Friday, April 29, 2011

Last Chair: 4/29/11

I've really been slacking on the blogging lately. Although, to be fair, it's because I've been out livin'. Did Mountain Bike rides on Sunday (909) and Wednesday (SMBA), and Road Bike rides Tuesday and Thursday. Monday was Golf.

Anyways, it's the time of the week where I recap what I've been tweeting (although I might have slacked off on that a bit, too). If you want to follow me, my handle is @mattchuck2 and my posts appear on the right of this page. Here we go:

I've reached the point where I'm getting angry about great skiing trip reports like this one. It's not that I don't like sweet skiing pictures, it's that I don't like seeing them when I don't have any access to the gnar myself. This Mountain Biking trip report fuels the stoke a little better (because it's more relatable).

Crazy pictures from the last day of '10/'11 at Aspen Highlands. These guys just have to remember that you can't live on beer alone (apparently).

I retweeted this report of a guy still skiing Mount Marcy.  I'd get up there this weekend, but I'm going somewhere else.  Where?  Pay attention to the blog next week. In the meantime, check out this sweet video of Parker White busting a huge triple off a jump at Sun Valley.

Parker White Sun Valley Triple from Level 1 on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Chair: 4/22/11

Okay. We've come to the end of another week, and here's the recap of my week on the twitter feed. You can find me @mattchuck2, or the posts appear over there --->. Here we go:

I don't generally vote Republican, but a guy who almost announced his Presidential Ambitions on Tuckerman Ravine has my attention. The video here and the support for legalized marijuana furthers his cause.

I loved the year-in-review photo montages posted by Jeff at the Saratoga Skier and Hiker (East), and "Badekoo" on the TGR Forums (West)

I posted Bobby Brown's first ever Triple Cork, but now it seems like everyone's throwing them.

Finally, I liked this video about a group of college kids who took their summer break and spent 52 days paddling across the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It's kind of long (46 minutes), but it's got some great scenery and it looks like everyone had a fantastic time.

Voyageur II - 2010 from Emma on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last Day at Gore - 4/17/11

People generally have a feeling of anxiety as the ski season winds down. On Sunday, I felt a general malaise. I had heard that the skiing was kind of crappy on Saturday, cold and snowy - nowhere near the epic spring conditions that we had enjoyed the previous weekend. I figured that the weekend of the 9th and 10th would serve as a pretty good bookend to an excellent season of resort skiing (definitely the best in the past 3-4 years). Besides, I had gone to the SMBA Trail Maintenance Day on Saturday, built some bridges, moved some rock, and rode my mountain bike for about 3 hours in the afternoon. I was really starting to get into the summer frame of mind, and freezing my ass off on a windy Sunday wasn't really something I wanted to do.

But when you're a skier, you ski.

That's what you do.

So I ate some breakfast, waited until around 10:30, filled my car with $4 gas and drove up to the mountain. Things started off kind of strange when a woman stopped me in the parking lot and asked me if I thought it was worth it.


"Do you think it's worth skiing today? We usually ski Whiteface, but all the lifts were on wind hold, so we drove down here."

"Well, you're already here, so you might as well get in some runs."

"Is that it?"


"Is that the whole mountain?"

"No, don't worry, there's a whole 'nother mountain area behind that one. It's the last day, I'm going skiing."

After that strange exchange, I booted up and got on the lifts around 11:45. It started off cloudy, dreary, and cold. And they had lost a lot of snow from the previous weekend.  But at least the place was empty.

We skied Uncas down to the Straightbrook chair.  It was okay, nothing special, but okay.  Then we did Hullabaloo, Darby Woods, and some off the map glades down to the Darkside Chair.  Those were interesting.  Fun to ski trees on April 17th. Then we looked at the top of Lies, but it was super sketchy (icy crust that broke into fragments that looked like shattered glass).  We skied Straightbrook Glades and Reaper, both of which involved careful line selection to avoid getting trapped in a snowless dead end.

