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December 29, 2007

Photos of the Brian Head Trip

The new photos are up in the gallery of the trip. I will be adding more later, but these are what we have for now.

Here is Jake poaching some pow off of the Navajo Bridge today.

Jake skiing powder

And here is Jackson doing the same.

Jackson skiing powder

Posted by Justin at 03:55 PM

A Little Night Poaching

Poach v. - to ride a closed run, a closer area, or to ski without a valid ticket.

Texas Ski Pants n. - wearing blue jeans while skiing

Kodak Courage n. - To do stupid sh** simply because there is a camera pointed at you

I have been whining because I am getting bored taking green runs at Brian Head. Well, I figured out how to entertain myself. Topless night poaching during a snowstorm in Texas ski pants. Video quality sucks because it is completely dark. But commentary is great. Not great conditions, but we have a location that you can drop into from the car and pickup down below. I didn't get to ski Loveland Pass and do the whole hitchiking thing while in Colorado last week, so this was at least worth doing.

Posted by Justin at 02:50 PM

December 28, 2007

Brian Head Snow Update

I skied yesterday and today at Brian Head with an entire condo full of friends and family. I mean mad house. We packed 9 people into the condo and it was overflowing. We are lucky we didn't get busted for all the noise we made during the first half of the ASU-Texas game which was in part some serious profanity aimed at Rudy Carpenter. You gotta get rid of the ball. Nah, probably more at the offensive line for missing blocks and the defensive ends and outside linebackers that kept losing contain. Unless you missed it, 52-34. But enough about the second whoopin' in three games by a national powerhouse...

We have two first time snowboarders with us and another two guys that have maybe five or six days on the slopes under them. Great news for all of them is that Flint and Cameron wear size 12 and 13 boots and it happens that I have two boards and boots that fit them. Carson fits into my size 12 Nordicas that my dad usually uses and is skiing my K2's and Atomics. We have been switching off during the day. That leaves only Tim that has to rent and he got a smoking deal at Georg's, which is an awesome place to rent gear. $22 per day. And the skis are nice Atomics that appear to be only a year or two old.

The snow the first day was sketchy at best. Windblown and icy. We tried out the new Interconnect and I have some issues. There are some serious flat spots, some even uphill, that you have to get through and there isn't enough vertical to build speed to get across them. My chest is sore from using my poles over and over. The worst is between Navajo and the new chair 1. We headed over to Bump and Grind, grabbed some lunch, and took a run or two in the PM. An entire day of maybe 8 runs. It was cold, but nothing compared to Thursday.

Yesterday redefined cold for me. Standing temp was zero with a 20 mph wind. Wind Chill approached 20 below. My nice Burton gloves (and while I am not a Jake Burton fan, their gloves and some of their other gear are so well designed that I gotta use them) that couldn't keep my hands warm, even with warmers in them. I called it a day when my fingers stopped hurting and went numb because given my blogging and job, having fingers is a real plus. I have a fat pair of polypro thermals that Outersports.com hooked me up with in April. They are the warmest thermals I have ever used and well worth the price. They run under $20 for the black heavy weight ones that I have and they are well worth the investment. Unfortunately, they are in Phoenix because I decided to bring them home and wash them last trip. Note to self, never wash ski gear... wait, that probably wasn't the moral to the story. Blame Tera... nope, still not the point. Perhaps I should be a little more careful about packing. At least I brought the towels back from the house. Upside was almost a foot of fresh, which kept me fighting the cold and taking runs.

Cameron and Flint were in ski school, but the line for lessons was so long that they missed the cutoff for the AM lessons and were stuck in the lodge for half the day. Jarrett spent his second straight day in ski school and Amelia, his instructor, was absolutely awesome. I am figuring early 20's and an SUU student, but I didn't ask. She got him two days in a row and had a class of two kids in Level 3. Note to readers, TIP YOUR SKI INSTRUCTORS WELL. $10 is decent. You are gonna drop that on lunch and it at least buys the instructor their lunch and gas for coming up to their $7 an hour job.

