30 November 2012

Turns All Year - November!

In October I hit my goal of skiing in 12 consecutive months! Why stop there though, when the skiing is just getting good?

For November turns, I headed up to the Mt. Baker backcountry with two fellow snow enthusiasts I met at a NWAC event. NWAC is basically the bible for backcountry skiing and I was happy to help with their fundraising events - who knew I'd meet so many awesome skiers there too?

The crew assembled at 5:30am on November 18, and we were skiing by 8:30. We skinned up into the Blueberry Chutes and found stellar conditions, especially considering it's only November. Lighting was pretty terrible (what, with it dumping snow to the tune of 6" in 5 hours), so we dug a pit and found a weak layer (not visible, but definitely present) and therefore chose a more conservative line form our planned descent. 

After navigating a dicey chute, we skied 4 laps in the trees where we enjoyed plenty of pow, good coverage, and no rocks! All in all, a really fantastic day! Now if only I can find gloves that don't soak through, I'll be a happy skier!

Andrew Face Shot

So much snow! My legs are tired!

Doug pole planting like a champ

See you in December! Hoping to get a lot of skiing in with my week off for Christmas! Let me know if you're around and want to share in my adventures!

19 November 2012

I'll Get You My Pretties

I have been wanting to see the musical Wicked for YEARS! Really ever since I decided I was in love with Kristin Chenowith. I mean, did you see her in Pushing Daisies? So cute. So dainty. So talented. Plus her name is only one letter short of MY name. Yes, we're basically the same - proof:

Kristina + Kristin = Same Same

Okay, FINE, we don't look that much alike. We're both blonde and short and that's about it, but in my mind we are the same. And we're best friends. Forever.

Annnnnyyyyhoodle....the point? Oh yes. Kristin is also a very talented singer and Tony Award Winner. She played the original Glinda in Wicked, and the role was actually written with her in mind. Naturally, I have been obsessively watching youtube clips of her singing in Wicked ever since I can remember, SO when the show came to town I was overjoyed to see it! I had been wanting to see it for so long, in fact, that it was something that made my 30 Before 30 list! Convenient for me that the traveling cast came to Seattle!

I regret not taking a photo of my fabulous, dressed up friends who joined me for the evening at the Theatre, but I do have this lovely shot of Denise and I:

Theatre Chic

I definitely enjoyed the show and was surprised by how well it integrated into the story of the Wizard of Oz. It really does give you a glimpse into the "Untold Story of Oz" as advertised. It's gone from Seattle now, but if you ever have a chance to check it out in your city, I recommend Wicked, even without my gal Kristin as Glinda.

06 November 2012


As you all know I'm pretty BIG on countdowns and marking important milestones. And as luck would have it, today is exactly ONE YEAR from when I did this to my face:

Face, Meet Pavement: A Bicycle Tale

Obviously this is notable enough. However when you also take into account that in December, only 11 months prior, I gave myself a black eye on the other side it's an even bigger accomplishment to have made it through a year.

Punching Whistler With My Face
I was really hoping two black eyes meant I was done - I have two eyes, I blackened both of them in one year, I should be good to go, right??? But the saying goes that bad things come in 3's, so I felt the curse would only be lifted if I could make it a full year without suffering another catastrophic faceplant (as my Dad says, "Stop leading with your face!")!

*Knock on wood* that I get through the rest of today, but I'm pretty sure I've weathered this storm. The same cannot be said, however, for my fabulous coworker and friend Shanon. As proof that I am clearly a bad influence on myself and those around me, Shanon seems to have inherited my knack for accidental self-harm. Over the weekend she fell off the top of a bunk bed (volunteering at a Girl Scout Camp no less!) and broke her foot.

In three places.

According to the doctors the bones are just...floating around in there.

Gross? Absolutely! Here see for yourself!

Is that a foot, or a giant purple squid with toes?

Please join me in wishing Shanon a quick and relatively pain-free recovery!

03 November 2012

Turns All Year - October!

This October I completed another one of my 30 Before 30 goals - to ski 12 consecutive months! The weather was....wet....and the skiing was....wet....but we got 'er done.

I went up with my potluck buddy Johnny, who posted an official trip report here and took the photos I'm sharing with you (I opted to leave the camera in the car to avoid soakage). His recap is fantastic and a must-read for more in-depth analysis of our weather/day, but here is my less technical recap of for you:

We left Seattle around 7:50am and arrived at Longmire (a camp within Rainier National Park) around 9:30am to find the gate to Paradise (the official launch point for Muir trips)  closed. We knew it had dumped snow and the parks' personnel were anticipating the snow level to be about 6,000' (Paradise is at 4500', meaning we'd have to hike for 1500' to get out of the rain) but it had dipped down to 4,000' overnight, catching the plow crew unprepared. This meant they were still plowing when we arrived, so about 20 unhappy skiers waited at Longmire for over 2 hours while they plowed.

This turned out to be a real shame, because while we were waiting the snow level was rising, meaning we were literally chasing the snow up the mountain. If we had been at Paradise at 9:30 as expected, the rain would have been chasing us up the mountain. Then we would have only had to ski down in rain, vs. up AND down in rain. Hope that makes sense.

When we finally arrived in Paradise (5th car baby!) it was raining. Hard. And not like Seattle hard, but Oh-My-God-Who-Turned-On-The-Firehose?-Hard!

Me skinning in the rain. No amount of Goretex could keep you dry. You can see the poor visibility.

We started skinning as fast as we could, but the rain never stopped. It only got worse the higher we went. And then the wind picked up, which also only got worse the higher we went. Visibility also started going to crap, and in keeping with the theme, only got worse the higher we went.

Skin Track through the boulders - thanks for laying that in!

We were soaked and visibility was deteriorating, so we turned around at 7100' on Panorama. After wringing water out of my second pair of gloves for the day, we were off. The skiing was...fine. Well, pretty terrible, wet and heavy actually, but we were skiing.

Johnny self portrait. You can see the waterlogged sensor in the camera.

All told we were in the rain for two hours and gained 1660' on our ascent. We reviewed the weather data on the drive home and confirmed our decision to turn back. The freezing level was rising as we were climbing, and even if we had made it to Muir (at 10,000') we still wouldn't have found snow falling on our heads. BUT it's skiing in October AND I'm officially a NorthWesterner, having braved the worst of our elements.

It's a week later and my gloves are still on the drying rack but The Stoke is building again. Who's ready to head back out???