Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Monoski Network Newsletter

The Monoski Network
June 2015 Newsletter

As the ‘14-’15 ski season in North America is quickly coming to the end, we wanted to say a few words.  What a great season!  From the east coast to the west coast, from New Mexico to Alaska, we all had our challenges with snow, but we all got some great skiing!  After having such a great Monopalooza, we think the group is growing.  We’re going to bring back the chat board.  We’re going to bring back the community.  We’re going to call ourselves the Monoski Network!  We’ll focus on the North American region, but always welcome our friends from across ponds to join us!  If you get a chance, catch a flight…  Grab one more day on the slopes!

Closing day? WTF?  Never!!!
by Erik Larson
Despite the lousiest winter weather in my living memory, there’s one guy who counted May as his 55th consecutive month with at least one day on the mono each month.  What will June bring? Closing day at Whistler has been extended until June 8th.  So, most likely an up and back on June 7th and Whistler = 56.  Then it’s probable that the Palmer Snowfield will still be open in July (they usually go until Labor Day).  So, most likely another long day down and back to Timberline and that’s 57.  Then it get’s interesting.  I promised Christoff a summer ski on Rainier in August, but it’s probably going to be more like 7 miles of hiking for 1 mile of skiing.  What will September bring - probably even worse hike to ski distance ratios.  Palmer?  Rainier?  Something new?  We’ll see.  Hopefully October will bring snow like it did last year for a celebration of 60.  Then the 6th year should be easier.
Cinco de Mono  
by Tucker Brown
Cinco de Mono 2015!  -- A regional gathering of like minded monoskiers!
Every year we get together at Arapahoe Basin on the first Saturday in May.  We take to the slopes to put our monoski impulses at bay… but only for the day.  We were 23 strong this year, marking the 12th event!  We added a not too shabby 2 converts, but the interest for the sport in lift lines was phenomenal.  It wouldn’t be a beach party at the basin if the weather wasn’t threatening, but only a few snow showers forced us to bundle up.  The snow finally started coming in April; leaving us with excellent conditions for slop.  The grill was hopping with brats, burgers and Kabobs!

Timothy Busch joined us from Sante Fe: I've been to Cinco de Mono twice at Arapahoe basin and I feel that I learned more in a single day with this group then I did all season on my own. it was well worth the distance to be among people who share the same enthusiasm for the sport. Everyone in the group is eager to share their expertise, skill, and love for the sport. I was able to try several different Monoskis, was given many technical pointers that will definitely help me advance my skill level.  

Two-to-One: From Mono Newbie to Addict at Cinco de Mono
by Don Gallo

In May 2011, this 50-something transplanted Coloradan was enjoying some turns on A-Basin’s famed Pallavicini steeps. As I boarded the lift, I was joined by a monoskier. As an enthusiastic two-planker for over 40 years, I had always been intrigued by monoskiers – their graceful turns, fluid motion, and smiles. I learned from my liftmate – Greg Spanel –that a group of monoskiers was at the Basin for their annual Cinco de Mono gathering. I told him I’d always wanted to try a mono myself, and he said that their buddy Kerry Matre ran Fury Skis and had a few extra skis on hand. Another one of their buddies – Tucker Brown, resplendent in a goth overcoat and kicking a split-tail board – showed me the basics, brought me to the top of Pali, and coached me down a front-side blue.
One run – shaky. Two runs – getting it. Three runs – cool. Four runs – I gotta get me one of these! I bought my first ski (a hideously ugly but sweet-turning Duret Magnum) from Kerry the next day.
Fast forward to Cinco de Mono 2015. In four short years I went from clueless newbie to enthusiastic convert, and made new friends along the way. We’ve enjoyed competitive bump runs, pond-skimming, and cookouts at the Basin’s famed “beach.”
Our community is small, and why should we have all the fun? Next time a curious skier chats you up, offer them a personal demo. And in a few short runs, welcome them to our club.

Blackcomb Crazies
By Boomer Zimmerman

Blackcomb Crazies was at Whistler this year - despite the name of the event, we didn’t make it to Blackcomb this year.  But Whistler was open, from Gondola mid-station to Peak and Harmony bowls - It was an amazing event this year, with skiing in all conditions.

I flew into Vancouver near the middle of an event that I’ve always been confused about, Blackcomb Crazies.  Is it an official Canadian end of season blow out? Is it the biggest gathering of single plankers north of the border? Or is it a drinking fest for a group of the guys trying to steal a couple extra days of sliding from the demons of summer?