Speaking of instructors, Carson and Timmy got Justin as their personal instructor. Private lessons baby. Timmy is tearing it up. Carson is really starting to get it. A little bit of a struggle with his right hand turns and a little struggle to stay carving on steeper stuff. I took them down Wild Ride that has about a 100 foot vertical drop that is the steepest thing on the mountain (which is sad in and of itself). That didn't end so well for them, but I gotta take them places that are more difficult every once in a while. After they fell four or five times, they both ass slid down. I took a different approach. Since it was a powder day, I got a good start, and dove face first with skis up and front slid down. Powder conditions rock.

It brings back fond memories of when I was at that stage and Jake was about where Jarrett is now. It has been 5 solid years of 20+ days and I am finally completely bored of Brian Head. Don't get me wrong, on a powder day, I would ski a corn field with a rope tow made out of a pickup truck, but unless the snow is great, the only reason to go out is to coach friends and hang out.

So here is the summary--it was cold. 10" of fresh, but at the top, it is almost completely gone from the wind and icy as can be. I stayed away from Giant Steps because of the cold and wind, but Roulette was decent once you got past the top where there was minimal coverage. Navajo was great and this is the first real time I have skied over there. I did some postholing when I tried to ski through the trees and hit some flats. The Interconnect makes life easier when changing mountains, but if you snowboard and don't like stepping out and walking/kicking, the shuttle still runs between mountains and isn't a bad idea. Chair 1 was on wind hold for a while yesterday (and that may be a recurrent theme) so the Interconnect wasn't an option until around noon. The condo realistically sleeps 6-7, 9 is pushing it. All around, a day that is memorable only because of the cold, not because of the skiing.

Posted by Justin at 07:37 AM

December 26, 2007

Air Drives

Got a request for a review of the new Air Drives earphones.

First impression was they took a little getting used to. I had to take off my Skull Candy Giro helmet phones. Minor issue. Then I had to get used to wearing something other than earbuds (which I cannot wear when I ski because they block out the stuff I need to hear and they hurt my ears because of their shape).

I got on the lift with Jackson and kept my iPod down at a moderate volume. Not a lot of bass, but that is due to the fact that they are over the ear, not in the ear. The sound quality other than that was great. But the best part was that I could have a conversation and have some background music too.

I was seriously impressed. I can use them in the gym (which I am not going to because I am lazy and busy). I can use them while I am working so I can hear my wife bitching at me about never paying attention to her, but I can also conveniently claim to not be able to hear her at the same time. Best of both worlds, I can ignore her selectively and have an excuse.

They are a little pricier than iPod earbuds, but comparable to my over the ear noise cancelling headphones (that I can't wear except on road trips and planes). I am stoked because they are awesome and because I GOT THEM FOR FREE. Thanks Romeo for letting me check out the new technology.

Posted by Justin at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2007

Road Trip AZ

Got a new link to Road Trip Arizona.com which is a blog dedicated to the state of Arizona and all of the beauty that it contains. I played football and wrestled for a 2A (now 3A) school, Wickenburg, and during the course of my 4 years wrestling varsity and two years playing varsity football (since I suited for home games as a Freshman and Soph but did not travel), got to see most of the state. My personal favorite places around are Payson, Prescott, Flag, Heber, Pinetop/Show Low, and the rest of the mountain towns that stretch from the Bradshaws to the White Mountains. As most readers of the site know, one of my favorite things to do in the summer was to Jeep, but sadly, I sold another Jeep which makes my third Wrangler that I have owned, loved, then sold in favor of practicality..

RTAZ has an article about snowmaking at Snowbowl and describes a little bit about Sunrise and the hypocrisy of their stand on snowmaking. Not super long or detailed, but he sums it up nicely.

Check out the site if you are interested in more on the debate.

