Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Two-Hour Drill

Guaranteed the year I decide to move to Truckee is the year of the snow drought. Currently looking at no snow worth talking about outside of the manmade at resorts. There was some, but it faceted and blew away.
This is coming off last year when we had "Snowvember" with over 130" at some resorts in the last week of November. We were already skiing in early November of that year:
(that's me at Kirkwood on Nov. 8th, almost three weeks before the lifts started running)

So far this fall it has been about riding the groomed manmade strips among the brown and green (slightly-frosted) slopes as only 18-24 inches has fallen at most resorts. This is great for getting the legs in shape and doing technique drills, but it can be a little boring. To keep it interesting, I do a couple of things. One is to use the close-in parking that is limited to two hours. I call this the Two Hour Drill. Then I try to get as many runs as I can in that time. Also, I put on some music. It may be the same run over and over, but at least the music changes. Today I got seven runs in! Feels great and I'm looking forward to strong legs and sharp technique by the time we finally get snow, which is forecast for around the 16th.
Cross your fingers, not your tips!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Skiing w/o Airbag pack an INCREASE in risk?

In response to Romeo's post on TetonAT about airbag packs still being too heavy:

Outlaw avalung = 1710g
BCA Float 30 = 3000g
Are you saying that 1300g (less than 3 lbs) is preventing you from carrying a piece of safety equipment in the backcountry?
Since avoiding burial is the most important survival factor in an avalanche, it seems to me the most obvious gear upgrade of the season. I bought last year's BCA float that really doesn't work that well as a pack. It's more of a pack built around the airbag system than an airbag built into a pack. BCA packs have always been really well thought out so it was hard to understand this blunder coming from them. Looks like the redesigned line that just came out this year is really well done although they can still work to bring the wieght down, but it may never get below 6-7lbs. The extra weight may make the airbag more optional than a beacon for low-danger days or high and long. Now that I have it though, I feel that deciding to tour without it is actually a reduction in my margin of safety (as opposed to seeing it as an optional piece I can use to increase safety). How worthwhile is an airbag to you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Know your (marriage) history!

Been a long summer, but I'm looking forward to more discussions after a good book. I'm only a third of the way through Marriage and it's slow going, but I find something interesting on every page. For example: the Church respected a tradition of "marriage by promise" when a couple agreed that they had made an agreement to marry, for over 1000 years, only modifying it to include a requirement for consummation in the 1500s! (p106). Getting out of a marriage required proof there was no sex, hence the hilarious tale of "wise women" attempting to arouse a man with a "highly erotic temple dance" to disprove his claim of impotence. Of course, I am still in the first part of the book where people are very sensitive to the influence of the kin and neighbors. This was due mostly to the fact that marriage was much more of a property arrangement than a free choice between individuals to combine their households. Choosing someone more (or solely) for love and less for economic or political advantage is clearly yet to come, once modernity and women's independence allows sufficient earning power for a person to go their own way and completely disregard their parents' wishes in choosing a mate. I am reminded in this of my old friend from high school who is now somewhere in San Francisco but since becoming a serious goth (living it fully and getting married in a cemetery, etc.) has completely severed ties with the rest of us. that sort of self-exile wasn't possible in the middle ages where you had to serve somebody. How this transition happens is important for me to learn. I want to know this history as I attempt to explain to a skeptic about my relationship choices how marriage is not an eternal, immutable institution, but a rational choice people have been making for their own self-interest since forever.

I don't suppose any of you are interested in running the matriarchal household where the men do all the child-rearing? How about this one on p 40: "One of [marriage's] crucial functions in the Paleolithic era was its ability to forge networks of cooperation beyond the immediate family group or local band." How many of you have gotten married because you like the potential in-laws so much?

Friday, July 22, 2011

It starts here

This post is for right now. It is not waiting for the perfect moment. The moment is always perfect and is just waiting for this post. This is just what happened this morning and struck me as worthy of comment. I saw something that made my bile rise and my face curl into a sneer. This was all coupled with the helplessness of watching something happen while not being able to do anything about it because it was on TV. That is the essential feeling of watching TV and wanting to talk back to the insanity. The very definition of impotent rage.
I was at my hotel, reading this post by Dave Zirin in the Nation about the NFL owners vs. players (i.e. workers) standoff. This is a situation where the owners, who have the most impervious cash cow in history between their legs, are trying to negotiate a new agreement with players that will have the players working harder (i.e. playing more games) and capping salaries (i.e. funneling more revenues to owners). Re-apportioning the distribution of the business' income toward the top while making the employees work harder is exemplary of the larger economy where companies downsize and CEOs make record amounts. The NFL Labor struggle is even more analogous to the American working-/middle-class struggle than that; just as wall-street CEOs and investors were bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of trillions, to keep them just as fat and happy as they were before the crash, NFL owners have had their stadiums funded by taxpayers to the tunes of hundreds of millions. If we are to take a side in this struggle as fans, we are obviously also on the side of the working and middle class in America.
But the TV show I was watching didn't want to cover current events...
Dave Zirin quotes a courageous and prescient NFL star, Troy Polamalu, calling it like it is: “I think what the players are fighting for is something bigger. A lot of people think it’s millionaires versus billionaires and that’s the huge argument. The fact is its people fighting against big business. The big business argument is ‘I got the money and I got the power therefore I can tell you what to do.’ That’s life everywhere. I think this is a time when the football players are standing up and saying, ‘No, no, no, the people have the power.”

At that very moment, Good Morning America was teasing a video about the very same Polamalu. I turned and rose, pulling the Democracy Now! podcast out of my ears. I keyed to the TV, holding my breath so I wouldn't miss a syllable of the clip of Polamalu delivering the above quote. I anticipated the GMA host setting it up by saying something like, "Troy Polamalu speaks the plain truth about the NFL lockout..." Tender hooks of triumphal music rose from the orchestra. Instead, this is what they delivered:
(fast-forward to 1:47)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SAC Ski Day at Kirkwood 2/27

$45 lift tickets!
Support the Avalanche Center!
Meet and chat with the forecasters!
And the North American Freeskiing World Tour!

For more info on the Sierra Avalanche Center, click here