Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Weekend and Other Stuff

Last weekend (12/19-12/20) was pretty good.  Hawkeye was opened about 11:00 on Saturday, and I jammed a bunch of runs before the cover started getting a little too thin (they also opened up Chatiemac and Straightbrook Glades for those on the rock skis).  The groomers on the lower mountain were great in the morning, and a little skied off by the afternoon.  Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday, except the top was opened earlier, and groomed (slightly), so there wasn't as much worry about rocks on Hawkeye.  Chatie was still "natural snow conditions" (plus some man made on top), so it was pretty amusing.  I left a little ealry (2:00) on Sunday because the light was getting flat and we needed to do some Xmas shopping.  All in all, though, I got a lot of skiing in, and I was pretty happy.

I'm hoping to up the ante on these mountain updates after Christmas.  I'm probably going to get this:

. . . which will make shooting pictures and video pretty damn cool.  The downside is that I might have to start wearing my helmet, but that's a small price to pay for sick first person footage of glades, park, and bumps.  Plus it comes with a couple of helmet attachments so I can do some bike video in the summer (although footage of me on my road bike might be kind of boring . . . maybe I need a mountain bike after all).

To be honest, though, I'm ready for the Christmas season to be over.  The crowded roads, long lines, and general frantic attitude always gets me antsy around this time of year.  It's the opposite of "Island Time".  It's like New York City Time.  Whenever I go down to the city, I always get caught up in the "hurry up and go" attitude of the place.  There always seems to be someone shouting in a line behind me, or yelling at a guy next to me.  I feel like everybody takes on this attitude around this time of year.  They really want their $300 LCD, and they won't let anything (or anybody) stand in their way.  Long Live Consumerism!

Oh well.  I'm trying to internalize "Island Time" in all aspects of my life.  Nothing is so important that it must be done right now, and the consequences of something taking a little longer than I anticipated are never really that dire.  I was waiting in a really long (about 35 minutes) line at the store today, and I just tried to relax as everyone pitched a fit around me.  It was actually quite soothing.  I let my mind wander, blissfully unaware of the conversations and tribulations of everybody around me.  Then some asshole at the back of the line yelled that it was my turn at the register and I was holding everybody up.  I guess he was on New York City Time . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Favorite Ski Movie

While I enjoy a lot of the ski movies that come out these days (including MSP movies, Meatheads, TGR, etc.), and a lot of the ski movies in the late 90's (Sick Sense by MSP was epic, I wish I could find it on DVD), my favorite ski movie remains P-Tex, Lies and Duct Tape, by Greg Stump.  It's the rare ski movie that tells a story.  Sure, there's great skiing and riding, but the difference is that they actually take the time to develop the characters (and a lot of the guys really are characters).  You learn what drives them, why they made the life decisions they did, and how they are now reaping the benefits of those decisions (shots of factory work and paper pushing in between the ski scenes work really well to sledgehammer that point home).  Every time I watch it, it makes me question what I'm doing every day in a cubicle talking about fantasy football and mindless television shows.  In fact, even as I sit here typing, someone out west is out getting after it.  I can't find an embeddable video, but here's a link to the intro.  Watch this and try not to be psyched about skiing:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love this . . .

The Trailer to this year's TGR movie is so great.  I just love the idea of opening your door in the morning and seeing the most beautiful, majestic mountain peaks.  Hopefully, someday it will become a reality.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Other miscellaneous notes . . .

Getting fired did cause me to rethink what I want with my life (in terms of my skiing life).  These last couple of days freeskiing have been so relaxing, I question why I would ever want to return to a life of mountain employment.  Surely, even if we move out west, I can find a job doing something other than ski instructing.  If I can't find a geologist, park ranger, or environmental science job, I could be a bartender, shop tech, or cook.  Ski instructing was great for a few years because it allowed me to meet many of the people who are my friends today.  But I might be past that point in my life (at least at this mountain).  I know everyone now, and I still hang out with the same people, but skiing now is just so much . . . better (see the post below).  I'm more relaxed, I have more fun, and I don't feel burdened by anything.

If Ace and I do decide to move out west, we'll look for jobs in our fields and we'll probably ski instruct for the first couple of years.  It's the best way to meet new people, you immediately get immersed in the culture of the mountain, and you learn all the best places that locals go.  But I'm sure there will come a point when I just don't want to do it anymore.  And, judging by how I feel after these last two days, I'm fine with that.


What an insane week.

