Monday, January 26, 2009

The Talons Challenge

23000 vertical feet of blacks and double blacks!!!

Saturday January 24th, at Beaver Creek!

Last weekend we were both out training… Karyn took the A-basin tele steeps camp, and David took me out to rough me up on bumps all day.

At the end of the day I was a little roughed up, but pleased to meet up with Karyn and Becky, prepared to run 1 last bump run down Main Street or Standard. The snow was pretty good, but it’s been warm. At the end of the day, we were sure if there was no new snow, the talons would be ‘death bumps’ aka ‘Volkswagens’.

Sunday David came out on his Alpines to finish me off at Keystone. We found some good snow there, and quite a few rocks out in the Outback.

This weekend, was the official Talons Challenge. Last year this became a normal activity in the annual Telemark training sequence. The norm is preparation of days telemarking bumps, and steeps. But there is still nothing to prepare you for the run down Golden Eagle. The Men’s world cup birds of prey race course. Every year this run is a sheet of ice. I’m not talking east coast ice, I’m talking ice rink ice. 40 feet of this run takes on a blue/brown color. The brown must come from the dirt 8” below. And every year this section takes a hip of at least 1 monoskier. This year it took 2 for a ride… (Don aka “Old Dudes Rule” managed to stay up for that section.)

After nervous anticipation of skiing rock hard ‘Volkswagens’, mother nature tuned in, and gave us some fresh snow. Friday night Beaver Creek got 5” of wet and heavy… Exactly what we needed to cover those ice bumps up. It continued to snow throughout the day, providing poor visibility, wet ski gear, and a bunch of fog to make things exciting. When Ed, Chris and I were crossing from the bottom of Screech Owl over to Ruffed Grouse, the fog was so thick, I couldn’t see more than a blob behind me, so I let out the normal tree skiing Yelp (David agrees, it can’t be called Yodel, but that is another useful noise). Ed’s voice from behind comes “You’re like an F*$% light house with that Jacket on”. Apparently they were closer than they appeared.

Finishing at a respectful 1:30, David and Andrew on alpines were waiting at the Red Tail having cleaned up ½ hour prior to us. We stuck around to pick up the free beer and brat, a shirt, the hat and pin for finishing, and I decided to push David’s condition a little with 1 more run. (I can’t tell you where we went, because it’s the hidden secret of the talons course.) The 3rd annual success, and this year the crowd was limited to 1500 people.

Sunday was a tough day to get back out on the slopes. It was clear we were in shape enough to ski the talons, but we weren’t in good enough shape to ski the day after. 5 more inches of snow at Copper, and our latest start of the season, 9:30 on the lift. There was plenty of freshies to find on that mountain, but it snowed all day, and by 3 the wind was whipping so hard, we decided to cache in. (and Dad, we got our 20k in.;)

We got down late, still not managing to meet up with our friend flying in from Spain, but sorry to have missed Sarah’s birthday dinner at the Med.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

kitty kat

what can i say? handsome is a total freak. at some point tucker convinced him that he should be a parrot.... he somehow learned that sitting on the shoulder of his favorite or next-to-favorite or completely unknown human is the place to be. here is post-cat-breakfast earlier this week....
go figure?

more freakish handsome behavior - check out his reaction at the end....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jackson Pics

So, I've gotten a few comments that there are no Karyn pictures.... i'll post two here but all the pics can be found at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Epic Weekend at Jackson Hole

Snow Report: 15" 4" 6" tr and then 12" from nowhere.

Friday was a real epic day at Jackson, we skied over 20k feet in powder, trees and bowls. As always the Tram is one hell of an experience, this was my first trip to see the new Tram. 100 people, 9 minutes up, 4,139 feet of vertical! This new tram is a great improvement over the old 52 capacity tram. We hit a few of the classics including: South Hoback, Alta shoots, Laramie Bowl Pepi's, and Dick's Ditch.

Thanks to the Lewis' and David for use of their transceivers, all of us who skied the hobacks had transceivers. I also gave a quick training session for those who had the equipment.

We grabbed some chow at the Snake River Brewery, everything was great but the over cooked Ribs...

By Saturday, Juan had met all the employees. If a name tag said Peru, he spent 15 minutes chatting it up.

Skiing was great, no fresh snow, but we tried Saratoga (that had a layer of crust), Moran woods, Solitude Gully, but once we found the snow in Riverton Bowl, we had a hard time leaving! We skied until Eddie was falling more than turning ;). Jackson Hole just doesn't get the skiing pressure that a ski resort on the old I-70 corridor does. We had no trouble finding great snow in bounds all day Saturday.

Late in the afternoon, we rode up with a local ski bum. (Well local as of 3 weeks.) We talked about the forecast, and he said stick a map in the freezer. You wouldn't believe how well that worked earlier this season!

After a few white russians, Small Buddy insisted on betting on anything and everything... The weather report called for another blue sky day, no snow in the forecast. The bet... Small Buddy and Little Mike, 20,000 vertical feet by noon, Tucker and Eddie, 40,000 by close... I'm surprised there were no bets made on the game...

Sunday morning we woke up to a surprise of 1" of snow in the parking lot.
January 11, 2009
I seem to remember typing the weather report yesterday. Either I have a serious case of memory loss, or the National Weather Service had NO IDEA we were about to receive a foot of snow overnight.

Our snow report was 12", and Small Buddy was hung over! The bet was off...

This is a good day for avalanche gear, and everyone had it... The tram opened 1/2 hour late because of all the bombing. We headed for Saratoga Bowl again, a couple of Fantastic Epic Pow runs!

What a great weekend! I'm so disappointed to have to come back! But Monday morning we caught the first flight back to Denver, only to find 6" in some parts of Denver!

With all the snow we got while we were up there. I'm not surprised that the snowpack was unstable. The avalanche danger was considerable all days we skied. We did find after a warm up Friday afternoon on the lower elevations of the mountain, the snow Sunday was ready to slide. Luckily it was heavy enough, we only had trouble with sluffing. One ski instructor told us about a 36" drop of snow which the storm ended in rain. This sets up a pretty unstable snowpack. This probably contributed to the two in-bounds deaths at Jackson Hole so far this year.