February 27, 2008

Impulse buys

I am not much of an impulse buyer and tend to ignore my steepandcheap.com desktop alerts, but every now and then something comes up that is too good to miss. I have wanted fatter skis for awhile now and had my eye on the K2 Dawn Patrol. Well, earlier this week they came up on SAC for the lowest price I have ever seen. And today my new skis arrived on my doorstep.

They make my old skis look like toothpicks. I just hope I can handle the new longer, fatter boards.

Of course, Josh convinced me to blog about this. I did not find it necessarily worthy of a post, but I guess I was mistaken.

I am excited to try out my new skis when we head to Taos in a week. We will get to check out this skier only resort before it opens to snowboarders for the first time in late March. Otherwise, my life has been pretty boring these days. Just a lot of studying and getting a head start on summer triathlon training (the goal is a half-ironman this year).

February 25, 2008

Alta is for Skiers

On Thursday night, Keith and I picked Lane up from the Denver airport and proceeded to drive to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon (essentially Salt Lake City). After a 7.5 hour drive, we arrived at a friend of a friend's house at 4:30 am. By 9:00 am, we were skiing at Alta, one of the last ski areas to continue prohibiting snowboards from its slopes.

We had arranged to surprise Louis at 10:00 on the slopes, and thanks to some organization that I had no hand in, this worked out beautifully. Keith, being the first to spot Lou as we descended towards the meeting spot, proceeded to race towards and tackle Lou, breaking a ski pole in the process, before Lou had seen any of us. This surprise attack marked the beginning of a 3-day-long bachelor party for Louis.

We proceeded to have a truly great day powder skiing. The snow continued to fall all day, filling in our tracks between runs and making fresh tracks the norm. Louis and his brother, Pete, had previously spent a few winters working at Alta, so the rest of us could follow them around all day to the secret stashes. When the lifts closed, we gathered 'round the back of Keith's car for a hard-earned tailgate party. Due to some incredible foresight on Keith's part, the back of his car contained a keg of Imperial Porter and a keg of IPA from a local microbrewery in Boulder.

The drinking continued for a while, but we managed to make it to bed in time for another 2-3 hour nap before getting up to go skiing. This time, Keith, Graham, Garret, and I headed into the Utah backcountry on the opposite side of the highway from the Alta ski area. The remainder of our contingency hit up a second day at the resort.

Me dropping in on our first and steepest backcountry line

The conditions in the backcountry were, to put it lightly, extremely and incredibly wonderful and perfect. With a stable snow pack, we were able to ski steep terrain even though there was a heavy dose of fresh powder snow everywhere. The four of us were grinning and giggling like school girls for the entire day, which involved hiking up and skiing down about 4000 vertical feet of untracked snow over four runs.

Garret in the midst of giggling like a school girl after some heavenly powder turns

The uproute backcountry highway

We made it back to the car and the kegs as the ski lifts on the other side of the valley closed, so we met up with the resort goers and began a repeat of the previous night. We managed to make it to bed by 3:30 am after some bachelor party oriented festivities.

There was no fresh snow the next day and it was raining at the resort, so most of us decided to bail on the ski plans and head out for breakfast, which was immediately followed by a rigorous round of card playing before we all parted ways and went home to our respective corners of the country.

February 15, 2008


Yesterday at work I was derogatorily referred to as a "lifestylist". Having a hunch but still curious as to what exactly was meant by this, I inquired as to the precise meaning of the term "lifestylist".

The answer I got was pretty much what I expected based on the intonation of the original statement. A lifestylist, in this context, is someone who places a high value on their quality of life. So much value, in fact, that they consider their personal life more important than their job. The result of this is that the lifestylist enjoys time off of work and, given the choice, would choose to be enjoying themselves rather than working in a cubicle.

I completely understand why the management of a company would look down on such an individual. It is an advantage for the company to have employees content with working all the time with no desire to be elsewhere. When this perspective of management is combined with the fact that they chronically underpay all their staff while expecting them to work over 40 hours a week for no additional pay, my tolerance grows quite short.

