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October 31, 2007

Reading for the Preseason - Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum

Got a copy of Wayne Sheldrake's book in the mail the other day as now more and more PR folks are using the power of bloggers to spread the word about their products and bloggers like me are using the power of our blogs to get free stuff.

The book is a little dark, especially in the beginning. I guess I never really thought about why folks become ski bums. Usually they are running from something. Maybe it is an ex and a bad breakup or maybe it is a bad childhood or other problems. I think the details sometimes are hard to listen to from people that you think are just free spirirs. Then I think about my uncle Lynnie. I still remember him with a can of Animal Beer in his hands, and usually a dozen in his stomach teaching his nephews to fish and hunt and camp and cuss. He always had a van of some sort and you never knew he was coming until he would show up. Just to stop in and stay a day or as long as your driveway had room for a van. Then just as quick, he would say goodbye and be gone again. He died a week before my son Jake was born. Barely 40. He loved the mountains. You never ask these people what makes them tick because they will have 20 stories for you and never really answer your question. But you will enjoy the 20 stories and forget you asked one.

I wondered about the title--Instant Karma. As I read the book, all of the places seemed so familiar. Wolf Creek. Treasure. Alberta. Even the parking lots at Wolf Creek. The name of the book comes from a story about poaching runs without a lift ticket and the consequences of losing most of a ski season because of a wreck that day. I remember skiing Wolf Creek with Jake (Big, not Little) and Erich and taking lap after lap on Alberta with a couple guys from Summit who were there because an epic blower had skipped the north but dumped on Wolf Creek. The guy was telling me that he was skiing on yesterday's ticket, but as long as you get past the main lift first thing in the morning and get to one of the side lifts (like Alberta), there is usually only one lift operator working it and they never check tickets. Wolf Creek simply stamps the date on the front of their lift ticket or a special word jumble for the day and most times they never check. About midway through the day after cutting fresh line after line through the glades, ski patrol is waiting at the top for him. I was riding the lift with him when it happened. Not a complaint. Just, dude, can we cut through the glades on the way down. It was the last run of his day. But he wanted to make the most of it.

While lots of folks debate the existence of "God" with a Capital G, I always acknowledge and pay tribute to both the snow gods and the football gods. I don't believe that I can change the universe with simple actions. I cannot influence storms to change track. I cannot convince the gods of physics to have that long pass land six inches beyond a receiver's hands. But I never leave that to chance.

We are all so lucky to enjoy skiing. To enjoy life. I enjoyed the book and it brought out a lot of memories, not just of skiing, but of the faces and people that I have met along the way.

Posted by Justin at 04:14 PM

October 30, 2007

Skier's Thumb Update

OK, so we know that I have a thumb problem. Dr's office said it was a fracture. Almost certain it was a UCL tear and going to require surgery.

Well, good news. It isn't a fracture. It is a tear, but not a complete tear, meaning no surgery. Plus it is already a month and a half since the injury so it is already healed enough that doing an MRI isn't worth it right now. We know it is injured. The joint is now stable enough that it will probably heal.

Here are the options:

  • Immobilize it completely or a short period of time to make sure if finishes healing.
  • Splint it when I am using it to reduce the possibility of further damage.
  • Physical Therapy to strengthen it and increase range of motion.

I told my Ortho that I am an avid skier and his jaw dropped. There is not a worse thing I can do with this injury. I am going with the latter two options and the doctor recommended a custom splint to use while skiing. There is still a pretty significant chance that skiing may reinjure it, but the good news is that this season is saved.

I was so prepared for the worst. This turned out infinitely better than the alternative.

Posted by Justin at 04:18 PM | Comments (2)

Preparing the Kids for the Season

Went to the condo a couple weeks ago with Jake and Jackson. Every year they outgrow their stuff. I keep buying stuff big and even then they outgrow it. Both hit a major growth spurt this year but it looks like both are good on the boots for another year or two.

Here is my gear checklist:

  • Skis - both are in 150's this year with Jake on his new K2 Juvy 150's and Jack on his Salomon 1080 Thruster 150's. Jarrett is gonna either be on Jake's K2 125's or on the 1080 Fish 130's.
  • Boots - Jake has new Nordica Supercharger 26.5's and Jack has a year old pair of Rossi 26.5's. They actually have the same size feet. Jake is gonna be a big kid. Jarrett is rolling in Jake's Nordica GTS 23.5's.
  • Jackets - Question is whether the trickle down effect from Jack to Jake to Jarrett happens this year or next. TBD.
  • Helmets - Jarrett needs a new one, but again trickle down may happen. Jack and Jake both have Giro Bad Lt. helmets and all of us have the Skull Candy headphones to go along with them.
  • Thermals - again, gotta check. We got tons of them, but it depends on how much the kids have grown.
  • Gloves, misc... - All should still work.

