Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's about that time of year again

When I begin my rant towards mother nature. I thought this year would be different... I thought this year I planned it right, but no... once again, she gets the last laugh.

As I've stated many a time, my snowboard trips are always overshadowed by my menstrual cycle. I'm overwhelmed with PMS, relentless cramps and oh the bleeding. It's sometimes to much for my male friends to bare my existence. I've been cranky on and off the mountain, my body has given up on long days of riding, and my bleeding has caused me to take more bathroom trips than I'd care to take on the mountain.

None the less - you get what you get and you don't get upset, right?

I thought I timed it right. I should have been started my cycle on Saturday... long before my Thursday lift ticket goes into action. I'd have been feeling better... on the last legs of the cycle. Oh but no! Instead it came late.... way late... just in time for my trip. Just in time to reek havoc on my body. Just in time to leave me in cramps during my flight. Just in time to give all my friends and family attitude. Not good!

On top of it, I've been infected with a gnarly virus that just doesn't want to go away. After leaving me sick all weekend I finally decided the doctor had to get involved. He basically told me the virus probably just has to run it's course but to be safe he gave me a 5 day course of antibiotics which I'm to take with Musinex and Sudafed. Holy pills!

Well let's hope this trip is a success regardless! At least I wont get altitude sickness... as Steamboat is significantly less elevated than Breckenridge at a whopping 6K feet above sea level. Go figure I'd think that was small now! Haha - oh well I'm just glad to be going.

For the love of shred....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Riding Log: Day 12 Thunder Ridge

So I start this on a very sad note. As the world has heard, Haiti has just suffered a terrible earthquake followed by many smaller quakes which lead to devastation that is hard to wrap our minds around. The poorest nation in this area is now suffering 1000x more than they already were. Well now... I tell you my step-father lives there. I hate him. He's the father of my siblings and he is a horrid father and a devil of a husband... but he's human. And I'm glad... he survived. For the sake of my siblings, they won't be burying their father. Unfortunately, we will have to be burying our friends. RIP for Luis Carlos Da Costa - Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and second in command of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). In addition he was a friend to our family. RIP for Jerome Yap, executive assistant to the deputy head of the UN mission in Haiti and friend. He called me Julia. He gave me "work" to do when I was bored. He was a nice person.

These 2 great men and many other's are at peace now with the Lord. I pray for their souls and I pray for their families. I ask you to do the same.

Now onto happier times:

My mother, wanting to pay her respects, asked if I could watch the 2 kids so that she could go without them. I agreed and met them at the hill where they were taking ski lessons. I didn't get on the hill till about 7:45 and only had an hour and 15 but figured I'd make the best of it. I took a few laps while I waited till the lessons would be done at 8PM and once they were it was go time. I saw my brother who begged me to take him back up. He had taken a few jumps from a few rollers on the side of the hill and had to show me. When he did I was so stoked. He was getting some decent air for someone all of 3 feet all. He sometimes took a spill because he leans back way too much but after a few reminders we tuned it in. He was showing me the park and I decided he could handle the medium sized box (which would be a small box anywhere else). He did great on it. He landed it almost every time... again with reminders to lean forward. A few times he needed help with setting up but for the most part he was great. After 30 minutes of that we saw Amanda (done from her break) and headed back up the hill. It was last call so we only got a few more runs in and had to head home but it was definitely a good night.

I was sick and wouldn't have been riding if they weren't already there. They've progressed so much and I love to watch them smile. I love to watch them happy. I love to watch them learn. They are growing and I'm not always going to be this available to them. Maybe I'm making it only harder for later but I want to get as much of them as I can in now... before the possible move out west.

I love my siblings more than anything in the world... and loving snow is something we all have in common (especially now that Lauren is getting her snow-legs). There is no better place to bond than on the hill.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Riding Log: Day 11 Back Yard Sesh - New Kingston

Does jibbing and jumping in the backyard count as a day? Well this time it totally does... why? Many reasons:
  • It lasted hours
  • I sweat more than I do riding generally
  • I conquered many fears
  • I did things I never did before
  • It was work work work
Anyway ... so we woke up expecting 7-9 inches... well it was more like 2-3. We were thoroughly disappointed, but decided to make the best of it. Instead of driving through the hell that is New Kingston Mountain Road again we decided to have breakfast in Arkville with the family and then head back for a backyard jib session.

