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February 28, 2007

Learn Some Etiquette

This last weekend was sick. Pow everywhere. But weekends bring out the gapers. Here are some tips to keep you from getting dirty looks and having me mutter cuss words under my breath:

  • Jumps are for folks that can hit the jumps. They are not for you to lollygag around. If you cannot get adequate speed to make it up to the crest of the jump without backsliding down it, stay off of it.
  • The person downhill always has the right of way, but if you are going to traverse because a run is beyond your ability, traverse safely, look uphill, and make a consistent pattern so that folks can tell what you are going to do.
  • Know what you are doing in pow. Don't block the packed areas and make folks that do know what they are doing stop in flat areas. I got cut off by a kid on a flat who had no clue and was laying crossways on the packed part of the trail instead of moving.
  • Beginners should stay on beginner's lifts. If you cannot get on and off of the lift, don't get on a lift that only serves advanced terrain.
  • Know the mountain. Know where you are going. Visualize your lines and be smart about it. Try to avoid dangerous intersections where folks are skiing at radically different speeds.
  • NEVER EVER STOP AND WAIT IN A BLIND SPOT. If you are downhill of a jump or drop off or you are around a blind corner, folks cannot see you. Clear the area right away.
  • Slow down when there is traffic. If you want to be Bode Miller, don't pound back a 12 pack and make sure to go somewhere away from slower skiing folks. There are plenty of places to go fast. Don't do it where there are kids and don't cut people off. Give them space to make turns.
  • Tell people when you are coming beside them. "On your right" or "on your left" goes a long way towards keeping folks safe.
  • Don't smoke in lift lines or in the middle of places where folks are waiting. There are plenty of places to give yourself cancer. I saw one a-hole that was in the middle of the lift line who was smoking with one hand and had a beer in another trying to get on the lift with his 8 year old kid.

Know your limits and be courteous.

Jake was making fun of these idiots that were traversing across the downhill side of a jump and looked like they just graduated from Learn to Snowboard School. He told me, "Dad, they are gonna get killed. What idiots. Why are they in the terrain park?"

Why don't they teach these sort of lessons before they even let folks step into their bindings?

Posted by Justin at 08:14 PM | Comments (2)

Heli-skiing on Someone Else's Dime

First, props to The Ski Journal for having tons of eye candy and well written articles. Side benefit, it is not filled with 500 pages of ads by the major companies and resorts that seem to be in every other magazine.

So how do they pay the bills without $$$ from the folks that pimp themselves in every other publication? Subscribers. Wow, that is like a first for a magazine...

TSJ has a contest to get new subscribers:

Mt Baker, WA – The Ski Journal is pleased to announce a special spring event and contest exclusively for subscribers, The Golden Wicket. One lucky subscriber will be drawn for an amazing package, including:

-One day at Whistler Heli-Skiing with Line Pro Eric Pollard
-Two days of skiing at Whistler Blackcomb
-Three nights at the Adara Hotel - Whistler's only contemporary boutique hotel
-A pair of 07/08 Line Skis
-Winner will also appear in an upcoming TSKJ videopodcast.

The Ski Journal’s Golden Wicket winner will enjoy Whistler Blackcomb'smassive acreage, incredible terrain and all that Whistler Village has to offer. Plus a day with Whistler Heli Skiing giving you access to over 494,000 acres throughout the Whistler Backcountry. Subscribe by March 10, 2007 to be automatically entered.

So you get a magazine that way doesn't suck and you could win some skiing at Whistler that sucks even less. Pony up the money for a subscription. Unless you like subscribing to one of those other magazines that are nothing but ads and articles pimping the $85 a day resorts and $1,000 skis. And if you have money to buy the $1k skis and pay for an insanely expensive lift ticket, then you have the money to subscribe the TSJ anyway.

Posted by Justin at 02:17 PM | Comments (1)

16" Last night at Brian Head

Title says it all. And it is still snowing. I am debating with Tera whether to head back up there this weekend. I was there last weekend and it was epic, but this weekend is gonna be all bluebird with fresh.

I will update.

Posted by Justin at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

Global Warming and Godwin's Law

For those of you unfamiliar with Godwin's Law of Internet Discussions, I am posting wiki's summary:

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a mainstay of Internet culture, an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."[1]

Godwin's Law does not dispute whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be apt. It is precisely because such a reference or comparison may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued,[2] that overuse of the Hitler/Nazi comparison should be avoided, as it robs the valid comparisons of their impact...

There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's Law. Thus Godwin's Law serves to impose an upper bound on thread length in general.

Just a primer for Ellen Goodman's article in the Boston Globe in which she makes the following statement:

I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

I add this to Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel's Statement from December on her blog:

If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming. (One good resource if you don't have a lot of time is the Pew Center's Climate Change 101.)

Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather.

This is scary stuff. And this is not scientific stuff either. The Scientific community should not run around intimidating scientist that offer alternative viewpoints or compare them to Holocaust deniers.