I have dropped 45 lbs since last season. I got pretty big at 275. I was a high school O-lineman and wrestler and it finally caught up with me that I needed to drop considerably. I am down slightly under 230. I have been a 2XL guy for forever but went in to Sports Authority and was trying on XL pants and jackets and they were the right size. My 2XL stuff is like a tent. Debating what to pick up, but got the new Skiing Mag with all their gear stuff and I may spring for some new gear... Just that I can't use it.

This is the nice thing about being a regular. Maybe I have to buy a Jacket, helmet or some thermals and I have three kids outfitted. With almost brand new gear. Every year it is a little bit of stuff, but with three of them, hand-me-downs rock. Plus I e-Bay all the equipment in April when prices are rock bottom. That helps. It certainly keeps costs manageable.

I just can't wait to get Lindsey geared up and skiing. Girl stuff is so cool. I hate to say it, but it really is. Even for women. It used to be that everything was unisex or else it was the old school one pieces in hot pink or jackets with huge fur collars. Now, they have more and more cool stuff.

Posted by Justin at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

A New Focus for the Season

I got borderline depressed last week when I got the news about the hand. I mean literally depressed. I had a psychologist appointment on Friday morning about 18 hours after I got the x-ray done and could see the bone fragment in the film and well before the doctor confirmed what I already knew. Not quite stick me in the hospital depressed, but more like up my dosage of Welbutrin depressed.

So here are the thoughts going through my head over the last five days:

  • If this is the worst God is gonna give me this winter, say a thank you prayer. This is probably the biggest thought. It sucks, but it could suck so much worse. I mean in perspective, this doesn't even suck that much once you get over the initial shock of it.
  • It is my right hand. Sucks to be in a cast. Until I think about my cousin Nat and her husband Jeff who got me into Jeeping. Jeff of the Rubicon that pulled my crappy old Wrangler X out of the sand even though I was sporting the 33" tires, lift, and all kinds of toys. Rubicon means business. Jeff lost his hand in a blasting cap accident when he was 21. We are the same age. He never so much as complains.
  • At least it is not an ACL. AT LEAST IT IS NOT AN ACL.
  • I gotta suck it up and keep making the trip to Brian Head despite the fact that I will be relegated to the lodge or condo. Jake, Jackson and Jarrett deserve that. I can probably sneak in a run or two with them if I am careful and smart.
  • My psychologist has been warning me about overdoing it with all the stuff I have going on right now. Tickets to three major sports. Kid in Pop Warner. Wick in the playoffs. Business stuff. Work stuff. Patent work in my spare time. This is my chance to slow down and get back some perspective.
  • Chicks dig scars. OK, maybe not, but I will surely get better at lying about how it happened. I wish I didn't have this stupid blog that captures things and basically tells the world about my life. Then it would be so much easier to make up something cool about breaking it in Double A right before September call-ups and it ending my dream of playing first base in the Bigs. Something cool like that. My step brother Josh used crap like that to pick up chicks in bars all his life. =) (Jer will confirm that and will probably leave some comments here about it.)
  • How much Vicodin and Percocet can I get for it. Dude, that stuff rocks.

I have an appointment with the ortho tomorrow and I am sure that he will do surgery almost immediately. Cut the damned thing and get me healing. The sooner the better.

Posted by Justin at 12:22 AM

October 28, 2007

Rising Cost of Skiing Article from Tacoma News Tribune

The Tacoma News Tribune has a story about the rising cost of skiing:

According to an NSAA survey, 46 percent of skiers and boarders have a household income of $100,000 or more. Just 17 percent of all U.S. households fall into that same category.

Some people would rather see lift ticket prices increase rather than drop.

“I hear people telling me they want tickets over $60 because it will keep the crowds down,” Kircher said.

At Tahoe’s Squaw Valley USA, a season pass is $1,770. When the resort considered a $299 season pass for those who purchase it a season in advance, regular customers shot down the idea.

“They’re afraid we’d be jammed all season and the mountain would get trashed,” said Squaw Valley spokeswoman Savannah Cowley.

Rachel McClure of Zumiez, a chain of action-sports stores, argued in her master’s thesis at Arizona’s Prescott College that not only is skiing an elitist sport, but also so is hiking.

