Monday, December 26, 2011

Baffin Island

I ran across this great short movie from Jordan Manley over at TetonAT. It's impressive cinematography, capturing the massive scale very well. If you like the thoughts of exploration and remoteness, mixed in with some skiing you will probably like this.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lolo Pass time-lapse 2010 - 2011

La Nina, is a little blah nina right now. Montana is needing a bit of a refresh in the snow department. Today it hovered around the freezing mark with blue clear skies. But as we all know, the weather can and will turn on the drop of a dime. In the meantime, it affords such luxuries as access to the early winter poop thaw in the backyard (sorry for the visual, but its a fact of life around these parts).

And I finally got around to finishing another time-lapse of Lolo Pass. A few of you may have watched one I did two winters ago 2009-2010. The 2010-11 winter as most people remember was big almost everywhere in the west. The Idaho/Montana border at Lolo Pass in particular saw a ton of snow.

As I did last time, I tried to save an image from everyday, then pasted them together for a time lapse. The melt from May to July is fun to watch. And for anybody wondering about the Mega Load, you can make up your own mind here.

Compare to the weaker winter of 2009-2010

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hot dog!

Hopefully you've been out there hot doggin' it up. The winter seems to be starting off a bit slow around these parts and actually around the nation. Snowbowl is open on the weekends plus fridays for now. I made it up last week and found a few good hours of entertainment. The bowls aren't open yet and you'll have plenty of trees to top on the way down, but hey at least its skiing. Now get out there and do some ski ballet and pray for snow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mountain Lions

I put my last hunting day in the bag last Saturday. It was a good day to be outside, but not necessarily the best day for hunting as the snow was very loud. It was impossible to be stealth. The 6" of snow had warmed in the last day or two, crusting over with another few inches on top. We joked that we might have just as well banged some symbols as you walked through the woods. But we made a day of it and walked as slow as possible, then sat on top of a knob overlooking a couple saddles.

 Great views showed us a few separate groups of does nearby, but no bucks chasing them. We also spied  3 other hunters on various ridges surrounding us. Across the way, maybe a mile and half as the crow would fly, we could see at least 30 elk. A dozen of them appeared to sport nice racks. If only that area were open to hunt.

But back to the idea behind this post. Mountain lions. I saw at least 3 mountain lions while I was hunting this year. Two of them in the same general area, the other a couple hours south. Spotting a mountain lion is truly a rare occurance.

The first cat I saw was about a week after I shot my deer.  I was walking into the same area and could hear coyotes, they sound like they are fighting. I glassed down there and saw a mountain lion slinking around, seemingly as if defending the carcass. I listen as the coyotes and the lion seem to fight it out for about 5 minutes. Eventually I see the coyotes run off into the pasture. After a few loud coughs to alert the cat of my presence, I walked within 150 yards of it all and continued on my hunt. 

A few weeks later in the same area, a friend and I were about a mile from the first sighting, hunting during quite a storm. Flakes and wind blew into our face as we cruised through the timber. He spotted a mature mountain lion in front of us at about 150 yards. He described it as leaping over a small knob after looking over its shoulder at us. I glassed in that direction and spotted a cat about 25 feet to the left. We sat for 4-5 minutes, staring at each other. The hair stood up on the backs of our neck as we changed directions and hunted carefully for the next 10 minutes. 

The very next day I was 50 miles to the south hunting east of Hamilton with another friend. We had a productive day, harvesting a nice mule deer buck and following fresh elk tracks all day. Heading out, we hit the pavement in the fading fall light and drove east in the canyon. In the borrow pit, a mountain lion sprinted parallel to the road. We sped up and were able to get next to it for a second. It then lept off into the willows and disappeared with only the rustling of the willow bushes. 

So at the end of the season, I could at least say I had the 3 unique opportunities to see a big cat in the while. Was this a consolation prize for not getting an elk? I don't know but it was one that I won't probably repeat. I looked into a bit of the facts about mountain lions and found they usually require a lot of room—only a few cats can survive in a 30-square-mile (78-square-kilometer) range. They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans. While they do occasionally attack people—usually children or solitary adults—statistics show that, on average, there are only four attacks and one human fatality each year in all of the U.S. and Canada.

I'll leave you with an exciting but graphic video of a mountain lion taking down a deer. There, I warned you. Anybody else out there see anything interesting this Fall?

Monday, November 7, 2011


One of things I've come to realize I like most about hunting, is the fact that you can never expect anything. Of course the ole' cliche, expect the unexpected is easy to apply. You can plan and dream all season long but as things unravel, you are surprised constantly. The variables when out in the field drive you to pay attention. Maybe it's the weather. It was supposed to be 50deg, the sun drifting low along the horizon light. Instead low slung gray clouds spit rain with gusts blowing sideways. Sometimes you walk 12 miles and don't see a thing, other times you walk a mile and see everything. The picture above was taken from 50 yards, near 50 elk but none of the variety that I was allowed to put in my freezer.