I met Sacha at the airport and we cruised up to Whistler in typical Sacha fashion, apexing corners on the 4 lane and stabbing the brakes in sight of every car parked along the road.  Upon arrival we met most of the crew at a bar and thus the age old cycle of drinking and skiing was thrown into motion.  4 days later Crazies concluded as it had begun, on the square in the village a bit more hungover and worn out.  In the middle Pete, Erik, Gregg, Hoss, Crown, Highlander and I skied some of the best slop I’ve ever been on. Sure only part of the mountain was open and the racks at the base had equal numbers of bikes and skis but the weather was great and this was the best snow I touched all year.untitled-106.jpg

The pace of the days was relaxed. The routine we fell into was to have a leisurely morning meal with a couple cocktails, once the restaurant bar opened. Then we hit the slopes for a few runs.  One of the first tasks of the morning was visiting and restocking the badly hidden trailside cooler.  Our packs lightened of hoppy goodness we spent the days lapping the few lifts that were open.  And those laps were good.   Vert racked up at a respectable rate as we railed fast slush lines top to bottom.  I imagined huge rooster tails of sloppy goodness flying off the back of my ski at every turn.  Even though the groomers were desperate for snow, pushing it from unused trails to keep the open ones free of nasties, there were still a few bumps lurking along the sides to bash.


During pit stops at the “secret” cooler we traded around some skis so everyone got to sample some new tech, some old tech, and some new-old tech. I may have discovered new love on that hill we will see if we meet again when the snow flies next year.

At the end of the day a swimming pool sized hot tub was the evening entertainment.  Chicken wings and hoppy beers fueled the madness night after night. Rinse and repeat.

In the end I’m not sure that this shouldn’t be an official event for Whistler and I’m not convinced that it's the largest mono gathering in the great white north.  What I do know is that Blackcomb Crazies is a terrific way to steal a couple more days before the grass turns green and the skis go up in their loft.

Good friends, good drink and good times.  What a great preview for Mono-P 2016.


Pro Tip:  There is a great bar, The Flying Beaver, at the seaplane base just outside of the vancouver airport.  It’s a good place to wait for a flight to come in.
Monopalooza 2016
Location: Whistler/Blackcomb, BC Canada (Get your passport primed)
           Date: Wednesday, February 24 - Monday, February 29, 2016

We’re considering renting another smaller (4 or 5 bedroom) place really close to the Edelweiss Chalet for anyone that’s looking to stay closer to the MonoPad instead of in the Village.  
There is an option to book rooms about 40% under normal rate, but it until mid June and non-refundable. The rooms at this place are nice and there are a few connecting rooms with kitchenettes too.  Check out the facebook post in Monopalooza from Pete Maskiell or drop a word to info@whiteknucklemonoskis.com if you’d like to reserve a spot in these accommodations.

How to get to Whistler?
Don’t let the lack of snow during the summer get you down.  Start planning your trip to Monopalooza 2016 in Whistler, British Columbia now!  First thing and most important….MAKE SURE YOU PASSPORTS ARE CURRENT!!!  There are several options for getting to and from Whistler from different locations.  The two main airports to get to the area are Seattle and Vancouver.  There are different shuttle services that offer rides from the airports, downtown Seattle and downtown Vancouver up to Whistler and back.  What follows is a list of different companies offering rides to wayward ski bums:
They have pick up and drop off locations in Vancouver that take a direct route to the slopes.
Perimeter Transportation
This company offers transportation from Vancouver Airport and downtown Vancouver to Whistler.
Pacific Coach Lines
           PCL has shuttles between downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Airport and Whistler.
Epic Rides
This company offers a very reasonably priced fare from various pick up locations in Vancouver to Whistler.
Ride Booker
They offer transportation from a lot of different locations in the area including Vancouver and Seattle to Whistler.
Pacific Coach
           They offer charters to and from Vancouver to Whistler.
The Whistler Train
For those looking to take in the scenery and relax, the train is another option from Vancouver to Whistler.
There are several options to get to Whistler this coming winter to join the crowd and there are far fewer options for not making the trek to Monopalooza 2016!!!  We hope you have a great summer.

Don’t forget to fill out our Monoski Network Contact and info Survey:

Safety Pilot

Fred took me out for some practice in his friend's Bonanza.

Fred was practicing instrument approaches. You can see plenty of GPS instruments and Fred with his Foggles.

Looking over the wing tip tank, there was plenty of water in the South Platte.  Above: 40 miles west of Greeley.
Above and below were taken just east and just west of Greeley

 These pictures were 20 miles east of Greeley as we did a hold and shot the RNAV 28 GXY.
Fun time, fun plane.  The Cabin is 4 or 5 inches wider than the Arrow or the Archer which we normally have been practicing in.  The engine is ~85 HP more and you can tell when it is fired up.  Fred just got back from Sacramento which we was running ~13 gal/hr.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bike Group from Work at Elephant Rock

This photo was taken at 6:15 at the startline of Elephant Rock.  The group had riders on the 100mi 100k, and 40mi.

Nice Jerseys this year.  If you can't see the image it is a photo of Long's peak visible from our office windows.