The subject of her thesis was the need for youth to spend more time in the outdoors.

“A lot of people in urban environments can’t even get to the mountains to ski or mountain bike, let alone ski,” said McClure, who helps run the University of Washington winter sports program.

Freakin' Urban Environmental Hippies. I got an idea, how bout you whine about the rising cost of skiing, then try to shut down the only ski area within 4 hours of the 6th largest city in the country:

Sierra Club is working with the Navajo Nation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, White Mountain Apache Tribe and Dr. Paul Torrence, Professor of Chemistry at Northern Arizona University, to stop the proposed expansion of the Arizona Snow Bowl and to prevent the use of reclaimed water to be sprayed on the ski slopes.

I am crying tears of sorrow for the urban hippie environmentalists that are sending their money to the Sierra Club to fund the Snowbowl lawsuit while Prescott grad Rachel McClure of Zumiez is writing her hard luck story about the rising cost of skiing.

Skiing is expensive precisely because of the Sierra Club. They are funded by rich city folk that want "pristine" outdoors that can only be achieved by keeping costs so high that urban folks cannot afford to go into the outdoors. If people go skiing, it destroys the environment, therefore we want to make it impossible to open new resorts or expand existing ones so that fewer and fewer people can afford to ski.

No hypocrisy here.

Posted by Justin at 09:31 PM | Comments (1)

What a Season

So for all my doom and gloom about my thumb, there is some good news:

  • Wickenburg extends their win streak to 10 with a regular season victory over South Ridge. Wick is 10-0. Vaughan as always grabs me after the game and starts asking me about powerpoints and playoff seeding. I couldn't get over it. That is 29-1 in the regular season under Norris Vaughan. Now comes the big test. Possible dates with Round Valley and eventually Coolidge.
  • Wickenburg (Majors) youth football (Jackson's team) extend their streak to 8, and are 8-0
  • Far West Steelers (Jr. Pee Wee) beat the number one team in the state, undefeated Deer Valley Air Express 38-30 in one of the best games I have ever witnessed at any level. That is an awful bold statement, but watching two evenly matched undefeated teams playing in the regular season finale was incredible. Air Express went up 16-6 and their coach started telling his players these "Mighty Mites can't play with us". (Mighty Mite being the division of 7-8 year olds below us) Me and about three other parents absolutely lost it and got all of our crowd fired up about it. If you know my "game voice" which is the volume level above both my inside voice and outside voice, it carries. I was absolutely screaming at their coaches "How bout them mighty mites. How you like how our mighty mite hit now." After we scored then forced a fumble and scored again to take the lead. I kept screaming the entire game. I felt like one of those horses ass parents that goes off, but I have never seen anything as classless as their coaches. Wouldn't even shake several of our kid's hands.
  • Oh, yeah. And after watching Jake's team go undefeated for the regular season and earn the number one seed in the playoffs, I took an evening trip to Sun Devil stadium. I changed out of my white A-Dub/Jake jersey and into my Gold Zach Miller jersey because it was homecoming. Gotta wear gold. (Jake's Pop Warner team wears Maroon and Gold too) ASU spotted Cal a 13-0 and a 20-7 lead. Here, we'll spot you 13... Now enjoy this smackdown. 31-20.

So here is the deal with ASU:

  • Finish 1-3 and go to the Sun Bowl in El Paso
  • Finish 2-2 and go to the Holiday Bowl in San Deigo
  • Finish 3-1 and Tempe smells like Roses. Grand Daddy of them all. New Years Day. Pasadena.
  • Finish 4-0 and bring the beads for Bourbon Street. It is a trip to the BCS Championship in No'leans.

Aside from the fact that I am probably missing ski season, at least Football season is gonna run a little late this year.

Posted by Justin at 02:03 PM

How Much is a Season Worth - Skiers Thumb

This article on e-Medicine contains the standard treatment program for Skiers Thumb, or a Ulnar Collateral Ligament tear. Mine is a tear with a fracture meaning they have to do surgery and the cast will remain on longer.

In addition to the 6-8 weeks of immobilization with casting or splinting, the patient should avoid activities that risk reinjury for approximately another 6 weeks. An orthosis can be fitted to protect the patient's thumb to prevent further delay in return to activity.

When properly treated, patients with a UCL injury have a good prognosis for returning to their premorbid level of functioning. A missed diagnosis that delays the repair of a complete UCL rupture leads to a less favorable prognosis.

