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.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter came back with a vengence

You thought I was joking about the Polar Vortex, didn't you? Well, up here in Montana, shit is getting real again with winter. We're back in the deep freeze, with -20F temps in town and today it hit -63F up on top of Snowbowl (see below). Snowbowl was closed yesterday and today because of the XXXXtreme temps. We got over 2 feet of snow last week but with the 30 MPH winds on top of the mountain, the snow maybe have blown all the way to North Dakota. Stay warm out there.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Extreme drought in Cali

As I reported last week on the Polar Vortex, you all probably thought the we might be headed into another Ice Age, right? Hello, is this thing on? Well, guess what? California is burning and is in drought again. Burning like it's summer! Here in Montany, we are coming out of a big storm cycle that pounded the mountains with 3 feet of snow....but it looks like a high pressure sunny days for the next 7-10 days..........boooooooooooohiiiiiissssss

From Unofficialnetworks:
Satellite images from NASA/NOAA

The Snow Water Equivalents in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California is at a historic low for this time of year, as can be seen in this image comparing 2013 to 2014. The Sierra Nevada mountains are experiencing Extreme Drought with no relief in sight. This might be bad news for skiers but if the second half of the season does not bring much needed precipitation it could spell disaster for the entire state of California.
This image compares January 13, 2013 and January 13, 2014 snow cover as seen by the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar vortex!

Supposedly the Polar Vortex has descended from the North and the cause for the recent frigid air. Here's to hoping some more snow comes along and produces some pillows like these:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coldest temps since 2011

Booger freezing cold in Montana the last few days! This morning in Bozeman it was 22f below and 36f below Zero on Butte on the drive home.  Saw in the news:

The last time Missoula and Kalispell were below zero was February 2011, but we both dipped below zero (Missoula -6° & Kalispell -4°) Thursday and Friday (Missoula -2° & Kalispell -3°) mornings!

Stay warm peoples.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rim Fire - one of California's largest fires

Wow, impressive photography

 It's now estimated at 220,000 acres and over 5000 firefighters. Bigtime.

 Here's a great aerial view from one of the MAFFs tankers:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Packing the bags

It's beginning a little early this year, I was kinda looking forward to enjoying the rest of my vacation. Oh well, Gold Creek here I come.

Monday, July 8, 2013

1600 strikes over W. MT and Idaho

lionmerchant — Tuesday April 24, 2012

More than 1,600 lightning strikes peppered central Idaho and western Montana on Monday, prompting state officials to schedule a patrol flight to scout for new wildfires.

Initial attack crews responded to two lighting starts Monday morning, one near Florence and the other near Seeley Lake.

The drying conditions led the Missoula County Fire Protection Association to raise the fire danger to high effective today.

Monday, July 1, 2013

5 Best Places to Raise Outdoor Kids

I found Outside Online recently ran this article, putting Missoula as one of the best places to raise to outdoor kids. Right now there is no rather place I would rather be, Montana summer is in its primetime.

New York City is a great place to raise a cultured, worldly kid. At just three years old, my Manhattan-born daughter has eaten delicacies my husband and I had never even heard of until we were in our twenties, and she has an appreciation for art exceeding that of most adults.

But when it comes to teaching kids to appreciate nature, the Big Apple falls short in a big way. Though it’s geographically close to a number of quick, fantastic getaways—kayaking in the Hudson and East rivers, climbing at the Shawangunks, hiking at Bear Mountain—it doesn’t exactly make it easy to give kids the kind of consistent exposure to the wild that will encourage them to keep going outside later in life. There’s no place to store the equipment, for one. And how often can we realistically get away from the city with one or more kids in tow?

We talked with some parents and grandparents of adventurous kids and asked them to make the case for their hometown (or the city or town they're scheming to move to). In making our picks, we looked for towns that had affordable housing, were close enough to the city to give kids exposure to museums and other cultural institutions, and, most importantly, had easy access to a variety of outdoor recreation. While this list is by no means comprehensive, these five cities are a solid bet for parents looking to give their kids an early entree to adventure.

Photo: Micah Sheldon/Flickr  

Montana's second largest city, sits at the confluence of three rivers—the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, and Blackfoot—and enjoys views of five distinct mountain ranges. Combined, these spaces make for some incomparable opportunities to immerse your kids “in a sea of wilderness even if you don’t have a car,” says writer Teresa Ponikvar, who went to college in the town. The downtown area is bike-friendly, and the Clark Fork Riverfront Trail is an ideal spot to introduce your young one to a bike; most of the trail is flat and wide. Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in the Lolo National Forest is so close to downtown that the city bus will drop you and your little one off at the park’s entrance.

Many sports and activities in Missoula are pegged to the seasons, with river rafting and fishing on one of more than 200 rivers and streams in the summer and cross-country skiing and other snow sports in the winter. For smaller kids or busier days, there are also plenty of park and rec spaces in the city proper, including McCormick Park, which offers free bike rentals in the summer and ice skating in the winter, as well as a skate park and ropes course.

With critters from mink to mule deer roaming the nearby woods, Missoula gives parents plenty of opportunities to teach kids respect for wildlife. “You know how in most places if you see the neighbors all gathered on the corner, it's usually because there's been a fire or a robbery or a heart attack?” she says. “In Missoula, it's usually because there's a wild animal doing something cool.”

The average home price in Missoula is about $200,000; rentals can be had for under $700.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ruh-Oh! 2013 Fire season outlook

graphic courtesy of Missoulian

Its way to early to early to be having fires in Western Montana. Just last night a 200 acre fire erupted SE of Philipsburg, wow. Best of wishes to one of our friends that lives very close to that area. 


Here's to hoping we get some more spring moisture. I had also been suspecting something was a miss with the snowpack, as I looked at the Lolo Pass camera, I noticed a remarkable difference in past years snowpacks in May. Take a look below:

My 2010-11 Lolo Pass snowpack timelapse -

A less interesting snow year -

The coming wildfire season looks tough for most of the western United States, but western Montana firefighters are expecting an average summer on the fire line.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell warned on Monday that national budget cuts mean 500 fewer ground personnel on fire lines this summer. They added money would be tight for preseason hazardous-fuels removal and postseason restoration work.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Best Rally car scenes

In another life I'd like to think i could be reincarnated as a rally car driver. I routinely scare the sh!t out of my wife during the winter getting sideways, so I should be able to race rally right? Looks fun, except for the crashing and what not. Check out the 7:04 mark if you have ADD and can't watch the whole thing