Your planning, route and equipment is what you can count on, with the later being a huge factor. Luckily I have been picking some clothing and gear that keeps my body warm and happy. I like logistics, so I thrive on the plan of the hunt. The hunting route and navigation keeps me up at night. Envisioning the ambush or stalk in my minds eye.

Each time I've been out this season, I've found or seen somethings that's perked my ears. Not to mention the colors this fall have made it easy to walk. I was lucky enough to take a nice 4x4 whitetail the day after opening. A friend harvested a black bear the previous day. I spied a mountain lion munching on my deer carcass. All they while picking up sheds as I go along. Here's to walking in the mountains.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Missing Antelope

Tomorrow is the opening hunting day of big game in Montana. I'm jacked to say the least. I have certainly missed not hunting antelope this year. I missed the barren flats, the bitter wind, the crunch of sage and the gumbo. I realized this year antelope also fills the gap between early rifle and regular season. Quelling the urge to get in the field. The fact of the matter is it is usually action packed and high energy. It ranks right up there with elk hunting for me.

I ran across this article, Blood on the Tracks - which spurred me to post up.

Here was an earlier report from MTFWP:

In southeastern Montana, FWP Region 7, antelope numbers are 57 percent below the previous 10 year average. Winter survival was also severely impacted here by last winter's harsh conditions.

"Winter stress caused spring birth rates to be very low in FWP Region 7," Kujala said. "The 2011 fawn to doe ratio in FWP Region 7 was 47 fawns per 100 does, compared to the long-term average of 73 fawns per 100 does."

Good luck to everyone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wolf poop on a headlamp

I accompanied a friend yesterday while he was bowhunting in an area behind his house. We covered about 6 miles and gained 2500 feet. The day proved to be a good one, a very fine fall day with temps in the 50s and a brisk wind. The colors were absolutely brilliant especially in the upper elevations (~5500ft), with the ground shrubs throwing bright reds and the larch turning yellow. We had great views of snow capped peaks in the Missions, Rattlenakes and Swans. We spied a couple cow elk at 300 yards, not close enough for the ole' bow and arrow.

On the weird and strange front of things; we came across this:

What you see here is a pile of wolf scat atop a dropped headlamp. The headlamp appeared to have been dropped by a hunter within the last year. Then a wolf happened upon it, smelled the human scent and decided to mark it by shitting on it. I really do need to buy wolf tag this year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Surf progression

I've been infatuated with surfing for some quite time, which is quite funny obviously because of where I live. But you can dream right? To one day, live near the ocean and do some soul surfing, bra. It's going on 20 years since I lived near the ocean, I guess I miss it. I can honestly say that back in the day between family trips to Mexico and frequent trips to Newport Beach, CA that I knew how to ride wave, albeit on a bodyboard. But that doesn't even hold a candle to the images in this video.

If none of that shit turns your crank there is a chance you might like bikinis, shredding ladies and warm water. This movie, Leave a Message is worth your 22 minutes, trust me. These women are showing the world what it means to rip.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vancouver Island

Time just kinda of got away from me on the old blog, probably a good thing after all. As always, I like to share the details of my so called adventures. And more than anything capture it somewhere, so that in six months from now when my fading memory fades a little more, I've got this to fall back on.

A vacation idea was hatched back in the spring by the wife and I. We wanted to see the coast and we also wanted to see a bit of Canada. We had only been to Canada once a few years back on a ski trip to Nelson. Our experience up there had been favorable and the people nice, this trip would be much the same. The route and plan morphed several times and really was quite liquid the entire 10 days. It was nice to roll from day to day, sort of a throw back to our backpacking trip through Australia and Indonesia. But this time with two toddlers.

We busted west from Missoula, the white Highlander blasted constant Disney movies from its seams as we bounced across eastern Washington. Rural highways spilled forth in front of us as we hit the North Cascades Highway, a very scenic drive indeed. Our day ended in Anacortes where a very last minute reservation on the ferry saved my ass.

Early morning toddler meltdowns in dirty motels never seem as romantic as they should. But you survive, throw some more crackers in the backseat and things will settle down. Hot coffee while waiting near the ocean....the vacation started, I think. We sailed across to Victoria in a little over 2 hours, stopping once on Orcas island to let on some more passengers. The scenery overlooking the many islands was stunning. Many more people on the islands than I would have guessed.