Posted by Justin at 01:13 PM

December 24, 2007

Zales's New Diamond Ad (h/t Kevin)

My cousin Kevin sent me this:

Posted by Justin at 11:42 AM

December 20, 2007

Running the Numbers

I use Beaver Creek as an example, but in reality I am referring to any major megaresort--you know, the ones that the ski magazines drool about. This is more an illustration of the pros and cons of major destination skiing at a high end resort (Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breck, Keystone, Park City, Whistler, etc.) versus skiing at a smaller resort in the Rockies that costs half as much but also offers less. I am going to run down the resorts that I have skied and compare and contrast them:

Colorado - Wolf Creek, Beaver Creek, Loveland, and A-Basin
Arizona - Snowbowl, Sunrise
Montana - Red Lodge, Big Sky
Utah - Alta, Brian Head

What you find is that once you find a place that you really like, you tend to go there until you find a better deal, get bored, etc. So I am an Alta guy because I just like it so well because of the price, location, skiers only policy, snow quality, and experience that I never drive to the other resorts in the area. Now, I am probably going to have a tough time ever going to Vail because Beaver Creek is so awesome and I have yet to even scratch the surface of all that is there. I am not sure how to compare Beaver Creek to Vail to Keystone to Breck when you couldn't touch all the mountain on any of them in a week or solid skiing.

I am assuming that for folks with the Colorado Pass, they choose their resort based on snowfall numbers, location, or just plain familiarity. So since I haven't skied all the resorts, I leave it open for more comments and info. This is somewhat generic, but there are just too many resorts to know everything about. For the most part though, the mega resorts are that way for a reason--they have a lot to offer and all compare very favorably to the next tier or resorts.

In my mind, there are three categories of ski resorts. Megaresorts. Midsize resorts (and this is a broad category). And places that just plain blow. First, let's talk about the mega resorts. You are going to get a well developed base area, great restaurants, touristy bars, lots of high end shops, and a few high end hotels. Expect lots of folks that are crazy rich and have really nice stuff. Expect people in $1000 jackets riding $2000 worth of gear on groomers who look crazy pimped sipping lattes at the base area. Folks from the East Coast can't get this kind of snow or experience so expect most folks are destination skiers or locals that get really good pass deals or work at the resort. Lots of folks from Europe, etc. Just a different kind of guest. But folks don't come for just the base area. The mountains are massive, but you gotta have the skills to relly enjoy it. And the money to spend because it ain't cheap. EVEN WHEN YOU GET A GREAT DEAL.

The next category is the smaller Rocky Mountain resorts and most East coast resorts. Places like Wolf Creek or Bridger Bowl or Brian Head. Usually these resorts are smaller mountains and do not offer the same level of amenities as the big guys. Not as much vertical. Off the beaten path. Poor airport access. No development rights. Less snowfall. But far lower prices. So then it is a matter of what you are willing to sacrifice. All of these resorts are missing something and it is up to you to decide what you are willing to sacrifice. I am willing to sacrifice shopping, dining, amenities, and nightlife but not snow. I would rather ski powder at a small resort that offers nothing (i.e. Wolf Creek) than ski crap snow at a more developed resort.

I won't get into the third category of places that just plain suck, but they are out there. Usually they have a couple old doubles that some other resort took out 20 years ago.

Beaver Creek was the first place that I didn't have to worry about a sacrifice. I look at the things that I usually am willing to give up. First, I give up base area amenities. I like to stay in town where I can afford it anyway. Then I give up nightlife. Then I give up some of the massive areas and vertical. What I usually don't give up is snow.

I can't get over the $92 price tag. So now it really highlights how good the Colorado Pass is. Season pass at Key, Breck, A-basin, and then the free days at Vail and Beaver Creek. I am just hating that I don't live in Colorado. The Beav and the Colorado resorts are so affordable for locals due to VRI's passes. I can't help but sing their praises. If you want to ski these resorts, you just have to look for deals and I am able to ski Vail and the Beav for the same price as Brian Head.

Posted by Justin at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2007

BEST... DAY... EVER! - Beaver Creek, CO

I owe massive debts of gratitude to a couple friends... one that hooked me up with a condo for the night and the other that hooked me up with a half price lift ticket at Beaver Creek.

It has been probably three years since I skied something other than Brian Head when they were more than partially open and had good snow. I think that I forgot what real skiing is. I think in my little myopic world view, that skiing at a Brian Head is actually real skiing. It is family skiing. Taking cruisers with my kids and friends isn't the same as ACTUAL SKIING. The last real skiing moment that I had was Alberta at Wolf Creek.

