Skiing The Big Waves Of Hawaii

Professional Waterman Chuck Patterson, skis down the face of Jaws. Peʻahi, also known as Jaws, is one of the largest surf breaks in Maui. Chuck takes it on like nobody else in history ever has. Be sure to watch this HD video in full screen.

Chuck Patterson wasn’t the first to ski on waves. Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend skied on waves in Hawaii a year before Chuck but the waves Mike and Cody experimented on weren’t nearly the size of those produced at Jaws. Needless to say, I would NOT like to be underwater with ski boots and poles on – waves or not.

Buried Alive

Over the next two days some areas of Colorado Rockies are expecting up to eight feet of snow. Avalanche danger is already high and expected to get much worse. Be careful out there folks.

Being caught in an avalanche is like being buried in cement. You can’t dig yourself out of an avalanche. When buried, you can’t even move. Even if you could move, which you can’t, you wouldn’t know which way is up. And although it may be cold being buried in the snow it is actually suffocation that kills you. Your only chance of survival is if your friends (you are with friends right?) dig you out.

The first person video below gives you an idea of what it might be like to be caught in an avalanche, and being rescued.

The scratching/ruffling back-and-forth sound you hear is his chest rising and falling and the noise that his jacket makes. You can actually hear his breathing become stressed and accelerate, even in the short amount of time he was buried. The intermittent whimpering noise you hear is him trying to swallow and get some air.

He was only buried for 4 and a half minutes which is incredibly short. I cannot stress these next sentences enough; that in and of itself to be unburied in ONLY 4:28 is miraculous if you have any understanding of being caught in an avalanche and what it takes to be found. It could literally be some kind of “world record” just on how good the guide and supporting cast of other skiers was in getting to him.

Have some fun out there but respect nature.

Leadville Ski Joring Championships

This weekend was the 2010 Annual Leadville Ski Joring Competition. The Leadville ski joring event has been going on in since 1949 and is considered the premier event of its kind in the country.

The sport it is a timed race with skiers being pulled by horses on a track with large jumps and flat landings. In between the jumps the skier must try to spear small circular rings while swinging from one side of the track to the other – at speeds in excess of 40 mile per hour. Missed rings add 2 seconds each to your time. With average times of less than twenty seconds a single missed ring, with skiers of this caliber, will cost you the event. The winner will have the most rings and fastest time. Ski joring is no simple feat – particularly the Leadville race.

Last year, for the 60th annual race, I had the good fortune of making the draw and was able to compete. I wiped out on the first jump. My apologies to the rider and the man who wagered $250 on me. Video evidence below.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Skijoring.flv height=390 width=500 /]

My wipe out was nothing compared to Chris Anthony’s (former Alaskan Extreme Skiing Champion, veteran of 9 World Extreme Skiing Championships and 20 Warren Miller films) fall in the 2007 races. He didn’t walk away from his. Video evidence below.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/wipeout.flv height=390 width=500 /]

To get a real idea of the sense of speed, tradition, and community this ski joring event brings to Leadville watch this documentary by Foresight Multimedia. To get a sense of what the skier is seeing watch this first person video on youtube. To get a sense of my attitude before the race, read my interview in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

The Physics Of Moving Ski Moguls

As an avid skier I have always considered moguls to be large, immovable, obstacles. Solid piles of difficulty that haphazardly push my skis around with no regard for my intentions.

Three researchers in Colorado, David B. Bahr, W. Tad Pfeffer, and Raymond C. Browning, have discovered that moguls actually move! And not only that – they move up hill!

The math goes something like this:

A specific representation for the erosion–deposition wave W at position x created by a skier n may be given by the sinusoidal form Wn(x) = a sin(2πx/2rn + ϕn), with positive W corresponding to deposition.

The layman explanation goes something like this: as a skier turns on a mogul, snow is scraped from the bottom of one mogul to the top of the next one, having the overall effect of “moving” the moguls. And, although skiers invariably push snow down the mountain, the ski moguls move uphill.

Mogul Diagram

Below is a time-lapse photo of video showing the uphill migration of ski moguls on the Riflesight Notch ski run at Winter Park Ski Resort. The movie spans five months, starting in early December and ending in late April of the 2006/2007 ski season. Each frame of the movie represents one day.

Josh’s Art Opening

Josh's Scuplture
Last week I went to my friend Josh’s art opening. He was showing lots of new stuff that followed a similar vein as his last showing, but using some new mediums including willow and steal, and taking a more architectural bent. I recommend you go check it out if you have a chance. The showing is currently held at the Icelantic Gallery. If you haven’t yet heard of Icelantic, they’re a local Denver company making some really cool, short production, skis. All their models have some incredible graphics (by Travis Parr), and from what I understand, a pretty sweet ride.

Sister Golden Hair Suprise

The Chutes At Mary Jane
Last Sunday probably wasn’t the last day of the ski season for me. Arapahoe Basin will most likey be open long into the spring (I once skied A-Basin on the 4th of July) and I’m sure I’ll get one last day in there. But Sunday was was the last day to ski for free on our passes. Mary Jane was much more crowded than we expected. The last two weekends have been practically empty but it seems, this time around, everyone had the same idea as us and it ended up being a lot of fun.

The entire place was a giant party/cookout/ski fest. There were at least three bands in the parking lot – a punk band that drew all the young snowboarders, an “old persons band” that rocked out the classics like America’s Sister Golden Hair (One of my many favorite songs from the 70’s), and an acoustic duo that was barely audible above all the party goers.

The entire day was a blast and the whole mountain was going off. We had bluebird skies and weather in the 60’s. We had hot dogs, beer, and a grill. We had enough snow that the chutes were open (see the photo above) and the skiing was nice and heavy and mash-potato-ey at the bottom. Lots of people were dressed up in costumes or bikinis. It was probably one of the more fun days in what was one of the better ski seasons of my life.
Party In The Parking Lot

A Lifetime In 10 Weeks

The last couple of months have been pretty crazy/amazing/profound. So much has happened that, I’ll probably never remember it all, and truthfully, that doesn’t bother me. In some ways I have a tinge of regret for not having taken the time to write it all down as it happened or shortly there after. If not just so I have it archived somewhere. But in reality, some of it I don’t know how to write about – i don’t have the words to fit the experience. Some of it I don’t care about. And some of it I simply don’t care to remember.

So instead I’m going to cop-out and make a list of some of the major and minor events of the past 10 weeks in no particular order and just leave it at that. I can only hope my life remains as eventful and that I take the time to write about it afterward.

I went to my first honky tonk.
I saw Built To Spill play again.
I’ve been to the hospital three times for three different individuals. Two of them in the emergency room. One fatal.
I met family members I have never met before and most likely will never meet again.
I spent a long weekend at my timeshare in Vail.
I went to a mini-family reunion and ski vacation in Breckenridge.
I suffered through a 150-hour work week.
I took a full week vacation.
A loved one died in my arms. It was probably one of the most weighty and profound experiences in my life to this point.
I did my time in the back of a cop car in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
I had the pleasure of staying in a giant mountain mansion with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, two hot tubs, and ski in ski out access.
My car was hit by a kid who had his drivers license for a measly two days. He ended up totaling his car a week later.
I Was invited over by complete strangers for a mardi gras party/steak dinner.
Somehow fit in about eight days of skiing.
Saw a friend who I haven’t seen since his wedding.
The kitchen remodel was completed.
Mom came to town for a visit.
A few birthday parties were celebrated.
I got fall down drunk with a co-worker.
And lots of other various sundriness and ephemera.