We offloaded somewhere north of Victoria, heading down into the city we tried our hand at bit the touristy stuff. Realizing quickly that the toddlers did not have the attention span or energy to deal with much, we quickly audibled to leave the city center. One parking ticket later and we were on our way. Near Sooke we found a nice sandy beach, where across the Straight of Juan de Fuca you could see the majestic glacier laden Olympic Mountains in Washington. There were even some great flats where we tried to catch some crabs. That night we ended up in a fantastic campground, Goldstream Provincial Park. The sites were some of the best I have seen for a developed campground, plenty of space and private. The next morning we walked among some humungous trees.

We spent the next two days camping and exploring the areas around China Beach. The west coast of the island is excellent, massive trees and rainforest. The beaches in this area were equally impressive, with white sand, huge driftwood and the emerald forest flowing right down to the ocean. We had one day of rain, holing up in a Port Renfrew coffee shop for the morning before we got the courage to hike in the rain down to Sombrio Beach. The beach was full of surfers, all apparently warm enough in their head to toe wetsuits. We checked out some salmon jumping at the mouth of a river/ocean and saw a big salmon fish camp, apparently the thing to do in Refrew.

Driving NE across the island we ended up near Qualicum Beach for a night. The east side of the island near there was quite developed, surprising again for some reason. We beat feet back towards the west side of the island. I found one of my most favorite campsites ever in Ucluelet, Wya Point Campground. Sites were nestled into the forest right on the beach line. The cove was made of tiny smooth multi-colored pebbles. And the rocky point made for stellar tide pool searching in the early mornings. Up to the north we checked out Tofino and spent some time on a beautiful sandy beach with surprising warm waters in the shallows. Both towns had great seafood, weird huh? We rallied back across the island and caught a ferry for Vancouver. One night in a dirty motel and we pushed on. All in all we camped 7 of the 9 days and covered 1600 miles. Great, great trip.

Well, if you happen to still be reading this, thanks! I do appreciate my readers and any comments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Early season rifle hunt 2

We were able to do another trip into the Bob Marshall for the early season rifle hunt. The three of us spent 5 days, with one day being a scouting day. We saw great things the first day, getting answers from a few bulls. The next call was from a wolf pack who quickly shut all the elk up in the area. We had good weather and hunted hard. Unlike the year prior, we didn't have to worry about packing out any meat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July fun in Montana

Lots of activity lately, soaking up them rays, not much time for words. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


We like sun and we like the warmth. Although the girls could definitely watch non stop Scooby Doo, we're trying to soak up summer. Western MT is entering the first piece of prime weather of the summer. Long days and perfect evenings make for some great camping.

We went camping for the first time last weekend and only managed to forget a few things. One item being the fuel to run the stove. Luckily I talked the campground host out of a bottle and then walked over to the firewood vending shed and plopped in 16 quarters. Blam! A saran wrapped bundle of fire wood came down the chute. I'm getting lazy ain't I? Anyone ever seen one of these? I hadn't.

And no Matt, I didn't post this to piss you off. :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Antelope as Indicators?

Antelope as Indicators in Our Recent Extreme Weather NewWest.Net

Interesting article on the speed goats that I love to chase around Eastern Montana. The party that I hunt with have hunted the same area for 6 seasons. We skipped last year as the #'s were 20-30% down. The previous year we had definitely noticed less animals. We were anticipating a another bad year this season and will be checking out some new ground.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rocky Mountain Wildfires Set to Intensify?

Rocky Mountain Wildfires Set to Intensify? | NewWest.Net

Thought this was interesting. Although, right now it doesn't seem as if anything could ever burn in Montana. The cold and wet continue. I was out in the woods yesterday at 6500ft doing my sawyer re-certification and guess what? We froze our asses off. It was 40 degrees and we had hats & gloves on. Lame. Bring on summer

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Wet and muddy in Montana these days. If you live anywhere in the state there's a good chance you're sick of the rain. May was gray and wet. The NWS data I looked at said Missoula's May had 21 days of light rain and 5 days of "rain". Enter Seattle references here. The graph above shows the Clark Fork almost tripling in a little over weeks. The surges and crest keep rising. Had it not been for some cold temps and snow in the high country, the heavy valley rains may have spilled the banks in a big way. The river sits at 12.5 feet and had originally been predicted to go to 14ft. The Missoulian put up some interesting aerial photos showing the flooding around town. Keep in mind there is still 90" of snow in the Rattlesnakes (7400ft).

The girls I took a ride down next to the Clark Fork and admired the power (and the people) of the river. Some great people watching down there, eh? We followed up the bike with a carousel/playground 1,2 punch. Knocking out the day with watching the fire department burn down a house (practice burn). Lucky.

Yes, you were supposed to say that in a Napolean Dynamite accent. But seriously, how cool is it to be a kid watching a structure burn while eating a piece of pizza?