I got fired from ski instructing last Saturday (the 5th) for internet postings that were deemed unflattering to the mountain.  Then I spent the rest of the week in a deep depression trying desperately to get my job back (to no avail), only to have to spend a ton of money (which I don't really have) to buy a season pass so that I will be able to ski this year.  Weak.  There are any number of things that I could complain about (but won't), and right now I'm really just trying to put the whole thing behind me.  I would, however,  like to talk about the difference between working my ass off ski instructing and just freeskiing.

When Ace and I were on our honeymoon, the day we got down there, we set up dinner reservations at this place that was really beautiful.  It was on this pier overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the decor was really nice, and everything was free because it was one of those all-inclusive vacations.  We got to the place we were eating and they said that we'd be seated in 20 minutes.  We went to the bar, had a couple of drinks, and soon, 30 minutes had passed.  We walked around the place for a little, had a couple more drinks, looked at my watch, and noticed that 45 minutes had passed and I was starting to get a little hungry.  We sat down in the bar on these big sofas, continued to drink, and soon, 1 hour had passed, and now I was getting angry.  I get really ummm . . . moody when I'm hungry, and Ace was trying to calm me down, but it wasn't doing any good.  I was ready to go crazy when an hour and fifteen minutes had passed.  I went outside to let off some steam, but it was no good.  I ruined a perfectly nice night because I was so wound up.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized that I was still living life like I was back in New York.  It's just not the island way to do things right away, and I should not of expected that.  It took me a little while, but eventually, I was able to adjust to "island time".  Once I made that adjustment, nothing seemed to bother me anymore.  I could look around, realize that I was in a tropical paradise and everything was free, and I'd feel content and happy.

Saturday at the mountain was my adjustment day.  I was so amped up on skiing that I was trying to fit everything in, and ski every run like a crazy person, and eat really quickly so I could move on to the next thing.  It took me more than half the day to realize that I don't have to be like that any more.  When I used to work at the mountain, I always had to be in certain places at certain times.  I had to clinic and teach and help out with other things, so I was never really able to fit in too much freeskiing.  For that reason, my freeskiing was always crazy hard charging runs that occurred whenever I could fit them in.  Even if I was dead tired at the end of the day, I had to go out and do a couple of crazy free runs, because they were so hard to come by.

Now, I'm completely different.  It's just so relaxed.  I don't have to rush to fit runs in.  I have the whole season!  I don't have to worry about being in certain places at certain times (in fact, the only time I even looked at my watch was around noon when I was supposed to meet Ace for lunch).  It's like . . . a vacation.  And that's how I think about the mountain now.  Every weekend is like a two day vacation.  I'm on island time now.  And it feels damn good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ugh . . .

Well, this officially sucks.  There's nothing to talk about.  Thanksgiving went well, I guess.  I ate way too much food blah blah blah.  Went to a spin class on Friday, went for a short walk in the Albany Pine Bush yesterday.  I'm having trouble coming up with good things to write.  I feel like if I was out west, I'd be ripping it up, and able to report on all my adventures.  Here's some shots from random resorts that I just typed into the web browser:

 Pic from Squaw Valley Website

 Pic from Snowbird Website

Why not me?!!?  I mean, it's not like it looks that great (to be completely honest), but at this point, ANY skiing is preferable to what I have now (no skiing, and not a very good chance of skiing until MAYBE this weekend).  I'm starting to get a little depressed.  Some new rules at Gore are adding to the general feeling of malaise as well.  I don't really want to get into it, but let's just say that it will make everything a lot more of a pain in the ass than it already is.  Add in the parking situation (which doesn't really affect me because I'm forced to park in east bumblefuck anyway to make more room for the "guests"), and I'm thinking that the entire Gore experience this year might not be so fantastic.  If only I could win some sort of contest and move out west . . .

Monday, November 23, 2009


You know, having every other Monday off is awesome . . . Unless there's nothing to do.  Continued warm weather in the east is making this "skiing" blog awful hard to write.  Sample post: "Instead of skiing today, I raked leaves.  That is all."  Once again, I feel compelled to post a video of how life could be (if I was living in Whistler, BC):


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sick . . .

I haven't been feeling too well lately (some type of flu), so I haven't been posting as much as I should.  It's just a general body shutdown . . . I probably deserve it because I haven't been doing anything lately but sitting on my ass, eating too much, and drinking beer.  Ugh. . .

