. Plus we have no closet space because we don't have the remodel done.

Good times. The more the merrier, I guess. I just hope the mountain is open so we don't spend all of our time in lift lines.

Posted by Justin at 11:06 AM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2006

5" at Brian Head Last Night

Title says it all. Still hardly any terrain open, but hopefully with the additional snow on the way, the Giant Steps chair will open soon.

I had to come back to PHX for the Cardinals - Broncos game and just got home. Waiting to see when I am going to get back to the condo.

Posted by Justin at 07:01 PM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2006

Storm Coming to Brian Head, and It Is Needed

We are at the condo as we speak. Jake and Jackson both skied yesterday and today, plus hit up the mountain for night skiing too. It is mega-ice. But they don't seem to mind. I enjoy being able to walk and move in one piece too much to ski these conditions.

A major storm is heading this way and forecasts are for possible two to three feet. I spoke to one of the operations guys for the resort and he said no new terrain is going to open until next week at the earliest after this storm comes through. It has been too warm for snowmaking several nights last week.

We are finishing up the drywall in the condo today and doing taping and texturing. We put in the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, finished the drywall in the main loft, and finished the upper loft. We have carpet ready to install as soon as we finish the texture. As usual, early season ain't fun for us to ski, but we work while the boys ski the ice and man-made groomed stuff. It has been a pretty productive trip.

Posted by Justin at 09:22 PM

December 12, 2006

Snowbowl Letter Regarding Snowmaking Posted to their Site

Arizona Snowbowl General Manager posted a letter about the snowmaking controversy. It says in part:

The opposition groups are determined to delay us as long as the process allows, or to run us out of business. We hear them say that the ski area is acceptable in its current form. However, without change and predictability the ski area cannot be successful and they know that. Their actions and protests are hypocritical. If we attempted to slander, misuse the facts, and challenge their daily lives we would be labeled anti-Native American and persecuted in the media. Yet they not only get away with it, they continue to receive front page media attention!!

I believe we will succeed. We may have to wait the process out. We retain hope that during the summer of 2007 we will be constructing the snowmaking system and are ready for the 07-08 season. As you know we await the ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, the court has no deadline. Depending on the outcome we will move forward with our plans or defend yet another appeal. There is really no benefit for us to meet the local opposition head on with rhetoric or rallies as it will not influence the Court.

Read the letter. Points I have been making since last year. Skiing is a healthy active outdoor activity. It promotes tourism for communities that in some cases (see Alta, Telluride, etc.) would be ghost towns without the advent of their resorts. Flag is not one of those towns, but benefits greatly from having winter recreation.

The local (and in some cases distant) tribes want Snowbowl out of business. Some of them want it because Snowbowl directly competes with their own resort (Sunrise) and some want it because they claim the mountain is sacred. The tribed tried in the 70's to sue the area out of business and were slapped down by the Supreme Court. Now they claim they don't have a problem with the resort as it currently exists. It is a lie. Plain and simple.

The tribes are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to put Snowbowl out of business. They have gone so far as placing a urine filled commode and toilet paper on the mayor of Flagstaff's car outside a forum in which he expressed support for the expansion.

Because of "white guilt" as some call it, the local tribes are free to express outwardly racist sentiments, damage property, spread lies, and do anything that they can to win this battle. Instead of trusting in the judicial process, they have not only engaged in obstructionist lawsuits that so far have consistently been determined to lack merit, but have engaged in a deceitful war in the media. On top of it, they have enlisted the help of environmental groups and the White Mountain Apache tribe that have their own agenda to shut the resort down. None of them take into account the hundreds of thousands of skier visits during a good snow year or the population in Phoenix that uses the area as the only opportunity for winter sports within reasonable driving distance of Phoenix.

The prolonged legal battle continues to take away my opportunity to ski with my family two hours from my home and forces me to drive an extra ten hours round trip to Brian Head or four hours to Sunrise. How is my driving an extra 600 miles round trip better for the environment than using water that would be discharged into local rivers anyway to make snow and ensure that the ski area remains viable? But as long as I drive to the White Mountain Apache's reservation and Sunrise, that extra 400 miles of driving does not impact the environment because it means I am spending money at their Casino ski area. Yeah, that is good environmental policy. Smart move Sierra Club.

Posted by Justin at 03:18 PM | Comments (4)

December 10, 2006

Heading to Brian Head

Got the Green Light from my dad to take Jake and Jackson out of school and head to the Condo Wednesday through Saturday night. We are going to be working in the mornings and evenings and trying to get some skiing in between. OK, less work and more skiing than I am leading on.

