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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Fall Semester Ends & Skiing Begins

A snowboarder skiing off of Lavelle chair, Missoula Valley below.

This past week was the first of the Christmas break for me. In past years, I've always worked beyond finals week, until the kids start their own break, but this year, though I tried working on Monday, I found myself so spent that wandering around the house was about all I was good for.

One of the upshots is that I made it up to Snowbowl several times during the week. We all have season passes and it's a quick trip (~25 minutes), so it's easy to go, even if only for a few runs.

Because of our New Zealand sojourn, we missed last ski season. No surprise that it was, apparently, one of the best seasons in recent memory. I have to say, though, that I didn't miss it. Surfing and cycling kept me satisfied.

But it's been great to get back on skis. I've invested a great deal of time and money into the sport over the years, and so I'm good at it (unlike surfing), and there are few things I love more than doing a fun outdoor sport well.

Jen and I got out on Wednesday. They had just gotten about 16 inches and opened up a bunch of runs that day, so the powder was deep. It was the best earl season skiing I've ever had. Discovery, where we've had passes for the last several season, just doesn't get big dumps like that.

Still, I have a love/hate relationship with skiing. You see, my knees are prematurely worn, and skiing also means knee pain. In my 20s I lacked foresight, ran down huge, steep mountains, learned to telemark ski in lace-up leather boots on the Backside of Discovery, and used my body hard.

So the high of skiing powder on Wednesday was followed by the disappointing return of aching knees on Thursday. Surfing and cycling aren't hard on the knees, which may be why I didn't miss skiing. On the other hand, I've never been one to spend much time looking back.

Happy holidays friends.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers, with Bonner, MT in the background, December 2011.

January to June in NZ:
Alex: sitting out on the water on the surfboard waiting for a wave.
Ellie: walking down the beach with the Chins.
Jen: standing on McKinnon Pass, day 3 of the Milford Track.
John: surfing and hanging out at the beach in Sawtell, Australia, and Dunedin and Kaikoura, New Zealand, cycling in Dunedin, the Rail Trail, and Naseby.

Summer in Missoula:
Alex: getting together and biking with friends right when we got back.
Ellie: reading the entire Harry Potter series.
Jen: mountain bike racing mid-week at the beer league races, and at the Missoula XC national series race.
John: crossing the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness on a week long backpack.

Fall in Missoula:
Alex: pulling off a back flip on my mountain bike.
Ellie: reading the entire Twilight series...twice!
Jen: Kick ball, cyclo-cross racing, and art exhibits.
John: Kick ball, cyclo-cross racing, insane work, and a twinge at the kids getting older.