Clay and I left Phoenix at 9:00 PM last night in the Avy. We had two things on the agenda--some IT work at Beaver Creek and a training class in Denver on Monday. If we left on Friday night and drove all night, I could squeeze in a day of skiing. But I would be crazy tired when we got in. Got into Beaver Creek at 9:30 AM and I was on the slopes by 10:30 AM.

I met Bermuda Bob on the second run I took. I was looking for something over off to the far left side of the mountain and ended up taking several laps on the Rose Bowl lift on Spider and Ripsaw and Web. We cut across on Harrier to the Grouse Mountain Lift.

I was a gaper. I couldn't get over it. 10 degrees. Crystal clear. Blue Skies. Fresh snow. Had to stop over and over just to admire the view. And then I got to the top of Osprey. We have all kinds of "play" black diamonds and an occasional fake double black. Sunrise calls some runs double blacks that are a joke. This was no joke. Almost 2,000 vertical feet of double black diamond goodness. One run that has double the vertical drop of the entire mountain at Brian Head. The resort just kept rising and rising. 4,000 vertical feet. It was the first time I rode a high speed quad since Alta two years ago. That is how sad and sheltered my life has been since we bought the condo and got season passes.

I have rarely felt truly humble. Bob humbled me. 60 year old man who just burned my quads and kept stopping and looking over his shoulders to make sure I was still there. And I was. He kept asking me which way we should go, but it is his mountain. He knows it. He skis it. So it was "where are we going, show me the way, I'll keep up".

I couldn't walk up the stairs to the condo and had to take the elevator. I can't even lay down because I am so worn out. BEST DAY EVER. It has been a while since I pushed myself at all. I may spend the rest of the year with the kids, but as of right now, I actually feel like a skier again. It just rocked. Beaver Creek rocks. (And so do Caroline and Daren who hooked me up today)

Posted by Justin at 06:16 PM | Comments (7)

December 13, 2007

Mike Huckabee's Iowa Campaign Commercial (Parody and Funny)

Huckabee is running for President as a Republican. It is rumored that he has a direct dial line to God.

Anyway, sorry to get all political, but this is hysterical. I try to keep this blog a-political, but this is a must watch for those of us that like politics.

Posted by Justin at 02:11 PM

December 12, 2007

Phoenix Ski Pro was a Rockin' Last Night

Went down to Ski Pro in PHX last night to get a ski bag for Jake's new Juvy's. I have gotten into this habit of storing everything in bags in my condo closet and labelling them so that I can just grab the bag instead of fighting with figuring out whose poles go with what skis and digging everything out when we go skiing.

Anyway, Ski Pro was the busiest I have seen in a while. Tons of folks getting jackets and gear and getting stuff tuned that hasn't been used in a while.

For all the doom and gloom about La Nina, the snow has come awful early to AZ and southwest Colorado. Let's hope that it keeps it up because this is good for Flagstaff, Sunrise, and all of the businesses that sell us gear.

Posted by Justin at 09:23 AM

Arizona Snowbowl Opens Tomorrow

Apparently the Hopi Gods are pleased with the 9th Circuit ruling because they have allowed the Snow Gods to drop some freshness at Snowbowl in time for Christmas. Snowbowl is sporting a 40" or thereabouts base.

Sunrise is also opening this weekend and my buddies Tim and Erich already sent me an invite that I have to decline due to my trip to Denver. Sunrise also has good snow.

This morning, I awoke at 6:00AM so some thick fog. It still has not cleared. The storm dumped on Phoenix for the last week and a half and may help get some water in our depleted reservoirs. But who cares about a drought. All I care about is that it leaves enough snow to get some skiing in. See, I am selfish like that...

UPDATE: I spoke with several religious leaders including Gov. Mike Huckabee who speaks directly to God (the Christian God, not the Mormon God) who thinks this is a ploy by the Navajo and Hopi Gods to defuse your lawsuit by claiming “see, Snowbowl doesn’t need snowmaking”. Joe Shirley is behind these snow storms. James Dobson has come out in support of the recent snow storm and of snowmaking in general, but cautions that if we don't teach intelligent design, I am no longer allowed to say "Pray for Snow". Instead I am only allowed to say "Think Snow". Oprah is holding a rally today about it. =) I love primary season.

