Friday, February 27, 2009

Jasper Dogenstein

Poor little Jasper! We took him to the vet today because he had a small lump under the skin on the back of his head. The vet did a quick needle biopsy and decided that the lump should come out. It turns out to be more than I expected.

He has eleven staples and stitches under those.

Now we have to wait for the biopsy results. We are hoping that this little surgery is the end of it.

A wee bit of winter scenery

Nothing special, just some interesting shots I got while dragging my camera around skiing the other day.


When we were driving down to dinner the other night, we saw two moose wandering along the road. It was much too dark for photos. Yesterday the same moose were hanging out on the hill behind our house. One is definitely smaller and lighter colored than the other. I don't know if it is mom and child or brother and sister. I was afraid to get too close to check.

I just never get tired of seeing the local wildlife.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Annual ski group

For years and years, we have been getting a group together for an annual ski trip. Once again, we took advantage of the fact that two families live here in Park City.

We didn't have a day to get everyone in a single picture, so this is as close as it got. From left to right: Tom Schick, Julie Joyce, Anne Schick, John Walker, Sherrie Nickels, Hannah Kahn, Katie Nickels and Mark Nickels. Missing from the picture were Bruce Kahn, Carol Kahn, Hilary Kahn, and me (behind the camera). Missing from the trip were Cam Nickels and Bill Hogan.

Hannah Kahn and Katie Nickels at the top of Bald Mountain at Deer Valley. They started these trips as embryos. Now they are almost driving age.

Julie Joyce, skiing up a storm. Good carving Julie!

John Walker, Mark Nickels and Katie Nickels at the Lady Morgan lift.

Oops. Julie skiing. Tom, not so much. Isn't it nice to know that the camera is there to capture everything?

We aren't all that great at skiing, but we are excellent at eating. Here we are toasting to Cameron Nickels. He didn't come on the trip because he was playing in a regional hockey tournament. The toast came when we learned that they had just won their second game.

One night we went to the Kahn's for a dinner that Hannah had put together. It was spectacular. I didn't photograph anything but the dessert, a poached pear. Thanks Hannah!

Sherrie Smith-Nickels.

Anne Schick helping Julie prep for our Academy Awards party.

I'm helping Tom Schick plot out his ski day. After skiing for nine days in a row, I wasn't going to join him.

Bruce and Hannah Kahn over at Fireside Dining. Bruce had torn his calf muscle skiing a few days before the group came out. He couldn't ski with us, but made the dinner gatherings every night. He was hobbling around better than anyone expected.

Tom Schick, praying to the snow gods. Actually, he was just glancing up at a TV screen.

John Walker, celebrating Fat Tuesday.

Mark Nickels, in disbelief.

Julie seems to share Mark's opinion.

Hilary Kahn was with us, sort of. She joined us for a few dinners but never skied with the group. Then she came down with a really, really nasty case of strep throat that put her in the emergency room. It wouldn't be our annual trip without someone getting some form of plague.

I think we can blame the warm weather and mediocre snow, but there just wasn't that much skiing being done this trip. We managed to catch some movies (Slumdog and The Reader), do some shopping, get some massages, and of course, eat. As the years go by, this seems to be an acceptable outcome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Skiing is too easy

Looking for work? Think skiing is too easy? Just put on a giant animal suit so that you are having to peer out tiny holes. Then head down the hill. Remember that little children will constantly be trying to get close to you. And of course, idiots like me with cameras.

The threesome included a deer,

a fairly ugly bear,

and a raccoon.

Some things I look at and say "I hope my life never quite comes to this."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crap, now we killed Bruce

You have got to be kidding me. Two weeks after bringing Barbie down on a toboggan, we end up doing the same thing with our friend Bruce Kahn.

It started with a huge powder day. Jim Saunders, Julie and I met up with Bruce Kahn over at Deer Valley. There was a foot of new powder and the snow was coming down hard.

Bruce took us down some power lines under the Mayflower Lift. You can see that he is chest deep in the snow.

Bruce makes this part look easy.

Julie was using her recent ski training to hammer through the fluffy bumps.

Julie was bouncy, fast, and under control.

Jim was working hard to get through the snow on skis that weren't built for heavy powder. That's why the locals all have ski quivers.

After a good set of turns, it was time to sit down in the snow and rest.

Then bad stuff happened. We were heading down Legal Tender when Bruce took a bad fall. He fell forward and tore his calf muscle. Ski Patrol came down pretty quickly with a toboggan. I took off to get the car from the base. This is looking back through the snow. The clump of people on the lower slope is Bruce, Julie, and two ski patrollers.

