Archive for February, 2008

Third Ski Day: Solitude

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On Wednesday morning, my buddy K. and I returned to Solitude for a full day of skiing. We couldn’t have asked for better weather as we traversed one killer blue run after another. Of course, we did have to start with a green run just to get my bearings. But the remainder of the day was filled with easy-to-very difficult blue runs.

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The Sunshine Bowl was the bane of my existence, causing me to tumble on more than one occasion, but I made it down that tricky slope three times before the day was done. I’m so glad I let my buddy talk me into a third day of skiing; I was hesitant to ski on the day prior to my departure. It turned out to be a day filled with memories I won’t soon forget!

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Snow Shoeing for First Time!

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Snow-shoeing today was awesome and very hard work. My buddy and I hiked just a little over a mile, and it felt like I’d just run five miles. The snow at Guardsman Pass was nearly untouched by the time we arrived at around noon. We trudged through almost two feet of powder with each step. The scenery, as can be expected, was breathtaking. I could’ve easily allowed my aching right knee to sideline me today, making it the reason to stay indoors and immobile. I’m so glad that I decided to go ahead with the snow shoe trip, because the view and the experience made it all the more worthwhile. On Wednesday, I take to the slopes one final time on my SLC ski trip. It’s forecast to be clear and in the upper forties on the mountain. I can’t wait! Cheers!

Park City Skiing: Awesome!

My friends and I went skiing on Monday at Park City, and I had an awesome time. Since this was my second day skiing in Utah, I allowed my friends to talk me into doing more blues than greens. There was a particularly fun blue called Payday that we went down on several times. But, the higher up the mountain you go up, the blues– and even some of the greens– got pretty tricky. On one particular blue, I spilled three times, but lost my skis only once. A green run called Home Run traversed nearly the entire length of the mountain, and we took that once all the way down. It was a fun run but very long, that we had to stop several times to catch our breaths.

The views from the top were breathtaking. That was, when the weather cooperated. In contrast with Solitude on Saturday, Park City was overcast and had some snow storms pass through. We knew this, of course, coming into the day since we were aware of the weather forecast. Whereas in Solitude the ride up the lifts were serene, beautiful, and sunny, the rides up the lifts in Park City were bundled up, snow in your face, and freezing cold, especially the higher up we got up the mountain.

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We did ten runs from 10am to 3pm, with a brief stop for lunch mid-mountain. Although the weather was not stellar, which made for depth perception issues, Monday’s Park City skiing was the best I’ve had to date. We haven’t decided which resort to ski on Wednesday, but I can’t wait! Cheers!

Utah Ski Trip: 3-Day Report

After a fun night of drinking, games, and drinking games on Friday, I woke up at around 630am on Saturday to the sounds of a very active baby. My buddy “K” and his wife “J” were tending to their 10-month-old boy, “A.” I joined them in the kitchen and had some tea. J. had baked some blueberry muffins that morning, and the smell of it was welcoming. We chatted for a while, wondering when by buddy “T” and his girlfriend “H” were going to emerge from the guest bedroom. The slopes opened at 9am and we wanted to get there before then. When 8am rolled around, and T. and H. were still unstirred, we decided to knock on their door violently to wake them up. By 845am we were out of the house and on our way to Solitude.

The ride up the canyon was picturesque. Clouds hung above the Wasatch and we wondered if we would have an overcast day on the mountain. When we arrived at Solitude, we were blessed with bright sunshine. We quickly maneuvered our way to the base and planned out our runs. With this being my first time skiing in nearly a decade, I knew I needed to get my bearings first. We all hopped on the lift that took us to Easy Street, an easy slope designed for ski and snowboard training, as well as a haven for the little kids. Surrounded by tykes, I made my way down Easy Street a couple of times before the group decided to hit the more serious greens.

It wasn’t like riding a bike, but I soon found my balance and was skiing comfortably. Before lunch, the group decided to take me to a couple of blues. I was at once horrified and excited at the prospect of traversing a more difficult slope. With some effort, and by taking my time down a particularly tricky downgrade, I made it down my first couple of blues without any incidents. After lunch, we hit a couple more blues and blue-greens. My legs had started to give in that I lost my skis a couple of times on some tight turns.