Why people subject themselves to this for 40 years of their life before retiring is beyond me. I am saddened by the fact that so many people become drones for the betterment of "the man". If the quality of one's own life is not something to value, I'm not sure there is much else out there worth valuing, and I am now done ranting.

February 11, 2008

Rocky (and Windy) Mountains

On the way home from work on Friday, I met Keith in Clear Creek Canyon for a couple hours of ice climbing. We're both steadily gaining confidence and improving our technique to become more efficient.

On Saturday, Melanie and I left on an overly ambitious attempt at climbing the North Face of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. We knew the weather was questionable with recent heavy snowfalls and high winds in the forecast. We figured that the worst that could happen is that we'd have fun snowcamping and get some good views.

While hiking in on Saturday evening to set up camp and make for a shorter day of climbing on Sunday, we either lost the trail, or nobody had been up there since the recent snows. At any rate, we ended up breaking trail through waist deep snow and didn't make it very far that night. We set up camp just as it got dark and decided to sleep in since we figured summiting was out of the question considering the distance we had to go and the trail we would have to break.

Our camp, about 1 mile from the car

We began hiking again around 9 am on Sunday morning. At around 11 am we reached treeline where the winds picked up considerably. We continued hiking above treeline, heading for Mt. Lady Washington in anticipation of some great views of the vertical northeast face of Longs Peak.

Mel near treeline, where we'd hoped to camp the previous night

Me on my way up Mt. Lady Washington

Near the top of Mt. Lady Washington, the winds were vicious, blowing an estimated 25 mph with gusts up to 70. One particularly strong gust sent Mel airborne for a second or two. I can't say we won our contest with the wind, but it was worth it as we managed to obtain some spectacular views of the famous Diamond on Long's Peak, with Chasm Lake far below. At the summit of Longs, we could see clouds blowing over the peak at an incredible rate (steady 50-60 mph?), which made me very glad that we weren't up there.

Longs Peak and the impressive Diamond

I re-learned an important lesson on this trip: the energy required to keep one's self upright in high winds (and picking one's self up after being slammed to the ground by the wind) while traveling on uneven and sometimes steep terrain is mind-bogglingly exhausting. Mel and I both agreed after it was all over that even though we didn't climb a mountain, it sure felt like we did.

February 10, 2008

February 06, 2008


Last night I actively participated in my first ever caucus. I turned out to be a great learning experience and helped me to understand more about how our democracy works.

The caucus for my precinct (and a few others) was held at the local elementary school, a stone's throw away from our house. I showed up about 20 minutes early, only to stand in line, outside, with temperatures in the low teens. After passing through the doors and registering, I entered a packed gymnasium/auditorium. Democrats were standing shoulder to shoulder from wall to wall, and some people were forced to stand outside the room. Old timers were saying that typical attendance for this event in the past was on the order of 100 people. There were over 1000 last night. It appears people are finally fed up with the bull*@&! that's been going on for the last 7 years, enough so that they're willing to get involved in attempt to change things.

Barack Obama won our precinct with 104 votes, with Hillary getting 33. This meant that of the 6 delegates our precinct appointed, 5 were for Barack and 1 was for Hillary. With the way things are going, this 4-vote discrepancy might just make the difference.

Of course, it probably doesn't matter who the democrats elect because it may end up like it did 7 years ago (i.e. Gore won, the votes were recounted, Gore still won, and the republicans somehow still were able to put W in the White House). I love democracy.

February 03, 2008

Joji the Hut

It appears I missed my weekly post last weekend. To summarize, it was a typical Boulder weekend including skiing at Eldora, ice climbing in Boulder Canyon, trail running, and road biking.

Mel climbing in Boulder Canyon

This weekend, I was unable to convince Ashley or either of my other two roommates to spend the night at the Arestua Hut, about 4 miles from the Eldora ski hill. Left with no other choice, I skied into the hut solo on Saturday evening after a day of resort skiing. There were two other people staying at the hut that night, who happened to be boyfriend/girlfriend when I arrived at the hut on Saturday and finances by the time I left on Sunday. The scenery surrounding the hut was as spectacular as I remembered from past trips.

Ashley and Melanie went skiing again on Sunday, so I skied out to meet them and catch a ride home by noon.