Blog Posts

Ski or Board, just send it

It’s been one heck of a winter season, and it not over yet! Now it’s time for Spring Skiing!! I’ve been a skiing fool. Pretty much I ski everyday, then on at least one of my days off. I’ve gotten so much better and learned so much.

Do one thing that scares you everyday…..you’ve probably heard that one huh? Well there are a lot of opportunities to do that on the mountain. Black diamond runs, fresh powder, back country skiing, snowmobiling…all in avalanche territory. Oh and snowboarding.

A bit sore, so yeah back to skiing for now. Still got plenty to learn there, really I’m more a skier than a boarder (I can’t even skate board, yet). I understand the draw all the cool kids are doing it and those soft boots are awesome. Downside all that unbuckling, sitting on the snow to buckle, rolling over in the snow to stand up (i had snow in my pockets at one point). For real tho, you can cover a lot more area in skis (there’s a reason why ski patrol are skiers not boarder, just sayin). Oh have you been back country skiing? That’s just me, I’m a skier…..you do you. Just get out there and scare yourself.

Certain Shade of Green -Incubus

It’s not easy being green.

Actually its not hard. Heck I never thought green was my color. Apparently it is now. My on mountain uniform is green and totally matches my backpack (that I’ve never used, til now). By pure coincidence I bought a light green helmet (it was the last inexpensive one they had). Plus I have Cnoc green ski poles too! Then I just got gifted this sweet coat….

Usually I got for the black out look……

Guess it’s time to mix it up a bit! Wandering chardonnay is going green!

(Side note: I normally don’t do name brand stuff…..but I am seriously loving on my North Face gear, like all of it. I could certainly update my ski kit, I’ve had everything for years, Salomon boots, Atomic Skis and an off the rack jacket. When I like something I stick with it, but I’m on the look out for replacements!)

Februburied

Snowmageddon……..Snowpocalypse, whatever you want to call it we go a crap load of snow. 102″ in the past 7 days, 38″ in the last 24 hours! But wait the forecast for the next week:

We are good on snow, yo….for now anyway we are full.

Last night the snow seemed like it would never stop. One of my roommates was trying to go to Santa Cruz but got turned around in Truckee when I-80 closed. It took my other roommate 2 hours to get home from Squaw 8 miles away! So glad I opted to stay in, plenty of stories of people stuck and hotels full. We had multiple people crashing at our place and more cars than we had parking space for. So we broke out the emergency supplies (beer, vodka, tequila and frozen pizza) and stayed up til 4 am watching people slowly drive by.

Squaw and Alpine were closed for the day due to high avalanche hazard. This morning the sun came out and the sky was a beautiful blue…we dug out (2 cars anyway)….then it clouded over and started snowing…again! Tomorrow I’m back on the mountain, I foresee a lot of shoveling and possibly a chance to send it! This is shaping up to be one memorable winter season. Oh Tahoe……

Hazy shade of Winter

I’m sitting here watching it snow. It has been snowing all day!
Wednesday night through Thursday: Heavy snow accumulations
of 2 to 5 feet above 7000 feet with blizzard conditions.

Thus is mountain life…..I love it. Well having to dig my car out is not high on my happy list, but skiing tomorrow should be sick. I need want some powder skis, ok maybe it’s not the skis and I need to step up my powder skills…or both.

Got back from a quick weekend in Portland/Trout Lake. Besides some travelling hiccups it was a great trip. Driving along the Columbia River is always so beautiful. Even got to stop by the Multnomah Falls a magnificent 611 feet tall falls. No trip to the area would be complete without a stop at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks or a Huckleberry Shake!

Sometimes it’s good to get away to appreciate where you came from. After flying all over then running errands in Reno, then the drive back to Tahoe City; I was so glad to get home. (Seriously I was in 4 states over the weekend) Super stoked to get back to work. I really like my job and the people that I work with.

It’s Ruckin time!!

Preparing for a long distance hike? Have some questions?

