Friday, February 29, 2008

Annual ski group

We have been skiing with this group since 1993, with only one year skipped. Over the past years we have gotten into a bit of a rut. We have roughly the same crowd, staying in Park City, skiing at Deer Valley. Soon we will have to break free.

One of the highlights this year was the snow. We have had a huge year and there is snow piled up everywhere. We had about a foot or so while the group was here. Easily enough to keep everything fresh.

Tom Schick is the chairman of our group, calling the morning meeting to order. No one is allowed to come without a laptop. You can see one on the table, but often there are four or five. Sherrie was embarrassed at not having one and bought a new laptop days before the trip.

This was the first ski group trip in our new house. The ladies are in prepping an appetizer dinner to eat while watching the Oscars. Julie did a great job of designing the kitchen to fit several cooks. The fine folding table and chairs are not going to be part of our permanent furniture.

Cameron Nickels couldn't join us this year because he was playing in a hockey tournament. The Nickels family was getting frequent updates by text message and passing them along to the group. What did we do before cell phones? Cam got one goal and one assist in the first game. They won the second game in double overtime and are now in the state playoffs this weekend.

The adults, minus me (at the camera) and Sherie, who was at a conference and missed a few days.

The dog was loving life. So many people. So much loving! Anne was unable to ski because of her eye healing from surgery. She ended up doing a lot of pet care for both Jasper and Cosette.

Mornings with coffee in the kitchen. JohnQ decided that he was going to start drinking coffee for his health. Hadn't heard that one before.

Katie got stuck hanging with the adults for a few days. Her brother wasn't on the trip and both Hannah and Hilary Kahn were recovering from the flu. Fortunately Katie stayed healthy and was able to rejoin Hannah once she was plague free.

The pool table arrived a week or two before the ski group did. Tom (new to pool) and Bill were the reigning champions. A surprising number of games ended with the leading team getting down to just the eight ball and then scratching. I guess it was too much pressure.

... and finally, our surprise guest, not guest, guest. Bill Hogan was supposed to be coming on the trip from his home in California. He hurt his back playing golf a few days before heading out. Yes, hurt playing golf. He decided driving out was too painful and he wouldn't be able to ski. After a call from Bruce encouraging him to join us, he popped in (by plane) for a few days. It was great having him join us.

Another year, another great visit/vacation. Good snow. Good skiing. Great food. Great friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vote the moose!

Every year the Nature Conservancy runs an international photo contest. This year my mom talked me into submitting some of my best nature photos. The finalists were announced and one of my photos was chosen. They narrowed it from over 10,000 pictures down to 25 and then they let readers vote to pick the winner. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the minute or two to vote. Go to and click the VOTE NOW button. There are three pages of photos. My picture is the big bull moose. The moose would love to get a "5" vote!

By the way, the picture was taken here in Park City, just off the Prospector trail near April Mountain. It is great to have so much preserved open space so that all this wildlife can wander around.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mark and Barbie Reid come to visit

Two of our close friends from Raleigh came to visit for a long weekend. After weeks of snow, wind and clouds, we had a gorgeous couple of days. Sunshine, decent temperatures and a light breeze. Great spring skiing.

After not having skied since the last time they came to visit (2005), Mark went right to work. He ended up skiing a some nice black bump runs.

Barbie started with some hockey stop turns, but quickly changed and started carving her way down the hill.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Snow on snow on snow

How do you know when you are having a huge snow year?

When Park City closes school for the first time in four years?

When Alta is reporting 37 feet (457 inches) of snow and there are still months to go?

I prefer to just look out the window in one of our bedrooms. This was taken after I dug out a space in front of the window to keep it from breaking or leaking. Trust me, this is incredibly awkward and difficult.

Next time you feel like shoveling your driveway is a lot of work, try this. You can see what I have cleared so far. The pile on the right still has to go.

At least people can come visit.

Sure, the big snowblower helps but at some point it is a 2 foot blower against a 4 foot pile of snow. The snow wins.

Our streets are looking more like canyons. For scale, you can see Jasper on the top of the pile on the left.

And perhaps my favorite. Remember the pile of snow that almost blocked the stop sign? Here is Jasper atop the same pile. That's a 60 pound dog standing up. The stop sign is gone until spring.

The nice weather people are calling for 9-18" of new snow tomorrow. We have had more snow in the last 6 weeks than we had all last winter.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Heading for warmer weather

This was 22nd or 23rd year of going on a winter golfing trip to Myrtle Beach with some college dorm friends. While some golfers have come and gone, Darrell, Jason, Dave, Lewis and I have been there each year. This year we brought back John Steigerwald (from IBM and NetIQ) and Mark Reid (Duxford neighbor) and added Jim Saunders (another Duxford neighbor) to round out a lovely eightsome.

We were stayed at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach and played each of the four courses there: Dye, Fazio, Norman and Love. Our condos were right on the Intercoastal Waterway. This was the sunrise this morning.

This looks the other way from our porch, over the marina and into the sunset.

Our condos were bigger and nicer than expected. Guys seem to find ways to make the chairs and couches more comfortable.

One of the reasons we liked the condos was because we found we could get into rooms that we probably weren't supposed to. This is Darrell's bedroom. I had a king bed and a jacuzzi tub.

The courses seemed to redefine the term "bunker". There was sand everywhere. Waste bunkers. Pot bunkers. Edith Bunkers. ... Lots and lots of sand.

Many of us spent a lot of time doing what Lewis is here. Digging out.

As you might expect from a group of adult males, there was no shortage of coaching and commentary.

Looking at a picture of my swing is like looking at a snowflake. No two of them are the same. Probably helps explain why I hit balls in all directions.

Mark spent four days showing that "no, he had not been sandbagging with his handicap."

Jim seems to have adopted some of the more recent dressing fashions from his two teenage daughters. Here he is going with a bare midriff. He won all the money for Sunday's individual bets. We tried to make sure his wife got to spend her half.

Darrell was by far and away the best and most consistent golfer. On four hard courses, he shot 80, 80, 83 and 84. Some of these were in driving rain. For the team bet, we had Darrell and I on the same team. For some reason, even though he is the best golfer, his team usually loses the bet. I have won about 75% of the bets, and I stink at golf. This year we proved that my luck was better than his unluck (or whatever would make sense for a lack of luck). Dinner was on the other guys.

If you double-click on this picture to see the bigger version, you can see the grit and determination on Jason's face. On at least one day, I would swear the ball was taunting him.

It is always fun to be in Lewis's foursome. No matter how good or bad he is playing, he seems to have a great time. Even in a driving rain storm, he said "but I'm not at work."

Dave, our only player from the deep south (South Carolina) appears to be reaching back to scratch his butt with the head of his driver. Dave, we're too old to be pretending to bend like that.

John needs to work on getting his priorities in order. Something about some work crisis prevented him from playing the first two days. John went to UNC. The other seven of us went to NC State. I would have to guess that life priorities must not have been taught at that other school.

Even though we spent some time dodging the rain, we had a great weekend. Always fun to wander back from Utah and spend time with so many good friends. It seems to be a rare opportunity and I hope we keep doing it for a long time to come.