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September 30, 2007

Frequent Sky Cards

Every year, I post about great deals that are available to cut the cost of skiing for folks. Every year, I post about two things (and this year I will add a 3rd because it is almost time for me to stop my boycott against Sunrise). Here is the first:

The Big Sky, Montana, Frequent Sky Card for $75 ($125 after Halloween):

  • $20 off the regular season window rate (Adult $55, Senior $45, Junior/College $35)
  • $5 off when adult window prices are $50 or less
  • 14 free ski days ( Sunday, November 25-Saturday, December 1, 2007& Monday,April 7, 2008-Sunday, April 13, 2008.)
  • Wednesday, January 2-Sunday, January 6, 2008 half price of regular season rate (Adults $38, Senior $33, Juniors $28)
  • 50% discount on Huntley Lodging (opening- Jan. 6, 2008; April 7-13, 2008) Additional dates available, contact reservations; some restrictions apply
  • 10% discount on any retail items in any Big Sky Resort outlet.
  • 25% OFF adult group ski/snowboard lessons any Saturday, all season.
  • Purchase after October 31, 2007: $125. No cards sold during free ski week or after December 31, 2007.
  • Two for One Tube Park Tickets after 6pm. Tubing down the Mountain is always more fun with a friend. Stop by Big Sky Sports to learn more about this new fun activity.

The first day of the free week pays for the card right there.

Oh, yeah, and add in that Big Sky has 4,000 feet of vertical and close to 5,000 acres... well, it is just a smoking deal. I am planning a trip to Big Sky over Thanksgiving that I missed last year. I never pass up a free day of skiing.

Posted by Justin at 07:46 PM

September 26, 2007

New Interconnect Photos up at Brian Head Resort

Brian Head Resort has updated their interconnect page with new pictures and info that the project is still on course for an on time completion. The lift towers are in and the project appears to just be waiting on the terminals and the bridge.

Brian Head Interconnect - Sept 25, 2007

Posted by Justin at 11:30 PM

September 25, 2007

Helping Out with Linux

Got an e-mail from a peer today who was in Linux hell. New Redhat server trying to run mysql and wordpress and for whatever reason the install was not working right and kept blowing up.

My first response--send me a shell prompt and a root login. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

So it is hunt and peck and pray time.

Two hours and a dead phone handset later and we have the server working, but there is something funky about her firewall, internal network, DNS, or something. The server works for me to the outside world and I can get to it, but she is having the page blow up.

Now, I am not asking for help or trying to figure out life's little mysteries. It just made me feel pretty good to do some troubleshooting and some Linux sys admin work for the first time in the last year or two. I sat there and busted out an old dusty O'Reilly book on mysql and was feeding her command line info. Trying to explain what "pwd" and "chmod" and "chown" and "mv" and "ls" were. And she keeps telling me, if you just wanted me to move that directory to this location, I can drag and drop it. Why you keep telling me to mv blah /blah/blah?

Good news is that it is for a new blog up north and I am so stoked to see it up and running. I know the author and read her myspace page and it is hysterical. I will post a link when it comes up.

Posted by Justin at 10:37 PM

September 24, 2007

First Snow in UT and CO (h/t Jon Wade and First Tracks Online)

First Tracks Online links to this story:

Salt Lake City, UT - A strong cold front combined with moisture from a Pacific storm to bring the first snows of the season to Utah's ski and snowboard resorts overnight. As temperatures in Salt Lake City dipped to the mid-40s this morning behind the front, snow was falling at elevations above 7,000 feet, decorating even the base areas of the higher-elevation ski areas with a fresh coating of snow. The system left up to eight inches upon the Wasatch Mountains before it's scheduled to start exiting the state later today.

Jon Wade over at Steamboat Springs Blog sends this little note:

It rained all day yesterday and I awoke to this beautiful sight...

According to CBS News in Denver Eisenhower Tunnel was closed last night due to a brief but intense snowstorm. Let it snow.

I checked the Kraft Family Webcam at Brian Head and there was a skiff of snow on the mountain there too.

