Monday, January 31, 2011

Denali 2011

Expedition Training Begins...
We haven't bought permits or plane tickets yet, but it's getting pretty official so I thought I'd start to mention it on my blog.  Dad and I are gearing up for a ski expedition to climb Denali, the highest point in North America this coming June.  I spent most of Friday afternoon rigging up sleds to pull up Big Mountain with weights to train and our first sled-pull came shortly thereafter that evening.  We climbed with 30 pound sleds and 20 pound packs for about half an hour.  I found that it wasn't that difficult, but that weight is still chump change compared to the 80 pound sleds and 70 pound packs we'll have to be able to shuttle from Base Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier.  The sled training configuration needs some work especially the ability to ski down; helpful if we hope to drag them to the top of Big Mountain, let alone 14 thousand feet on Denali.

I know there will be a lot of this the next coming months:
As if we didn't already know we were going the "wrong way"
they had to go and put a big, red sign pointing "Uphill"...
...but thankfully moving uphill on skis more often than not means good partners and equally good conversation.  I can't wait until we can be on skis or in the mountains together again, brother Tim.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gaining Elevation

Looking back on this week, I realize I did a lot of skiing...  Three of the highlights though were backcountry skiing with some great companions on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Monday--Jewel Basin
On Monday, my buddy Caleb and a friend of his traveled into the Jewel Basin area searching for altitude and hopefully some fresh turns.  We climbed about 4000 vertical feet to the radio tower on the crest of the Swan Range, thought about climbing Mt. Aeneas but were deterred by the apparent howling winds on the summit, and retreated back to the shelter of the trees.  Caleb and I skied a great run down "Checkerboard," with whoops and hollers and grins plastered on our faces!
Caleb and Rich beastin' it up the ridge to Radio Ridge.

It was an amazingly clear morning, albeit a little windy, but a storm moved in and snowed hard by 1 in the afternoon.
Wednesday--Spider Bowl
Wednesday started with a plan to go back and ski a couple of laps on Checkerboard in the Jewel.  Then we ran into our friend Brandon who graciously offered the use of his snow mobile and suggested we go into Spider Bowl, a couple of miles North of the Jewel, saying the snow was good the day before and there would be a skin track to follow from his assault.  With a little prodding and a visit to the local car parts store for a smaller ball for my dad's hitch we went to Plan B and tore up to the Spider.  Caleb, Randy, and I skinned up to the ridge, dug a snow pit, and, finding the conditions bomber, skied un-tracked snow.  It was a little difficult skiing since the warm weather made the snow a little like mashed potatoes, but we survived... It was good enough for a second lap up to the ridge even.  Probably a 4000-4500 foot day.
Caleb shredding the fresh stuff.

Looking down at all the vertical still to go!  What a great run! Randy (left) and Caleb.

The snow-dog named Millie. She romped around all day like a champion of the mountains. I was impressed.  

Saturday--Middle Fork
Dad and I "stormed" our way into the  Flathead Range for a tour in the Skiumah Creek area.  I have been lucking-out this year and been able to follow a lot of skin tracks.  One pounded its way up a ridge that we happened to want to follow too, and follow it we did until encountering enough fresh snow that the tracks were unrecognizable.  A winter storm warning was in effect for the whole region and it was definitely hitting hard where we were.  Thankfully there was no wind, but it snowed on us really hard the whole day.  My head was really wet, icicles even dripping in my face, but I wasn't sweating.