Global Warming Alarmists want us to believe that Global Warming is caused almost completely by man, is going to lead to massive hurricanes and rising ocean levels, is going to continue exponentially, will destroy the polar icecaps, cannot be reversed, and requires massive changes to our way of life or the entire world is in danger. And if you deny it, you are a Holocaust denier and should be ridiculed or stripped of your scientific credentials. I don't like scare tactics and while the science supports the existance of Global Warming, the rest of the Alarmist's argument is a political statement, not good science.

Again, I will point to things that we can do to save the Earth that do not require Global Warming to doom the planet as a motivating factor. First, we can recycle. Second, we can conserve electricity and gas. We can do tons of things to do that including car pool, turn lights off, use low energy lighting. We can drive cleaner vehicles. We can drive vehicles that fit with the size of our family, not with the size of our genitals.


Posted by Justin at 11:05 AM

February 27, 2007

Returning to Skiing

An article in the Denver Post describes what it is like to return to skiing after snowboarding for 16 years:

I stuck with it, having no idea that snowboarding would eventually dictate everything that happened in my life, from my career to the places I chose to live.

Sixteen years later, something funny happened. I noticed I wasn't snowboarding that much.

The perfect excuse to try skiing again came when I got an assignment from Ski magazine to write a personal essay about going back to skiing after my 16-year hiatus as a boarder. The idea for the story was that I would ski for a couple of weeks and take a few lessons with the goal that I would eventually ski Highlands Bowl and see if I could get into the same kind of terrain I could manage on my snowboard.

I headed out with a pair of women's specific mid-fat skis in a 153 (the same length as my board) and a fairly soft boot that was a lot warmer and more comfortable than the vices I wore as a ski instructor. The funniest thing happened:

I loved it.

Independent foot movement comes in handy when you're doing stuff like turning down a steep fall line, riding over variable terrain or traversing from one side of the mountain to the other. Better yet, these skis felt like a snowboard - only better. They were easy to turn, easy to carve, but a lot more stable and agile than my board is. I found great satisfaction in traversing to places I had dreaded going on my board, places that were simple to get to with a pair of poles. It was like being born again, rediscovering old terrain in a whole new light. I ended up skiing Highlands Bowl on my second day back, arching turns down the wide-open face of G8 and smiling so hard it made my face hurt.

I took my niece Elaina (12) skiing with Jake and Jackson last weekend. Dad and Mom both snowboard and when we stopped by to get her, my cousin Jeff was scoping my new K2's.

Twin tips, hourglass shape, wider, shorter. These are all things that we can thank snowboarders for. Snowboarding has been innovating clothing and lots of other stuff that has major benefits for skiers too.

Today's skis are radically different from those ten years ago. Skis let you traverse instead of hike. They let you move more freely. There is still this mentality that skiing is somehow uncool because everyone and their dog including 60 year old men want to snowboard. And maybe the old skis and the old style were uncool. But it was the very invention of snowboarding that has brought around the changes that are making skiing novel and cool again.

Posted by Justin at 12:18 PM

February 26, 2007

Three Footer Coming This Week to Brian Head

Never count your chickens, but this is the weather report for the next three days at Brian Head. These forecasts change frequently, but this appears to be a major storm coming through.


We are not sure if we are going up this weekend, but had planned to. Will update with actual totals.

Posted by Justin at 09:31 AM | Comments (2)

February 24, 2007

Two Footer and Bluebird Day at Brian Head

Title says it all and I don't have much time to spend blogging while I am getting ready to head up the mountain.

Took a couple of runs yesterday and it was awesome. Blinding storm though.

I am still having inner ear and sinus problems that are affecting my balance. I fell over while standing still again. Weird. Makes you wonder.

Posted by Justin at 08:57 AM

February 23, 2007

Deja Vu - Why Do TV Viewers Frakking Suck?

Imagine a critically acclaimed show that has legions of hardcore fans, but cannot get mainstream appeal despite moves to different nights and times. Ah, Arrested Development. AD sweated every season that the networks would abandon their show for "Skating with Celebrities" or "American Idol" or whatever crap Fox replaced the best written show on TV with.

Well, the landscape isn't that different for Battlestar Galactica. BSG got picked up for Season 4, but there is some reservation. I am telling you all this because it would suck to cut short the series before it hits 100 and ends up in syndication and has a chance to complete their story line.

For a while, things looked iffy for "Battlestar Galactica." After the Sci Fi Channel last month moved the third-season drama about a human resistance movement against an occupying race of robots from Friday nights to Sunday nights in an attempt to goose ratings, viewership remained stagnant. The network has ruled, however, that the show won't live by numbers alone: The Sci Fi Channel is expected to announce Tuesday that it has renewed the series for a fourth season. At least 13 new episodes will be produced this summer for a premiere next January.

The show's audience has always been modest, especially when compared with those for basic cable's "The Closer" and "Nip/Tuck," which typically reach double or triple the audience of "Battlestar Galactica." Since moving to 10 p.m. Sundays, the science-fiction show's episodes have averaged 1.7 million viewers overall and 1.1 viewers ages 18 to 49, the key demographic targeted by advertisers.