Posted by Justin at 02:15 PM

September 23, 2007

Jeep Trip - Mogollon Rim from Christopher Creek to Strawberry

The Mogollon Rim Road is about 45 miles long and runs from Christopher Creek east of Payson to the town of Strawberry Northwest of Payson along the top of the Mogollon Rim.

Mogollon Rim Map

We left bright and early despite the possibility of rain in the area. Well, we got our rain. And hail. And lightning. And trees snapping in half and blocking the road.

Got pics of the storm brewing and some nice shots of Matt's and my Jeeps on top of the rim.

Nothing too exciting about the trail, but it is a beautiful scenic drive. Here is a link to the gallery with the pictures.

2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited

Posted by Justin at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2007

Jarrett Receives 1st Grade Math Award

So this makes two kids in school, two math awards.

Couple great facts about that:

  • I got a C in Calc I in college and decided I didn't want a Biology or Chem degree because I hate math
  • My mom has a Masters of Education in Math
  • My stepdad has a PhD in Math and is a college professor

Let's hope my kids are brainiacs from Smartron. My love for math and difficult subjects probably explains my Business Degree.

Posted by Justin at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

Jake Nominated for Pop Warner All-American Scholar Program and Receives 5th Grade Math Award

Details on the program here:

Each year, the most academically accomplished Pop Warner kids compete for Academic All-American status. This process begins at the association level and up through each of the eight Pop Warner regions to the national level. In 2004, approximately 380,000 kids participated in Pop Warner. As our numbers once again reached record levels, 276 First Team members, over 4,200 Second Team members and 900 Honorable Mention scholars were named as Academic All-Americans at the National Level for 2004-2005.

The PWLS All-American Program requires a minimum 96% grade point average to apply for All-American status. After the applications have been processed, Pop Warner determines National First Team All-Americans (35 football, 25 cheer per grade), National Second Team All-Americans and National Honorable Mention Scholars.

The criteria are as follows:

  • Currently be in 5th Grade or higher for the Pop Warner Season
  • Have a 96% Grade Point Average (GPA) from your previous school year's report card.
  • Have a Complete Full-Year's Report Card from your previous school year to prove eligibility

Wednesday, he received the 5th Grade Math Award for his school.

Straight A student. Loves football and skiing. Never swears, ever (I have no idea where this comes from because I am a Arizona Cardinals fan and he goes to games with me). Loves the Suns, Cards, and ASU.

The only negatives I can think of are that he beats the crap out of his brother and has an incredibly sarcastic sense of humor. And based on the way I have raised him, he gets both of those traits from me.

I am pretty proud of the Redhead.

Posted by Justin at 03:10 PM | Comments (1)

A-Basin Article from Rocky Mountain Post

This article about A-basin:

ARAPAHOE BASIN - This high-elevation ski area has never lacked for steep terrain with stunning views of the state's highest peaks. This winter, it's about to get a lot more of the same.

As A-Basin prepares to almost double in size this winter, ski area officials here hope the $3 million expansion will raise the area's profile among out-of-state visitors and address some of the crowding it has experienced as it becomes more popular among local residents.

"More and more people are discovering Arapahoe," said Alan Henceroth, chief operating officer of the 61-year-old ski area. "But if you go out of state, people don't really know about us."

With 400 acres of new trails on the backside of its summit, the area could prove an even stronger draw this season for Front Range residents. Its location on the western side of Loveland Pass makes it one of the closest ski areas to Denver.

Its perch along the Continental Divide allows it to stay open far longer than most ski areas, and its introduction of snowmaking a few years ago helps it with its annual race to open ahead of most rivals.

The eight-month season boosts its visitor count.

A-Basin attracted more than 360,000 visitors in 2006-2007, more than any of the other smaller, "gem" ski areas and almost as many as the 366,000 who went to the bigger Crested Butte.

I love A-basin. It was the first Colorado resort I ever skied at and I did it over Halloween weekend. How can you beat the white ribbon of death being open before my kids go panhandling for candy? One run. A gazillion skiing addicts. Cheap tickets. And skiing in October.