Conditions still pretty much suck, but it appeared that today's snow is going to linger a little bit and hopefully leave a foot or so of fresh, which may permit opening some more runs. If we are still basically down to a couple of runs and crap snow, I will not spend a ton of time navigating things, but on a weekday before the Christmas Holidays, the place should be dead so that helps.

Goals for this trip::

  • Finish tape and texture of drywall in loft
  • Paint loft
  • Fix wood floor in loft
  • Install carpet in upper loft
  • Possibly put up drywall in downstairs bathroom.
  • Ski 3-4 days, conditions not sucking

This should close the work for the year up. And it is just the right time for it. The following week, Tera, Jake, and Jarrett are going up with me sans our 2 year old who is staying at Grandmas. Then the week after, Jake and Jackson as well as my dad plus some friends from Wickenburg are going. That gets us through until the New Year.

I have a ton going on next year, but as long as my job situation allows me to, I am going to stay in Utah as much as possible. I am hoping for a 30-40 day winter again, so I gotta get going.

Posted by Justin at 10:31 PM

December 07, 2006

Wolf Creek's New Chair Passes Load Test

Wolf Creek has announced that the Raven Lift has passed the Colorado Tramways lift test. In the picture the lift is loaded with approxamately 1000 lbs. in the barrels to simulate me and my fat buddies heading up.

The lift replaces the OLD Dickey Lift which was to the far right hand side of the trail map. Did I mention that Dickey was OLD. Crusty double chair. The lift serves mostly beginner and intermediate terrain, but this should free up seats on Bonanza and Treasure chairs.

New Raven Lift at Wolf Creek

Posted by Justin at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

Finally Some Good News From Brian Head

Brian Head posted the following on their website:

Chair 6 will be open with all terrain, Chairs 3 and 5 will be open with limited terrain.

All-day lift tickets will be $28 for adults and $19 for children and seniors until more chairs and terrain are open. Night skiing starts Saturday, December 9 with a lift ticket price of $12.

I believe I am heading up the week before Christmas with my Dad, Jake, and Jackson.

There was supposed to be snow this weekend, but that has been downgraded.

Posted by Justin at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2006

Jeff Legwold's Rocky Mountain News Blog Answers My Question

Jeff Legwold at Rocky Mountain News has a Broncos Blog and answers reader's e-mails. Well, he answered mine this week. Here is my question:

Q: In terms of quarterbacks in Denver, the bar that Cutler has to (meet) should not be Hall of Famer John Elway, but rather the two guys who started in Denver since Elway or the two quarterbacks drafted this year before him. Brian Griese’s second season as a starter, he led the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 102, won 11 games, and led the team to the playoffs. In three seasons in Denver, Jake Plummer has led the team to three playoff appearances and an AFC Championship Game and had seasons of 10-6, 10-6, and 13-3. Griese won a national title, and Plummer led Arizona State to within two minutes of a national title. Vince Young and Matt Leinart contended for or won the Heisman, won national championships, and are both struggling this year. Consider that in four years in college, Cutler never led his team to a single winning season and he played at a very mediocre program where there were no expectations. Vandy does not prepare a quarterback for expectations in the NFL, especially Denver.

What is it that makes Jay Cutler a better quarterback than either of the last two in Denver (Griese, Plummer) or the two drafted in front of him this year (Young, Leinart) -- all four of whom have played in Rose Bowls, finished top three in the Heisman voting, and either won or came within a play of winning a national title? Is Cutler’s talent so great that he overcomes the lack of expectations and big-game experience in college and outperforms these players who came from winning programs where they stood out?

He had a great response:

Interesting thought on it all. In terms of Cutler as a prospect, having lived in Nashville for two of his seasons as a Vanderbilt starter and having seen most of his games either in person or on video, I think what he did at Vandy was something that weighed in his favor when compared to the others on the board. He consistently performed, with few, if any some years, pro prospects around him in the Commodores offense, and he did it in what most scouts believe is the elite conference in the nation, especially when you're talking about pass rushers across the board year after year.

One general manager told me before the draft, "The question is not how Cutler would do at USC, the question is how Matt Leinart would do at Vandy?'' Cutler was the Southeastern Conference's consensus Offensive Player of the Year at Vanderbilt, it simply is one of the most difficult things anyone has done in college football in recent years. Leinart was surrounded by NFL draft picks, including another Heisman winner and a second-round pick in the backfield alone. The tight end was a draft pick, several linemen were draft picks over his career.