Near the top of the trail-breaking slog, we started entering steeper and steeper terrain and noticing soft slabs sliding into our skin track.  We bailed into the trees, deciding to not ski any higher.  When we dug a snow pit we found Compression Test failures of CT2 @ 25 cm and CT14 @ 40 cm (the CT# refers to the number of taps on a shovel blade on an isolated column of snow).  Neither were extremely snappy or energetic and neither propagated in Extended Column tests.  With the added load of the current significant snow fall our decision was to ski back down the ridge following our skin track.  The skiing was lower angle but still really fresh and really good, complete with face shots.  On steeper rollovers we would kick off larger soft slab avalanches.  It was crazy to see the energy transfer along the snowpack: shooting cracks and even energy transferring down the slope to start a slab 15 feet in front of my skis.  Thankfully, we were never really in a compromising situation and thus it was fun to be a geeky snow scientist all afternoon.
A soft slab avalanche I started when I stopped just above a steeper roll over.  Dad is in a safe zone in the upper left and you can see a "block" as rest on the bed surface in the lower right.
Still escaping down the ridge to the truck, we entered a small gully with marginal snow, filled with logs, stumps, and rocks.  We're claiming the "First Descent" of the Devil's Club Couloir even though some other poor skier coming out of the drainage has most likely stumbled through it as well.  Why?  Because who's going to argue with it?  Ha!
Face shots!  As an aspiring ski photographer I've been experimenting with shots. Thanks to my friend Tim for lots of tips, the most relevant being, "You have to take a lot of bad ones to get a good one."
Gaining Elevation
If you hadn't noticed, you really have to "earn your turns" while backcountry skiing.  The climbing can be difficult, but the descent is more than rewarding enough to be offset the effort it took to get to the top of the run.  This was a big week for me, even the ski bum that I am.  I've got to crank it up though if I'll ever catch up to Greg Hill.  The Canadian skier just finished his goal to ski 2 million vertical feet, all by human power, in one year.  He's amazing...and nuts.  I've yet to do more than one 6000 ft day and he regularly does 10k days at Rogers Pass, BC.  Hopefully I'll be there some day.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Experimental Sandwiches and Secret Bread Ingredients

I received a book from my auntie this Christmas called Backcountry Bowhunting, in which the author Cameron Hanes touts the qualities of "peanut butter and bacon" sandwiches.  As a man blessed (or cursed, whichever you choose) with a palate enjoying weird food combinations, I had to try it.  So I've been experimenting while out skiing, both at the resort and in the backcountry.  I've tried PB, Bacon, and Banana as well as PB, Bacon, and Maple Syrup.  Both were tasty, but in my opinion the banana overpowers the taste of the bacon and thus I find it questionable to have it in there at all.  The maple syrup combo hit the spot and I've repeated it several times.  The nutritional qualities of a PBBMS might not be very good unless your activity level is such that your body is just in need of calories, such as climbing hard or skiing harder.  The average couch potato should be duly warned of becoming addicted to such a snack...

My experimentation has coincided nicely with some bread making.  Over Thanksgiving, my baker-of-a-younger-sister off-hand suggested that you can make really good bread by substituting bacon grease for the butter or lard called for in the recipe.  When I made a couple of loaves of whole wheat bread  recently, I had saved a supply of bacon drippings from my sandwiches, so I threw it in instead of the butter and added maple syrup instead of sugar or honey.  The result was fantastic: moist, delectable, with a hint of smoky bacon!  Great for a side with dinner, sandwiches, and eating a half of a loaf before bed if you're my dad...
Don't be alarmed! This is a healthier variety of sandwich: ham,
pickles, and spinach doctored with a touch of honey mustard. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 Whitefish Whiteout

The group of racers from church (l to r): Colter, Warren, Randy, Zachariah, Eric, and Chris

So I've been doing a bit of racing this ski season.  I've waited for years now going to school away from the mountains in Texas while I live vicariously through my dad as he talks me through the glorious details of downhill gate-dodging and mountaineering slogs.  Now I'm back to take full advantage of everything the mountains have to offer.

Racers on first climb up Tony Matt.  Dad's the first skier
on the left.
At the summit transition.  What a gorgeous day!
The 4th Annual Whitefish Whiteout Ski Mountaineering race kicked off last Saturday morning with blue skies, sunshine, and fresh snow.  Between the two categories (Race: climbing about 4000', and Rec: climbing about 2000') there were over 60 competitors.  It's really good to see people willing to get out and be active.  Dad and I competed in the Race category and had a blast chasing the "men and women in lycra" up the mountain and skiing untracked powder on the way down.  The course encompassed a wide range of ski mountaineering skills: climbing with skins on your skis, transitioning from skinning to skiing/skiing to skinning, descending some of the most challenging terrain of the resort, and even boot-packing up a couloir (North Bowl Chute).  Hearing cheers and encouragement from the "sidelines" from ticket wielding skiers and snowboarders was pretty cool and when I had the energy I gratefully flashed a smile and amped up the pace.  We still have a long way to go though here in the States.  Fans of ski mountaineering in Europe border on the fanatic, just like they do with most sports (soccer, cycling...).
Trying my best at a sprint to the Finish Line.