I have already waited a month to get the surgery. That is strike one. I ski and don't plan to quit which increases the chance of future injury. Stike two. So now, I basically have to write off the next 12-14 weeks of skiing. That is November, December and all of January.

I have a hand surgery consult on Tuesday and assume they will do surgery almost immediately. If they don't do surgery right away or if the injury does not heal well, this is the end of my season before it even got started.

Needless to say, I am beyond bummed. The condo is FINALLY done. Everything is finished except for a tiny piece of trim around the ladder. This was the year I could completely enjoy the place. I am not offering my little sob story here, but it sucks nonetheless.

So here are my choices:

  • Blow off surgery for now and hope it heals. This is probably the worst thing I can do because I type for a living at my computer, love to blog, and am active. This just weakens the joint and is not really an option.
  • Get surgery and try to come back early. Again, increases the risk of reinjury.
  • Take a season off, relax, and get ready for next year.

I am going to have surgery and wear the cast for the early season until December. Then get a good hard splint and tape the living heck out of it. And see where that gets me. I have to play it by ear, but am hoping to be back in January.

Anyone out there had a UCL injury? Had surgery? Had an Avulsion Fracture? Lemme know what to expect.

Posted by Justin at 01:15 PM

October 25, 2007

Add the Title "Inventor" to my Resume

I have never been as proud of an accomplishment as I am of this one:

The US Patent Office has issued Patent 7284165 to Justin Blackburn, Jason Auvenshine, and Chris Jacoby:

A system, method and program for troubleshooting a problem with an application. An application server which is supposed to be executing the application and a database or a server which manages the database are identified. The application, when executing, obtains data from the database to respond to a client request. The application server, database or database server, and a connection between the application server and the database or database server are generated and displayed or printed. Also, one or more hyperlinks to automatically send a hardware, software, or network status inquiry to the application server to test operability of the application server and/or a connection to the application server and automatically send a hardware, software, or network status inquiry to the database server to test operability of the database server and/or a connection to the database server are generated and displayed or printed. In accordance with a feature of the present invention, in response to a selection of the one or more hyperlinks, the application server and database server are automatically pinged. The invention also resides in a system and program for automatically identifying the database or database server by querying the application server, and generating and displaying or printing the diagram of the application server, database or database server, and a connection between the application server and the database or database server.

This is my first Patent ever issued. I have 10 pending... wait... 9 pending. Well, technically 8 pending and one about to be filed.

Now, I can add "Inventor" to my resume. I am kinda stoked.

Posted by Justin at 11:32 PM

Thumb Avulsion Fracture

So not cool. About a month ago, I went to Sams Club and was going to grab a shopping cart. When I went to grab it, I snapped my thumb back and I thought I hyperextended it. Well, two weeks later, it didn't get better so I went to see my doctor. He sent me for x-rays and said that I will probably need to see a hand surgeon. Well, now I know why:

Here is a handy dandy website that explains the strange foreign body that I noticed on my x-rays:

The joint that is affected at the bottom of the thumb is called the metacarpophalangeal, or MCP, joint.Any hard force on the thumb that pulls the thumb away from the hand (called a valgus force) can cause damage to the ulnar collateral ligaments. When the thumb is straight, the collateral ligaments are tight and stabilize the joint against valgus force. If the force is too strong, the ligaments are damaged. They may even tear completely. A complete tear is also called a rupture.

When the collateral ligaments tear, the MCP joint becomes very unstable. It is especially unstable when the thumb is bent back. If one of the ligaments pulls away from the bone and folds backwards, it won't be able to heal in the correct position. When this happens, surgery is needed to fix the ligament.

Sometimes the ligament itself will not tear but instead pulls a small piece of bone off the base of the thumb where it attaches. This is called an avulsion fracture. This can also lead to an unstable thumb joint if the fracture does not heal correctly.

Avulsion Injury to Thumb

Here is an example x-ray similar to mine. It is also often called "Gamekeeper's Thumb" because the injury commonly occurs to soccer goalkeepers.

Gamekeeper's Thumb

When the ulnar collateral ligament is injured, the MCP joint becomes painful and swollen, and the thumb feels weak when you pinch or grasp. You may see bruise-like discolorations on the skin around the joint. The loose end of the torn ligament may form a bump that can be felt along the edge of the thumb near the palm of the hand. A torn ligament makes it difficult to hold or squeeze things between your thumb and index finger.