Lots to like about A-basin. A great place to ski. And Loveland and A-basin are the best ski values in Summit. Especially A-basin and the Colorado Pass.

Posted by Justin at 03:04 PM

September 20, 2007

New Gear for Jake - K2 Juvy's

Jake is now officially a "tween". Almost 11. 4'10". 90 lbs. Size 8.5 feet.

He is at the very end of "kids" ski gear. Most skis only go up to a 140 and most boots only go up to around a 25.0-25.5. I found him a nice set of Nordica Superchargers in a 26.5 which is an almost unheard of youth size and yesterday while returning Jarrett's season rentals from last year, spotted a brand new set of K2 Juvy's in a 149 for $219.00 at Ski Pro.

Jackson is skiing a set of Salomon 1080 Thrusters in a 150 (adult ski) and now Jake is in a 149. Jarrett just graduated to the big kid's school of skiing and gets to move up to Jake's old K2 Escape 125's or maybe the Salomon 1080 Fish 130's Jake was using last year.

But the best part was Lindsey was with me and grabbing skis off of the kids shelf. The skis for Girls rock. I am so stoked to go ski shopping with her in another couple of years. They have some seriously cool stuff. But for now, Jake's Juvy's rock pretty hard.


Posted by Justin at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)

Site Blow Up Yesterday

Yesterday, I went to publish a new post and the site blew up. Every single static page got wiped and would not rebuild.

Problem was that the server's system status reporting was saying that I was over my disk space quota and when I used MT to rebuild the homepage and other pages, it could not write to the directories and publish.

So if you noticed the site was down or you got a blank page, this is why.

Posted by Justin at 03:19 PM

September 19, 2007

Brian Head Interconnect Still Iffy

I went up to Brian Head for a short trip to finish the drywall and heater/fan in the bathroom. Got a chance to talk to a couple locals including one at the resort and they keep saying the lifts are going to be done by opening day. It is now less than two months away and the bridge still is not in and the terminals are not set. Foundations are poured and the lift towers are ready to go in, but the bridge and the terminals are the show stoppers.

I got a ton done on the condo and it is actually ready for the winter. Bathroom is finished (except a little paint), tile is done, and we added a new thermostat, fixed the fan, and put in a new heater in the bathroom. It looks absolutely awesome.

I am planning another trip north to finish the paint before the ski season starts, but finally, the place is done. No more mess. No more projects for quite a while. Here is my wish list of stuff to do that is left:

  • New entry door and redesign the entryway to make it more usable
  • New sliding glass patio door to better utilize the space and get more light in
  • New fireplace

I am in no hurry to do any of these and honestly am putting the place on the market in the next couple months. I hate to even think about selling it, but I have a couple of business deals that are going on and it is going to get harder for me to make it north enough to be worth the $1500 a month that it is costing. Plus I am not sure that the market up there will appreciate enough to make it a good investment.

I say all that, but in reality, I am probably putting it on the market just for show so that Tera will think I am trying to be responsible. In the meantime, I am gonna ski as much as I can until March when the business really gets going. From there, let's hope I am successful and don't need to even think about selling it.

So if you know anyone that wants a pristine, remodeled condo that sleeps 7 plus another 3 kids comfortably, lemme know.

Posted by Justin at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2007

WaPo Article About Big Sky (somewhat dated)

Big Sky is just sick. Verticle. Steeps. Snow (400+"). Acreage. Uncrowded. I cannot say enough how Big Sky has every single thing that makes a resort great. Lift tickets are $20 less than Vail or Aspen and the resort is growing with new condo developments and base area improvements every single year.

Folks like the Washington Post are noticing too:

When American skiers start talking about really big resorts, the conversation generally turns to huge mountain meccas such as Colorado's Vail, where the yawning back bowls offer endless powder; or Lake Tahoe's Heavenly, where some runs are so long they start in Nevada and finish in California; or those paired areas in Utah, Alta/Snowbird and Solitude/Brighton, where a single ticket gives you access to every lift on two connected ski hills.