Anyway, thanks for following along with the random stories and facts. Does anyone like these new little Facebook and comment buttons below? Bueller?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dead things and live things

This is a picture of a little girl holding a flattened dead snake. It just so happens she is deathly afraid of flies. Go figure.

One likes flowers, the other dead snakes. Best buddies.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring in Montana

The rivers are running big and brown around the state. It is the hot topic for media. Snowpack and runoff are reaching all sorts of records and predictions are for the rivers to stay high for quite some time. The northeastern, eastern and now the central parts of Montana are flooding. Most folks predict the flows to be as high if not higher than the record year of 1997.

But really, the stuff we're seeing around here pales in comparison to the other major disasters around the country. My thoughts go out to all the people affected in Joplin, MO.

The Campbell clan has been busy enjoying the out of doors as much as possible. The lawn is all greened up and going apeshit, requiring multiple mowings per week. The first batch of homemade compost was applied to some of the garden beds. Finally, that stuff takes a long time to make.

And best of all our chickens are plumping right up. Yep, chickens. The peeping chicks slid into the household while I was zonked during post surgery. Oh that T, she's a smart one. We've lost 2 out of the 5, most likely due to the fact they've been living outside during some cold temps this spring. I think that might make them taste better.

On my knee- I am recovering well and making progress every week. It's slow progress but good. I returned to work after almost seven weeks. I'll have another month until I can return to regular duty. The road is long, but I can see the light at the other end. I'm grinding out my 6 days a week of leg exercises and almost enjoying it. I'm cleared to ride trails that are less steep, but hey at least it's outside. Watching the flat screen in front the basement spin bike was getting a little stale. I've also finally got back on the weights, I see lots of squats in my future.

Back to the outdoors, everyone has been enjoying the blast of life that has hit the valley. I'm reminded how much I love spring in Montana every year. Lilacs and fruit trees spill forth the color that we've missed for the long winter months. Hopefully you too are out enjoying spring and getting after it. Check back soon for some lively Montana spring pictures. Cheers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Earthquake memories

I recently watched the Discovery Channel's Megaquake: The Hour that Shook Japan and was absolutely floored. I don't think I had sat with my mouth agape and said "whoa" so many times. It brought back some memories of living in the quake ridden zone of California. If you get the chance, search your DVR and record the Megaquake show.

I grew up in Southern Cal and thought that I had felt some big quakes, but obviously nothing close to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck northeast Japan on March 11, 2011 and the tsunami that followed, resulting in more than 12,000 deaths. The destruction and devastation is heart breaking. There are serious changes that where imparted by this quake, some areas have sank as much as 4 feet and now flood during high tide from the now closer sea.

As everyone knows there have been 3 major earthquakes since last February: Christchurch in New Zealand was rocked by a 6.3 quake that killed 166 people; 550 people died after Chile was hit in February 2010 by an 8.8. Japan's 8.9 earthquake was the highest ever recorded in Japan, compared to the 8.3 Great Kanto Earthquake in Tokyo in 1923, which killed more than 140,000 people. The well known and reputable organizations could use your help, but watch where you donate they're not all equal.

Back to the SoCal quakers....for any of you out there following from that neck of the woods. This might pique your interest. Do you remember those big shakers back in 1992? Anyone have any good stories/memories out there? I definitely vividly remember the night of June 28th 1992. I thought that might be "the big one", really I did. I had been through other earth quakes and they had always been pretty short.

However, on that night the Landers 7.3 quake shook for 2 to 3 mintues! I got shook awake, laid there for a bit, then finally decided I had better get out of bed. It kept going and then I moved under the doorway, still going....I ran down stairs as the whole house swayed back and forth, pictures crashing off the stairwell wall. As I ran downstairs, I made way for the backdoor, hoping the outdoors might be calmer. As I looked around my whole family was out there. Best of all my dad stood there, naked as a jay-bird, hand over his stuff. If I remember right there were several other aftershocks that night, making us all pretty edgy. Then that morning another one centered less than 10 miles away at 6.5 scared the crap out of us.

1992 April 23

1:50 Joshua Tree 6.1

1992 Joshua Tree earthquake

1992 June 28
04:57 Landers 7.3

1992 Landers earthquake
1992 June 28
08:05 Big Bear 6.5

1992 Big Bear earthquake
1994 Jan 17
04:30 Northridge 6.7

1994 Northridge earthquake

Anyway, thanks for following some old earthquake memories. If you've got any of your own, we'd love to hear them. As for anything shaking in Montana, I think I've felt a few tremors but nothing serious. The main thing we have to worry about here is the Yellowstone Caldera, at least the wind always blows from the west though. We'll be fine right?

Check out this crazy, scary video of some POV tsunami footage.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Missoula's warmest day of the year

Missoula topped out today with the warmest day of the year. The Garden City registered 70 degrees and we even had that foreign yellow orb out in the sky for most of the day. As anyone in the state of Montana can attest to we've had a hell of a winter.