If the ligaments are only partially torn, they usually heal without surgery. Your thumb will be immobilized for four to six weeks in a special cast, called a thumb spica cast. After that, you will begin to do exercises to regain your range of motion and to strengthen your grip.

Getting treatment soon after an injury to the collateral ligament of the thumb may improve your ability to regain strength and range of motion.

If the ligaments are completely torn, you will most likely have surgery to repair them. A torn ligament cannot fully heal itself. Surgery for the thumb collateral ligaments is usually done as an outpatient procedure, meaning you will probably go home the same day as the surgery.

In the surgery, your doctor will make a small V- or S-shaped cut over the back of the MCP joint of the thumb. This helps isolate and protect the nerve branches running up your thumb. Your doctor will then cut through a sheet of tissue called the adductor aponeurosis. This helps expose the MCP joint and the ligaments. The area around the injury is examined for any soft tissue damage. Your surgeon then repairs the ligaments with stitches that anchor them back to the bone.

Patients who are treated nonsurgically with a thumb spica cast start an exercise program when the cast is removed, usually after four to six weeks. Motion and strength usually improve within another two to four weeks, allowing people to get back to normal activity.

If you have surgery, you will be placed in a thumb spica cast for four weeks. Some doctors will take the spica cast off at four weeks and then place your thumb in an immobilizing splint for another two weeks. Some patients work with a physical or occupational therapist to help regain range of motion and strength in the thumb. Most patients are able to return to normal activity three months after their surgery.

Yeah, so this totally sucks. First, it is going to affect my skiing this winter. Second, it will affect my blogging. Finally, it will affect my job. But I get paid when on disability, so this isn't the worst thing in the world. No Xbox360. No typing. No work.

Now, there is always the possibility that I am misinterpreting the foreign body floating in my thumb x-ray after a valgus force and the accompanying pain that has lasted almost a month. I have a consult with a hand surgeon the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

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

October 23, 2007

Eagle Valley Blog Reports on Big Storm

Caroline at Eagle Valley reports on the latest Storm to come through:

With new snow being frequent and deep, there’s no way that the early season this year will disappoint. A storm over the 19th and 20th dumped 12″ at Aspen and 20″ at Beaver Creek. Though the weather is set to warm up in the valley this week, it will undoubtedly stay cold in the high elevations, and with such a thick base already, will make a complete melt unimaginable.

“Winter is officially here after a weekend storm dropped 20+ inches at the top of Beaver Creek Mountain. With Opening Day, November 21, less than one month away, now is the time to get out your skis or board and get ready for the 2007/08 season.”

Check out the blog. I am adding the blog to my sidebar. I would post to Caroline's myspace blog, but it certainly isn't skiing related, but is hysterical. She dropped me a not about 6 months ago when she was doing design work and I was able to help her set up the servers, databases, and software for the site.

Anyway, check out the link and the site.

Posted by Justin at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

Skiing with Your Kids

I am the father of three, two of which are already skiers. Jarrett far less so than Jake. Jarrett is 6 and this is probably his first "real" winter of skiing. He got a couple of days in the last two years, but he never really got into it.

So here are some lessons learned from my experience as a ski dad with Jake that we get to work on with Jarrett:

  • Nothing ends a ski day quicker than being cold. If you are gonna drop $60 on a lift ticket and ski rental for a little one (even one Jake or Jacko's age), spend the money on good clothing for them. Preferably bibs which you can buy a size or two too big and just shorten the straps buying you as many as three seasons.
  • Make sure that you are clear on the purpose of the day. If the snow is good, you probably want to spend the extra money on putting them at the kids camp, even if they are fairly seasoned skiers. Until the last two years, I would drop Jake at kids camp on epic days.
  • Did I mention keeping them warm? Let me say it again... warm. Buy good gloves and socks--not the cheap cotton gym socks they wear with their skate shoes either. One of the regulars at Brian Head recommends panty hose because it is thin, lets your feet breathe, and will keep you warmer. Hand and foot warmer pockets in the gloves and the accompanying warmers are a good idea. So is hot chocolate periodically.
  • Never take them on runs above their ability. You want them to gradually build confidence.
  • If you are not the patient type, get the kiddoes lessons. It is worth the money and it is far more fun to ski with them once they are in the green-blue range comfortably.
  • Bring games or the old X-box to the condo with you along with plenty of movies. If you like to have a drink or chill or do grown up stuff at night, keep them occupied with the stuff they like to do at home.
  • Earplugs should always come with. Maybe the kids need them from the racket in the condo or maybe you need them because extremely tired kids snore, but you want to make sure the kids get a good night's sleep.
  • Plan meals to keep the kids happy and bring lots of snacks. I stop at Costco and get a case of individual Oreos and Granola bars.
  • Helmets are a must. Start them young and make them wear a helmet.

