Dumpsville (in a good way...)

The message I posted Thanksgiving night mentioned that it had just started snowing late Thursday evening; well I don’t think it has stopped since! Well, at least not at the resort. Here in town we got a few breaks during the day on Friday, and it’s not snowing here now, but even we got our fair share, I would estimate it at about 15 inches total. This morning before skiing I had to clean about 8 inches off the car just from last night! Total, as of this morning’s ski report we got 26” at Beaver Creek and about 21” at Vail since Thursday. It has been snowing almost all day though, and expected to linger through the early afternoon tomorrow, so I expect another 6 plus easily to be added on to those numbers before all is said and done. Hmmm, I wonder what I spent my weekend doing? Well I went golfing.

No I’m kidding, skiing of course! Saturday I met Wells and Karlin up at Keystone with a large part of the Denver clan. I think at one point we were about 14 people! It was good, they had about 3 inches Friday, and it snowed all day Saturday while we were there. They have been expanding their terrain openings, so there were a few new runs open Saturday that had not been open all year. We had a great time, and afterwards went out to dinner in Dillon, a sort of early birthday celebration for Wells, whose birthday is today (Sunday), Happy Birthday! I was hoping to join them in Breck today to get some runs in, but with our foot plus of snow overnight at higher elevations, I decided Vail Pass was not going to be a good idea. I had driven it the night before, and it was already starting to pick up about 4-6 inches of snow. I was able to go to Beaver Creek today though, we are fortunate to not have our local passes blacked out today like they were Friday and Saturday. That was great news, as the mountain reported 12” as of 6am on their snow report, and I’m sure another inch or two fell before the 9am lift openings. So what does over a foot of fresh snow mean? Why powder of course! They opened Ripsaw and Cataract, two black diamond runs off the Rose Bowl lift, and before they got tracked out and bumped up we had knee deep powder! It’s a good thing those runs are steep, or you wouldn’t be able to move! In fact the access to the runs was ungroomed, flat in spots, and just as deep. I fell about 3 times just from lack of momentum in the deep snow, and believe me its hard to get up when your poles sink 2/3 of their length into the snow! Thw snowboarders had an even harder time… no poles. Over on the runs themselves the snow was amazing, and so much fun to ski, when you get moving. The depth was causing its share of problems though, I stopped a couple of times to help some people get back up, and even to try and find lost equipment. One of the kids lost his ski near the bottom of the run and it took his family over an hour to find it buried underneath! Now some of you may cringe at the idea of 2 feet of snow in 2 1/2 days, but it was just what the doctor ordered here. We should be able to get a lot more of the mountain open after the ski patrol gets their chance to make sure its safe. This week should be dry, but cold, so at least the roads will all get a chance to get cleaned up, which is good news as I am supposed to head to Crested Butte on Wednesday for a project meeting.

On another note, congratulations to Syracuse’s football program, they trounced Boston College (those ACC-bound traitors…) 43-17 to force a 4-way tie with Syracuse, BC, West Virginia and Pittsburgh for Big East Champions. How funny would it be if Syracuse ends up with the conference’s BCS bid at 6-5? To be honest, I’d rather they didn’t, it would be better for them to play their bowl game against a more equally matched opponent, rather than have to face someone like Auburn, Miami or even Utah in a BCS bowl…



Well its getting time for bed here on Thanksgiving Day and the flakes are starting to fly! We got started around 10pm, and should have a few inches on the ground by morning. It is supposed to snow all day tomorrow, so lets hope it does, and we will have powder skiing for Saturday!

I went up this morning, got in a few hours at Beaver Creek before the Thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty good, the little bit of snow earlier in the week was just enough to add some new terrain openings for Thanksgiving. At the very top of the resort are a series of beginner runs, so they opened all of those, about 6 or 7 total, and 2 more lifts. The snow up there is all natural, no snowmaking on those trails, so even though it was sort of flat, the snow was good, and there was a 2 inch layer of fresh snow on top. The only drawback is that it is still early season, so there were a lot of saplings still poking through the snow, that is why you need "rock skis".

For dinner, one of the guys at work invited the office "orphans" up to his house where his wife made turkey and home-made trimmings such as wild rice, corn casserole, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. It was really good, and we all really appreciated the opportunity for a good home cooked meal when we were not able to make it home to our families. Before the dinner we were watching the Bears game, unfortunately Julius Jones had a better day than his brother and the Bears lost, but it was nice that the brothers were playing against each other on Thanksgiving so that the family could still be together. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, have a good time shopping with the crazies tomorrow, and I'll update you on this weekend's skiing... Think Snow (well for me anyway...)