The gray days and almost constant precipitation has worn out its welcome for most folks. I personally would love for nothing more than sun and wear flip flops for the rest of the year. I know it's selfish, but since I can't ski and enjoy that snow that still sits in the hills, I'm done with it.

Looking at the Lolo Pass SNOTEL is still registering 86" of snow on the ground, and it's MAY 2nd! Anything above 5000' continues to get pounded on a weekly basis. I was over in the Phillipsburg area over the weekend and saw it dump 5 inches of fluff in about 3 hours, impressive.

But the relentless cloudy days is what everybody in Missoula seems to be talking about. We've also been 10 degrees below the average high, which means we've been kicking it in the 45-50 degree range, boooooooo. If you're interested in seeing which cities get more/less sun, click in over here. It shows Missoula with 75 days of sun (not including partly cloudy day). Compare that to say Yuma, AZ at 242 days of sun.

But alas, you can either sit around and complain about the weather or get out and do something. I'm mostly in the complaint chair right now, with the knee and all its a bit limiting. I know in a few weeks I should be cleared to mountain bike and that my friends will be a warm welcome.

I've been working on a little project, basically the same thing as I did last year with the Lolo Timelapse. It should be fun, the banks are ridiculously big compared to last year. Just have a look here at these to May photos. Hope you check back in to see the results. Ciao

**btw - the America Fuck yeah picture was taken nearby Ground Zero on our NYC/Bermuda trip a few year's ago**

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Skiing with crutches

I had a dream last night that I was skiing with crutches. Now that's messed up. I don't know what is going on in that little brain of mine, but at least it gave me a good chuckle when I woke up this morning. In my dream it actually seemed to work pretty well, dragging the crutches as I turned, almost like a rudder. Huh? I've been off of the crutches for a week or more, but the trauma of being forced to walk with assistance is still fresh on the brain apparently.

You too can get a chuckle this morning by watching some of these videos. A big thanks to Earlyups for finding them and bringing them to the masses.

Quality audio and "I told you so" from your buddy

This guy is kinda like the double rainbow guy, Oh the Quality!

This one takes the cake, you'll be laughing your ass off at the :38 mark...OH MY GOD!

Knee update: the PT told me that I am 3 weeks ahead of schedule on my recovery. Rock on.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yo bro, I'm done skiing

These xtranormal skits crack me up. This exact conversation is going on in every mountain town right now.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Run Forrest, RUN! 8 days after

That's kind of how I feel today. I had at PT session this morning and found good results. I no longer need 2 crutches and I don't need my post op brace, WOOT! One of the main differences between Forrest and me is that I cannot run unfortunately. But the fact that I'm dropping some gear is a great step in the right directions. My range of motion this morning was up 15 degrees from Tuesday, at 120.

Both the PT and the Doc were impressed at my motion and said I'm well ahead of schedule. The spin biking I've been doing seems to be helping, so I've got to keep that up. Swelling has gone down substantially, although I can still press with my thumb on my shin and the indention stays there for a few minutes, nasty. Stitches came out today too. Now that I'm showering I feel like a much better person. My beard is coming in nicely. I plan to grow it out until I have to go back to work, which shouldn't be for another month and half. Although the crop of grey hairs in there is a little unnerving. Oh well, I guess a set of twins and life in general will do that to a guy.

I've been quite the couch sloth for the last week and since no one gave me any ideas, I had to shoot from the hip. I found that surfing the internet relentlessly and a dozen or so Netflix's kept the boredom somewhat at bay. Although the drugs certainly helped. Oxycodone is some stong stuff and hours morphed into days. If my knee will take it, I'll be out the garage doing a little bit of woodworking. I plan to build a step up box to be used in rehab. Something similar to these appleboxes, we'll see how they turn out. Cheers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Muto Man

I'm pretty sure it's not just the pain meds. But just in case take a few minutes, once you start watching you won't stop anyway. Someone spent what I would guess a lot of time, paint and patience on this creative piece of art. Glad it's not my neighborhood, sorry man.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

All aboard the Pain Train! Right Knee ACL....

Well, I'm 5 days into recovery from my right ACL reconstruction. Those five days have certainly had their highs and lows. Mostly lows interspersed with a lot of pain. I came home on Wednesday at about noon and was in a serious drug induced haze until Friday. T has been a saint and been very helpful waiting on me. Not to mention our 2 very demanding twins who also ask quite of bit of their mom.