I got to Silverlake with the truck but there was already an ambulance there. When you tear a big muscle you can have problems with something I think was called Compartment Syndrome. They wanted to get him to medical care quickly.

Looks like Bruce is probably out for the rest of the ski year. He was in a lot of pain, but that can be helped with pharmaceuticals. The problem is that a torn muscle takes time to heal.

Julie and I are beginning to worry about having bad ski mojo.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Saunders come to town

This weekend we had a visit from the Saunders. They are neighbors and friends from our Raleigh abode. From left to right are Jim, Alexandra, Briana, and Carmella.

We skied all four days over at Deer Valley. The first day the two young ladies were in an all-day ski school, while the adults went off on our own. The next day, we got to see what they had learned.

Alexandra was always the first one down the hill, not stopping when the adults paused to gasp for oxygen. Welcome to 7500+ feet of elevation!

Here she is on Hawkeye demonstrating her transition from "pizza turns" to "french fry turns".

Briana, with Deer Valley and Park City slopes in the background.

How is it that even young women learn to make men do whatever they want. Briana decided that her boots had too much snow on top so Jim was brought over to clean them.

Carmella went through some of the same learning curve as her daughters, but without the help of an experienced instructor. Instead, she got Julie and I. Carmella hadn't skied more than a few days over the past ten years so she had to relearn the feel but during that time skis have changed dramatically.

Carmella posing with her primary instructor (me). She gives out nice compliments, but her tips would be hard to live off of.

Jim is an excellent skier. He had great form, especially in the bumps. I contrast that with my own skiing style, which when applied to the bumps, looks like a seizure on big sticks.

Even after a long day, they seem quite happy.

Of course, if you know us, you know we eat as much or more than we ski. We did the Sunday Brunch at the Stein Erikson Lodge. This is Alexandra's 3rd or 4th plate of food. If you'll notice, there are five desserts on the plate. She, unlike Jim and I, has the figure to eat all this and get away with it.

An excellent visit with tons of great snow, skiing, food and friends.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dog sled racing

This weekend Jasper and I went to see the annual dog sled race. The race is a series of stages that start in Wyoming and finish at Park City. You can find more info about the race here.

We mostly go to let Jasper watch hundreds of barking, frenzied dogs. He does remarkably well, only letting out an occasional bark. I can't tell if he is barking at them or cheering for them. He even sits still enough to let me use my camera.

One of my biggest surprises is the choice of dogs. We've all seen TV and movies from Alaska with a long line of fluffy Huskies. Talking to an ex-sledder, she said that the Huskies had gotten too stocky over the years. They mix them with hounds to get a smaller, leaner dog but still keeping the Huskies' double coat. At 55 pounds, Jasper is way to big to be on a team. He was heart broken.

These dogs live to run and to eat. That's it. When they get hooked to the sled's harness, they just go berserk trying to pull. Notice that two of them are bouncing up in the air and the one in front of them is already pulling hard.

It might be hard to see in the picture, but they had to tie the sleds to a parking sign to keep the dogs from leaving ahead of time. The rope was very tight.

This guy was doing just fine until one dog, so excited that he was finally running, bounced in the air and landed on the other side of the dog next to him. Of course, this tangles the harness and makes a mess of everything.

You have to stop the sled, pick up the bouncy dog, put him back on the correct side, and start again, hoping you haven't lost too much time.

These are some of the more Husky-like dogs, just past the starting line. Look at how hard all of them are pulling.

In talking to the ex-sledder, she mentioned how physically demanding it can be on the human. Keeping everything going smoothly and in the right direction with eight crazy dogs pulling can be quite hard. This girl, who was in second place overall, is only 15. She is the youngest driver to ever run the race. Most of the drivers were in their 30s and 40s. You go girl!!

Jasper and I took a behind the scenes walk to see what you had to do to compete in dog sledding. The travel vehicles were hilarious. They looked like some screwed up version of the truck on the Beverly Hillbillies. Sleds go on top. Dogs each get a little kennel. Lots of room for food, harnesses, repair equipment, ....

I'm guessing these aren't stock trucks you go down and order at your local Ford dealer.

As always, it's a lot of fun to get out and see something different. There are just so many hobbies and sports to pick from. I don't think this will be my choice. Julie might be ticked if I started bringing home dozens of dogs and breeding them.