2 mountains, 2 runs

Well the resorts keep opening, despite our overall lack of snow. This weekend Vail, Beaver Creek, and Crested Butte all opened. I'm not sure what trails opened at CB, but locally, Vail only opened one run (Born Free), and Beaver Creek also only had one run open (Gold Dust). Saturday was Beaver Creek's first day, so I went there for the opening day festivities which included live music at the base of the lift, free cookies and hot chocolate/coffee in the lift line, and a chocolate chip cookie contest in the village in the afternoon. It wasn't crowded at all, the lift line was basically non-existent the entire day, and with a 2100 vertical foot slope open, I was able to get 17 laps in, for a total of over 35,000 vertical feet in my day. You can't get too excited over one run, and after 17 runs you really start to learn it well. I chalked the day up to "conditioning". To give you an example of how much a 35,000' day is, Devil's Head in Wisconsin has about 500 verical feet, it would take 70 runs there to equal 35,000'. There are a lot of people here who don't think it is worth it to head up for one run on man-made snow, guess they are "spoiled" by all of the good snow the rest of year. To them I say this "at least I'll be in shape when the rest of the mountain opens!". We have been getting snow this weekend, although very little, just a couple of inches yesterday, and a couple more today. We really need snow to measured in feet to get the resorts to expand terrain openings. Arizona is getting 2 feet of snow today, maybe we'll get lucky and the storm will track towards us the next couple of days, but I doubt it...

Also this past week the college basketball really started to get rolling. Syracuse advanced to the Championship of the Coaches vs. Cancer Thursday with a gritty win over 12th ranked Mississippi State. They sealed the game by opening the second half on a 11-0 run. They then went on to win the Championship Friday with a solid win over #23 Memphis. The game had its ups and downs, but Syracuse consistently led most of the game, and stretched it out with a late run to secure the win. Hopefully this is the first of many Championships this year, but at least we are off to a good start, and showing that we deserve our #6 ranking. We should move up this week, as #3 North Carolina was upset by Santa Clara, Top Five, here we come!


Pennsylvania Stories

It just happens to be that this week I can find a way to relate what I wanted to say to Pennsylvania in one way or another, it makes sense, trust me...

1st - Congrats to Marvin Harrison, Syracuse grad and Philadelphia native, on becoming the fasted player in NFL history to reach the 800 career catch mark. He and Peyton Manning also hooked up for their record setting 664th QB-WR reception of their careers.

2nd - It is now officially College Basketball season once again, which I love. Thursday and Friday the sixth ranked Syracuse Orange helped get the season kicked off right, winning their two opening round games in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Next week they will be travelling to NYC for the semifinals against Mississippi State. The Pennsylvania connection? Syracuse's star point guard Gerry McNamara is from Scranton, PA.

3rd - Another pair of ski areas out here opened up this weekend, Breckenridge and Keystone (get it, Keystone state?). I met Karlin and Wells and a bunch of their friends from Denver up at Keystone today, it was a great day. The snow conditions started out a little icy, but as the sun warmed up the slopes they softened up a bit and there were a few sections where the snow was pretty good. It was very crowded though, especially after lunch. They were kicking off their season with the 36 hours of Keystone event, teams of 2-4 people had to complete one run per hour from 8am Friday to 8pm Saturday. Only one person per team had to complete the run to keep the team eligible so people could rotate who got to sleep. We did not participate, but there were a lot of people that did, I hope every team got to finish, what a waste it would have been if they stayed up all night, only to come up short. The qualifying teams got some door prizes (T-shirts, and the usual) and also got entered into a drawing for $3600. Not bad!


Action Packed Weekend

It was a fun filled weekend, it started out with day 2 on the slopes, Copper just opened this weekend, and they did a good job of making enough snow to almost get top to bottom skiing open. They still had essentially one run, technically it was three different runs (and two lifts), but they are all stacked on top of each other. From the top, which is a run called Ptarmigan, there was about 850 vertical to the next run which was Rhapsody/ Main Vein, which added another 1400 vertical back to the base. All in all it was over 2200 vertical feet of skiing, more than most of the resorts on the east coast I used to ski at in High School. It was great, because it meant less time in lift lines, and more time skiing. The conditions were good, some natural snow at the top section, below the chairlift the black diamond runs (that were closed) looked to have about 2 feet of snow, so hopefully with a few more storms they will be opening more terrain soon! Even though it was just one run, I did about 15 total runs (mostly just the top section) and really started getting back into form. My mechanics felt great, the turns, pole plants, body position… all of it was starting to feel really comfortable again. I can’t wait until December when the Back Bowls at Vail open, I’ll be ready!

After that I went back home, checked some quick college football scores (Syracuse won in Double OT), and packed up to head out to Denver for the rest of the weekend. My friends Karlin and Wells, who of course most of you know, were going to the Wilco concert in Denver, so I thought I would head down and try and scrounge a ticket. It worked out great, one of their friends who was going to the show and ended up having an extra ticket. The show was great, they sound really good together, and you can really tell when you are listening to a good group of musicians. They had images projected during the show, some of which were of Lake Shore Drive (Wilco being from Chicago), and they showed the building Wells used to live at in Chicago, it was cool! I’m glad I got to go to the show, it was sold out, so if it wasn’t for the extra ticket, who knows? I stayed at Karlin and Wells’ apartment, and then today they had a brunch at their apartment with all of their new Denver friends, so I got to meet a lot of great new people. I’m sure we will all be seeing a lot of each other this winter, as they are all skiers or snowboarders and will be heading up to the resorts plenty of times this season. After the brunch we went to the park and hung out with some football and frisbee tossing, and I got to meet all of their friends’ dogs too. Tons of people out here have dogs, most of which are really great, friendly, and chilled out dogs that don’t bark at everything in sight. It was a fun weekend, and I’m sure there will plenty more of those!