There is a teeny tiny bit of good news. . .  Gore has posted a Facebook message that reads:

We WILL open Black Friday

 So, hopefully they can follow through.  Looking at the weather, though, it doesn't look so good.  I feel like "climate change" is mostly going to lop off the beginning and the end of the ski season (during my lifetime), and it might actually be worse out west than it is here (I feel like there will be less precipitation in the west, more in the east - though a lot of the precip in the east will come down as rain because of the warming).  But out west, they have a lot more of a cushion with regard to how much they can lose.  If we lose 20% of our snowfall, Gore will get 130 inches next year.  If Alta loses 20%, they still have 540 inches.  So I'm still thinking the future of skiing (and hopefully my life) is out west.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Almost here . . .

I feel like it's getting close (never mind that today was 65 degrees).  I was driving by Hunter Mountain the other day for my real job, and I snapped this pic of some snow that had fallen on Thursday night:
Then, after a day of being hungover on Saturday (ugh . . . I should stop drinking so much), we hiked Prospect Mountain on Sunday with Ace's brother:
Then,  we cruised over to Hickory, where they were having an open house/brewfest.  I don't know if I'm going to get up there too much this year (Gore always seems to call my name on Powder Days - free ticket, I know the mountain really well, and I always seem to find someone to ski with).  But Hickory looked pretty decent:
Then, Ace and I took advantage of the nice weather today to go on a 30 mile road bike ride on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail (beautiful).  So it's all pumping me up for ski season.  I'm putting my new ski boots now to further break them in.  I might ski Killington next week (if my job doesn't get in the way).  Let's do this! 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cold Comfort for Change

I like to read a lot of blogs, and sometimes I get mad when they haven't been updated in a few days (or weeks).  But then I started my own blog, and I realized why.  And the reason is kind of depressing:  For a great majority of a person's life, nothing really happens.  I mean, I could go into detail about what is happening at work (cool stuff, actually.  I spent Monday and Tuesday on a boat tooling around Lake Champlain), or what is happening in the world (mid-term elections . . . Zzzzzzz . . .), or what I'm doing around the house (mostly picking up leaves), but there really isn't anything THAT interesting.  And that's kind of sad.  But I have a theory about why this is.

I've been formulating this theory for a while, and I actually started writing a screenplay (a ski movie of course) based on this idea.  Throughout a person's life, they make decisions.  The decisions have various consequences, but as people age, they generally fall into the trap of trading security for spontaneity, comfort for craziness, and protectionism for pizazz.   When I used to live in an apartment, I had the ability to up and move whenever I wanted.  I decided to buy a house, and now I'm tied down to a mortgage, maintenance, and upkeep.  When I had a crappy job at Target (and a fun job ski instructing), it wouldn't matter if I just left one day, never to return.  Now, kind of tied down to my job (it's such a good job, and I definitely want to stay until I'm vested in the retirement system).  In these cases (and many others), I made a decision to change, thinking that my life would be better, but I've decreased my ability to just get out and go.  Doing the things that people are "supposed" to do in their life seems to have put me in a cage.

So day to day life has become a boring consequence of decisions I made earlier.  Go to work to pay the bills, pick up the leaves to maintain equity, pay some money to fund my retirement.  Are these the kind of things that are fun to read about in a blog?  No!  You know what would be fun to read about in a blog?  Me contemplating a trip to Europe for Oktoberfest.  Me wondering which ski area parking lot I'm going to park my rig in for the winter.  Me stepping out my door to the first powder day of the season. 

I've been trying to decide what form I want this blog to take.  There are a lot of Ski blogs that are generic ski news sites ("Mammoth has 3 new Snowcats!", "Killington Opens on November 13th!").  And there are some ski blogs that tell a story ("Skiing in the Shower", on my blogroll on the right, tells a pretty compelling story of a woman trying to make the PSIA Alpine Demo Team and sacrificing a lot to do so).  I'm hoping that this site will be like the latter.  While I might not be in touch with my emotions (or even a very good writer), I'm hoping that this blog will chronicle a transformation.  I want to change from somebody that has something exciting happen every few days to someone who lives every day like an adventure.  I want the adventure to never stop, and for every blog post to make you say "Wow . . . I wish I was there."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Season of Waiting

Okay, first things first.  Ace worked out a part time schedule with her job, and she's pumped.  They can't dick her around anymore (they routinely expected her to work 50-60 hours a week and not get paid for it), and she only has to deal with that noxious work environment for 28 hours a week.  The downside is that she's losing her health insurance, so I have to put her on my plan (an extra $100 or so a month).  She had a meeting with the Ski Team and the parents yesterday and she loved it.  She seems a lot happier these days, and if you are to believe what everyone says, happy wife = happy life.