I met with the doctor and PT on Thursday and got a report of what he saw when he was in there digging around in my knee. Dr. Shutte fixed four things: 1) He found some wear on the backside of the kneecap, some fraying (looked like seaweed in the picture), which is not desired. He was able to trim up the fray and said I should be better off. 2) He also found and removed a free floating piece of cartilage about the size of a peanut that was either meniscus or a piece of the torn ACL. 3) Trimmed (doctor's call it "fix") the tears on my meniscus on the lateral and posterior sides. 4) And last, he reconstructed the ACL using my patellar tendon, affixing it in place with 2 screws.

All in all, the doctor said I had a made a wise choice to have this done as I was "on the road to having a self destructing knee". He commented that my quad strength and ROM was better than expected, which hopefully translates to a strong recovery.

I've been following the PT instructions on exercises and for the most part been able to perform them with out much issue. I was able to get on the spin bike yesterday and make full revolutions, which was not expected until Monday. While in the CPM machine, I'm able to crank it up to 115 degrees.

The hardest part has been the mornings. Talk about pain, oh man, I've seen the PAIN TRAIN and I don't like it. Every morning so far has been brutal with my first step out of bed, my scale of pain spikes to a 9 out of 10. I haven't been that successful in managing the pain medications in the mornings. My full bladder forces me out of bed before I can load up on meds. They definitely weren't kidding when they told me to stay on schedule with the meds.

If you're not familiar with Larry Tate the Office Linebacker, well now's the time. I was introduced to him back in my cubicle days at RightNow Technologies. If you've ever had a job in the office environment, I think you might relate and enjoy these few videos. The pain train's comin! Cu'z when its game time, it's pain time! Don't bring that weak ass stuff up in this humpy-bumpy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Miniature and not so miniature

Miniature faking is very interesting to watch when it's done right and this video from Jackson is one of them. It's pretty dang entertaining to watch the little ant skier's rip big powder lines. Around the 6:10 mark is classic.

A Tiny Day in the Jackson Hole Backcountry from Tristan Greszko on Vimeo.

On an unrelated miniature note, there are a few things around Kneetopia headquarters that are quite the opposite, BIG. The snowpack around here is monstrous, 130" at Stuart Peak with 46" SWE. Snowbowl also is reporting 120" at the summit and 62" at the base. The storms continue to pour over the mountains dropping more snow weekly, there doesn't seem to be much end in sight. The spring outlook seems to be wettish and cooler than normal.

Blah blah blah weather. Its that time of the year that its a crap shoot on what you'll get. Squalls roll in with no warning. Gail force winds rip through the trees trying to bring in warm weather. I'm am officially done with winter as of this point. I am selfishly wishing now that the sun gods will show their face and begin to warm the Missoula Valley.

Which brings me to the other big thing that's happening around here. I recently decided that it was high time to fix my right knee. I injured it last July, hyper-extending the knee badly, exacerbating an old injury. Result torn ACL and torn meniscus. It's been a battle since then, trying to rehabilitate the worn out joint has not been as successful as hoped. I'll be going under the knife on Wednesday and out of frontline work for 3 months. There's a good chance you may see the frequency of posts go up on Kneetopia. Now, now don't get too excited. If any of the upcoming knee talk get's boring at times, bare with me it might just be the drugs.

Hello spin bike, here I come. The task in front of me for the next year will not be miniature.

If anybody's got some ideas to keep me from going insane on the couch after surgery, feel free to speak up. I'd love to hear'em. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snowbank envy

***WARNING: if you don't like shoveling snow, this could be boring***

Some people love snow. It's as if frozen H20 was spawned deep in their gene lines, programming their brain to honor the white fluff. They often obsess over incoming Pacific lows and highs. Late nights are spent in a death stare on SNOTEL sites and webcams, hitting refresh on the hour. ScanninLinkg eyes gaze from the window,searching for signs of an inbound front.

I've got a few friends like this and I might even have some maniacal tendencies towards snow. With much of the West having above average snowfall, I can't help but get excited. As I kept tabs on the epic dump in the Lake Tahoe area, I thought about a good friend of mine. He inspired me back in 1994 when he left our local SoCal mountains for the epicenter of California skiing, Squaw Valley. He lived within walking distance to the base of KT and immersed himself in the Tahoe snow scene. I first visited him during the monster winter of 1994, the highest season snowfall total on record of 662 inches. This record now shattered in 2011, with 691" at the present day. Time passed and his love of snow morphed along with his life and family. But when one has a passion for snow, he can't hide it. Ralph took up a job with the parks and recreation department of a town on the North shore of Tahoe, with snow removal being a primary responsibility.

I'll be the first one to admit I can get a little weird when it comes to plowing, shoveling, and snow-blowing. I have a strange fascination with the process. You get a sense of accomplishment when you move snow. The reward is instant and clean. This winter in Missoula we had the opportunity to shovel quite often. I enjoyed the seemingly daily workouts of clearing the driveway. Sculpting the berms and crafting mini-ski hills for my daughters. I once read somewhere that you can judge a man by the way he shovels his driveway. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it's something to ponder.

