February 28, 2013

Kessler- Catcher's Mitt

Kessler can be a wild card. Slides can be tremendous on all aspects; when timed right however the skiing can be phenomenal. Early this morning, Eric Badger, Blake Fredrickson and I amidst chalking morning skies and dying headlamps ascended the standard Argenta slide path to the top of Kessler. Much to my wonderful surprise we ran into Jake Tauscht on top! I hadn't seen him since our Cathedral Traverse trip in August. Once again he had that wild grin and excitement to be in the mountains.  We chose to descend the Catcher's Mitt, enjoying one pain filled powder turn after another.
Blake entering the top of the Catcher's Mitt

Other than racing against him, I had never skied with Blake on a "tour." It was great! He loves the mountains, is filled with energy charged by the electrical atmosphere of the alpine. Much like Eric! I look forward to many more equally great mountain adventures with him. Unfortunately I haven't replaced my lost camera. This shot is the best I could do this time.

February 17, 2013

Vail Mountain Games and the War Wagon

Last weekend, Jared coaxed me into taking a drive with him in his war wagon; listen to him cough most the way there and join him at the starting line of the 2nd annual Teva Mountain Games ski mountaineering race; now the Eddie Bauer Winter Mountain Games, Vail, Colorado.  Having only done a few skimo races this year, and with this to be my first official rando ski race in the same category of the lightweight fast folks, I registered with trepidation. According to my wife, I've done some form of racing nearly our whole marriage (two decades); probably not a good thing. Regardless, toeing the line with a bunch of guys and gals in spandex ski suits, colorful helmets and packs barely large enough for a shovel, probe and some zingers is a bit unnerving.

The weather was nice at the lower elevation; up high the storm let loose in a big way becoming brutal. The course, relatively low angle proved challenging for me as I'm not accustomed to low to flat skinning. In 20 miles the course gains 6,500 or so feet. My first mistake of many, lose the tail clips on the skins. Despite my follies, it was wonderful to race around Vail and the organizers did a fantastic job putting it on. This iconic resort is huge to say the least.

The company of the other racers was fun and even better was seeing Jared have such a great race given the fact that I seriously thought he had a case of the black lung while driving to the venue (probably because of our tremendous high quality air this winter in the  SL valley). His cough disappeared during the event which was a huge blessing and he nailed it. 

With my goals of learning a great deal, a top ten finish, have fun and to find some cool ski pins for my kids, the race and experience proved a success for me. I'm glad Jared pushed me to do it.

A photo I saw on Facebook and then took off Jared's blog.

Jared lower stretch of first back bowl

February 5, 2013

Winter's Passage of Time

This morning I was alone, skinning amidst a blanket of stars, headlamp doused and a moon piercing the blackness while cascading daunting shadows of tall Wasatch Peaks over me. While moving upwards, I counted my many blessings in life and the chance I had to be surrounded by nature so early in the morning.   

Owen my third boy who is 9 years old has been praying with us as a family for certain people struggling with health challenges. Owen is a special boy of blue eyes, shaggy blond hair and a fire for life. A couple weeks ago he heard me talking about needing to get out and ski. He asked me, "Dad do you need some Skimotherapy?" I smiled and said "for sure." How did he come up with that?

Below are a couple pictures of Skimotherapy over the past few weeks. Gratefully we take the therapy together, challenging one another to achieve goals that independently hold invisible values.

This last Saturday, Jared Inouye, Jason Dorais, Tom Goth, Sam and Aaron Inouye and I traversed from Alta to Millcreek. It was a riot to do it rando style. A few in skinsuits, others a bit more relaxed, but the whole time filled with laughter. It was nice to be out in the sun!! Jared choreographed the shuttles and put it together. The morning was beautiful, outstanding northerly aspects and even better company.  The only bummer, I lost my little camera, so I am using one of Jared's pics below. My camera has been so many places with me.
Courtesy Jared Inouye. Last climb of the day.

The OR Wasatch Skimo Series Race was another great memory in January.  Tom flew away with the race of course.  Andy Dorais put on an incredible morning race, with 3 summits. It was fun to ski with Chad B and several other folks from out of town like Pete Swenson during the event.  Andy and others have really stepped up to put on these outstanding events. 

Post race and spandex! Chad Brackelsberg (left), Tom Goth and me-- Courtesy Andy Dorais