But this winter, the biggest single ski site in the United States will be found far from those famous destinations, in a secluded corner of Montana barely a snowball's throw from Yellowstone National Park. Two resorts operating on opposite faces of 11,166-foot Lone Mountain -- the well-established Big Sky Resort and its perky young neighbor, Moonlight Basin -- are offering a combined lift ticket that provides access to 5,512 acres, with 23 lifts serving about 220 distinct runs.

All those Montana acres tend to be uncrowded as well. Big Sky and Moonlight Basin are so remote from the more familiar skiing centers of the Rocky Mountain West and so far from population centers (the nearest city, Bozeman, is a pleasant university town but nobody's idea of a metropolis) that they draw relatively few skiers. Vail reports about 1.5 million skier visits each season; the Montana twins total about 350,000. Big Sky, which has lift capacity of 32,000 skiers per hour, averages just 2,000 skiers per day.

The result is that lift lines are unusual at the Lone Mountain resorts, and untracked powder is easy to find.


Posted by Justin at 09:04 AM

Helmet and Season Pass Use (h/t First Tracks)

This from FTO regarding helmet and season pass usage:

Among the most prominent trends noted in the 2007 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Demographic Study is the continued aging of the visitor base, with strong growth in skiers and snowboarders aged 45 and older. The fact that older participants are being retained in the sport in significant numbers is a welcome trend for the ski industry, while at the same time raising concerns about introducing the next generation to the sport.

The average age of participants has risen steadily from 33.2 in 1997-98 to 36.6 in 2006-07. Specifically, since 1997-98, the proportion of visitors aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.4 percent; the proportion of visitors aged 55 to 64 has almost doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.4 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and older has also almost doubled, from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent.

Age differences across different regions of the U.S. are dramatic. The Midwest has the youngest visitor base with a median age of 22, followed by the Southeast at 28, Pacific West at 32, Rocky Mountains at 39 and the Northeast at 40.

This year’s study also indicates a continued increase in helmet usage. Overall, 40 percent of survey respondents were wearing a helmet when interviewed, up from 38 percent last season and 25 percent in 2002-03.

Season pass usage also continues to rise. Thirty-one percent of respondents owned a season pass this season, up from the 26 to 29 percent levels during the prior five seasons.

First, I am a huge proponent of helmet usage. I like my grape. My kids wear helmets. I make them. They have never really skied without one, so it becomes second nature. And with the cool helmets now days and the add-ons like my Skull Candy ear phones, skull caps, and so forth, I actually prefer having my helmet to the years and years of wearing a hat.

It is also good that the sport is retaining older skiers. These folks buy real estate, spend more, and usually are bringing their kids skiing with them, helping the long term viability of the sport. And folks are skiing enough and resorts are pricing passes like the Colorado Pass low enough that folks view season passes as a good investment.

All of these trends are positive for the sport.

Posted by Justin at 08:55 AM

September 12, 2007

Why Lindsey's Breath and Nose Have Smelled So Bad

Lindsey has had a nasty sinus infection for the last three weeks. The smell has been unbearable. Nasty discharge. Green and putrid.

Finally, Tera took her to the pediatrician to figure out what it is and get some antibiotics.

Well it wasn't an infection. 9" long piece of string wedged in her nose. Couldn't see it, but the doc said almost instantly when Tera described it "Foreign Body". I guess they get this all the time.

Her breath literally smelled like ass. Like she was eating her own poop. Mints didn't help. I thought she had something serious wrong. This is for all the parents out there.

Posted by Justin at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)

Alta to Debut RFID Ski Products

For those that don't know what RFID is, it is an embedded chip that has called a Radio Frequency ID that is a unique identifier. We use them for prox badges and identification on hardware assets and lots of companies use them to track shipments.

This from First Tracks Online:

NEW TICKETS: Alta is implementing a skier-friendly, web-friendly, hands-free ticketing system. All ski products will be loaded on the Alta Card, which will have an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in it to allow access through entry gates to the lifts. The hands-free system means no more showing a pass at every lift. Skiers place the Alta Card, with a valid ski product loaded on it, inside a pocket by itself and leave it there for the day; antennas will do the rest. At the end of the day, skiers can visit and enter the Web ID on the Alta Card to personalize the card, track ski history and reload the card. On the next ski day, skiers can go straight to the lifts and skip the extra stop at the ticket office.