We felt that everything could use some more time to warm up, so we headed down to Topridge to do some runs in the hazy sun that was trying to break through the clouds.  The snow on Topridge and Uncas was a lot better than the snow higher up (corn vs. granular), so we did a lap of each.  Then, as we rode the Topridge Chair we saw some people poaching Rumor.

Later I heard a story that there was a call over the Patrol's radio:

"There are 5 people in dark jackets poaching Rumor!!! We can get them at Headwaters"

"Just let them go"

Shortly thereafter, Rumor was open for business

(Sorry for the crappy pics today, All I had was my cell phone. Also, that photo has a warm filter on it)

After 4 laps of Rumor, we called it a day.  The scene on the deck was pretty mellow.  The sun had come out, but it was still cool.  There were lots of extended breaks and pregnant pauses in the conversation.  Lots of looking up at the mountain with silent stares.  I couldn't tell if everyone was longing for more skiing time, or just reflecting on a solid year.  For me, it was a little of both.  "Anticipatory satisfaction".  In fact, the whole thing reminded me of the second to last scene in Ocean's 11.  It's like we just pulled off an wholly unbelievable heist, and we're all looking forward to whatever comes next.

And when it was time to go, we left in the same way.  One by one, we said our goodbyes and walked off.  Some people I'll see over the summer, but some I won't see until next year.  How do I know I'll see them next year? Well, they're just like me.  They're skiers.

And yes, it's always worth it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Last Chair: 4/15/11

Been a busy week for me (so no blog posts), but I'll still run with my weekly wrap up of all the blog posts and forum threads that I found interesting over the course of the week. If you follow me on twitter (@mattchuck2), you can get all of this tasty goodness even sooner. Here's what I found this week:

I loved the eastern trip reports from last weekend. Steve's reports on Gore and Whiteface, and Gord's report on Jay Peak. I also like this report of a BC trip that didn't go as planned.

I was bummed that I missed this retro ski fest in Tremblant, but I don't think I could've fielded a team that could've beaten Vincent Dorion, Phil Poirier and J.P. Auclair anyway.

Here's a nice little Kayaking TR from the nature preserve right down the street from my house.

And finally, I really dug this little 12 minute movie about trying to live an outdoor life while also holding down a soul crushing job (which is basically the theme of my whole blog).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Last Chair: 4/8/11

Okay.  It's that time of week, when I review the most interesting stuff on the internet for the past week from my twitter feed (which you can follow on the right).  Skiing is winding down, but still plenty of cool stuff to check out.

Bolton Valley is offering $25 Lift tickets if you have a baseball logo on your clothes . . . Time to dig out that Kevin McRenyolds Jersey.

My favorite trip reports of the week are here, here and here.

Hopefully some progress on a Saranac Lake to Lake Placid Bike Trail (alongside the railroad tracks).  And Whiteface has season passes for mountain biking on sale for $199 (April only).

And finally, here's a video that's sweeping the internet.  Crazy bastards in wingsuits buzzing some Norwegian Bros:


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Secret to Happiness (May not be Transferable)

Every once in a while I like to take a step back and look at where I am in my life, what I’m doing, where I want to be in my life, and what I want to do. I was saying last night that, ultimately, the only person responsible for your happiness is you. So you have to take whatever steps are necessary to get yourself in a happy place. And I’m in a pretty happy place right now.

Sure, there are some problems: my house is looking a little haggard, my car still needs $1000 worth of repairs to fix some wheel sensors, my bank account is depressingly lacking in funds. But I am feeling pretty optimistic about the next few years. I’m not a religious guy, but I think I’ve stumbled onto a pretty good life fulfillment strategy. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Here’s how it goes:

1. Do cool things with cool people
2. Remember the good times
3. Plan the next adventure

That’s it. If you’re lucky (like I am), your family is a composed of a group of cool people that you like doing things with - especially your kick ass wife. If you’re REALLY lucky, your job consists of doing cool things with cool people (I’m pretty damn close, but not completely there). But it’s definitely acceptable to do your cool things in your free time, too (and use the work days to recover). And I recognize that life isn’t always rainbows and lollipops, but there’s no harm in trying to put more of that good stuff in your life. Some guy known as “Uncle Dan”, whose blog is here, talks about when he started mountain biking:

I started meeting some great people on the trails, in the bike shops and mainly at the trailheads. About 90% of them had this crazy gleam in their eyes and all shared a passion for life that I was not used to. Its kind of like hanging out at a ski resort . . . where everyone is there to have a good time, nobody is lazy, and for the most part everyone is in a good mood and getting along with everyone else - yea, that.