Scouts weigh all of those things, too. Cutler also never missed a game despite the punishment he took throwing the ball. He even ran the option the first two years and in his final two years was blitzed plenty because the Commodores didn't often slow down opposing pass rushers with a consistent running game. So certainly he got credit for all of that. That said, plenty of scouts also questioned the fact he didn't have a winning record, though I don't know how he could have.

Two words--Tim Couch. Same SEC. Same top notch arm. Same type of underachieving program, Kentucky. But Couch was a much better prospect, so good in fact that he went number one overall.

Every single thing that Jeff Legwold said about Cutler is what was said about Couch. And the same question marks were there. But Cleveland ignored the question marks. The difference between Cleveland and the Broncos is that Cleveland was horrible and an expansion team. The Broncos were 13-3 last year and 7-4 when they handed the franchise to Cutler.

They still are struggling to overcome that move. It would be a shame to have the Broncos and this single move set the franchise back that far. That is the problem with Shanahan in Denver. He gets credit for being this great offensive genius and no one questions his moves. This is one that should be questioned. Here is the main reason why which I responded to the blog forum:

Cutler is the QB of the future, but why not wait another 5 games to decide if Jake is the QB of the Past or not and let the season play out? Ideally, Jake’s performance over the next 5 games would determine whether he remains in Denver or gets cut and help make the decision of who starts or if there is even a competition next year. It seems to me that Plummer is already out the door and while that is not the worst thing for him, Cutler, or the Broncos, it leaves the team with Cutler and Brad Van Pelt and no proven backup to turn to next season should Cutler struggle. Find me another proven veteran backup that has won 33 games the last three years and been to the playoffs all three. At very least it makes sense to find out what you are going to do with the backup position next year.

This decision to start Cutler now means that there is no training camp competition next year. That decision has been made for next year too and that will make it difficult to attract a proven veteran backup. Does it make sense to make this kind of a commitment to a rookie and to put so much risk on the franchise? If Denver fans want to run Jake out of town after going 10-6, 10-6, and 13-3, how will they handle a sub-.500 season?

Posted by Justin at 02:12 PM

December 04, 2006

Bronco's Update - Mastermind Throws Away Season on Rookie

In terms of Quarterbacks in Denver, the bar that Cutler has to exceed should not be Hall of Famer John Elway, but rather the two guys who started in Denver since Elway or the two QBs drafted this year before him. Let's talk being better than Jake or Brian Griese before we start talking Hall of Fame.

  • Brian Griese’s second season as a starter, he led the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 102, won 11 games, and led the team to the playoffs.
  • In three seasons in Denver, Jake has led the team to three playoff appearances and an AFC Championship Game and had seasons of 10-6, 10-6, and 13-3.
  • Griese won a national title at Michigan.
  • Plummer led ASU to within 2 minutes of a national title. Damn you David Boston...
  • Jake finished third in Heisman balloting his senior year at ASU.

These are two starters for Denver that have had proven success in both college and the NFL. Now, let's start comparing to the two QB's taken before him in this year's draft.

  • Vince Young finished in the top three for the Heisman.
  • Matt Leinart won the Heisman.
  • Both won National Championships.

Consider that in 4 years in College, Cutler never led his team to a single winning season and he played at a very mediocre program where there were no expectations. Vandy does not prepare a QB for NFL, especially Denver, expectations. And let's keep in mind that the passer ratings for both Leinart and Young are in the mid-60's. Ironically, that is exactly the passer rating that Cutler had tonight.

My pressing questions are as follows:

What is it that makes Jay Cutler a better QB than either the last two in Denver (Griese, Plummer) or the two drafted in front of him this year (Young, Leinart)—all four of whom have played in Rose Bowls, finished top three in the Heisman, and either won or came within a play of winning a National Title? Is Cutler’s talent so great that he overcomes the lack of expectations and big game experience in college and outperforms these players that came from winning programs where they stood out?

Cutler may be the next future Hall of Famer in Denver. But then again, how has Alex Smith or Aaron Rogers looked lately? How about Eli Manning the last few games? What about Big Ben's 20 picks this year? How about Akili Smith, Ryan Leif, Cade McNown, Joey Harrington, Drew Henson, and Dante Culpepper? All of these guys were first round draft picks (or in Henson's case would have been) that have failed to develop despite having as good of physical tools as Cutler. And most of these QB's played at big time programs and went to Rose Bowls or major college bowls. For every Tony Romo who has a glimmer of success early, there is an Andrew Walter.

The two most successful young QB's this season are Phillip Rivers and Carson Palmer. And what do they have in common? Lots of clipboard time as rookies. And both of these guys played under Norm Chow as their OC. Anyone know who is OC at Vandy? Cutler is not prepared for the NFL no matter how good his arm is. No QB is. Alex Smith wasn't. Vince Young and Matt Leinart are barely getting the job done. But the Mastermind things Cutler from Vandy is.