We got all the shovels we could find, 2 sleds, our gear and hiked up the hill. We found a clearing and started piling on the snow. We built a nice 3 foot kicker to get us started. We tracked up the hill a bit to get some speed and off we went. It was fun. You had to navigate the trees just to get to the kicker and once you did, you had to straiten out to ensure you'd stomp it out. It was fun. Then we added challenge by grabbing the bench and using it as a box. It worked... but we broke it further than it already was. The family came out to sneak a peek and all in all - good times were had by all.

I landed almost every jump and I hit the "box" 3 times... I only did well on 1.

Jomel landed his 2nd or 3rd attempt at the jump but opted out of the bench. His friend Mike hit both, but his form was all over the place... he's getting a bit ahead of himself. Hopefully with some coaching and his ego in check his willingness to put his body through hell will create a rider out of him yet.

It was so much fun! I can't wait to head back up there!

Me getting some air off the kicker

Kyle hitting it! Next time we don't make it as steep... but we keep it big.

Raquel trying it out!

Paul getting some tail press action on that bench!

Jomel getting his off that kicker

Riding Log: Day 10 Plattekill

Plattekill? you ask... yes it rocks. Only 2 lifts and a few runs but those runs are a bit more challenging, have trees, and the best part... are short staffed and allow you to dip into untracked or ungroomed territory!

The morning started off slow... as it always does with the Filipino family. We didn't arrive at the hill till around 10:30. After rentals were obtained we headed to the bunny hill which was only serviced by a Tbar... that was hilarity in and of it self... watching Kyle and a board on the Tbar... followed by Lauren, Raquel, and My mom. Paul, Jomel, Paolo, Mike and I stuck around giving pointers. Kyle quickly decided after about an hour that he wanted his skis, a chairlift and some steeps. (Thanks Paul for taking 1 for the team and chilling on the bunny slope with Panda)

We took everyone but Paul and Amanda up to the top for a nice long green. Kyle was at the bottom before most people could strap in. Impatient much? Lauren killed it... she did great. The slacker was ironically Raquel. I swear it's in her head. She gets worse every year... a fear thing? I whining thing? A confidence thing? who knows! I know she's better than she looks... it's just trying to get it out of her.

I did a run with just Lauren next... we hit a blue and I got her practicing her toe edge and she even linked a few turns. My mommy proud instinct turn on. She was truly impressive! Next she said she wanted to try a black... we met Paul and Kyle at the top and took it down. The snow was nice on it. Lauren was ironically the 1st one down. Kyle was taking tight turns and needed help after a few falls. He was going into cold, tired, hungry mode and wanted down fast. At one point, ski patrol came and asked if we needed help. They seemed mad I'd take a 5 year old on a black... but once I got Kyle up, he handled his own and impressed even them. Serves them right for judging us. I blame Paul, he likes to hold hands and baby people down the mountain... at least in the case of Kyle and Amanda. I don't do that. I don't believe in it. I think it's dangerous.. and worse, if they go down the wrong trail I want them to know how to get down ... alone, unassisted, safely... even if it means going down on their but 1 foot at a time.

Anyway, he got down and did great ... just slowly. That's when Lauren and Kyle said it was break time... without any kids in the way, Jomel, Mike, Paul and Me headed up and hit my 1st set of trees. They weren't west coast tight, but they were real trees. They had rocks and dips and tight turns... nothing a novice would want to do. I took charge of that trail and hit it like a pro. I only stopped once... and only b/c my nose hit a tree that sent me down. I got right up and continued on. I didn't freak out and duck back into the trail. The best part was Paul was so proud of me! When we got home I immediately told my mom ... Mike's reaction was priceless... "Wait, that was your 1st time, but you did so much better than us, you killed it." I suppose that's because I talk less and ride more. That poor boy has potential... but he talks so much shit. It makes you want to say something... but you don't... he's Jomel's buddy after all.

Amanda had a rough last run... in the rain... with tired feet... tears and all! I'm proud of her though... she tries. I just wish she would get over her 100 fears. She will never progress with her current attitude. If that was the case, I'd say she should stick to skis... get it right... be a pro at what she likes... not a disaster at what she wants to like.

Only time will tell what the grom and gromette will do when they get older... maybe 2 plank, maybe ride, maybe both... I'll be happy with whatever it is... as long as it's on snow!

and a little plug.... **Save your gourd, wear a helmet**

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Riding Log: Day 9 - Hunter

Rode Hunter Mountain with Paul, Jomel, Mike & Paolo today. It wasn't my normal crowd and it was my 1st time riding with Jomel's friend, Mike. It was a semi success. The place was packed... crowded is an under statement. The computer system that handles rentals was down and Paolo waiting on a 2 hour line to get his gear. We finally got up to the lift lines... and they had no singles line - again! It was line after line after line.