UPDATE: I am getting folks that stop by and think I am hating on the Mormons. Nothing further from the truth. I am pointing out that Mike Huckabee and other religious leaders that support his run for the Presidency are saying some pretty funky stuff about the role of religion, God, and government in making decisions going forward. I am stating flat out that I believe that Joe Shirley and Mike Huckabee are akin when they make government and political decisions about religion first. Huckabee and his backers are the ones talking about who believes in the "real" Jesus. I think the whole thing is kinda funny myself. But this is not my political blog. I will save those comments for somewhere else. check www.sayanythingblog.com and look for Justin B.

Posted by Justin at 09:18 AM | Comments (5)

101" in 7 days at Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek has received 101" in the last seven days including another 14" in the last 24 hours. 101" is roughly one quarter of the annual snowfall expected in an entire season.

Oh, yeah, and today is Local Appreciation Day which means $27 lift tickets.

I am headed to Vail this weekend for a day and then on to Denver for some training. I am going to try to ski Wolf Creek and Vail if possible and have all of my gear home from the condo just for such an emergency.

Posted by Justin at 08:56 AM

December 11, 2007

Starting the Season and My Neck is Killing Me

The snowstorm that was supposed to dump 2-3' on Brian Head never got completely on track. Turned out to be right around 1'. That said, it helped a ton. BH is about 20% open, not counting the new terrain that cannot open due to the bridge delay. Heard from one of the ski patrol that there is a problem with one of the lift towers on Chair 2 or else Giant Steps would be open providing top to bottom skiing. They are waiting on a part.

I had two things happen that I am not super pleased about. I cut over from Blackfoot towards the Giant Steps run that had not been groomed and had some nice soft pow. Had to take a lower line than I wanted and just raked across a rock and a stump. Nasty gashes. Early season conditions don't like brand new skis. But it didn't get to the core, so a little wax should help.

The second bad thing happened on the last run of the last day. We were coming down and getting ready to grab a bite and roll home. I have a brand new set of K2 Silencer twin tips and was screwing around skiing switch. Almost down the hill. Bam, caught an edge and went down on a man made groomer, backwards. Slammed the back of my head into the slope. And to make things worse, I wasn't wearing my helmet for the first time in forever. Had on a hat instead. I literally saw stars and everything went quiet. My head is killing me and my neck is aching.

The worst falls are never on steeps (unless you are jumping off cliffs or skiing above your ability). They are on groomed greens when you catch an edge. Falling on steeper terrain means that you are hitting the ground at enough of an angle that it is a glancing blow. This was brick wall stuff.

I haven't blogged it so far, but I was 280lbs by the end of last season. I am a naturally big guy at around 6'2" or 6'3". But 280 is just huge. I decided at the end of last season that I was gonna lost 50 lbs over the summer. I started the ski season at 225lbs this year. Last Thursday, I bought new ski pants and a new jacket since none of my old gear fits me. And last season, my K2 Silencer 168's couldn't hold me at all. Way too small. Not anymore. My entire body feels different and I am a whole different skier. I went from XXL pants and jacket to wearing an XL jacket and size LARGE PANTS. And both of these are too loose.

Posted by Justin at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2007

Grand Opening of New Lifts at Brian Head

Got an e-mail invitation from Brian Head Resort. Not sure if I am supposed to post it, but I am anyway. The resort is throwing a party in celebration of the new lifts and runs. You must RSVP for the party, but I think all of the other events are open to one and all.

Brian Head Resort would like to cordially invite you to join us as we celebrate the inauguration of the much anticipated expansion of our ski area. We’ve connected our Giant Steps and Navajo Mountains with two new chair lifts and a beautiful new skier bridge over the highway. Oh yes, we’ve also added nearly 35% more terrain to play on! Please join us in our celebration, and Come Ski What’s New.

EVENT SCHEDULE
ALL EVENTS HELD AT THE BASE OF OUR NEW SKIER BRIDGE.
(Please remember to wear winter clothing.)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14

1:00 P.M. Catered lunch.

2:00 P.M. Inauguration ceremony – Grand Opening of the new chair lifts and skier bridge.