But "Battlestar Galactica" stands as one of the most critically acclaimed series on television. It also won the prestigious Peabody Award and was counted among the American Film Institute's top 10 outstanding TV programs two years in a row. Critics often describe the show in lofty terms, referring to it as a multilayered allegory for a post-9/11 world that raises questions about the ethics and politics of war...

Stern also pointed out that 510,000 additional viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic are watching the show on digital video recorders. They bring the total demographic average closer to 1.6 million, the show's highest numbers since Season 1. Advertisers, however, do not yet pay for the playback ratings because the general assumption is that viewers watching recorded programs fast-forward through the commercials. It could be a crucial point for the channel, and Stern is hopeful that the business model is shifting...

Bringing back moderately rated, critically hailed series has largely been the privilege of subscription-based networks such as HBO and Showtime [why do their names pop up and why does that always spell trouble], which don't make money from advertisers. The Sci Fi Channel acknowledged that "Battlestar Galactica" is the network's most expensive original series, but costs are also offset by strong DVD sales (more than 1 million discs of the show have been sold).

STOP TIVOing THE SHOW AND WATCH IT LIVE (and to a certain buddy of mine STOP DOWNLOADING IT OFF OF BIT TORRENT OR COPYING THE DVD's FROM YOUR BUDDIES). I spoke with my friend and we will refer to him as Mr. E (a reference to Mr. F from Arrested Development) who explained how evil corporations are and that movies and music and software should be free and copyleft and open source and so on. Then he pops in a pirated copy of the best sci-fi drama on TV at the time (and now it is in a tie with Heroes in my book). We watch the pilot mini series and I am hooked. He offers to burn me the DVD's. I went out and bought them the next day (from Walmart which will really piss him off) and explained that I believe purchasing products and watching advertising as repulsive as it may be is how they fund the development of the series and how they choose what to keep on the air. If I don't buy the DVD's and watch the show live, my voice is not heard and the shows I like will go off of the air. [inside note to Mr. E, I am only throwing the bomb of Walmart, corporations, and open source out there for you because we are heading north to ski sometime soon and we need something to pass the time between PHX and Summit]

I don't watch a lot of TV, but the shows that I will not and cannot miss include AD, BSG, Heroes, It's Always Sunny, The Office, Earl, Family Guy, and Futurama. Note how AD, BSG, Family Guy and Futurama all had the exact same stories written about them. Scary stuff.

Posted by Justin at 11:21 PM

February 20, 2007

Silverton Heliskiing a Possibility

The Denver Post has an article about Silverton's EIS including heliskiing and the resort looking at options:

Tucked into the several-hundred page environmental review the Bureau of Land Management delivered to Silverton Mountain in September 2005 - a six-year analysis that ultimately approved unguided skiing on BLM land surrounding the privately owned ski area - was a single sentence allowing for future helicopter skiing. It was largely unnoticed.

But as Silverton's snow safety crew expands the mountain's offerings onto distant mounts such as Storm Peak, helicopter-access skiing at the expert-only ski hill is a growing possibility. Silverton Mountain owners Aaron and Jenny Brill are negotiating with several helicopter operators to begin ferrying guided Silverton skiers to the farthest reaches of the area as well as help conduct avalanche control work.

The area's snow safety team is already using helicopters to access distant snow fields that typically require a two- to four-hour hike. The idea is to enlist paying customers to offset the snow-safety helicopter costs, Aaron Brill said.

"So after the heli might be in town for a morning control mission for us or the county ... we want to be able to fly a round of skiers from the top of the lift to the other side of the valley," said Brill, who envisions single-ride heli drops to runs that would take hikers as long as four hours to access, leaving the closer runs for hiking skiers.

Posted by Justin at 09:12 AM

American Selling Two More Resorts - This Makes 5 This Year

American Announces they are selling Pico and Killington to pay down debt:

MONTPELIER, Vt. --American Skiing Co. has agreed to sell Killington and Pico resorts for $83.5 million, four days after it announced the sale of Mount Snow in southern Vermont and New Hampshire's Attitash ski areas...

The Park City, Utah-based American skiing said the sales of resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire for $157 million, and planned sale of Steamboat resort to Canadian resort operator Intrawest Corp. for $265 million will allow the company to repay its $190 million in bank debt and $115 million in junior debt.

The sale of Killington and Pico, which is expected to be complete in 45 days, will leave American Skiing with Sugarloaf/USA and Sunday River in Maine and The Canyons, its flagship 3,700-acre resort in Park City.

If you are interested in buying a resort, this is what we call a "Motivated Seller".

Posted by Justin at 09:08 AM

February 19, 2007

Snowboarding History

I read the following article entitled "Snow Business" about the history of snowboarding. The article is certainly cynical and reminded me of a post I did last year Where Did the Rebel Factor in Being a Snowboarder Go. You can read more in last week's Skiers versus Boarders - From the Boston Globe.