I had a pretty easy day with the guys but it was hot and I was sweating ... then I was cold. It was just an odd day. Mike talked a big game and I was hoping he'd be better than he was... but he wasn't.

Jomel improved... he's starting to get out of the funk. I'm really glad.

Paolo... well he finally learned toe edge and even linked a bunch of turns. I'm really proud of him.

All and all a fun day watching my little cousins progress... and the best part was just being together... knowing we were headed to Edwin's Cabin to meet the rest of the family.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Riding Log: Day 8 - Vail

Not too much to say about today, yet there is tons to say. Today we finally had our engagement shoot in Vail, CO. You know... 9 months after Paul's proposal. Our photographer, Nate of J. Nelson Photography, was excellent. He acted as photographer, ski instructor, personal guide and all around cool dude to chill with. We both appreciated and envied him and his lifestyle.

We started out the day in the coffee shop discussing what to expect. We quickly packed our gear into his truck and were headed to the village where we were surrounded by folks headed to the Gondola. It was here that we took a few casual shots... but I'll let the pics speak for themselves.

After a bit we were back in the parking lot where we changed... moved lots and headed to the lift. Nate took us on runs that would normally make me cry. What I'd do for pictures... The best part was Nate got Paul doing his 1st cliff jumps. the 1st was about 5 feet high and the 2nd was a 12 footer! I was freaking out but excited the whole time. I just watched ... but just to do that was amazing. I had to run into some sick terrain. Boy did my board feel it. I got some nasty shots to my base and Paul's whole top sheet is starting to peel. It was so worth it. Now let these pics whet your appetite.

This trip has made us sure we are doing the right thing. The Colorado wedding is for us. This photographer is for us. And this lifestyle is for us. Most importantly... WE are for US!

Please see Nate's blog on their website...

and just a shout out Nate & Jenny are as great as I've made them sound. They are the best photographers and the greatest people. If you are interested in hiring them... they do travel and depending on when and where, they don't always even make you pay travel/lodging costs... they will treat your event like a fun day during a vacation. You really can't be disappointed and you'll wish they were more than just your photographer... you'll want them to be your friends. Paul and I do already!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Riding Log: Day 7 (Breckenridge, CO)

Breckenridge, CO with some Sierra Peeps!

The day started at 8:30AM with a short walk to the lift. The lift itself is worth talking about. It turns 1/2 way up the hill in some sort of twisted maze. All the cables crisscrossed. It was pretty nuts. It was a pretty interesting piece of engineering.

We hadn't yet eaten anything and were looking to stop for breakfast. We were told to head up the Colorado lift and grab breakfast at the lodge there... but it was closed. So we ended up paying $3o for 2 bananas, 2 cliff bars, & 2 muscle milks. I seriously can't believe how much the mountains charge for lift tickets, food and drinks. Its really ridiculous. This is an expensive obsession we have.

After that we did a few runs on Peak 8. The groomers were soft and smooth. Under the lift we found some tracked up but still good terrain. Paul was surprised when I let him know that I loved the rocks, bumps and challenge. Of course I couldn't do that all day, but it was great while my legs could handle it. I could tell Paul was eating it up... he was so sick of easy groomers from the day before.

The sierra crew finally came through and once they did, Paul split into the bowls. I went with everyone else into a lower bowl that feeds into Peak 9. Rexy and I got stock in some deeper powder on a flat and had to literally hike up to the drop in. We were so tired. We all ended up separate so Rexy and I slowly made our way back to everyone else. It was frustrating to be left behind and somewhat lost, but it was fun to have Rexy with me. After our hour long hide and go seek game, Paul caught up and the rest of the crew was all together again. Together we hit the park and Rexy and I hit more rollers. Paul hit a few boxes and did pretty good.

A few more groomers later and Bru, Jenn, Rexy, Pep & E (Sierra Crew) were ready to hit the road back to Denver to avoid the traffic. We said our goodbyes and were left to our own devices.
We spend that time doing one more ungroomed trail and then another ... my legs were going to turn black and fall off. I begged Paul to head back in... and surprisingly, he agreed.

You really can't complain about a day like this. Blue bird day in Colorado! Great Company! Challenge! Snow! Progression! Friendships!

Once it stops being fun, it won't be worth going... my goal is to keep it fun... always.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Riding Log: Day 6 (Keystone)

After a rough night of mexican food, dehydration, exhaustion and a mild case of altitude sickness ... we got up at 7:30, got geared up and hit the road to Keystone. Our friends from Sierra were meeting staying there and wanted to ride Keystone for a day. We'd never been and we wont object to a local's favorite mountain.