I'm still waiting for some snow to start falling.  That Sunday River opening was a tease, and no other mountains look to be opening in the immediate future.  Too bad, because I have a few days off coming up around Veteran's day, and Ace has the days off too (she has to use up all of her comp time before she switches to the part time schedule).  We were thinking of skiing, but if we can't, maybe we'll do a short little trip to the Finger Lakes and go to some wineries.

I want snow, though!!!  This is definitely the worst time of year to live in the east.  Even though I know it's going to be a sweet season coming up, I always think of how much better the season would be if I lived in Jackson (or somewhere similar).  It ruins my good thoughts!!  Also, if I lived out west, I would already be skiing.  Look at these shots:

Photo from A-Basin website (look at the Mountain Goats!)


Photo from Silverton Mountain website

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part


I hate this time of year.  Too cold to do anything outside, but no snow on the ground (yet) for skiing.  It's freaking depressing.  Picking up leaves, waking up in the dark, cold rain . . . Forget it.  I mean, maybe if the Mets were in the baseball playoffs, it would be a different story.  But who do we have this year?  The Yankees and Phillies?  Ugh.  If I ever plan a sweet Caribbean sailing vacation (I suddenly have the urge to do this after reading this series of posts on Slate), remind me to schedule it for around this time of year.  It will be perfect.  Leave here around October 20, get back around November 10th (after Daylight Savings time gives us an extra hour), and start skiing the following weekend.  Now if I could only get someone to pick up all my leaves . . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Buck Mountain

We did Buck Mountain this past weekend.  Good Times.  Then we had the Ski School Informational meeting, where they dropped a couple of bombshells on us (no freeskiing in uniform at all, change in pay structure, etc.).  It might be a kind of depressing season.  Or, if Ace leaves her job, it might be a sweet season!  I guess we'll have to see.  Pics from Buck:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plans for the future . . .

I go through a struggle in my mind every once in a while and it goes like this:  Every time I think about moving out west [to a ski town (Jackson, Breck, Truckee),or a pseudo-ski town (Bend, Bozeman, Santa Fe) or a ski city (Boulder, Denver, or SLC)], I always say something like, "Well, I'll move out west eventually, but right now, I just refinanced my house, and I should wait a couple of years to rebuild some equity before I make any moves".  Or, "I only have to work for 2 more years until I'm vested in the retirement system at work, so I'll wait until then to move."  I'm okay with this now (those seem to be good reasons), but will it keep going like this?  I mean, will there always be something trying to keep me here?  My parents are retiring in 2011 and moving down to Carolina, so at that point, I really won't have anything keeping me in the area (besides my job and house, that is).  And my job is good.  Will I be able to find a comparable job out west?  I don't know.

I just hope that I don't keep saying to myself "Two more years", "Three more years", "Five more years", then find myself still kicking around this area when I'm 50 wondering why I never moved out west.  So, hopefully I can develop a plan soon and stick to it.
Okay.  It's official, she got the job (Sweet!).

Now we have to start thinking about what's going to happen this winter.  Ideally, she would work a reduced schedule of 32 hours a week at her regular job, retain her health insurance, and keep getting paid a pretty good amount.  We'll see what happens, though, when she tells her boss what's going down.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My wife might not get the job after all (apparently, a teacher at the school might be interested and priority would go to that person).  Obviously, this is both good and bad for the reasons I said below (I still want to ski more Mondays, though).
Sunday River becomes the first resort in the East to open for the 2009/2010 season.

Won't be long now.

(Picture from Sunday River Website)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Thinking (Lately)

Okay. Ace is not happy about her current job. I'm definitely cool with mine (for the time being). Even if she can work out some kind of reduced schedule, she's likely to quit sometime in Late November/Early December. This will create a good news/bad news skiing scenario. Good news, because it's more skiing time for her (She'll be coaching on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) and more skiing time for me (I get every other Monday off at my job, and the only reason that I didn't ski each of these days was that I had to take Ace back home to suburbia on Sunday nights. With no job to come back to, she'll be free to ski on those days). Bad news because we won't have much money, and we might not be able to take a trip out west this year (even though I'm dying to go to Whistler).

The money issue is the most pressing. She's probably going to try to pick up something part time if she does end up quitting, but that will probably go away after X-mas. So she'll have 2 solid months where her only income will come from Ski Coaching (the High School Team) and Ski Instructing (at Gore). I'm going to try to pick up the slack, but I'd rather be saving money for eventual Ski Town living. Still though, I like the idea of more skiing this winter, and I'm pretty confident in her ability to land another decent paying job in the Spring.

