Thursday, March 12, 2015

Showing my age?

I guess it's probably a true sign of getting old when your conversation (or writing) is dominated by weather and your kids?

The past week was another spring like nirvana. Weekend temps were pushing 60 and blue skies made for good sliding up @ Discovery. Everyone is making great progress on skis, with Will skiing off the Goldbug chair for the first time and girls now feeling confident on intermediate runs. No tears again on the mountain!

We stayed at a friend's cabin, the kids talk about every stay like it's Disneyland. It truly is a special place, modeled after a forest service lookout. A growler a  Philipsburg Brewery topped the night off and pancakes fired the morning up. We explored the woods for antler sheds, but found only decaying bones (elk?). Kids tracked the moose by the many piles of fresh scat in the area. We even snuck in some target practice with the BB gun (or if you are Payton.. the "baby gun"). It's so refreshing to look at things through your kids eyes.

My general lack of motivation towards skiing this winter was not helped by the 65 degree temps this week. I dusted off the mountain bike and dodged piles of defrosting dog poop at Blue Mountain. The lack of skiing showed up in my pedal power, out of shape. But hey, i guess that's all the more reason to get the KLR moto ready!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Summer in the Winter time

Everyone in the West is talking about the lack of winters presence with snowfall in West almost non-existant in some places. Oregon and Washington are reporting anywhere from 18 to 50 of average snowpack. Alaska is reporting around 36 percent of average. The water content of the snowpack in the Sierras, ranged from a paltry 17 to 41 percent of the average on February 26. 

Around Missoula, the lower elevations from my guess have got to be below average. The college rag ran this graphic recently. We haven't really had any substantial snow in the valley to speak of. Let' s hope this isn't a developing trend.

I rolled the dice and opted not to get a Snowbowl pass this year (did the same last year). It's been odd not to have the coveted piece of plastic to rely on when I'm bored or feel the need to stretch my legs. But I have to say, this might be one of those years to be okay missing (at least considering the total number of deep days we've had this year). I've been lucky enough to hit 2 good deep days (12" plus). 

Tracy and I also were able to con my parents (just kidding) into watching the kids while we had a insanely refreshing vacation in the Puerto Vallarta/Sayulita area. It was everything we wanted and then some. Now we have to deal with remaining dreams of buying a house down there. Anyone have a couple hundred $k you can spare? 

We've been getting out with the kids and they've been having a blast. William is wedging to a stop and we've had 2 days at Discovery so far with NO CRYING! Not a tear shed by one of them. And another milestone was reached, Payton and Gwynn got on the chair and rode it all by themselves! Almost brought a tear to dear old Dad's eye ;-0.

 I leave you with this funny little note that wrote to old man Winter. 

Dear Winter:
Hey man. How’s it going? A few of us were just talking about you. And by “just,” I mean for the past two months. Wondering what you’re up to, where you’re at, if you’re going to make it out West this year, or if we should just put the skis and stuff away until December.
I saw via a couple people’s Facebook and Instagram feeds that you’ve been spending some time and precipitation in the Northeast—that’s cool, please give those folks a high-five from us and tell them to enjoy it. I don’t want to sound entitled or anything, but it seems like you’ve kind of blown your whole wad out there this year, don’t you think?
I mean, I could be wrong, but I don’t think the people in Boston are that stoked about you dropping five feet of snow on them this month. Vermont, yes. Boston, well, that’s a lot of shoveling, and not a lot of skiing.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Face shots!

We certainly haven't been getting any powder face shots around Western Montana lately. My view is a bit skewed maybe due to my lack of having a season pass and in general skiing less than normal. But the winter around W. MT seems like last year (unscientifically speaking), some decent snow in Dec, January turned into June-uary--with warm temps and rain. Now I'm just hoping that February comes in like last year!

This footage of Canadian National Railway locomotive 2304 (ES44DC) plows through huge snow drifts in Salisbury, New Brunswick was filmed yesterday. Southern New Brunswick was hit with three major blizzards in less than a week, and there is more snow in the forecast.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Way Out from Yukai Du on Vimeo.

I found this animation very interesting and saddening at the same time. I too find myself being literally sucked into my phone. Looking around at the others in your vicinity doing the same. I'm not saying I'm giving up my phone, but these sorts of things make me wonder what our future holds. This post is a bit heavy and sappy, especially for not having been active on Kneetopia as of late. The trend may continue, so many things to do, so little time. But don't give up on me yet!

However, T and I just did return from a rejuvenating and invigorating trip to Mexico, sans kids. Interestingly and sadly enough, I noticed the same thing in impoverished places in MX, adults and kids living in poverty with their faces glued to the screens. That's the age we live in i guess, cliche and all. The drones and phones will soon dominate all?

Anyway, I'll get some photos up here from our trip. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the family support network that made it possible. You all are the best and I owe you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

First archery elk

It's been crazy around here, things have been moving at a frantic pace since summer. But I did the get chance to disengage from the electronic world for 8 days. Nothing but wind in the sage, GPS screen (don't count) and the sounds of elk. Thank you to Tracy and MO for making it possible, you don't know how much I enjoyed it! I missed the kids, but the quiet woods were nice too. I think I may have repaired a couple chips in my sanity.

 My long time and regular hunting partner and I convened in elk central and hunted our assess off. We didn't miss a morning or evening the entire time, rising at 4 am everyday and usually not getting back to camp until several hours after dark.

He helped me get onto a bull and I was able to capitalize on a 35 yard shot with my bow. The draw and hold back pushed me to over a minute, but the arrow flew true to its mark. The harvest was big and the pack out rewarding. The opportunity to kill an elk with bow was not taken lightly. I think I may like bowhunting (end cheesiness).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't be a flake

With the thought and planning for some upcoming hunting trips. I thought this cartoon might be a good reminder for any would be flakes.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Don’t Focus On The Dog Shit

I thought this blog post provided some much needed perspective on the world's chaos as of late:

 This little quote is pretty dang good as well, especially the last sentence.