Well throw away this season and prepare for next season to look a lot like the one the Steelers are having right now. It is rebuilding time in Denver.

Posted by Justin at 04:13 AM

December 03, 2006

JP at We Know Snow Has Some Eye Candy

JP at We Know Snow (aka Colorado Backcountry) has some seriously sick shots of the latest dump in Colorado.

I gotta give props to JP and his crew, especially Alex at Colorado by Alex. Both sites are on my favorites to the Right. JP and Alex are awesome photographers and if for no other reason than their photography skills, you gotta stop by their sites. Reading their exploits is even better.

Wil at 120 Days had an ill fated trip with JP last year at Steamboat that when told in person over an adult beverage had me dying laughing. Hitchiking back into town after getting lost in the backcountry and wedged next to huge cliffs. Ah, the joys of the season going full steam.

It is tough reading about my boys in CO tearing it up on sick powder days while I am stuck in AZ and my place up north has a whopping three runs open. But if you are jonesing for some pics and some pow, check the links.

Posted by Justin at 04:14 PM

December 02, 2006

Adam at Highly Obsessed Changes URL's

Adam at Highly Obsessed has changed URL's. Poor dude lives in Eastern Canada and the snow is seriously sucking--check that seriously lacking.

Show some love and drop by the new URL. Update your bookmarks. Etc.

If you don't read his site, start. He updates it frequently and has lots of good stuff. Anyone that has torn knee ligaments but tells his ortho that he is gonna blow off the arthroscopic surgery until snowboard season is over should get some props.

Plus the dude lives in Canada. He has to deal with whatever that other weird language they speak up there is. No, I don't mean French... I mean words like A-boot, as in, "What are you guys talking a-boot." No clue dude. I will have to prep to ski with him by drinking like 30 Molsen's and watching Strange Brew like 20 times. =) "Eh, Stop making fun of Canada you hosers." I watched an interview with one of the Phoenix Coyotes the other day and between the whistle from the missing five front teeth, I could barely understand his sentence because every other word was a-boot or eh. At least it isn't like the NBA where they ask "Know what I sayin'" after every sentence. And then, in Phoenix, we have Steve Nash. A damned Canadian NBA player. I can just imagine the combination... "Wanna say hey to my boys in Canada, eh. Know what I talking a-boot?" The very thought of hearing that makes me cringe.

Posted by Justin at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2006

Wil-Aid - Help a Blogger / Ski-bum Out

Wil is my boy. Phoenix native. IT Freak. Sports Nut. And Web Pimp extraordinary.

The last several months have been rough on him. He has had all kinds of crap happen to him with his business. From getting stiffed on work to having unethical folks just plain rip him off and disappear. The dude is self employed and had a job that allowed him to work remotely from Steamboat. He certainly isn't living the life of a king up there, but like most of us, can't survive on the $7.00 that they pay, especially with his web design skills. Small towns don't pay for crap for web folks anyway, so now with changing companies, he lost most of his stable work and clients.

We were chatting at a restaurant in downtown PHX two months ago about life in general and things seemed to be picking up. New job. New company. Well, now they stiffed him on $1,500. Dude has got to get back to PHX and back to work and is stuck in Steamboat at a friend's condo until the end of the week and has been using our buddy Jon Wade's corporate pass to at least get some riding in since he doesn't have any work coming in. Then he has got to make the trip back to Phoenix this weekend so he can start looking for work again after his boss screwed him. So that is his hard luck story.

Dude is about to panhandle to raise money. "Out of Gas trying to get to Phoenix for the Holidays"... you know the type.

So please help hook a brutha up. For just $1 per day you can feed some poor kid in Africa according to Sally Struthers. Screw that. For like $20, you can help a ski bum get back to his real job and earn a living again. Wil is a good guy. It would be a shame for the dude to have to start manwhoring again. He thought that was over when he kicked the junk. (j/k) =)

Posted by Justin at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)

Season Pass from BMSA

I just got my new Season Pass from BMSA. Beth Clark has done a wonderful job with changing the atmosphere and promoting the new BMSA image.

The Ski Industry is all about differentiation. There are so many resorts that seem exactly the same. Same names for their runs. I mean how many places have a run named "Sugar" or "Bunny Hop" or some such crap. Not Skibrokeback.

Check below the fold for the picture. After seeing the conditions, I am not sure if I want to two plank it or just ride the corduroy...

Brokeback Mountain Ski Area Season Pass

Posted by Justin at 12:03 AM