I made some serious mistakes with Jake. Like him screaming at me that he cannot do it and make it down because it is too cold or the run is too steep. Matter of fact, there I was ready to choke him and pissed because my ski day was getting ruined and he needed to suck it up. And he was 6. The problem with oldest children. They are like first cars. You are poor and want to do mechanical work which usually results in breaking stuff. You can always sell a car though. I was lucky not to ruin Jake on skiing by being a bad ski dad.

But don't let that discourage you from bringing the kids with you. 6-7 years old is a good time to start them. Earlier if they are OK staying in the kids camp. By the time they have 3-4 days of skiing, they will be able to hit most of the good blues and you can ski with confidence with them.

Jake is bordering on whooping my butt at it and the day is coming soon. But it is because I took him almost every time I went skiing since he was 6. Focus on small things and using good technique and they will learn it young. Now if I could just stand his sass and little mouth. But I taught him most of the smack talk too, so I am reaping what I sow.

Posted by Justin at 12:37 AM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2007

AZ Snowbowl Snowmaking Update

Arizona Snowbowl reports that the 9th Circuit will rehear the case:

The ruling states, “Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused regular active judges of this court, it is ordered that this case be reheard by the en banc court pursuant to Circuit Rule 35-3. The three-panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court.”

We interpret this to mean that a majority of judges agreed that there is a problem with the decision reached in March and a review is in order. The Arizona Snowbowl snowmaking plan had been previously approved through a comprehensive EIS process, the Record of Decision issued by the Coconino National Forest Supervisor, the Affirmation of the Record of Decision by the Regional Forester, and the U.S. Federal District Court ruling.

Snowbowl has always believed that recreation has a place on public lands and the Arizona Snowbowl, which celebrates its 70th Anniversary this season, is an excellent example of multiple-use for the benefit of everyone. “We are content to utilize the 1% of the Peaks allocated to Snowbowl and anxiously await the day we can provide more consistent winter recreation”, states J.R. Murray, Snowbowl’s General Manager.

This is a solid opportunity to have the 9th Circuit fix this horrible original ruling before an appeal to the SCOTUS. An appeal that will almost certainly reverse the original 9th Circuit ruling.

Posted by Justin at 01:37 PM

October 18, 2007

Injuries and Workouts Article at Rokovoko

Rokovoko has an interesting article on workouts and injuries to check out. Interesting stuff on an ACL injury:

Stay in shape, stretch, train, eat right, be cautious, and guess what -- injuries still happen sometimes, as Steven Cohn, of Bethesda, Md., found out a few years ago skiing at Whitetail in Pennsylvania.

“I was carving turns down the mountain,” he recalls. “I was pleased about the natural, fresh snow, my body’s performance and ski equipment. Suddenly, my forward visibility was limited by the rapid decent of the terrain before me. I was airborne. Not a problem. However, in direct line of my landing stood three young ladies … chatting (probably about their cell-phone reception) in the middle of the trail.”

Among the thoughts that flashed through his mind, Cohn says, were “What the #*?!” and “avoidance mid-flight maneuver.”

“I tried the later,” he says. “My landing was harder than anticipated. My left leg (downhill) didn’t get the message and didn’t hold its edge. I fell forward and toward my left. My bindings didn’t release and I felt and heard two distinct pops in my left knee. Ouch! [Deleted expletives.] That was special! I was dragged off the mountain and given an ice pack. After being asked to sign liability release forms ... I got in my car and my wife drove me home.

“The following morning I visited the neighborhood hospital. The physicians confirmed my diagnosis of a torn anterior crucial ligament (ACL). The next week was spent obtaining second-through-seventh opinions. Some physicians advised to learn to live with a locking knee or a knee that had unlimited swiveling capabilities. Some advised me to wear a knee brace. However, without surgery there would be no more skiing. Others said they could operate and rebuild the joint. I’m an active guy and wanted to ski again.”

My mom does Canine Agility and about four months ago tore her meniscis. She is having trouble with her ACL after the surgery and her knee is severely weakened. We were talking about strengthening exercises last night as I was coming home from the Condo.

Check out Highly Obsessed for Adam's horror story about Canadian healthcare and his ACL injury.