There are a lot of things wrong with the world. There are 8 billion people on the planet, and plenty of terrible things are happening. Maybe those things are legitimate cause for worry, or action, or at least consideration. But sometimes they’re only worth consideration, and worrying isn’t going to make a bit of difference besides add to your worries in an otherwise pretty good life. Surrounding that one pile of dog shit is a beautiful park with a lot of places to set up your metaphorical picnic. [snipped from]

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bison Range and Symes Hotsprings

We recently made a trip to the National Bison Range, just 45 minutes north of Missoula. A quick stop at the visitor center to learn a thing or 2 and we hit the drive that loops through the refuge. 

The picture on the left shows the disturbingly large pile of bison skulls. The death and destruction we reigned upon the American Buffalo is astounding, very hard to comprend. 

At one point their population numbered in the tens of millions, the Great Plains of North America. Hunted to near extinction by American market hunters, the once massive bison population was reduced to a mere 1,000 by the turn of the century. 

The wildlife viewing was great that day, the kids loved looking through dad's bino's. We spotted quite a few antelope, deer in velvet, lots of lone bison bulls and one newborn deer fawn. The newborn fawn was motionless on the side of the trail as we hiked to the high point on the refuge. The fawn did not move at all, we couldn't tell if it was just doing the new fawn thing, or was injured. I did find this on the web:

 Newborn fawns have almost no body odor and their reddish brown coat with white spots make young fawns almost invisible to predators. Fawns lie motionless on the ground surrounded by low vegetation. The fawn’s natural instinct is to freeze even when approached by another animal. As fawns grow and mature, they will initially freeze, but they jump up and bound away.
Despite what this picture looks like, G did not poke the fawn with the stick

3 of my favorite things: Family, Antlers and America :-)

Cool Willy

We rounded out the trip with a visit to Symes Hotsprings. Great water, just a slightly funky scene. Anybody here ever been there? What did you think?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scot Schmidt

Scot Schmidt was one of my biggest idols growing up. Just as is mentioned in the video below, he is one of the most prolific skiers of my generation. If you ask any skier worth his salt that is between 30 and 50 years old, they'll know him immediately. Most have images of his ski movies burned into their brains. For me, he is the Michael Jordan or Joe Montana of freeskiing.

In my youth I had posters of Scot Schmidt plastered to my walls. I had seen all of his movies, including Steep Techniques, where I learned to emulate his turns and his style. I began skiing in 1985, during my 5th grade year. I remember seeing the 1983 Warren Miller film Steep and Deep and being awe struck by Schmidt's skiing. My buddy Ralph Turner and I started skiing at the same time, having as much fun as possible in the PTA ski program. Ralph and I and even had the 80's mullet to match. 

As time went on Ralph and I skied Snow Valley and did our best to work on imitating his style. We did his signature Schmear turn and tried to do the big airplane/re-entry turns off wind lips. We thought we were the shit. I even saved up enough money after ski instructing one year to get his jacket, the Steep Tech. It wasn't cheap I remember and it was made of some stout Cordura. Check me out, this was probably 1992, at Snow Valley Ski Resort, CA. Can you see that mud-flap coming out of the back of my hat?

Fast forward to 2000, when I moved to Bozeman and started skiing Bridger Bowl. Which coincidentally enough, he probably had influence on, hearing him talk about BB in his movies. Sam Cox and I ended up writing a book, Stepping Up: A Guide to The Ridge at Bridger Bowl, which included the Foreward written by Scot. Working with him was nothing short of a dream.

I only met him once in person, at ski film premier in Bozeman (The Prophecy....see autographed poster that is hanging in my garaged today) prior to me calling him to ask for his help in the project. This sounds corny and stalker-ish, but I was like a little kid before I called him, nervous and choked up. Just like anyone would be talking to one of their hero's. Turned out that during the next handful of phone calls, Scot was as nice as anyone could be.

Anyway....The reason I started this post was because of this video. Mike Douglas got to spend a week with Scot in the great state of Montana. Its great to see that Scot is still skiing so well and has rekindled the ski flame so to speak.

Thanks for reading and not judging me as stalker. :-)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pacific Firehose, Atmospheric River, Gravy Train...Ruh 'Ohhh

I hadn't heard a few of those terms before... Pacific Firehose, Gravy train etc. Sounds like that is about to change and things are gonna get sloppy. But for now.....

Skiing back to the truck along Hwy 12 after a great powder run!
We've got a veritable winter wonderland here in Missoula, the 2 weeks have been full of snowfall and cold temps in the valley. The snowbanks on the side of the driveway are building to impressive levels. For those of you that have been in Kneetopia before you may recall my post on Snowbank Envy.. Being the snowbank nerd and #1 fan of snow-shoveling, I've been intrigued by the fat snow banks at our new residence.

 At our old house I had a much larger driveway to shovel, giving me plenty of time to practice the art of snow-shoveling. At the new casa, the driveway is 20 feet by 20 feet. Small, fast and manageable. This also allows me to pile all the snow in one spot, thus making my berm all that much higher. You see, I often fantasize about living in snowy climes that would force me to own a snow-blower to which I would manicure the side of my drive to perfection. Anyway, back to reality.....If you look down the street towards my house sometime, you may find me shoveling the street as well. Neighbors probably scratch their heads in confusion. Well, sometimes I haven't had my fill and I feel the need to push some more snow. I know, laugh away.

I'll leave you with the Waddling Will, he reminded me of that kid in Christmas Story while we were out sledding.