Whether you are on trail for a few days or several months, if you’re hiking this summer, this is the event to attend! 5 venues …….check out one near you! Come chat with me in Oakland!!

NorCal Ruck
Oakland, CA
January 26, 2019

Cascade Ruck
Stevenson, WA
February 23, 2019

Colorado Rockies Ruck
Golden, CO
March 9, 2019

Bellingham Ruck
Bellingham, WA
March 23, 2019 

Inland NW Ruck
Coeur d’Alene, ID
April 6, 2019 


Baby it’s cold outside

So I made it a week at the new gig. What gig? Well, I’m a lift operator (aka liftie) at Alpine Meadows. Its something I’ve wanted to do for many years and finally got around to.

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Magic Carpet duty

You can ski?
Yes. I’ve been skiing since the 4th grade, at Mt. Holly in Michigan. Over the years I’ve learned and enjoyed skiing with friends in Minnesota, Colorado and California. I even gave snowboarding a try, once. Working at a ski resort is a wonderful opportunity to learn and get better.
Isn’t it cold?
Yes and sorta. It’s been snowing (Yeah) and the temps when I get to work can be in in the 20’s, but you hardly notice it when you start setting up for the day. Plus I got a sweet North Face winter uniform that is pretty toasty. Later in the week the sun actually came out and it was warm enough take off layers. Plus an breath taking sun dog hung over the mountain.

What do you do all day?
I’m up early and after a quick locker room stop, on the mountain by 7:30 am. We have to set up fences, signs and be ready for guest by 9 am. It’s a lot of trudging through the snow carrying stuff (aka my morning workout). One day I worked the magic carpet (a moving surface lift that transports skiers and snowboarders on the ground as they are moved uphill). Watching the kids and adults go from fearful to confident under the watchful eye of parents or instructors was so exciting! The rest of the day I get to feel snow on my face, gaze at the sun on the snow capped peaks and engage with people who’ve come out to enjoy the snow, not a bad gig.

What’s the living situation?
Thanks to employee housing I live conveniently close to the mountain, with 5 roommates from Florida, Georgia, Washington and California. We have a nice place with a view of Lake Tahoe. Tahoe City has the small town feel and slower pace of life that I enjoy. Alpine Meadows (where I work) is the laid back side of Squaw with great trails.
All in all it’s been a interestingly fun week. I’ve done some skiing but mostly I’ve been focusing on learning all the things first. Like I’ve never worn a helmet but not only is it required but like everybody wears on here. Each lift has a different set up to learn, things to be aware of and safety procedures. It’s a fun learning process with co workers that very helpful in showing my the ropes.

Sagebrush to Summit

received_3383116303139251What a difference a week makes! Last weekend I was granted one more relaxing weekend with friends in the desert. With my life about to transition I was a bit anxious about all that was ahead of me. It was a much needed time to unwind and laugh. Four wheeling can be a great way to unwind. Thanks guys for help with those snow chains and road trip tips!

                         ‘Merica

 

 

On Sunday I sorted and loaded the car. I’m pretty sure I over packed AND under-packed (is that even possible). But everything needed to fit in the SUV while leaving me room to car camp. Since I had a couple of days I broke the nine hour drive over a couple of days. Camping first in the Alabama Hills, it’s a beautiful area with lots of dispersed camping that I’ve visited before.

The next day I headed north in search of a hot spring. After rambling around a couple of dirt roads I landed at the Hilltop Hot Springs. I would have rambled further but to my surprise my service engine soon light came on and I was a bit nervous about straying to far from highway 395. So I found a lovely dispersed camping spot about half mile of 395 back in a forested area.

My friends messaged me about a storm coming in so I figured I better push on to Tahoe City. There was rain that turned to snow and then back to rain. It stopped near Carson City so I had a beautiful drive north around the lake.

Tahoe City is a quaint resort town just minutes from Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows  where I’ll be working. After a stop at HR I drove around til I found a good spot to stealth car camp. Not easy in a town with limited parking, but I found a spot. Went to sleep with a light rain falling…….woke to 7 inches of snow! Cleared the snow off with a towel (I neglected to replace my snow brush/scraper)! Welcome to the mountains!