Tell me that doesn't rock.

Those crazy folks at Alta. Want an old fashioned ski experience so they boot the boarders and get rid of the terrain park. Then they go and get rid of the ticket office and lift tickets for passholders. Like skiing in 1960 only with RFID.

Posted by Justin at 12:43 AM | Comments (4)

September 11, 2007

Condo Bath Remodel

BTW, this is what we went to Utah for. We were finishing up the bathroom remodel for the condo. This is the last room we have left to do.

New Condo Bathroom

Pics of the bathroom can be found in the photo gallery.

Posted by Justin at 12:25 PM

Car Trouble

Last week, we headed up to Brian Head. So the Avy has 150k miles on it and had never had shocks and struts redone. So prior to taking the fam on a 1000 mile roadie, I took the truck to the shop. Turns out it also needs a tie rod. $1000 +/- later, but the thing rides much better.

Just as soon as I paid off the budgetted repairs, I get the license plate renewals for the Jeep and the Avy. There is another $800.

On to Utah. The truck is not running real well and is occasionally struggling to climb hills at 75. Weirdness. But we get there and all is well. On the way back, we are halfway between Hoover Dam and Kingman in the middle of nowhere on a 105 degree day and boom. The thing just dies. No power. Dead. I have had this happen to me 100 times before in my old Mustang (ask Tera and Jeremy about what happened). I figure it is the fuel pump and hope... pray... that it is just a bad fuse or a clogged filter. We call Geico for a tow into Kingman.

Nope, not the fuse and it is the fuel pump. The part alone is almost $500. Then there is removing the driveline, siphoning the gas, and dropping the tank. New filter. 5 hours of labor. And to top off the $1050 bill (which I haggled down to $900) is that the part isn't in stock. We spent the night in wonderful Kingman in a hotel with three kids who missed two days of school over it.

So I get back and the tires on the truck are about dead. 45k miles on them and they are rated for 50k. Not in bad shape and have enough tread left that they are still pretty good tires. I figure it is about time to go back to 16 inch rims. The 20's ride like crap because of no sidewall, plus they are hurting the gas mileage. I have a set of brand new tires in a 16" on the Jeep and figure that I can sell my 20's and tires for enough to pay for a set of rims for the Avy. Then I will swap the Jeep's 31x10.50's that are new onto the Avy and put new tires on the jeep (which I have been wanting to do anyway). Net is that if I sell my old rims, I get a new set of rims and tires on the Avy and new tires on the jeep for the cost of a set of new tires. Rims and tires = $2100 (which I haggled down to $1800 at Discount by grabbing price quotes and refusing to pay for their certificates and warrantee and lifetime whatever whatever).

  • Shocks, Struts and Tie Rod - $1000
  • License for Jeep and Truck - $800
  • Fuel Pump - $900
  • Tires for Jeep - $1200
  • Rims for Truck - $600 (less probably $500 for the old ones)

That is over $4500 any way you slice it. In the span of a week. But the jeep now has 33x12.50's and the Avy has new tires and a new suspension and a new fuel pump and both are legal to drive again. And the jeep looks pimped. I will post new pics of it shortly with the new rack on top.

I am heading to the credit union to withdraw from the savings account so that the mortgage doesn't bounce. =)

Posted by Justin at 12:03 PM | Comments (2)

September 06, 2007

For My Red Headed Son Jake

And just for good measure:

Posted by Justin at 11:30 PM | Comments (1)

September 02, 2007

New Interconnect Photos and Info

I am in Brian Head for the weekend and have an update on the Interconnect. First, the bridge is not done and we are already in September and a little over two months away from the start of the season. The lift situation looks a little better. Most of the equipment is already up the mountain, but the terminals don't look like they are here yet. Everyone seems pretty confident that the lifts will be done and the bridge ready by opening day in early November. I am still not 100% that it will be done in time.

Here are some pics posted in photo gallery:

Posted by Justin at 10:12 PM