For results (other than tired legs, rosy cheeks from the exertion and the sun, and a perma-smile), I finished 12th overall with a time of 2:32.24, which was also good enough to beat out the rest of the telemarking field for 1st in my category.  Dad did really well too, finishing 18th overall and 4th in the telemark division with a time of 2:47.32.  A hug at the finish line was a cherry on top of an already great race.
Gotta love the After-Race Hug!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ice Fishing with Style

Beautiful site: snow cat, ice house, and miles of snow
and ice.

I pulled my first fish through the ice last Tuesday and went on to reel in 9 more.  My buddy Chris from work in the summer invited me out to catch some salmon on Bitterroot Lake and I gladly accepted the invitation, knowing that he was set up enough to make the jaunt extremely enjoyable.  And my expectations were exceeded.  We left his house around 5 am, made it to the ice, and flew on a ski-doo out to Chris's spot where we dragged his ice house out onto the lake.  6 inches of ice is no match for a 3 horsepower motor attached to the sharp blade of an auger, so we had two hole punched through in a jiffy.

Super-stoked to be catching fish! Although any more
excited and they'd put a straight jacket on me in my
padded room...
The ice house is custom made from an old 18-wheeler sleeper cabin, complete with a plush leather interior. Throw in a propane heater, some speakers, and a thermos of hot coffee and you're living the high-life.  If you ever need an excuse to zone-out for a couple of hours, go ice fishing.  It was so relaxing to sit there watching the tip of my pole until it started to bob and weave from a fish nibble.  Strangely enough I was more than content to have my existence wrapped up in a half inch diameter little orange loop of wire on the end of my pole and I was catching fish (or Chris was) often enough to make it exciting enough to sit there all morning.  If you're not really the "zone-out" type, which I'm usually not, I can see where conversations with a good friend in an ice house could border on life-changing.  Seriously.  You could solve all the world's problems and still have time to exchange some good recipes and contemplate the meaning of life.

My view for several hours Tuesday morning.
Last night, my family and I sat down to a delicious meal of fried salmon.  Living off the bounty of God's pantry is sweet.
My contribution to the mess of fish we caught
 that morning.  Beautiful looking fish with really shiny scales.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Thaw

Randy approaching the falls.
A week and a half ago ushered great snow into our area, but also brought some warm weather screeching along like a banshee.  Those who extremely dislike cold weather would disagree since we saw temperatures in town bordering on balmy.  However, it's not very good for the snow.  Skiing during the weekend was fantastic, albeit wet riding the chairlift.  With heavy wet snow falling high in the mountains, rain coming down with a vengeance in the valley, my friend Randy and I went on an adventure to find some ice, or at least semi-solid flowing water...

Messing around behind the falls.
Randy pulling hard!  Look at those picks flying!
Getting some directions from another friend, we set off to find a hidden waterfall in a random canyon west of Kalispell.  Just as even blind squirrels find a nut sometimes and so Randy and I finally stumbled across a two-tiered waterfall.  The upper portion was frozen well enough to set up a top-rope on a tree and belay from below.  Armed with metal talons on our feet and wicked curved tools in our hands we fell upon the vertical playground in a frenzy (not really, but we did have a great time).  We had escaped the rain that day but managed to get wet anyway.  The waterfall was gushing pretty good, especially by the early afternoon.
Armed and Dangerous...and wet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Telemark Race League

Ever hear of Poutine?  Don't fret too much, unless you're a ski bum galavanting across Canada or a French Canadian you have no reason to have ever experienced the stuff.  Anyway, it's a mixture of potato fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Odd combination I know, but combined with an atmosphere of a great day of shredding the slopes, it can't be beat.

At Big Mountain, they hold a Thursday night race league for us free heeled and free thinking telemarkers.  We ride the race t-bar up to the top and drop our knees down through the gates head to head with a racer of similar speed.  Afterwards we have a big party, complete with prizes, awards, and home-made poutine.  We have two teams comprised of teachers and friends of teachers and sons of teachers, one called "Team Poutine" captained by Tyler Poutine, the father of the poutine revival at Big Mountain, and "X-ta Gravy" headed by my dad.  Due to the nature of the night time racing, future pictures will mostly be comprised of the after party, but hopefully I'll be able to capture some of the gate-dodging action.