I want to quote a couple of things from the article:

Today's snowboarding commercials depict stylish, attractive, athletic teenagers whipping through heavy powder on steep, backcountry terrain. The kid in the old Snurfer ads looked to be sliding down a hill with the grade of a nursing-home wheelchair ramp. Worse, in his bulky sweater, knit cap with the dangly puffball, and heavy woolen mittens, he looked about as extreme as Ralphie from A Christmas Story... Then in the late-1970s, a prep-school reject, college dropout, and Wall Street burnout named Jake Burton bought woodworking equipment with a $125,000 inheritance and started building his own version of Poppen's Snurfer in a friend's Vermont barn. Burton began selling snowboards out of the back of a station wagon. "I had to sell the sport as much as the board," he told Esquire last year...

Jake Burton still owns Burton Snowboards, the company he founded, and it has made him very, very wealthy. Burton Snowboards sells more than $100 million worth of snowboards and snowboard gear every year. Tom Sims entered into a lucrative licensing agreement in 2006. Never before have a sport's pioneers profited so extravagantly from its success...

It wasn't just the manufacturers that quickly cashed in. Local snowboarding star Craig Kelly, a Mt. Vernon High grad, was earning a six-figure salary by 1989, and became the subject of a lawsuit between Burton Snowboards and Sims Snowboards. Both companies argued that Kelly had agreed to endorse their snowboards and both companies asserted that his endorsement was worth $1 million...

But the marketing—first snowboards, then clothes, and now the HP Pavilion dv2000t Notebook—has driven this sport more than others, making millions for snowboarding's pioneers. Like a dad inventing a toy for his daughters, nothing could be more American.

But with snowboarding, more so than any other professional sport, it has always been difficult to tell just where the marketing ends and the sport begins.

Now for my buddies that snowboard and also love believe in open source software, movie and music downloading, using patents and trademarks to force out competition is wrong (see Amazon one click buying), and that industries should encourage innovation by constantly improving products not suing their competition--have a read of the testimony of Vanessa Price, an intellectual property attorney for Burton Snowboards:

My name is Vanessa Price, and I am the Intellectual Property Specialist for the Burton Corporation... Despite vigorous measures to protect our intellectual property through trademark and patent registrations, Burton has seen significant counterfeiting recently... Burton is deeply concerned about the rise in theft of our intellectual property since we do not have the resources it takes to combat or offset the effects of large-scale counterfeiting.

In recent years, Burton has expanded to include Gravis Footwear, Analog casual apparel, Anon Optics, and R.E.D. Protective Gear. However, this growth and popularity is not without a significant downside. Our industry has gone through considerable consolidation in recent years. Most of the snowboard manufacturers are seasoned competitors. Believe it or not, snowboarding has matured. Competition is keen and profits are shrinking, even as the sport grows in popularity...

As the Burton brand grows, we face significant challenges to our intellectual property rights. Burton has taken all available and appropriate steps to register our trademarks both in the U.S. and internationally. Currently, we maintain more than 60 trademark registrations in the United States alone. We have taken the additional steps of registering our trademarks with the Customs officials in the U.S., Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, PR China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Unfortunately, filing with Customs offers very scant protection, especially in recent months, where Customs officers are concerned more and more with national security. Burton also holds patents worldwide relating to our snowboard technology, including snowboard boots, bindings, snowdecks, and snowboards. However, despite these measures, we see growing evidence that our brand is suffering from counterfeiting and illegitimate sales...

Clearly IP theft is a significant and costly problem and there are too few tools available to combat it. The tools that are available are expensive and ineffective. The persons who profit most from counterfeiting are rarely caught or punished. The most serious threat they face is a confiscation of their fake goods. What are sorely needed are effective laws and vigorous enforcement mechanisms.

This is what Burton stands for. Massive profits. Copyrighting, trademarking, or patenting everything. Charging other companies massive royalties for using anything that Burton holds the patent on. And using that massive money to sign endorsement deals with anyone and everyone that even thinks about snowboarding professionally so that they have virtually no competition.

Burton is the RIAA and MPAA of the snowboarding industry. Profits for Jake Burton are more important than the good of the sport. Using patents and licensing of even the smallest innovations forces companies to pay Burton royalties for every snowboard their competitors sell, driving prices up. And further, because smaller brands cannot profit to the extent Burton does, and because smaller brands can't afford to keep Vanessa Price on staff as an IP Attorney, Burton simply uses their massive amount of capital to acquire any company that is a competitor.

So if you snowboard to stick it to the man or to be cool or to rebel against corporate greed and your day job where you have to dress up when you go to work, understand that your money spent being a rebel goes to the biggest corporate whore of all. And all the while, you think you are making a countercultural statement. And Burton is out suing folks to shut down anyone that doesn't pay their little monopoly.