If we can skate by with minimal money until April 1st, I get a decent raise at work, and she'll probably have another job going . . . It might be a winter of little money, but it also might be a winter of big fun.

Note to Self . . . Go To Europe

Courtesy of

Mmmmm . . . Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole (10/6/2009)

(Photo from Jackson Hole website)

Mini Hike

Sweet mini hike yesterday @ John Boyd Thatcher State Park.  We did the Indian Ladder Trail.  Kind of crowded, but fun nonetheless.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's on.

Ace (my wife) took the job.  She's trying to work out something with her employer where she could do both jobs.  Hopefully (for our finances), she can work it out.  As for now, we're going to the Gore Mountain Harvest Festival.  PEACE!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Things as they are now

Well.  As of now, both me and my wife ("Ace") have jobs that pay a decent salary.  We're both college graduates, so we make decent money, we have health insurance, and we're pretty well off.  We have a house in the suburbs (good school district), no kids, no pets, and not many financial obligations (other than a mortgage).  I mean, I have a car loan, she's got a student loan payment, and I have a little bit of a balance on my credit card.  Other than that, though, we're putting (a pretty good amount of) money away for retirement, we have savings accounts, and we're secure if one of us was to lose their job.  The question is, do we continue to work these jobs to save a bunch of money over the next few years and move out west when we're ready?  Or do we just bite the bullet and move out west now?

Complicating things a little bit, she HATES her job.  Her boss is borderline crazy, her pay sucks (compared to what she should be making), and she has to travel a lot.  She wants out.  We're not at the position where we could comfortably live on one income (especially with car payment and student loan payment), so she would have to work at something.  That opportunity may have come along, though.  She has been offered the position of Alpine Ski Coach for a local High School Team.  At first glance, it looks good.  Dream job, grreat hours, and the chance to make a difference with some kids (and feed the competition jones that she's had since high school field hockey).  The problem is that it doesn't pay well, and the hours would probably force her to quit her real job.  We'd be on a tight budget for the rest of the winter, and there would be no guarantee of a job when she started looking again in the Spring.

I still think she should take it, though.  If we're serious about this skiing thing, she should take this job, and any other job she can get in the ski industry (anything from Factory Rep to Ski Tuner).  That way, if we ever do get the money to move out west, she won't have any problem getting a job.  The economy isn't THAT bad anymore, and I don't think she'll have a problem finding work in the Spring (she already has a couple of leads).  She needs this for herself and she should do it.

The thing is, though, this might delay moving out west.  One and a half incomes will not be able to save money as fast as two incomes.  And what if she's still not happy with her life?  These are things she has to think about, but I told her that if she doesn't take this job, she's always going to wonder what might have been.

This is pretty funny . . .


Skiing has begun at Loveland Pass, A-Basin, and Las Vegas Ski Bowl.  For everybody out west, enjoy the WROD (White Ribbon of Death).

(Photo from A-Basin's Website)

Welcome to the Jumble

Okay, here we go.  My name is Matt, and I'm a skier.  That's the most important thing about me, and it's always been the driving force behind everything that's ever happened to me.  When I was in high school, I was on the Ski Team.  When I went to college, I picked the one that was closest to great skiing (Colby College - about an hour and ten minutes from Sugarloaf).  When I studied abroad, I went to a country with skiing (New Zealand).  When graduated college, I started teaching skiing and I met my future wife (who was also an instructor) at the mountain.  My favorite thing to do is Ski.  My favorite movies are Ski Movies.  My favorite songs are songs that are in Ski Movies (because they remind me of skiing).

So, I'm pretty obsessed.  The problem is, I only get to ski about 50 days a year.  I realize that this a lot for most people, but I'm not most people.  I hold down a regular job during the week, and mostly get out to ski on weekends, holidays, vacations, and "sick" days (read: powder days).  My wife and I bought a house in 2006 and got married in 2007.  She has a similar job, and she has a similar quandary.  We seem to be in a constant struggle to try to convince ourselves that we're on the right path.  Should we quit our jobs and sell the house?  Should we move out west to some sweet ski town (where we can see the lifts from our windows)?  Will this lead to a "happily ever after" ending?  Or a life of crippling debt and depression?  This blog is (hopefully) going to be a chronicle of the coming years.  What life will we choose?  I don't even think that we know . . .    

This is a test . . .


My name is Matt and this is my blog.  If this works, I'll make some more posts