I truly believe that’s how life should feel all the time (or at least most of the time). As for #2, I believe that it logically follows #1: If you’re going to do all this cool stuff, at least remember all the stuff you did. I, for one, have a terrible memory. So photography, blogging, and late night drunken story telling are great ways to relive the awesome times I had. Even though Bruce Springsteen sings that he hopes he doesn’t sit around talking about his “Glory Days”, he admits that he probably will. And that’s okay. Check out this post about Alaska on Adventure Journal:

The land is alive with history — my history. Visiting one island, I still see the 25-year-old kid I used to be, running down a deer trail and arriving breathless on a beach, just in time to see my first breaching whale. Near one of the glaciers, I recall when collapsing ice sent out unusually big waves that nearly stripped me from the shore as I clung to a rocky ledge. There’s the ice-peppered bay where my wife and I were married on a boat among our closest friends and family. With so much history here, I feel like the place owns me.

That’s why I’m enjoying photography so much. As I look back on my pictures, I want to feel the feelings I had when they were taken (whatever those feelings were): Happiness, Relaxation, Exhaustion, Elation, Gratitude, etc. As for #3, that’s just to keep me from being sedate. It’s so easy in this world to fall into a routine: Get up, work, go back to bed, repeat. I want new experiences. I want to go places I’ve never been, taste things I’ve never tried, do things I’ve never done. #3 is about looking towards the horizon, putting your toes in the surf, and then diving in (no matter how much of a shock the cold water is). It’s about getting off the couch, getting outside, and doing something. Here’s some inspiration from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

These blog posts are my footprints. Enjoy the walk.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gore Mountain (4/2-4/3/11)

Thought I'd throw a couple of pictures up from this weekend.  If you weren't skiing this weekend, you're missin' out.  There's plenty of snow left, and you gotta get out there. It was phenomenal skiing.  Although I'm kind of bummed about my skiing photography.  I try to not interrupt the flow of the day, so I mostly try to ski ahead, whip out the camera, throw it on "Sports Mode" (which fires a bunch of shots in sequence), and slam the shutter button.  If I really wanted good pictures, I think I'd have to take more time to set up shots, have a skier ski through a certain section, make sure I locked the exposure by focusing on the sky and returning back to my shot, blah, blah, blah.  Then, I'd go back and do all sorts of post processing back home on my computer, make sure every pic is to my liking, and post on the internet with a witty caption.

I guess it's no secret that I'm not doing all that stuff.  As soon as I get a little faster, I'll be able to do more and more, but right now, I'm still a little slow on the trigger.  Anyway, without further ado, here are some results (without witty captions):

Friday, April 1, 2011

Last Chair: 4/1/11

I think "Last Chair" used to be the name of the final article in Skiing Magazine, but since they're no longer using it, it's mine now.  This is the time when I recap the best stories of the week that I put on my Twitter (which you can follow on the right).  Here you go:

Slightly Geology Geek of me, but I thought this article on a Paleontology Dig near Aspen was great (especially when they mention that mammoth tusks could've been the first rockered skis).

How to do Pond Skim Day in 25 easy steps (hilarious "recounting" of a wild day).

Really nice Photography in these 2 TGR Trip Reports (here and here).

And finally, Kent's Bike Blog has a really, really good post on #30DaysofBiking.  I'll let him explain what it is, but I did want to put up my first ever tweeted picture in honor of the philosophy he explains.

I'll be up at Gore on Saturday, and I might be doing an adventure on Sunday . . . I'll post something up when I get home.  Have a great weekend everybody!!!