Copyleft, Open Source, etc. Download off of Bittorrent while your sport is doing everything they can to choke out innovation with IP attorneys just like the RIAA was when they shut down Napster.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering what kind of patents Burton files then forces competitors to pay to use, check this out:

The present invention is directed to a highback for controlling a gliding board, such as a snowboard, through leg movement of a rider. The highback may be used with a component, such as a gliding board binding, a boot or a binding interface, that interfaces with a rider's leg and is supportable by the gliding board. The highback is comprised of an upright support member including an upper portion that is movable relative to a lower portion thereof for setting a desired forward lean of the highback. The support member may include a pair of mounting locations for mounting the highback to the gliding board component...

For ease of understanding, and without limiting the scope of the invention, the inventive highback to which this patent is addressed has been discussed particularly in connection with a boot or binding that is used in conjunction with a snowboard. It should be appreciated, however, that the present invention may be used in association with other types of gliding boards. Thus, for purposes of this patent, "gliding board" refers generally to specially configured boards for gliding along a terrain such as snowboards, snow skis, water skis, wake boards, surf boards and other board-type devices which allow a rider to traverse a surface.

Doesn't that pretty much cover every binding ever made? Here is a complete list of patents Burton holds or has filed. Have a read.

Posted by Justin at 02:14 PM | Comments (3)

Ski Journal is Out

The new edition of the Ski Journal just arrived.

My wife gets the new mag from the mailbox. “What kind of magazine is this? There are no articles. It is like all pictures.”

She apparently is looking for some Cosmo ski quiz on how to find your soul mate or what kind of sexual positions skiers like or whatever they print about Britney or Justin or Tom Cruise in the trash magazines she reads these days. It is rude to drive, talk on a cell phone, smack the kids, all while holding a latte—and try to read at the same time. I am waiting to get home the check it out.

“It is a coffee table magazine,” I explained, “and this is their first edition.” She continues thumbing through it trying to see what a coffee table ski magazine is supposed to look like. All she keeps saying is that the pictures are awesome.

Score one for mankind. Coffee tables used to be for setting down my bowl of Cap’n Crunch, resting my feet on, and for the Xbox controllers and TV remotes. I gotta figure out which one of the three to move, but the new Ski Journal is going on mine.

Posted by Justin at 01:53 AM | Comments (1)

February 18, 2007

It's a Fire Sale


American is selling another one:

SALT LAKE CITY — American Skiing Co. said Friday it agreed to sell Vermont's Mount Snow and New Hampshire's Attitash ski areas to Peak Resorts Inc. of Missouri.

American Skiing will sell the two resorts along with Grand Summit Hotels at both locations for $73.5 million, said Dave Hirasawa, the company's investor-relations manager.

Peak Resorts also will assume $2 million in debt and other liabilities at Mount Snow and Attitash, the company said.

Add this to Steamboat's sale last year. It is a fire sale baby. I am thinking about buying a resort. I am scraping together my nickles and dimes and might have enough to pick up my own resort. Anybody got an extra $50M laying around, let me know.

Posted by Justin at 09:16 AM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2007

Sunrise, AZ Apache Peak Fire - UPDATE

Updated Picture of Apache Peak Lodge that was destroyed at Sunrise (h/t Tim).


Posted by Justin at 06:44 PM

February 16, 2007

New Blog - Alpengluhen

If you leave me a URL in your comments, I usually go and check it out. I prefer trackbacks if you are going to post something to say about a post I have done because then it allows readers to come over to your blog via mine and read your comments. So there I am and I get acomment from Aplengluhen blog.

Like I said, I usually either e-mail you back or stop by your site and since he didn't leave e-mail, I browsed by. Awesome blog. So check at the right and it is added to my links. Another ski instructor like Jon at giving the low down on things like preparing for trips, tipping instructors (which if you don't do, you are a dirtbag), the industry, etc.

Stop by and check the articles out and leave some comments. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Justin at 03:00 PM

February 15, 2007

Skiers versus Boarders - from the Boston Globe

Yeah, my K2 Silencers and Atomic Stomps are pimped. Twin Tips rock and may be the biggest advance skiing since shaped skis. And based on skier numbers and the resurgence in skiing, they may be even bigger. Interesting article from the Boston Globe:

These days a new question has proponents on both sides in the following argument: Are snowboards or free riding on twin tips the coolest way to hit the slopes?

Conventional thinking has it that snowboarding went from establishing a beachhead in the stronghold of skiing to dominating the slopes.

Compared with skiing, snowboarding was hipper, mellower, newer, younger, more rebellious, more fun (certainly the boots were more comfortable).

But that is changing my friends.

But then something else started to develop, subtly at first: The advent of free ride skiing on twin-tip skis.

Free riders cruise the same terrain as boarders, but coming off a ramp or pipe wall, fly higher and do tricks with more variety, owing to the fact that they can move their skis independently.

A free skier might hit the ramp moving forward, sometimes skiing backward and looking back over his shoulder. The freedom of free riding begins with the fact twin tips can ski backward and forward equally well, setting up a variety of trick possibilities.