As much as displaying the times for the public, I am recording my times for the racing in order to track improvement as I hopefully improve as the season continues.  The first race day, 2 weeks ago, we only took one run through the course and I logged a time of 31.48 seconds.  This week, I sped up a little with two runs of 31. 07 and 31.22.  If I can find a way to shave off half to a whole second off my time, I could start making the podium... Here's to lofty goals, eh?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Death Valley

I can attest that the name of one of America's more bizarre National Parks is appropriate: there aren't many signs of native life.  For the 8th Park visited on my trip, I drove through Death Valley after saying good bye to Brad in Las Vegas.  I stopped for an overlook and nearly started sweating when I stepped out of my pickup and hiked up for the view.  From that point, located off the road on the descent into the Valley from the East, a visitor can essentially see the whole wasteland.  The "walls" surrounding the lowlands are jagged and rough, yet colorful, full of various shades of reds and oranges from the unique minerals in the soil.

The view from the road-side overlook looking down into the Vally and the lowest point in the United States.

The area was actually inhabited by a tribe of Native Americans for close to a 1000 years, how I don't know, but really gained it's fame during the California Gold Rush.  Prospectors dubbed the area its current nickname after having to cross it to get to the lands purported to be flowing with Gold.  I don't imagine they found anything flowing on their way through.  Development of the region began when Borax mines were discovered.  The mineral has many uses, including flux in welding, being an ingredient in laundry detergent, and fire retardants.  I just saw in a store the other day "20 Mule Team" brand borax laundry booster.  Early in the mining, large mule teams were used to haul the ore out to be refined and later were replaced by steam engines.  The roads that these loads followed can still be traveled for those adventurous enough to travel off the pavement and onto dusty gravel winding up bleak canyons.  When borax mining fell off, people still wanted to protect the area and rallied enough support to create a National Monument in 1933 and later convert it to a Nat. Park in 1994.  Now a literal sea of RVs pack the trailer park near the Visitor Center during the winter months.

I was worried about drowning after driving past this sign.
The coolest thing about driving in and out of the Park is the elevation.  If I remember correctly, you roughly descend from 4500 feet to 100 feet below see level and then climb back up to 5000 feet on the way out.  There are water stations all along the way to cool off over-heating vehicles.  I didn't stay very long in the Park but enjoyed the unusual scenery, the amenities of the Visitor Center, and even a parade for Veterans' Day.  To be honest I have now seen Death Valley, even driven below Sea Level, but am not in any hurry to come back: I don't imagine there will ever be snow there...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.

Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.

Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.

Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow.
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where e’er they go.

The words of this hymn rang through my mind yesterday as week skied in the backcountry.  There is something about a perfect skin-track leading upward through fresh snow; to me it's as beautiful as perfect turns coming back down.  The beauty of nature, which transcends our ability to copy or recreate, is enhanced by human contact.

We walk and move and breathe our way through life on earth, inevitably leaving our trace as we travel along.  I believe we can learn a lot about ourselves by taking a minute and looking at our own tracks.  Do we have a good stride: are we moving with confidence?  Can you see evidence of walking with purpose, or are the tracks wandering?  Where have you come from: is your trail just following the path of least resistance or has it come over difficult terrain, up steep hills and jumping over fallen logs?  Does it seem as though your tracks interact with those of others?  Reflecting on where we've been allows us to make adjustments, even out our movements, take a better angle.  Then we can look ahead to the horizon, set a course and follow those footsteps of Jesus wherever they go. 

Another Monday Fun-Day

View into Glacier National Park.  The "mitten" of St. Nicholas dramatically dominates the center of the horizon.
Monday was yet another Fun-Day, full of skiing and conversation with good friends. Maybe this will become a weekly trend...?  My friends Caleb, Randy, and I are all taking an introductory avalanche safety course together and were eager to get out into the backcountry to test our new-found knowledge (as well as find some good snow to float through).  We got plenty of both.  After climbing into a drainage south of Essex, MT and gained the ridge above Marion Lake, we dug a snowpit and ran some stability tests.  Not really liking what we saw, we skied down the ridge hoping to find a better aspect to ski.  However, when we dropped off the other side of the ridge and dug another pit, the snowpack was less stable.  So, we jogged back up to the summit of Essex Mountain to contemplate our next course of action and enjoy the unbeatable views of the surrounding area on a clear, bluebird day.  We finally decided to ski the line we had originally intended but planned to take advantage of the terrain to avoid steeper rollovers and ski one at a time to keep an eye on each other.  We were rewarded with fresh tracks in amazing snow, even some face-shots.

Caleb earning his turns...