We had 3 days to ride and we weren't waiting on a tired, hung over crew to call so we got strait to it. After parking in the free lot (not all too common now a days), we hauled our boards to the ticket counter, got our 3 day passes, got into the gondola and were up on the top within minutes.

It's been a dry December/early January for Colorado and the snow wasn't what it has been in the past, but it was still niced compared to the east coast ice. After the 1st run, we ran over to the main lift area where we ran into Bru, Joel, Jenn & Shanon who did manage to get out of bed early despite the late 3AM night of drunken debauchery.

Because the snow wasn't soft pow and the coverage was thin, we stayed mostly on groomers. The groomers were fun though. There was limited ice and nice wide runs. Having so many strong riders helped me to really push myself. I had to step up my game. I probably rode faster than I've ever ridden before.

After the short lunch and beer break, Rexy, E & Pep finally came out of hibernation. We all got a few more runs in. I tackled my fear on my 1st set of rollers in the baby park. They were really fun. They weren't as challenging as I thought.

Another beer/water break past and we put in another run to get us to the bar for a few beers and the Jets game. (JETS!!!)

After that was some night riding. Unlike the east coast, the lighting was pretty limited and they close the mountain at only 8PM. Riding fast got a little harder but I kept up. I tried riding switch a few times but I kept putting pressure on the wrong leg and was having trouble switching my edges... but at least I tried it a few times. I have to keep pushing myself over this plateau and trying new things is the only way that will happen.

A few beers... my lucky donkey and some pizza later and we were calling it a night at 12:30AM. Driving back to Breckenridge felt like forever.

What a great progressive day #6!!!

Also, Pauly impressed the sierra peeps with his Snowboard skills... did I mention that's a huge turn on???

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Riding Log: Day 5 (Hunter)

So we had a big group head to Hunter from Jerry's and Eric's Catskills houses on New Years Saturday. It was Me, Jerry, Andy, Sach, Brent, Eric, Bonnie, Anthony & Nelson on the mountain. We broke into groups pretty much from the get. Andy and I were really antsy. Because of the immense debauchery the night before ... well all got a rough start but it seemed only Andy and I could put it aside to get the day moving. Nothing is EVER fast with Sach but he was EXTRA slow. It was insane how long it took him to get onto his board and onto the lift line.

The lift lines were insanely slow with holiday traffic. It easily took 20 to 30 minutes just to get on the lift, let alone get to the peak. After doing 1 run on the front and sitting through the quad line for a 2nd time we decided to head back to the back of Hunter. We basically spent most of the rest of the day there doing Claire's Way, Way Out, etc... As always on the ice coast, there were some icier patches but mostly it was hard pack mixed with patches of powder. The top was pretty wind swept but once you got past that it was pretty nice snow.

It pretty much ended up being Andy, Jerry and me together ... then just me and Andy. I had a blast riding with him. I mean it was really awesome. He was so encouraging but still giving criticism and tips. It overall was a good and positive riding experience which I don't always get with Jerry or Paul. I really wish Andy got to go more... especially with me ... I think we'd both improve tons. He goes much faster than me down the hill, but I think technique wise, we both have much to work on... and challenging each other would be cool. Not to mention... Sach and Brent being there helped out tons on the confidence factor... I suppose I'm not much better than them, but it felt good not being the last one down the hill the few times we rode with them. I knew I'd progressed and I knew I was pushing myself. It was a good feeling.

So day 5 was a success.. maybe the most successful day as of yet. Next up is riding with Paul and the Sierra crew in Colorado!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years -> Welcome 2010

New Years wasn't exactly as I'd expected. Jerry's was as it usually is... relaxing and filled with beer, but it wasn't filled with people. It was just the 2 of us. Normally, I wouldn't mind that, but I suppose because it was NYE, I hopped there would be a little more excitement. He was a little down about it too. I thought we'd spruce it up with a walk to the waterfall or even just messing around in the snow, but he was definitely a home body.

We ended up playing drunken jenga - just the 2 of us, having dinner and beers and heading to a locals bar. We then called it a night.

NY day we were expecting about 6 or 7 more people but it was rough... no one came till late and when they did, many announced they wouldn't be sleeping over. We still got pretty roughed up and had a blast.

Maybe it's a sign of things to come? I hope not... more activity would probably be how I'd want to spend 2010.

Happy New Year to all!