The appearance of free riding may be interesting in itself. But then consider a National Sporting Goods Association survey showing the trends in snowboarding, and skiing might have taken a counterintuitive turn. To wit: from 2004 to 2005, the number of skiers rose nationally nearly 17 percent, from 5.9 million to 6.9 million. During the same period, snowboard participation fell 10 percent, from 6.6 million to 6 million.

Perhaps more significant is that this constitutes the first drop in snowboarding since there was snowboarding.

Is two planking it cool again? Well, from a guy whose kids and baby brother ride twin tips, yeah. I watched Winter X with my oldest son and Tanner Hall rips it up. I know Shawn White is a pimp and Olympian and all, but the skiers were going higher and hitting the pipe harder than the snowboarders. Well, the half pipe since I am sure that Snowboarders can hit other pipes much harder. (subtle knock on snowboarders)

As a skier, I have been subjected to ridicule by my snowboarding friends that thought only snowboarding was cool and skiing was so last decade. Well, the tables are turning and I am on my second set of twins and my kids are jibbing and throwing down.

Check my Where Did the Rebel Factor in Snowboarding Go> from June of last year.

Posted by Justin at 11:23 PM | Comments (3)

New Gear - K2 Silencer Twin Tips

After the recent thefts at the condo complex, I have taken pictures of all of my gear. This is important because if my stuff gets jacked, the insurance needs proof of what I had stolen.

Pictures can be found here.

Now, on another note, since I didn't want to leave my Valentine's Day present up to my wife, I stopped by Sports Chalet before buying her new earings and bought myself a little present. (nope, no Ferrari or pump action this year)

These are the new K2 Silencers in a 179. Twin Tips with a black top side and fat pistol w/ a silencer on the base. I have a set of Atomic Stomp 186's that run 118/88/114 and are sick heavy and too wide. Not enough sidecut for groomers. But man are they awesome in pow. These new K2's run 112/80/108 or thereabouts and are shorter. I wanted something lighter (and they are not as stiff or as thick as my stomps) so that I can cruise groomers and maybe hit the park. I will throw a 180 here or there, but you gotta have twins and my others take too much effort to really spin. So this is pair number 3 of skis for me. A set of Powder skis, some Groomer carvers, and a nice set of twins.

Best part--$209 end of season deal. It was like stealing. Her new earings were more than that, so she still came out OK.

Posted by Justin at 11:13 PM

February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day Purchases

My wife actually reads my blog occasionally. Tonight she told me that she had no idea what to get a guy like me that is so picky and seems to have everything.

Then she read my blog and said I had a post that had the perfect idea of what she should get me for Valentine's Day.

Dude, I sure hope it is the Ferrari. =)

Posted by Justin at 09:44 PM | Comments (2)

White and Nerdy

Perhaps the funniest thing I have seen in a while. No, wait this is funnier and is the definition of "white and nerdy":

This gentleman is selling his 1984 Ferrari Testarossa on e-Bay. Awesome, but before I buy a car for $60,000 from a dude, I better check the feedback for antiques71. You know, to see what kind of buyer and seller he is. Let's have a look at the last item he bought from eBay user aftenterprises on November 30th...

Please endulge me by going to those links and seeing what Antiques71 is all about. Me thinks that after his November 30th Purchase, he does not need his Ferrari Testarossa anymore. I kept screenshots in PDF so that I have this around for a while after the links die.

Posted by Justin at 01:11 PM | Comments (4)

Green Article of Mine Appears in UK Environmental Site

I wrote an article that appears on the website about environmental issues in America. The last paragraph has a favorite quote:

It is important to separate the fluff that most companies use in their “environmentally friendly PR articles” with the substance of what we can actually do to have an impact on our precious resources. Recycle paper, plastics, and aluminum. It is simple. Teach your kids to do it when they are young so that it becomes a habit. Shut off your lights when you are not in a room. Save water. I can’t fix Green House Gases. Hell, I don’t know enough about them to know how to fix them even if I could. I don’t need to believe that Global Warming is going to destroy the Earth to know that recycling and saving resources is a good idea. Too many folks spend too much time talking about Kyoto and dealing with things at the Macro level that they stop focusing on teaching people about simple things they can do at the Micro level to impact our environment.

I have a hippie uncle who sold everything he owned and built a tree house where he lives. Literally. No joke. Being green doesn’t mean you have to be hippie that lives in a tree house. We don’t have to worry about Global Warming in order to know that saving gas or electricity or water is a good thing. We don’t need impending crisis to convince us to take these simple steps. Simple things are more important than PR opportunities or hysteria.

I am not a Global Warming alarmist. Whether the Earth is warming or not, we just don't have enough evidence to suggest that it is human caused versus being caused by the Sun, and we also have considerable evidence that the Earth has gone through repeated cycles of warming and cooling. I think it is naive to attribute global warming simply to greenhouse gases or to assume a human cause for natural occuring events.