When it comes to sculpted berms and snowbanks I can't hold a shovel to what my friend Ralph has been up against in Tahoe. In some areas they received over 100" in 4 days. Sugar Bowl now has a 303" base!!! I checke in with Ralph the other day and said he was beat down from snowblowing so much and had never seen that much snow. He's having to shovel out around the base of the house to make room for the next storms.
The picture above is from Skier666, taken on the Carson Spur near Kirkwood, CA.

I'm envious of his massive snowbanks, mine have all but disappeared. The relative monster of a snowbank in our drive that stood 5' tall most of the winter is now a mere dirty patch of white. I love seeing those high straight walled banks, stepping back and admiring your work. Heck, I once even asked a friend if I could come out to house and snowblow the 3 feet of new snow off his drive. Yeah I know, I've got problems.

Shoveling is a great way to clear my mind, almost meditative. I dunno.....Maybe we're on the path to enlightenment.

For a great shoveling poem, check out Shoveling Snow With Buddha.

Viva La Nina.

This picture to the right is from Soda Springs, that's a house under all that.

Ralph's tunnel out to his cars

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Skijoring ('skē-jȯr-iŋ) is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving.

Red Lodge, Montana

Monday, March 14, 2011


I came across the video over on StokeLab, which is a great resource for its namesake. The video shows a couple in their mid-seventies still having fun in "da powder, eh". Truly inspiring to see people that age still out there and having fun. They're not just going through the motions, grinding out groomers, they're actually skiing some challenging terrain. Wow, just wow. Makes me think about where I want to be at that age.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stuck wide open

Lets just say you knew of a place where the powder was deep, the people were few and the price was right. Two guys thought that sounded pretty nice decided to seize the moment and time a potential incoming storm just right. Packing was simple, requiring not much more than your average backcountry ski outing + 3 days worth of food and drink.

Logistical issues showed up early. Before the sleds were even loaded on the trailer, there was already an issue. A sticky throttle on one sled brought the excitement down a few notches. Upon pulling the start rope the sled lurched forward instantly. Some lube, cussing and generally banging on things under the hood seemed to fix the throttle. At least temporarily.

An hour later, the sleds were unloaded and crossed over state-line. Both sleds ran fast along the trail. Silence, deep snow and trail breaking meant the skiers were one step closer to their goal. The gear was dropped in the cozy accommodations and a thigh deep trail breaking session began. Once established, the same track was used over and over the next 3 days. Perfectly spaced old growth giants lent well to the knee to thigh deep untracked powder.

All that was left afterward was to fire up the sleds and rip back to the trucks. Easier said than done. One cannot truly know your ingenuity or MacGyverness until you are stranded 15 miles from nowhere in the middle of winter. That same sticky throttle reared its head and more swearing was directed at the engine compartment. When one guy was about to give up, the other stepped up and pulled a huge trick out of his ass. Who knew that a piece of p-cord duct taped to a throttle cables could control the speed of a snowmobile? Cheers to hanging it out on the line in the name of powder.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick way off the summit

Dooooood! The video starts off quite normal, but watch the whole thing to see a not so normal way to get off the summit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

World record for the largest observed snowflake

Continuing with the extreme theme.....last night as I let the dogs out for their nighty-nighty piss in the yard I was blown away by what was falling out of the sky. It had been raining only an hour before and was just a touch above freezing, but now it was what we call in the business nuking. As I gazed skyward, I watched the biggest snowflakes I've seen in my 36 years. I scrambled for my phone to take some pictures or video, nothing could capture the moment. Catching a few in my hand they easily measured 2.5" across and most everything falling was that size. For 10 minutes I was mesmerized by the quiet giants piling up on the grass.

Looking into records, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the largest snowflakes fallen during a storm in January 1887 at Fort Keogh, in Montana. A rancher nearby, called them “larger than milk pans” and measured one at 15 inches wide. Damn, bring it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

EXTREME!!!! snowfall

The National Weather Service says Missoula received 9.7 inches of snow on Monday 2/7/11- measured from 12:01 a.m. until midnight. In all, the arctic storm - which officially began on Monday evening - delivered 11.4 inches of new snow to the Missoula Valley. By the way, the EXTREME!!! reference to this post comes from this Missoulian article: Extreme Snowfall wreaks havoc on the roads. Hah! Extreme??? I think that word might be left better to describe things like Mt. Bakers 1,140 inches of snowfall for the 1998-99 snowfall season

And yes, Snowbowl got a few of those inches, 17" to be exact over 2 days. I wasn't able to make it up on Monday, but the wife did. She came home with one of those powder eating grins that only a hubby could love. But Tuesday was open for the shredding. The regular crew set up shop towards the front of the line an hour before opening and awaited the smiles to come.

