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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

newz youze kan uze

well, for those that care, sswc09 will be here before you know it. looks like jan 4th there will be aps at this web site. i lucked into a spoke card, so my stress is a bit on the low side.... especially since there's 3ft of snow in my front yard holding my bike ransome untill the snow melts.... or i shovel the door to the shed out a bit.

the folks hosting sswc this summer are a neat bunch. it might be a long drive to durango co, but if my truck will make it, i'll be there.

happy new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


days blend together. fuzzy blur of christmas/new years holiday craziness in a ski town.
working. lots of working. fitting boots. tuning skis.
no time to ski. comforted by the fact that the snow insn't too good right now. warmish days weren't friendly to the snow we had christmas day.... in fact, it's the total opposite. melt freeze cycles turned the 3ft of blower powder we had into a frozen tundra unless the sun hits it juuuusssst right. even then, it's only so so.
so, we rest. recoup. watch some movies. recharge until the next phase of winter blesses us with its next batch.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


..... that was interesting.

Snowblowing the driveway took waaayyyyyy longer than anticipated. The berm at the bottom of the driveway was up to my chest with the rest of the driveway so deep it was alllllmost over the bucket on the blower. To add to the fun I decide I would get just a little bit closer to the woodpile while snow blowing the deck munching the corner of the tarps in the process. That's a fun (not) experience I hope to never have again.

Once dug out, Megan and I decided that even though it was 12:30 we'd still try and sneak a quick lap on Jakes or Hidden peak. After an epic drive we arrived at Hidden to see some parking spots plowed out but no existing skin track. Typically I don't mind breaking trail, but since it was approaching 2 bells, we continued a few minutes south to try our luck at Jakes. We arrived to see one car in the parking lot, skin track installed. BINGO! If you drive a white Astro van with a camper conversion.... THANKS HEAPS!! We owe you one.

Nice hike up. Still snowing. Heavy at times. Turns on the way back down were everything you would expect from waist deep, bottomless blower pow. Moments of no sight... no problems. We stayed to the skiers right of the skin track leaving the steeper chutes to the left for another day when we had more than an hour of daylight left and maybe a little more coverage. Gotta stay smart out there. Even though Tommi will find this slightly amusing, things are still a little thin out there for us in Tahoe.

Ho Ho Ho

and Merry Christmas.

It's days like these that really make me realize just how convenient skiing in the backcountry really is. With over 15" of snow on my deck, driveway, car, and everything else that stands between me and skiing today, there's also that little thing called Christmas. Additionally, getting Megan (my girlfriend) a pass at the resort today would be an exercise in futility as ski areas understandably "tighten their proverbial belt" on cheap tickets during the holiday season. And even if I could get Megan a ticket, we'd need to be at the resort early to ensure some descent skiing as fresh powder disappears faster than a cold 6 pack after an epic ride with your buddies.

Ahh backcountry skiing. Show up early. Show up late. It doesn't matter! I'm going to have AT LEAST one more cup of coffee before snow blowing the driveway. Then I'm diving into that pile of neatly wrapped boxes of who knows what under our tree to see what Santa brought me this year. Then I'm doing some more diving, but this time it's going to be pancakes, an egg and maybe another cup of coffee just for good measure. THEN I'll head out for some turns. Sure we'll see some other tracks, signs that someones been there before us. But who cares! While folks at the resorts are scampering around trying to find a turn or two of untracked powder, we'll be leisurely hiking and skiing our way into contentment by the days end.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is: if you're a slacker, backcountry skiing could be for you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

thinking back.....

While kicking and gliding my way along today on the XC skis, it got me to thinking back about just how all, or at least most, of this ski stuff started.

In the mid 90's, Pennsyltuckie received a HUGE dump. I'm talkin' about two feet of cold, beautiful snow. The normal crew (which was anything but normal) all headed out on our cross country skis to a place called Kings Gap. We kicked and glided our way through the park eventually finding ourselves at the top of a descent hill. Not too steep, but definitely to the point of not being able to just straight line it. Some traversed their way down while some tried to make turns. All told, I probably linked three turns in 350ft of vertical, but the seed was planted. I went back the next day with a buddy of mine, Kurt, to give it another go. The results weren't much better, but we knew we were on to something.

