Monday, February 23, 2009

what makes us ski?

A few weekends ago, I took a trip to Quebec, Canada to ski Mont Tremblant with a friend (see below). When people asked where we were from, we replied “Colorado.” “Why are you skiing here?” they would ask. Everyone seemed so confused that a couple of spoiled Colorado skiers went all the way out to the East Coast to ski some cold, hard snow. And as we were skiing, we couldn’t help but wonder what really made people want to ski out here. We both agreed that is was highly improbable either of us would learn to ski on the east coast- but plenty of people do. The rental shop was stuffed with people of all ages, waddling around in their foreign-feeling ski boots, only to click into some noodly skis and fall smashing down onto completely unforgiving east-coast ice. Not my idea of a fun, possibly athletic activity.

What really makes any of us ski? In Colorado, the snow may be better, but most of us brave the nauseatingly busy drive to Summit country. We stuff our feet into what are essentially cement casts for our feet, and unless we are fortunate enough to work from home in Breckenridge or ski-bum in Frisco, most of us are forced to stop-and-start our cars back up the hill to the tunnel, only to mash our brakes the whole way back to the front range. We suffer, but for what? For the 20 or so pow runs we get a year? For the sunshine to leave us branded as skiers, our tans fading into our foreheads? For our fingertips to go through cycles of life and death as we attempt to keep them warm?

This year, with a busy internship and full time class, I have skied significantly less than my epic 60 days last year. I have missed every powder day my favorite mountain has had. I have enjoyed approximately zero soft bump runs. The trees have not held onto their stash long enough for me to enjoy it. Last year, I definitely skied for the snow- woke up early, skied late, and went to sleep early just to repeat it all for the next three days (I had four day weekends). But missing every powder day thus far has made me realize that this year, I ski for friends.

Skiing for friends is a big lifestyle change- it means sleeping in, grabbing lattes on the way to the hill, and eating Wendy’s at 2pm on the way out. Although I miss waking up in the dark and eating my smushed sandwich from my pocket, skiing for friends is a little less lonely and maybe a little more fun. I have grown happy skiing just to ski. Going all the way to Canada just to rip some corduroy (if we were lucky) is a perfect example. So the next time you ski, are you gonna ski for snow? Or are you gonna ski for friends? You know where I’ll be.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

i want a home with exposed brick

I am inspired by living space. This one makes me want to collect cool old things and billions of records and play ConnectFour all day. Photo seen on The Selby.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

i am obsessed.

Sabrina Ward Harrison: check her ish here. This girl is brilliant.

quote of the day

"I want to inspire a generation of mindful pioneers of authentic experience and to give permission for people to make the space for the unexpected and authentic experience of living, however that is." -Sabrina Ward Harrison

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

six random things

1. I'm listening to "Hotel Chelsea Nights" by Ryan Adams. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that album.
2. My toes are cold. Since my room is an icebox, my toes are frequently cold (but I don't ever put on socks).
3. Everyone should own a pair of Frye boots.
4. I am the happiest I have been in a long time. I have a lot to look forward to.
5. I sleep with two down comforters. See #2.
6. One of my biggest goals in life is to do something I love doing, every single day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the great white north

There are two things you have to know about Canada: it is cold, and it is icy. A friend Vic and I skied Mont Tremblant in Quebec this weekend. Tremblant is a cool place: there are enough European details that it's like an international experience, but most of it feels really close to home. Almost everyone speaks English as well as French, and American dollars are just as good as Canadian (although I got dominated on the exchange rate). The village was styled to look like little European alleys, with boutiques and small restaurants. The stone walkways and gentle lighting gave it a very romantic feel. But Tremblant knows how to party.

One of the first things we noticed was the music. When we climbed into the shuttle that took us from the airport to our hotel an hour and a half away, the driver was bumpin' the jams. He was playing the 80's radio station (yes, there is such a thing), and we heard everything from the YMCA to Phil Collins and everything in between. At the bottom of every lift, music was playing, and playing loud. Lifties were dancing. Ticket checkers were grinning. However, the snow was terrible. Coming from Colorado, we expected to be skiing some pretty gnarly East-Coast ice and hardpack, but people were saying it was the worst conditions in 30 years. But when the music was playing and the sun was shining, these happy, friendly Canadians seemed to forget that the snow was as bad as it was.