But first I had to do some last minute adjustments to my bindings in the line. Seems to be par for the course this year with bindings. I've had more problems with bindings this year that I ever have. This time, as I clicked in with 5 minutes till loading I noticed some visible looseness. With a lent screwdriver from the line, I tightened the toe height, it seemed better. I found out the end of the day, that was not the problem. The issue was that when I mounted my CRJ's a few weeks ago I didn't tighten the mounting screws enough. Lesson learned, but they held all day.

Back to the day....we found the mountain in great condition. Winds had picked up over night and buffed a lot of things out. Most of the snow looked to have fell before 3pm the previous day. However, Snowbowl in its classic weird snow report claimed 9" new (they reported 8" the previous day). You've got to be on top of their reports. The day turned BLUE-BIRD about 11am and we took full advantage of the day. The CRJ's performed like the should on all the fluffy pillows of pow. A lunch time stop of the Griz chair for 30 minutes worked well with my destroyed legs.

I couldn't fail to mention the skier that showed the opening lift line what the true spirit of a powder day is all about. This guy rolled into the line with a one piece, waxed mustache and a bugle. I keep my eye on him for about 20 minutes, wondering what shenanigans he was up to. I watched as he kept putting the bugle up to his mouth, seemingly mouthing it during that time. When the chair began to load, this powder trooper let roar the Calvery Charge through his mighty bugle. If that doesn't say powder day, I don't know what does.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

100 Inches

Snowbowl cracked a 100" base this week, not bad at all. Considering other ski areas around the state have considerably less (Bridger=61", Moonlight=50", Red Lodge=33", Discovery=59"). The storms have definitely favored the western part of the state thus far. La Nina has been good to us quantity wise. If I had one thing to ask of the little lady it would be to bring a few more cold storms. We've had some wet snow this year, don't get me wrong I ain't complaining.

The sun is always nice, and as luck would have it this week we had 2 sunny days. That makes 9 sunny days since Halloween, get out the tanning oil! Sunscreen? Nope I wasn't having it. I wanted to try to get every last ounce of Vitamin D that I could. We headed behind Snowbowl on Tuesday to see what was shaking. There was one of the larger groups I've seen gearing up to head back in the same direction. But by the time we got back there, we had the place all to ourselves. Three laps of the B-Ridge and my legs were smoked. The snowpack has really settled and conditions were great. 6" of developing hoar frost/recycled pow on top of a ultra bomber base. Anyone else seen anything different?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seven Sunny Days

We've had fun this month. There's been lots of snow, rain, clouds and fog. I didn't mention sun, and thats because there hasn't been much of that. I saw tonight on the news that Missoula has only seen SEVEN sunny days in the last 90 days! The NWS calls any day with less than 30% cloud cover = Sunny. La Nina has been snow and wet, my skin is ultra pale. But with about 1/2 of the winter gone, Snowbowl has a huge base, 96" as of today. But I can actually say that I skied in the sun this week. At least I think that's what the yellow ball in the sky was? A few rays of rare sunshine hit my face while day dreaming of warmer climes. Views expanded all the way to the south end of the Bitterroot valley, crystal clear.

We've had the girls out several times on the rope-tow and they are doing great. Their last outing, P was able to use the french fries-pizza technique with control. Stopping on her own. My bribes with Skittles at the top of each run earlier this month seemed to have paid off. G made a huge improvement from the last outing, no longer crumpling like a wet noodle the second you let go of her. Both the girls really want to ride the chairlift, great incentive to improve. I think a trip over to Discovery's magic carpet and kiddie lift is forthcoming.

I finally finished my european mount for the bull. It was a great learning process and time consuming as well. I started out by skinning out the head right after I got it home back in November. A few days later I boiled the head in a giant pot for a day. After scraping off the extra flesh, I boiled it again for another 1/2 day. The next step was to apply the peroxide (40%) for 24 hours. I pasted it on, wrapped a wet cloth around it, and saran wrapped it. I also wrapped the antler bases with foil to keep them from getting whitened. The last step was creating the european pedestal to hang it on the wall. Over at local home resource shop, I bought a 10ft piece of 1"x10" barnwood for $4. I traced out the pattern off one that a buddy had made for my antelope. Then cut it out with a bandsaw, used a blowtorch to distress the edges, added some mounting hardware and it was complete. In hindsight I should have made the base where the skull sits several inches better.

Missoula got 6" of snow today and tomorrow looks like it will be a good one up at the Bowl. they got 7" last night and the report is that at least 4 more inches fell throughout the day.

Thanks for reading. Click the below album to check out the rest of the pictures.

January 2011