Good positive feedback to our pit analysis too: Randy kicked off a very small slough and we saw a small slab that another party had cut loose.  One of my heroes, Andrew McLean, says that it's possible to ski in the backcountry every day, even when avalanche danger is high, if you take advantage of the terrain.  Our group was successful yesterday by assessing the risk involved and skiing as the snow dictated.  Score!

...then shredding the powder, making all the effort worth it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Finding a Job

When I got home from my road trip last November, I set my sights on getting a temporary/seasonal job that would last me through the ski season and pay for my gas money to the mountains until work for the Forest Service started up again in May. However, it has been a struggle. I filled out at least 6 online applications for random companies (Home Depot, Costco, Starbucks, WalMart, etc) hoping that they would need a position filled, to no avail. Then I applied for a technology assistant position with a local school district and didn't get the job since I had something lined up with the Forest Service next spring. With the current job situation as it is, everyone is willing to work menial jobs, not just ski bums or students. In the middle of December I took a job at UPS as a Driver Helper for the peak Holiday season. I made some money, it gave me something to do, and I made a new friend but somehow I feel cheated. As it was, my hourly wage was next to nil, but there was no communication from my "supervisor," I was shorted hours, and they let me go a week before they had said would be when I would stop being an employee. (Don't get me wrong, that extra week off allowed me a lot of ski time with my parents who had the week off from work as well, so I had my cake and ate it too...).
I am the most frustrated with myself. I started to get my self-worth and identity wrapped up in those job applications. Since stores weren't hiring me then that meant I wasn't good enough. They were rejecting me because they could find better. When I took the UPS job it was almost as though I was trying to snatch up a job just to show that I was capable of searching for a job and becoming employed, maybe not the best choice for making money or taking advantage of the best opportunities. Now, still without a job, I find myself stressing out about things I don't need to be worried about. This is my year off, I am having to tell myself, relax and breathe or it won't be worth it in the long run.

What I really need to do is turn this spring over to God. I am a loved child of His. I am a part of His plan. I am playing a part in what He wants accomplished in this valley this year. With time off, I have been able to be a part of peoples' lives that I wouldn't have been normally. I've been able to volunteer, hang out, and chill with people who need to be chilled with. By faith we are to walk, and I realize that I can allow God to work. If I find a job, it will be because that's where I'm needed. If I don't, then it is my responsibility to make the best use of my time for the Kingdom.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Climbing Rocks that are Red

The view of distant "red" rocks on the drive into the State Park.

I would never have thought it possible for me to find a rock climbing partner online while I was on a huge road trip, but it happened. Since climbers meet up in parking lots and campgrounds all the time, particularly in hot areas like Yosemite, the surprise was more from a view of my personality. On the introvert side of the personality spectrum, I'm not usually the out-going-strike-up-a-conversation-with-a-total-stranger type. Then there's the strange way I found the guy: picture an online dating site, but for climbers looking for climbing partners rather than dates. I posted a partner request on and got some responses for Southern California/Yosemite and one for Red Rocks just outside of Las Vegas, NV. I exchanged emails, text messages, and then phone calls with the one from Red Rocks and arranged a few days of camping and climbing.
On the hike in to climb Solar Slab, day two. A Joshua Tree in the foreground on the right, Brad in the lower-left corner, and the tan colored Solar Slab itself on the right side of the shadowed canyon directly above Brad.

After visiting the Hoover Dam area, I drove into Las Vegas, snagged a coffee at a local Starbucks while checking my email, and then straight through to the BLM campground just outside the Red Rocks State Park where I met Brad. We headed out that afternoon and explored the Magic Bus, a rather larger chunk of orangish-red rock about a 10-15 minute walk from the parking area. There were about 4-5 sport routes that we led with draws and top-roped. Brad took a pretty nasty leader fall on one of the last 5.9 routes, shaking him up pretty good, but he found redemption while flashing it while on a top-rope. The rock was rad: bullet sandstone of incredible color coated with a black varnish that weathered at a slower rate than the rock underneath forming 3D plate-like features all the way up the face. One of the routes was mixed trad gear and bolted protection and while leading it I got addicted to sinking solid stoppers in the waiting constrictions. Everything that I had read about Red Rock trad climbing was that the cracks readily accepted passive pro, and while initially apprehensive, I quickly agreed. Thus we were stoked to plan a bigger day of climbing the next day.