That said, you cannot drive by an old coal burning power plant and think that fossil fuels are good for the environment. You can't sit in Phoenix or LA traffic where visibility is less than 10 miles due to air pollution and think that the H2 next to you with one person in it commuting to work is a good thing. You cannot drive by a landfill and see the products of our consumption sitting atop previous throwaway items. But perhaps worst of all is the pollution we don't see that is happening in China from their powerplants and poor industrial and environmental policies. They are polluting worst of all because of their rapidly expanding economy that serves our growing desire for throwaway consumer goods.

So places like Vail and Aspen sell green tags or use wind power. As if to say that Global Warming is the end of the world. It isn't and won't be. But it isn't the biggest threat we face. We face a very real threat of increasing cancers and asthma from air pollution. We face water shortages because of poor water use and algae blooms from fertilizer and chemical runoff. Our oceans are losing their fertile fishing areas due to pollution. We throw away more and more each year and our way of displaying affluence is to buy bigger and bigger SUV's.

Global Warming (if it is indeed human caused and if it is primarily caused by greenhouse gases) is something that the entire world is responsible for collectively. Consumerism and wastefulness are things that individuals own. Consuming water, electricity, gasoline, and so on are individual decisions that we each have the power to change.

Posted by Justin at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2007

Brian Head Trip Last Weekend (and Video of Jake)

This last weekend Jake, Tim, and I went up to Brian Head. Conditions were better than we expected. It hasn't snowed much over the last few weeks, but the snow was fairly soft and had good coverage on the runs (although some bare spots here and there that you had to be careful of).

I took the camera out with us and grabbed a quick video of Jake on Wild Ride off of Roulette. Had a blast skiing with him all day as opposed to letting him and Jackson do their own thing.

My old Atomic Beta Carve 8.18's have basically become my dad's skis. My mid-fats are my usual fare, but because of the packed conditions, I took out the old skis. Hadn't used them in almost two years. My mids are miserable on groomers, so consequently I forgot how fun it was to ride groomers. What a difference. My new skis are unstable at speed and don't carve on ice or packed very well, and I had gotten used to the way that they feel and perform. Moral of the story--use the right gear. I have two sets of skis for a reason and forgot how different a good set of all mountain carvers feel on groomed runs.

Posted by Justin at 02:24 PM

February 08, 2007

Fire Shuts Down Apache Peak at Sunrise

As you may know, I am engaged in a personal boycott over Sunrise and the WMA's support of the lawsuit to stop snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl. That said, Sunrise is a very nice resort. Staff isn't the friendliest (especially the Native American staff that for the most part don't ski and are the ones that run the lifts and retail). But the resort itself is a great place to ski when the snow is good. That said, this is extremely bad news for Arizona Skiers and for Sunrise Resort:

Fires damaged an empty rest area at the Sunrise Park Resort and knocked out power to the lifts on one of the resort's ski peaks.

The Apache Patio, located at Midway on Apache Peak, caught fire late Monday night and burned until Tuesday morning, resort officials said.

The fire was reported around 12:30 am on Tuesday and fire crews from the nearby communities arrived on the scene to battle the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The blaze also knocked out the power that operates the lifts on Apache Peak. While power has been partially restored, the entire peak will remain closed indefinitely, officials said.

Operations to rebuild and repair the lodge will begin as soon as possible.

While I don't like their politics and the WMA Tribe's actions, I hope they get the area rebuilt ASAP. When the lawsuit is over and Snowbowl wins (which they will), I will end my boycott and start driving back to Pinetop.

Posted by Justin at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)

Arizona Weather from

The Arizona Republic has this update on conditions. While I disagree that weather in the 50's is good ski weather, some snow coming bodes well.

Ski and snowboard areas near Flagstaff and Greer expect snow showers this weekend.

Arizona Snowbowl currently has packed powder at depths ranging from 11 to 32 inches, Snowbowl officials said. The Agassiz, Hart Prairie and Sunset lifts are all in operation with the Agassiz running only to Midway.

Weather conditions at the Snowbowl this weekend are expected to be great for skiing and snowboarding with partly sunny skies today, Friday and Saturday with lows in the mid-50s.

There is a slight chance of rain Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow showers are possible Sunday.

Sunrise Park Resort currently has 40 to 47 inches of packed powder on the slopes. Sunrise Peak and Cyclone Peak are completely open except for Cyclone Ally, on Cyclone Peak, Sunrise officials said. Apache Peak will be closed until the lifts can be repaired.

Partly cloudy skies and highs in the low 50s are expected today, Friday and Saturday, around Sunrise with a slight chance of snow showers Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

While conditions are good in most areas of the ski resorts, some areas have only thin layers of snow and officials urge skiers and snowboarders to be careful of obstacles.

Posted by Justin at 01:30 PM

February 07, 2007

Brian Head Trips This Weekend

About time I get back up to Brian Head. Jake, Tim and I are heading to Brian Head and taking some closets with us. I bought three new IKEA closets for the loft so that we get some storage room up there. They are crazy heavy so Tim is gonna be hating me. But free lodging is still free lodging.