Posted by Justin at 06:05 PM

October 17, 2007

Loveland Opens

Loveland opened in second place this season:

GEORGETOWN, Colo. — Mike Zimmer, of Vernal, Utah, drove five hours to ski opening day at Loveland Ski Area.

Zimmer grew up in nearby Georgetown and has been skiing here since he was five years old.

He refuses to wait for Park City to open.

“Ah shoot, that’s still two, three weeks away,” Zimmer said.

Opening day loyalists like Zimmer enjoyed the good snow, shining sun and fewer people on Loveland Ski Area’s wide, sole run Tuesday morning. Loveland was the second resort to open this year. Arapahoe Basin opened Oct. 11, the earliest in the nation.

Loveland’s run was a combination of a short catwalk and the runs Mambo and Home Run. The 1,365 ski area had an 18-inch base that had been topped with more than a foot of snow (groomed for opening day) from Saturday’s storm.

The rest was manmade snow, which Loveland has been making for three weeks, said spokeswoman Kathryn Johnson.

And to think that it is still baseball season in Denver. When ski season and baseball season overlap... Crazy. Quick side note--Go Rocks.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2007

Local Politics in Brian Head

I have about three or four local sources of information about the goings on at Brian Head. I tend to talk and talk and talk, so my local friends are other folks that tend to do the same. Talk about the resort, the town, the real estate market, and so on.

One of my friends is Tony from Pizanos Pizza at The Mall near the base area of Giant Steps. First, Tony makes a mean pie. No doubt. He is a Dodgers fan and if you are looking to have someone to talk baseball with, you better have an afternoon to spend at Pizanos. His wife grew up in west Phoenix and went to one of Wickenburg's rival high schools. They are just good people.

So Tony and I are talking Interconnect and town and base area and growth and condos and development and baseball. Tony owned a place five units down from me in Timberbrook. I mentioned that I have such a big investment in the town, that I consider myself a local. Then I showed him my Utah Drivers License. 464 N HWY 143, Brian Head, UT. His eyes lit up.

"Are you registered to vote up here? Because if you are, I am running for Town Council."

So I am running down to Parowan to get registered.

I never stop into Brian Head without stopping by and seeing Tony. Whether it is to grab a slice or to talk baseball or to just BS, he is one of my favorite people on the mountain. I am not in the business of endorsing politicians, but I have known Tony for two years and he consistently has the same vision for the town that I do and sees the same challenges.

If you get up to Brian Head, stop in and get a slice and talk to Tony about the goings on. He pays attention and loves to talk. I mean LOVES TO TALK. But so do I.

Posted by Justin at 03:28 PM

October 11, 2007

Interconnect Updates at Brian Head Website

New updates are available at the Brian Head website on the Interconnect project. I am heading to BH this weekend for a few days with Jake and Jackson and will post some pics of my own later.

The new Snow Making System has been installed, and the Lift Towers and motor rooms for Chairlfts 1 & 8 are installed! A helicopter flew in the lift towers and motor rooms with precision and ease. The foundations for the Skier Bridge are currently being constructed.

The Interconnect Skier Bridge, a project funded jointly by the Town of Brian Head and Brian Head Resort, has been making steady progress behind the scene.

Brian Head Interconnect - October 10th, 2007

Posted by Justin at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)

October 10, 2007

No Effing Way - A-Basin to Open Today

Check this:

It's supposed to be 75 degrees today in Boulder, but don't be fooled — ski season officially begins at 9 this morning.

Summit County's Arapahoe Basin is set to open its Exhibition chairlift today, making it the first operational ski area in the nation for the second year in a row. This also marks the earliest A-Basin has opened in its 61 years of operation.

Skiers can expect 18 inches of snow on the intermediate High Noon run, and some parts of the High Divide terrain park also will be open, resort officials announced Tuesday.

Welcome my friends to 2007-08. It is now officially ski season. Before my birthday. Happy Birthday to me on the 11th.

Posted by Justin at 01:52 AM | Comments (3)

October 07, 2007


Quick update on Jake--

The Far West Steelers are undefeated and unstoppable. All the countless hours of taking Jake to ballgames his whole life are starting to pay dividends. He got his second start this week and is going to be starting the rest of the way at offensive guard.

Today, on the first series of the game, I watched him have an absolute de-cleater block on a kid. Not just a knockdown, but a "what just hit me" moment for the kid. Two plays later, I watched him on back to back plays literally drive his man 10 yards off the ball. It is fun to watch. His playoffs are going to run until Thanksgiving if they make the Championship so skiing will have to wait a little bit.