Kurt called early the following day and told me about the skis he'd just ordered and urged me to do the same.Within a couple of days, the shop called and I was mounting bindings to a fresh pair of Fischer E99's in my kitchen. Once again, we made plans to head to Kings Gap to give it another go. This time... THIS TIME we made some turns. Don't get me wrong, we did our fair share of crashing, but MAN was it fun!

Word in our group spread like wild fire and before we knew it, there were a good handful of us with skis that would handle anything Kings Gap had to offer. Even the steepest 30 degree pitch was no match for our gear and determination.

Kurt and I had the place dialed and we had a day up there that I'll never forget. There were about 6 of us.... the perfect number for car shuttling. We took turns driving. One guy would give up his run to do the driving while the rest skied. At the end of the day, the place looked like a ski area. Most particularly the area where we shoveled snow onto the road so we wouldn't have to stop part way down the "run".

There would be other storms. Other days on skis that would stand out. But not like that Saturday in January.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

day 1

Skied today. First time out this season. 3ft of amazingly light powder on a base of dirt & rock. Gave the rock skis a nice work out. I think I hit at least one rock per run. Colder than all get out. In the teens something or other. I didn't last long. Cold toes.

Also checking out my new work place ~ Best Fit ski boots. Best Fit is a custom boot shop one the slopes at Sugarbowl. The owners a hoot, passionate about skiing and a damn good bike rider to boot. We should get along juussst fine.

So, I wouldn't say it's "game on" just quite yet, but old man winter has finally arrived in Tahoe. Another significant storm and we'll be pretty much good to go.... and I'm ready.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My how time flies. It seems like only yesterday I was zipping around in the Mighty Mobile truck with the appointment book open in the passenger seat, tools clanging around in the back and doughnut crumbs in my lap while I was on my way to help out someone with miscellaneous this and thats on their bike. However, having actually looked at my appointment book and my bank account recently I've realized I haven't been really doing much in the way of work in quit some time. Sure, there's been a fork re-build here and a brake bleed there, but for the most part....... I'VE BEEN RIDING!!!!!

And why not. Just like last fall, the trails in the Tahoe area have been "off the hizzy" as my friend Tom Miller would say. (Note: off the hizzy = good trails) Along with countless rides right here in good ole' Truckee, some highlights lately have been Santa Cruz, Downieville, a slightly shortened version of the 4-20 ride and a visit to the freeride trails up at....... let's just say their close by. Yesterday while riding Tahoe Donner trails I was once again trying to fill every bike loving nook and cranny with the feeling of being on the bike because while surfing some weather the other day I saw......

...... the snow icon!!!

Now, I'm OK with the fact that I've been refered to as "a biker living in a ski town". I truly love to ski, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not into "searching out the goods" weeks after that last storm to try and find good snow to ski. I ski enough to know when "it's good" truly means it's good. To some people, "good snow" means that they linked three turns in succession in favorable conditions. What they didn't tell you is that they spent most of the day skiing broken crust, bullet proof snow or otherwise "variable conditions" to find those one or two spots on the hill where the skiing was truly "good". On days like that, you'll find me with a bike in the back of the truck heading down to the foothills where the trails are in perfect condition and the weather usually calls for shorts allowing you to get some sun on something other than just your neck and face.

But, if it's gonna snow....... BRING IT ON!!!! It seems like only yesterday that we were.......

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bea-u-ti-ful Santa Cruz California

Click picture=See entire album

Spent Thanksgiving in Santa Cruz. Expanded my knowledge of single-track radness in that little part of the world. I was gluttonous both at the dinner table Thanksgiving day as well as the local trail system all week long. So many trails, so little time.

Thursday: Campus trails, Hery Cowell park, more campus trails. Oh sooo good. Thanx for the tour Pete!
Friday: Soquel demonstration forest. Or as the locals say..... Demo.
Sat: Delaveaga Park. Short but sweet. Fazzio (pic above) as tour guide.
Sun: More campus trails.... cause there are sooooooooo many.