5:00 P.M. Special holiday event at SUMMIT, Brian Head's newest master planned community.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15

9:30 A.M-4:00 P.M. LIFT TICKETS 50% OFF when you bring four cans of food to benefit "Iron County Care and Share".

12:00 P.M. Free BBQ for the public at the base of the new Wildflower chair lift. Music and ongoing fun activities including a visit by Santa, snowman building contest, a special display by Land Rover of Las Vegas, and a snowboard "rail jam".

3:30 P.M. Apres ski begins. Live music and refreshments.

5:15 P.M. Torchlight parade followed by a fireworks extravaganza.


Posted by Justin at 12:01 PM

Warren Miller Takes on Global Warming

Got sent a link to a new skiing blog today and was reviewing it. Came across this article from the Pimp Daddy of skiing, Warren Miller.

If you are to believe Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who also received an Academy Award for his documentary about global warming, everyone should immediately sell any ski or snowboard equipment they own and give up their futile search for powder.

To that scenario I say, “Forget it, Al!” All weather is unusual and the snow will show up and everyone will forget all of the doom and gloom of last winter...

After many years of traveling the world, everywhere I’ve filmed the weather was always unusual. Do I think the unusual weather conditions during the last decade are based solely on internal combustion engines?

A resounding, “No!” ...

There are many other factors besides Al Gore that affect the overall temperature of our planet. Of great significance are solar flares and cosmic radiation. One solar flare explosion can be the equivalent of several dozen atomic bomb blasts. When the radiation collides with the earth’s atmosphere, it causes more clouds to form and they lower the overall temperature.

So put all of this information together and chances are you will be making your winter reservations at the same time based on when we had them last year. Scientific evidence relating to potential snow conditions is completely irrelevant to your winter vacation plans.

So get out in the garage and tune up whatever you will be riding on this winter, get your body in shape and try not to get freaked out by Nobel Prize-winner Al Gore. Even though he did invent e-mail and the science of global warming in the office of his air-conditioned, 22-room home, that is fortunately a very long way from any ski resort. Or, at least, it’s a short flight in his private jet.

Warren Miller makes movies too. Probably better documentaries than Al Gore does.

The UK Independent has this article on changes in solar activity that may just hold the key to Global Warming. Color me surprised when they point out that this gigantic ball of molten energy that appears for approximately half of each day and causes the hemispheres of the Earth to experience hot and cold cycles called “seasons” based on the amount of energy the receive from it may actually be more important to the temperature of the globe than the Carbon Dioxide emissions and “greenhouse gases”.

What is problematic is that the Independent's editors think that the prospect of a mini-Ice Age, starvation, and famine provide a "RAY OF HOPE" to combat global warming. I guess that perspective relies on you believing Global Warming is a major problem and not a cyclical event caused by the molten ball of gas we call a "SUN". I am afraid that the cure may be worse than the disease.

Sunspots – dark magnetic blotches on the Sun’s surface – come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle of activity first noticed in 1843. It’s related to the motion of super-hot, electrically charged gas inside the Sun – a kind of internal conveyor belt where vast sub-surface rivers of gas take 40 years to circulate from the equator to the poles and back. Somehow, in a way not very well understood, this circulation produces the sunspot cycle in which every 11 years there is a sunspot maximum followed by a minimum. But recently the Sun’s internal circulation has been failing. In May 2006 this conveyor belt had slowed to a crawl – a record low. Nasa scientist David Hathaway said: “It’s off the bottom of the charts… this has important repercussions for future solar activity.” What’s more, it’s not the only indicator that the Sun is up to something.

...Following the discovery of the cycle, astronomers looked back through previous observations and were able to see it clearly until they reached the 17th century, when it seemed to disappear. It turned out to be a real absence, not one caused by a lack of observations. Astronomers called it the “Maunder Minimum.” It was an astonishing discovery: our Sun can change. Between 1645 and 1715 sunspots were rare. About 50 were observed; there should have been 50,000.

Ever since the sunspot cycle was discovered, researchers have looked for its rhythm superimposed on the Earth’s climate. In some cases it’s there but usually at low levels. But there was something strange about the time when the sunspots disappeared that left scientists to ponder if the sun’s unusual behaviour could have something to do with the fact that the 17th century was also a time when the Earth’s northern hemisphere chilled with devastating consequences.