Not a lot of snow on the way this weekend, but hopefully some. Next week might be better and Tera and the kids are planning on going up with me the following weekend.

I am really hating life because the place is finally done, but the snow sucks so bad that I don't want to spend 16 hours in a vehicle to ski groomed ice. Let's hope that this weekend and next week the storms start rolling in.

Posted by Justin at 04:29 PM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2007

And I Thought Getting Hit by a Snowboarder Sucked

Weirdness on the slopes at Sugarloaf:

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) - Dr. Ray Stone had no warning before he was knocked off his feet last month while skiing down the Haulback Trail at Sugarloaf/USA. "My first thought was, 'What hit me?...a (snow) boarder? drunk skier? linebacker?'" Stone wrote in a letter to The Irregular, a weekly newspaper in Kingfield.

It was none of the above. A whitetail deer attempting to cross the trail crossed paths with Stone as he was making a turn.

"I just never saw this deer coming," Stone said Friday. "I was going pretty quick down the top half of Haulback, arcing from left to right and all of the sudden I just got knocked right off my feet and I was falling."

Posted by Justin at 11:29 AM

February 05, 2007

iTunes, Tivo and TV Shows

I went almost two years without really watching anything but sports on TV. Then about two years ago, during the summer when life is slow and temps are hot in Phoenix, I caught a single episode of Arrested Development on Fox. I added Sunday (and later Monday) night to my schedule and AD to my Tivo.

I am still far from a TV junkie. First, I don't like cop dramas--you know, the CSI's, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Fargo, CSI Bakersfield, Law and Order, Law and Order Special Victims Unit, Law and Order Criminal Intent, Law and Order Minor Property Crimes, Law and Restraining Order, Criminal Intent. Is there a show that isn't about Cops that skirt the rules to make sure they get the right criminal? Plus I can't stand reality TV--Amazing Race, Survivor, Super Nanny, American Idol, Extreme Makeover, Biggest Loser. Dude, TV is just trash anymore. But there are about a half a dozen or so shows that I watch, and several others that are in reruns that I catch whenever I can.

Here is the lowdown:

  • Heroes
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • The Office
  • My Name is Earl
  • Futurama (which is coming back on Comedy Central)
  • Family Guy
  • Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law (Adult Swim baby)
  • Robot Chicken
  • Arrested Development in reruns on G4 and HDNet

Matter of fact, that is what the top shelf of my DVD collection looks like too, save Heroes which is in its first season. These are staples of my entertainment for road trips. Pop in a DVD of six or seven episodes of any of the above and you are 200 miles down the road and don't even notice.

The single biggest complaint I have about Brian Head and my condo is that the cable service there does not have Cartoon Network and my condo is on the north side of the building meaning I cannot get DirecTV.

Note, this is kinda lame to talk about TV, but I want to make sure that if I enjoy something, I pimp for it since I watched AD die because no one is watching. Everyone I have shown the DVD's to had loved it, but no one watched it when it was on. Family Guy and Futurama both got cancelled until Adult Swim revived them.

Posted by Justin at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

How I Want to Go Out

The Denver Post has this article on the death of a pioneer in avalance study:

Alta, Utah - A world pioneer in avalanche research died Thursday in Colorado while doing what he loved best - skiing.

Edward R. LaChapelle, considered the grandfather of American avalanche science, spent his final morning powder skiing. Within an hour of reporting chest pains, the 80-year-old died.

LaChapelle's legacy will long outlive him, experts said Saturday.

His decades of research on the slopes of Alta ski resort laid the groundwork for avalanche control in Utah. He authored the U.S. Forest Service's first avalanche handbook and developed a beacon to locate buried skiers.

A heart attack after spending the morning skiing at age 80. It is always sad to hear about someone passing. You always hope that you go out on top enjoying your life to the fullest and having lived a long and fruitful life.

Better than most Americans. Dead at 40 because they have a cheeseburger lodged in their coronary artery. Face down in a basket of fries. Spilled 44 oz. X-Large Coke all over the table in front of 'em and it takes 30 minutes for the 16 year old kid to notice they are dead when he finally comes out to mop up the mess.

Here's hoping we all live to 80 and our last day is a powder day in Colorado.

Posted by Justin at 10:16 AM

February 02, 2007

New Blogger - Erich

Erich is one of the regulars in our group that roadies around Southern CO, Utah, and Arizona. We worked together at a previous customer of mine and I will forever be indebted for him turning me on to Battlestar Galactica by busting out the Season 1 DVD's on our last roadtrip.

He is heading to Telluride this weekend for the annual Superbowl Ski Trip. He is absolutely the most clueless person when it comes to professional sports that I have ever met, and because he is so disinterested, he uses the weekend to get cheap accommodations at Telluride each year.

Waiting to see what he has to say, but I have never heard anything negative about Telluride.

Posted by Justin at 11:37 AM