Leading Pitch 1 of Hangdogger Select. Notice the black varnish on the face: lots of bomber hand holds and fun "chicken-heads" to climb on.

After eating a lot of food for dinner and being treated to banana bread warmed over a skillet for breakfast the next morning, Brad and I meandered down the trail to reach the approach of the Solar Slab. We spent the majority of the morning on Hangdogger Select, a traditional 5.8, which tops out on an upper level from which Solar Slab (5.6) begins. I messed up on the belay of the first pitch, not going far enough before building an anchor, taking up precious time of our day. But we made it to the base of our intended climb early in the afternoon, almost sweating from the sun's radiant heat. Brad busted out a clown wig and sent the first pitch, including a classic hand crack, with style. We made it up 3 pitches before bailing due to cold and the impending night. It's crazy to go from the heat of the sun to shivering in a breeze and shade within a matter of hours. Rappelling off the larger ledge became somewhat of a fiasco since our ropes got stuck on the first pitch. We were sharing the rappel anchors down Solar Slab gully with a group of three girls from Outward Bound and were thankful to being able to use there ropes and help setting up the descent, even though getting down with 5 rather than 2 was more time consuming. Thankfully (not without many silent prayers) we made it out to the truck safely and with an epic story to tell.

Brad sporting his wig at the first belay on Solar Slab!

Leading Pitch 2 of Solar Slab. The giant flake was pretty simple to climb, but pretty scary to protect.

The next day, we were dragging pretty good due to extent of the day before. So we drove around and scratched our heads on what we wanted to climb. There is so much rock in the state park it's not even funny! I've seen at least 4 guide books to the area now and every one of them had routes in it that the others didn't and I wouldn't be surprised if there are other climbs out there that are newly climbed but not recorded. Not to mention the first ascent potential for an energetic team interested in new-routing... Back at the campground, Brad and I exchanged some final stories, contact information, and handshakes and I drove off into the sunset of the desert intent on making it around the Southern Sierras of California before making camp for the night.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday is a Fun Day!

What an amazing start to the New Year! The first Monday of 2011 kicked off with a great breakfast and conversation with of my best friends and brothers, talking about how good the message of the gospel is and how the contrast of the Law and Grace works out in our lives. I'd encourage you to check out Tim's blog on the subject.

Then it was off to some backcountry shralping ("shredding powder"...don't worry, I'm just getting used to the term too). My buddy Brandon, mentioned in some of my hunting escapades, and I went out with two other friends into the Nyack area of the Middle Fork of the Flathead and toured up the Skiuma Creek drainage. We skinned all the way to the ridge separating Skiuma from Rescue Creek and bombed back down 1500 or so vertical feet, blasting through the open trees and barely visible brush below. Can I hear anyone say "Coldsmoke" or "face-shots"? We made two laps before ascending a third time to the ridge and skiing off the Rescue Creek side for about 2500 feet of pure, untouched powder snow. Now by that time I was pretty beat and my descent of the run may have looked more like rolling head-over-heels rather than beautiful, perfectly linked, telemark turns but I could hardly contain the joy that I felt from flying down a slope surrounded by such amazing country. My only regret is that I forgot to bring my camera...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

F is for Fun

Happy New Year! 2010 flew by, but not without some great adventures with good friends and loving family. I can't wait to see what the new year brings. I haven't worked on reviewing my goals and accomplishments this past year and then making new goals/resolutions for 2011, but that's on the ever-growing list of things to do. Hopefully I'll have something to post within the next couple of days.

I party-hopped a little last night to usher in the New Year, starting with a meal and games at a family's house from church and moving to a friend's house down the street for more snacks and games. I feel very lucky to have the love and support from so many friendly faces. They inspire me to be a better, more cheerful and loving, out-going person this next year. May I bless the lives of others as much as they bless me.

At midnight, I found myself on the side of a snow-covered hill where Flathead High School proudly displays a white 'F' that's visible from town. Our group saw fireworks amid the glowing lights of the town below and exchanged whoops and hollers with a party at a house near the base of the hill. There were ten of us that skinned up the F-Hill with our skis and enjoyed 6 inches of fresh snow on the ski down (6 inches of fresh snow on top of grass and rocks, yikes!). Now I just need to make myself some Junk Boards so I won't be so worried about ruining my skis. But it's still pretty cool to be able to ski some "backcountry" just minutes from downtown Kalispell.