Scientists call that event the “Little Ice Age” and it affected Europe at just the wrong time. In response to the more benign climate of the earlier Medieval Warm Period, Europe’s population may have doubled. But in the mid-17th century demographic growth stopped and in some areas fell, in part due to the reduced crop yields caused by climate change. Bread prices doubled and then quintupled and hunger weakened the population. The Italian historian Majolino Bisaccioni suggested that the wave of bad weather and revolutions might be due to the influence of the stars. But the Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli speculated that fluctuations in the number of sunspots might be to blame, for he had noticed they were absent.

Looking back through sunspot records reveals many periods when the Sun’s activity was high and low and in general they are related to warm and cool climatic periods. As well as the Little Ice Age, there was the weak Sun and the cold Iron Age, the active sun and the warm Bronze Age. Scientists cannot readily explain how the Sun’s activity affects the Earth but it is an observational correlation that the Sun’s moods have a climatic effect on the Earth.

This is hugely problematic. Global Warming is not a problem. We are at the top end of a solar cycle and the direction that things go from here is uncertain. Does the Earth continue to heat like a hockey stick, which is completely unsupported by both historic evidence and by the results of any scientific study? Historic evidence has very dire predictions for the Earth. Historic predictions are that the Earth will experience a cooling period like it has several times over the last several million years. And if it is like the mini-Ice Age, that may mean starvation and famines, not simply rising ocean levels and more storms.

Posted by Justin at 11:46 AM

December 04, 2007

Good News for Arizona Snowbowl - 15-27" of Snow Last Storm

The Arizona Republic reports the good news from Snowbowl:

Chances are good that the recently dropped snow will help the Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise Park Resort kick off the start of their season before Christmas.

“It's looking, of course, a heck of a lot better than the past couple of years,” said Dave Smith, director of sales and marketing for the Arizona Snowbowl.

The San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff received 14 inches of dense, wet snow at the base of the mountains and 27 inches mid-mountain.

“That's the type of snow you want to get a ski area open,” Smith said. “The snow bonds really well with the other snowflakes. It solidifies the base.”

Good stuff. I need to start calling Dave Smith about comp'ing me some lift tickets for my tireless crusade against the Sierra Club, Save the Peaks, and the various Tribes. =)

Posted by Justin at 11:13 PM

Brian Head Expecting Big Storm This Weekend

Note that the link will update over time, but as of now the National Weather Service is predicting snow all weekend:

Thursday Night: Snow likely. Cloudy and windy, with a low around 27. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Friday: Periods of snow. High near 27. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday Night: Periods of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 20.

Saturday: Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26.

Saturday Night: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16.

We are taking our first ski trip of the year this weekend to grab my gear for the trip to Denver and to finish some minor work at the condo.

Posted by Justin at 06:26 AM

Wolf Creek 100% Open, Receives 51"

Wolf Creek is 100% Open.

I guess that means it is time to shill for them again. I absolutely love the place. 1600 acres of everything you could ask for. Steeps, Glades, no lines (spring break gets a little busier on the main part of the mountain) and the best snow in Colorado. Plus it is affordable.

I have to go to Denver next weekend for a business meeting and plan on stopping. I didn't go to Wolf Creek last year for the first time in the last five years. I miss Alberta. The glades rock and there is never a line. It is good that the place is totally open.

Posted by Justin at 06:19 AM

December 02, 2007

Yesterday

Just in case you want to see the redheaded State Champion. Please note that these are crappy camera phone pics.

Far West Steelers - #77 Jake Blackburn - State Champions Jr. Peewee 2007

And here he is still in his game pants on the field at Sun Devil Stadium after ASU ends the Wildcat's season.

Jake after the 2007 ASU vs. U of A game - Sun Devil Stadium

Posted by Justin at 08:09 PM | Comments (1)

Brian Head Storm Total is 25"

Brian Head rec'd a total of 25" from this current storm. Not enough to do more than cover the smaller rocks, but every little bit counts. This will compact and start forming our base. I am estimating that another 36" or so and at least half of the resort will be opened with groomed terrain. This just augments the snowmaking and allows them to open terrain much faster.