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Home of the 1960’s Winter Olympics

Pack or freeze

Planning to be “in winter” is kinda like planning for a 5 month thru hike, you know similar, but different. There is training, I’ve been dragging my butt to the gym pretty consistently (except for that one time). Gotta get those legs and core. I’m not a fan of squats and I’ve even done those. Liver training is admittedly lacking but maybe it’s similar to muscle memory!

Packing, is me spreading things all over the floor, looking at them and then deciding I’ll deal with it later. This could be a problem later, as I’m not going ultra light. I need snow gear, hiking gear, a NYE outfit (ya never know), oh and a tiny Christmas tree!! Screw it PACK ALL THE THINGS!!

all-the-things

Mentally I’ve been psyching myself up by doing a snow dance while listening to Pearl Jam (and not packing). Oh and watching ski movies for giggles. Have you seen the movie Frozen, not that one, the other one? Or Ski Patrol (1990) they just don’t make movies like that anymore. Plus a Warren Miller video or two “because if you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be older when you do“!

Know how much I want to go Heli-skiing? That’s totally random I know…….I’m just throwing it out there in the universe. Cuz ya never know…..heck who knew I’d walk to Canada!

Embrace the New Chapter

Initially was going to start this post with a ‘sorry I haven’t posted in a while’. But I am not. This last month or so I have been sorting things out for myself. Clearing my head and determining my next life steps. In October I celebrated my 48th birthday, it was similar to an out of body experience. I was surrounded by people but alone. It is a strange yet familiar place for me. People look at me but they don’t actually see me for who I truly am. There is so much about me they do not know, at times I can see in the faces filling in the blanks with what makes them comfortable. Who will they decide that I am?

In Portland for my birthday I explored the city, trails and saw old friends. Mainly I was there for the ALDHA West Gathering, a hiker get together that includes speakers, Trail Angel/Triple Crown Awards and Board elections. I won a sweet Hyperlite backpack playing bingo and the 60’s costume contest!

The Triple Crown award presentation was enjoyable, I did a very short acceptance speech, it was recorded but I haven’t seen it yet, it was kinda a blur.

TC photo

That’s where the Board elections come in. I ran for a member at large seat. It seemed like a great way meet other hikers, learn more about long distance hiking/conservation and offer my skills as a way to give back to the community. I won! I was shocked (there were some other great candidates) then excited.

group aldha

ALDHA West board members '19
ALDHA West Board Members

So it’s gonna be a busy and excited winter learning new things, meeting new people, working with the board and living in Tahoe. That’s a whole lot of new.

CNOC Trekking Pole – Review

(Sorry this should’ve posted this weekend…technical difficulties)

So I got my hands on some new trekking poles! The CNOC Vertex Carbon Trekking poles, a serious step up from the last ones I got at Walmart. These poles are the z type trekking pole, but not fixed length. This tripped me up when I first got them. Luckily there is a video explaining how to put them together on their site! So there is a push button connector, when extended I really like this z type pole as they tend to be more compact. As someone who uses poles less than most, i.e. they spend a lot of time in my outer pack pocket, I like that the are not protruding out like antennas.

There is a foam handle then a foam grip just below that. There is a cork version which is great if you have sweaty hands. But if you are camping be sure to not to leave your poles out, critters like to chew on the sweaty salty cork.

So each pole come in at only 7.7 ounces, together that is less than a pound, if your counting! They do come with a spiffy carrying case, snow and mud baskets and rubber tips(for pavement or concrete). I’m always looking for inexpensive, quality gear that can do double duty. These are actually a great deal price wise….right now they are on sale!  I’ve already used them on few urban and local canyon hikes. Can’t wait to try them in the snow! (I’m so looking forward to this winter!) I’ll let you know how that goes!

Go ahead, go check them out! The holidays are coming, yo!