Almost everyone we spoke to asked why we, priveleged enough to ski Colorado pow, would come all the way to the east. Despite the conditions we were expecting, we did find some spots that could be epic if the snow was good. "The Edge" had waht Canadians call "glades," where the trees are thinned out and the trail wanders through the woods. Although the glades were filled with icy moguls, they were a chance to get away from the crowds and try some more challenging terrain. With a little bit of pow, they would be the place to be. But icy mogul chutes force you to be on your game- and our little rental skis were not quite keeping up. Another trend in Canadian skiing is "golf balls." When it rains and then re-warms again, the snow freezes into golf-ball sized ice chunks. The chatter that results is extremely loud, and it's hard to hold an edge. But Vic enjoyed it- once you lay into it, it can be a good challenge.

Nightlife in Canada is significantly more exiting than I have experienced. Mont Tremblant had nightly volleyball, tubing, and what was the Ecole Sur Niege (Ski School) area during the day was a rail yard by night. The shops were buzzing, restaurants were full, and there are a few good places to grab a drink- The Caribou if you are 19 and from Europe (more on that later) or the dance club with lighted ice sculptures outside of it. Also, guests in many hotels can rent ice skates for free and skate, play hockey, or try curling. For the record, the skating was a lot like the skiing.

So although Canada is cold and icy, we had a really great time and were trying to figure out how to convince some friends to go back and ski it with us. Go to Mont Tremblant for the ambiance, the activities, and the people, but don't go for the skiing (at least if you are used to Colorado).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the beginning is a good place to start

In my ears:
On Call- Kings of Leon
Dandelion- The Damnwells
Between the Worlds- Annuals & Sunfold
Halfway Home- TV on the Radio
I'm Good, I'm Gone- Lykke Li

Newest Obsession: blogs.
Current Faves:
Ffffound: Katie showed me this, which has a million of the coolest things I have ever seen. I could scroll for days.

Starbucks and Jane Austin: She loves Starbucks, and for that, I will forgive her. But the rest of the stuff about fashion is a little bit of a guilty pleasure and her playlist is fresh.

So while I try to avoid turning into a cliche blogger, I'm stalking other blogs to figure out what's rad and what's not. I have decided I like when a blog plays music, when it has lots of pictures, and when I actually want to read what it has to say.

Ffffound! had this image. Yessssssss. Knitted sushi. Think I can crochet sushi?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dumbo feather, pass it on

I'm passing it on. Dumbo feather, pass it on is a half-magazine, half-book, and it just might restore my faith in the magazine industry. The pages are filled with profiles of people who have really, truly, made efforts to change the world they live in- like the first-ever female monk, a surfer who left his career as an investment banker to start Surfaid, which is a non-profit committed to tackling health issues in isolated areas, and an Aussie photojournalist who started a skateboard school in Kabul. The design is clean, holds killer photography, and is set apart from the rest of the media our brains are doused in. With this, I am obsessed. A friend purchased an online subscription and gave me the log-in (thanks Vic), but I think I have to subscribe to the real thing- I need to hold this beautiful, inspired, heavy magazine (that reads like a book) in my small, unworthy hands.

After spending some time in the magazine business as an intern, I wondered if this was really where my heart was, and if it was even worth it (since magazines are folding practically every hour). How refreshing it is to see a mag that lives by its own rules- is not limited by its readers, or its target markets, or its financial capacity. It breathes in a way that is new, creative, functional, and real. Good magazines like this make me understand my interest in the magazine industry. And this mag is what really motivated me to blog- to explore the things I love, the things I crave, the people I care about, and the places I am going. As a writer, I need to stretch. Alice McCormick in her profile in Dumbo feather says "when you're doing something that sits well with the world, then you don't encounter any obstacles." Here's my shot at stretching my creative fibers and escaping the stuffiness of typicality. It's time to breathe.

Check it out here!