Feeling exhausted while satisfied with the runs that I’d done, I decided to not accompany the group on the last run, which allowed them to tackle the more difficult blues. We left Solitude at 3pm, having put in a great day of skiing. We hit the hot tub at K. and J.’s house, and it was a very welcome end to our active day. Then, K. and J. served us a veritable feast for dinner, enjoyed with yet more of K.’s home brew, and we topped off the evening with several rounds of pekwa (a Filipino card game).

On Sunday morning, K. took me, T. and H. up to Park City after a brief stop at the Olympics Museum. T. and H. are staying at a resort in Park City on that night. The picture below is the view from their window.

It’s probably not evident, but at least a foot of snow fell in Park City on Sunday afternoon, with more forecast overnight. Tomorrow, when we hit the slopes, there is 80% chance of snow. I’ve never skied while it’s snowing so it will be another new experience for me. The group plotted out the runs we’ll be making on Monday morning, while enjoying some amazing wine and a few more rounds of pekwa, before heading out to dinner.

Dinner was at this amazing restaurant called Riverhorse located along Main Street in Park City. To say the food was amazing would almost be an understatement. Everyone in our group had very positive things to say about the appetizers, his/her entree, and the desserts. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone dining in Park City.

Time to hit the sack. Another big day of skiing tomorrow. Cheers!

Freakcited!

On Friday, I fly out to SLC on a ski vacation, and I am stoked! I’ll be staying at a buddy’s house approximately 45 minutes from Park City, where we’ll be skiing on Saturday. We also plan to hit Solitude, Deer Valley, and possibly Alta over three days. I’ve known my buddy and his wife for over fifteen years, having first met them in my current hometown. Another buddy of ours will be flying in from Washington, DC, with his girlfriend. The last time we all skied together– let alone hung out as the Three Amigos– was nearly a decade ago. In addition to the skiing, I am excited to be spending time with the bastards, catching up, and reminiscing about old times.

I am also extremely freaked out about skiing. The last time I skied was, in fact, almost ten years ago. By then, I’d skied only three other times. How much of the skills that I developed back then have I retained? Is it like riding a bike that once I don the gear, I’ll be slaloming in no time? When I agreed to this ski trip a few months ago, I was untouchable. Now, I’m feeling the equivalence of stage fright. Mostly, I’m just concerned about hurting myself. Am I setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or is acknowledging this fear my body’s way of building up the necessary defense mechanisms?

Alas, I’m certain that I’ll be able to shake it off once I’m up there on the mountain, and I would think this post was ridiculous. Wish me luck!

How Well-Rounded Are You?

I came upon this list of forty questions from a fellow blogger, who got it from another fellow blogger, who may have gotten it from yet another fellow blogger. I truly don’t know how far back this perverse derivative of Chinese Whispers goes, but I’m hoping the private detective I hired will provide me some answers soon. Meanwhile, I took the time to answer them to determine how well-rounded I am:

1. Been to a play: Yes, several.

2. Bungee jumped or something similar: Not yet, but it’s on my list of Ten Things To Do Before I Die. It may very well be the cause of my death, though. Shiver.

3. Been a mentor/big brother/big sister: Similar. I taught a 5th grade class Introduction to Economics as part of Junior Achievement.

4. Read at least one of the classics (War and Peace, The Great Gatsby, The Red Badge of Courage, Beowulf, Crime and Punishment, etc): I don’t know if they’re considered “the classics” but I’ve read “Catcher in the Rye,” “The Dubliners,” and “Travels with Charley.”

5. Stood up for someone publicly: Yes, mostly in work situations.

6. Been on a major roller coaster: Only one at Disneyland. I’m terrified of roller coasters and generally avoid them like the plague. And, this is why.