Sticks and Stones may break my bones, and that is why I don't ski near the edges of the White Ribbon of Death.

Posted by Justin at 08:00 PM | Comments (1)

STATE CHAMPS

The Far West Steelers (11-0) faced the Gilbert Monsoon (11-0) at Chaparral High School yesterday. In 11 games, Gilbert had allowed ZERO POINTS. THAT IS ZERO. Generally, it is difficult to beat a team when you can't score. Two things ended yesterday--their string of shutouts and their string of victories. My oldest son Jake played offensive line for the Far West Steelers in the Jr. PeeWee (9-10-11) Pop Warner league in Phoenix. Never played a lick of defense all year. Then the kid that Jake shared time with on offense broke his arm midway through the first QTR. Jake played both ways the entire game after playing a total of maybe 10 defensive plays the entire season.

We played the entire first half on our end of the field and aside from a huge long run, we allowed them to dominate us. Our offense was only on the field for a total of 14 plays in the first half. But at the end of the first half, we were only down 16-7. But they had to kick to us.

The opening kickoff, we punched them in the mouth. 7-8 yard carries, one right after the next. Got the score back to 16-14. We onside kick every time. I was working the chains and guy on one end told the line judge, "You wanna see an onside kick worked to perfection--watch this." And like clockwork, we had the kick back and four plays later, we were up 21-16. That was great until they scored with 5 minutes left to go up 24-21 after we fumbled the ball away to them. They have the ball back and go for the dagger. Run a reverse pass and the kid fumbles the ball. We recover. And then go four and out. The game was over, but they need one first down. Third down and 4. We stop them and call out last time out. 1:13. Fourth down. Either they get a first down and win or we stop them and get the ball back with a minute left. Stoped a half a yard short and now we have the ball, down 3.

First play, we run off tackle for 7 yards. :50 left. The next play our QB throws a 45 yard bomb hits the kid in stride to take the lead back. As soon as he let it go, the game was over. Just a perfect pass. We intercept their desperation pass at the end in one of the best games I have ever watched. 27-24.

Sorry to give you the longwinded version of a Pop Warner story, but we spent the entire drive over and most of the last week talking about what it takes to be champions. Five times in the last two years, he has sat next to me and watched undefeated teams lose their first game in the playoffs. Wick and Blue Ridge this season. Wick, Seton, and Round Valley last season. I have been telling Jake all year that you win the game on the practice field. You win it by preparing. You win it by outhitting your opponent. By out executing them. And when it is 4th down and you need a yard or it is fourth down and you need a stop, you win it by taking it. Round Valley beat Wickenburg by taking the game from them on two 4th and 1's. SL finished off BR by MacArthur taking the game away on 7 yard out on 4th and 5 inside the 20.

Jake wasn't supposed to start and had a terrible game two weeks before. Never played Defense. And all of the sudden, there he is getting his number called and playing every down when his team needs it. And he did it on the practice field. By working hard all year. Hard work and preparation showed up. I was screaming with :25 left at Jake "WHAT PLAY YOU GONNA RUN? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLAY?" Victory Formation. Take a knee. When that is the very last play that you run for the entire year, that is the best feeling in the world. Heck of a life lesson to learn at 10. And the kids on his team were just awesome.

And afterwards, he didn't even have time to change out of his undershirt and game pants before we went to ASU for the Devils game.

Posted by Justin at 09:29 AM

December 01, 2007

Brian Head gets First Real Snow

The first real storm of the year strikes Brian Head:

Brian Head Resort is now open for the 2007-08 season, and Mother Nature has given us 17" of fresh powder overnight! Current base depth is 15", and we're expecting more snow today. Chair 3 is running today with 3 runs open, and a terrain park with some boxes and rails. Lift tickets this weekend are $15 for adults, children and seniors, and children under the age of 5 ski free with a ticketed adult.

The WROD might only last a few days. Let's hope this storm drops another 20" on the resort before it moves on. Build that base baby.

And hopefully this does not delay the bridge.

Posted by Justin at 06:47 AM | Comments (1)