We had parent teacher conferences this week and his teacher just raved about him. Great student. So now, he has earned the right to miss school by working hard so far. That means my wife cannot yell at me for taking off for 4-5 days at a time to go skiing.

We are making plans for the season. I want him throwing a 360, solid 180's, riding switch, and sticking a switch 180 this year. Nothing major, but that is what we are working towards. Improving his carving, especially when he is intimidated by steeps. He still tends to try to slow down and his form suffers when it gets steep. But I really want to see him and Jacko jib. Just cause when all their buddies that snowboard think they are all cool, my kids will two plank it and do some damage.

Posted by Justin at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

Snow on the Mountain at Brian Head

Brian Head got a little more than a dusting last night. Maybe a couple inches. I could see it had some decent whitening on Giant Steps via the Kraft Fam webcam.

I am heading to BH next Sunday to put in our new ladder for the loft and to finish some painting. The place is ready to rock for ski season.

Sorry for the light blogging. Jake is playing Pop Warner. The Dbacks had two home games that I went to. Wickenburg is still winning. ASU and the Cards are playing. Suns training camp is starting. Just been busy.

Posted by Justin at 12:27 AM

Baseball Utopia

I graduated in 1993, well before the Diamondbacks were even a thought in Arizona's mind. Being from the Mountain West, I adopted the Rockies as my favorite team. Love the purple unis. I have me a pinstriped Hampton jersey and a purple CO jersey that I have about worn out. Been to Coors field and watched RJ pitch against the Rocks in 2001 when the Dbacks went to the series, RJ won the Cy Young, and was Co-MVP of the Series.

But you gotta have an AL team to root for. And I despise, hate, loathe the Yankees. So naturally, you gotta choose sides and when Curt Schilling went to Bean Town, I liked the Red Sox even more. And now with Goodyear hosting the Indians for spring training among other things, I have an even stronger reason to like the Tribe.

So here is how things stand:

  • D-backs versus Rockies starting on October 11th--my birthday--for the NLCS.
  • Red Sox up 2-0 over the Angels. Cleveland up 2-0 over the Yankees.

It is baseball utopia. I get to wear purple for the next month regardless and so long as the Yankees lose to Cleveland, there is no way that things can turn out badly.

I was watching the Rockies game and for the post game celebration, me and my friend Travis Henry sparked up a fatty boom batty blunt. They don't call it Mile High for nothin'. At least the folks in Denver have something positive to look forward to. Walker is out. Henry is baked. Cutler is a piece of trash. Ratface got rid of Jake so that they could get to the next level (not the Superbowl that he claimed, but rather to the level of a consistently mediocre team that misses the playoffs).

Savor this Rockies series folks. The Broncos are reaping the Karma they deserve for trashing the bearded Sun Devil. Jake is smiling in Boise now and the Rat should be out of a job.

--Did I mention how much I hate Jay Cutler?

Posted by Justin at 12:16 AM

October 05, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Send the Pain Below

Been missing my Friday Night Video fix. How about a little Chevelle to get you ready for ski season...

Posted by Justin at 04:31 PM

October 03, 2007

For Erich--Kurt and Brenda Warner Helping Soldiers Overseas

I just got off the phone with my good friend and skiing buddy Erich. Erich of the famous Wolf Creek trip that spawned two almost fistfights over Jerry Falwell and Walmart. Erich who refuses to watch or even read about professional American sports like football or baseball because that is what Bud Light drinking Red Staters enjoy, so he likes soccer. Been too long since we spoke. He had his Tyler Durden (Fight Club) moment a couple weeks ago, which I believe makes me Bob. Steroid induced man boobs and all.

So just to get his blood pumping, you have a hugely Evangelical Christian football player trying to help the military overseas by setting up equipment donations at Walmart.

Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda, a former Marine, are teaming up with Packages from Home to gather new or gently used sports equipment to ship to soldiers serving overseas.

Donations can be made at Valley Wal-Mart stores now through Oct. 14. Donations can also be made at the Cardinals next home game, Oct. 14 against the Panthers.

Desired equipment includes Frisbees, baseball gloves, tennis rackets, golf clubs, in addition to balls from various sports (footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, etc.).

Monetary donations are also being accepted. They can be made through the Warners' First Things First Foundation (, or by checks payable to First Things First - Ball Drive at 3420 E. Shea Blvd, Ste. 200, Phoenix, 85028.


Erich's head is having a Blue State Blue Screen right now. Buffer overflow at 0X00CF10.

Posted by Justin at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)