7. Been to a drive-in movie: Nope. Too ethnic for it, I guess.

8. Done something at a drive-in movie other than watch the movie: See question #7.

9. Done volunteer work: Yes, through Rotary Club. Presently, I also volunteer my time at an historical independent movie theatre.

10. Given a toast at a wedding, a eulogy at a funeral, or some similar, meaningful speech: Yes, at a buddy’s wedding, where I was the Best Man.

11. Been to a major sports playoff game: Not any playoff games, unfortunately, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching live NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB games.

12. Thrown a costume or theme party: Yes, through work.

13. Been on or near the set of a major motion picture: Yes, in P-Town, while they were filming The Hunted.

14. Taken a compliment well: I think I generally do with a simple “Thank you.”

15. Planted a tree: I kill plants.

16. Been stung by a jellyfish or something similar in/near the ocean: Yes, by a jellyfish when I was about 8 or 9.

17. Quit a crappy job: Yes, walked away from the hotel industry after many, many years.

18. Been on a blind date: Yes, she’s still undergoing therapy.

19. Done something kind and unexpected for a stranger: Yes, if you consider volunteer work.

20. Had a major surgery: Only one. It as a rite of passage. Blush.

21. Taken a car/truck road trip that covered at least 6 states: Took a train from Vancouver, B.C. to Montreal (Quebec) when I was 11; took Amtrak from Oregon to Illinois in my teens.

22. Been in 4 or more countries: Yes, including my homeland and the U.S., I’ve also been to China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

23. Spent New Year’s Eve somewhere special: Everywhere I’ve spent NYE have been special and have been with people with special needs.

24. Visited an ancient landmark: I’m not sure if it’s classified as “ancient landmark,” but I visited the Daibutsu in Kamakura (Japan). That was surreal.

25. Been face to face with a celebrity by chance: Yes, I bumped into Fran Healy, lead singer of the band Travis, while working at a hotel. Totally unexpected encounter. I didn’t even realize who he was until he began to speak. Saw their concert in P-Town that night. 🙂 But, I’ve had plenty of celebrity encounters during my hotel life that were not by chance. My most favorite people: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. — very, very grounded despite their celebrity.

26. Given to charity in the past two years: Yes.

27. Helped a stray animal: Not yet, but I totally break for squirrels.

28. Dated someone you met online: No, but I’m open to it.

29. Won money on a long shot: Not yet. Sigh.

30. Won your office/family/friends NCAA tournament pool: I don’t bet on sports teams anymore. Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

31. Won an award/medal (even if something “small”): I was honored as Employee of the Year for one of the companies I worked for. I had disdainful looks from some of the contenders for a few months after that.

33. Been in the front row for a concert: Nearly front row at a Tool concert once.

34. Attended a symphony orchestra performance: Not yet, but I would welcome the opportunity.

35. Caught a criminal in the act and did something about it (reported it, smacked them in the head, etc): I normally don’t hang around my relatives, so, no.

36. Sung solo on a stage: Yes, at a mini concert for a charity. I was one of the performers.

37. Witnessed something supernatural: I think so, see previous post.

38. Covered for someone (who deserved it) at work: Yes.

39. Overcome a major fear: Yes, public speaking. I was thrust into a role in high school that necessitated public speaking, and, through that experience, I was able to slowly overcome that fear. I still get some stage fright these days, but I’m able to shake the jitters off very quickly.

40. Mailed a surprise care package to a loved one: Does lingerie count as a care package?

Well, there you have it. I’m not really sure what the answers to these questions say about me or how it proves/disproves my neurosis, but it sure was fun!

Steve Nash Proud of his Trash Talk

Environmentally-friendly Steve Nash, all-star guard for the Phoenix Suns, has partnered with Nike to create “the first performance basketball shoe made from manufacturing waste” called the Nike Trash Talk.

“Any opportunity to promote the environment and preserve our planet is a step in the right direction,” Nash said. “I’m very excited to be one of the first athletes to wear the Nike Trash Talk. I think people will love the shoe, and hopefully by wearing it I can inspire others to try it out as well.”

Click here to read the full press release from NikeBiz.com.