Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wherein We Go Back For More! The Second Boot Fitting.

We skid until four with Rob, and then headed over to Park City for my second fitting with Brent. He asked me how my feet felt, how the boots felt after skiing in them for a day, and I showed him the pic of my white feet on the camera. This is a bad thing, apparently!

We talked about what felt good and what felt bad, and he went to work. The first thing he did was put my feet in the boots without any liner in them to see where I naturally touch the shell. He drew inside the boot with a sharpie, and then put the boots on an infra red heat device to soften the plastic. He punched out the side of the boot where my pinky toe had fallen asleep, and gave me a “pleasure dome” for my big toe, which is essentially a huge cavity in the toe box. My toes are incredibly sensitve, and I had always thought that all my shoes and boots fit as well as they could, it never occurred to me that I might have truly special needs for my feet! I have exposed them to frost bite three times, and have restricted and frozen them so many times, and broken so many toes so many times, that I have truly sensitized them. Apparently, they shouldn’t be in agonizing pain that you just have to suck up all day long every day. I had also assumed that in order to be comfortable in boots, I just needed big, sloppy boots that didn’t touch my feet at all. Brent asked me if there was ever a time that my feet didn’t hurt, and I told him it was only when I had been barefoot or in my Ugg boots or slippers for more than a full day after an activity.

All my shoes hurt my feet, including tennis shoes, trail runners, hiking boots, climbing shoes are agonizing, you get the idea here.

I had seriously considered getting my toe nails on my big toes permanently surgically removed so that my feet wouldn’t hurt in my shoes or boots, but Brent suggested that this would be a bad idea as it would simply expose the nerve bundle more. Perhaps, instead, we might simply wear boots that fit our feet. What a concept.

Meanwhile, Brent molded a gel foot tub to create custom foot bed liners to put in the boots. The goal of all of this being first, to get comfortable in the boots, and then, to get the knee tracking with the feet in your power zone.

Brent took my boot apart, and guess what we found out? One of the boot plates had already been worked on! Someone had ground it down flat, and the other one wasn’t ground at all! Bizarre. I had skid on them all day and didn’t even notice, but of course, as we will discover in the next fitting, a difference of two millimeters under foot changes your movement patterns! But I get ahead of myself, we are still just making the foot beds!

Brent made my knees line up and then built up the arch so I won’t A-frame any more, and started gluing different densities of foam to the molded liner, designed to support me just so. We got about as far as we could, and made an appointment to come back the next day after all the punching, grinding and forming had been done, to fine tune the fit, and then get on to the alignment portion of the fitting.

We headed out from the fitting over to Joe’s for beer and a slide show on all the fires he was in over the summer. It was amazing to see the huge trees they cut down, and the incredible hard work these guys do, hiking till they puke nearly every day, carrying 24 pound saws, digging, cutting, in the heat, and in the rain and snow. No glory, either, these are the guys out in the middle of the wilderness working on 200,000 acre brush fires. Thanks, guys! I’ll try to get Joe to send me some pics so you can see what they do. And YES, there are a couple of girls on their crew!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas! More to Come!

BWAH!!! Its been CRAZY! I have parts 2 and 3 of our bootfitting extravaganza to post, and some smoothing out of our Movement Analysis to do, but I've been teaching and having a beautiful Christmas with my whole family, thanks to Shannon, who subbed for me as a surprise, so I could be at home with the kids. How Cool Is THAT?

Ethan turned 6 on Christmas, and we played together in PJs all day. Heavenly!!

Today, I was back at it, teaching, then training, then teaching more! Today I worked on taking EVERYTHING out of my skiing I'd been adding in, and stripping it down to its basics. I skid 4 Pierre's Knob runs without poles just trying to take any contrivances or angles, or excesses, heel pushes, etc out, and tip, and steer with my big toe. I think I got about 3 turns total that felt like they were heading in the right direction.

I have a long way to go! But I am excited to get to work!

Here's a little video message from today:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Movement Analysis: All the Videos are UP!

I posted all the footage I shot at Bridger and at Snowbird, but I backdated it because there are SO many posts going up! Go look at the sidebar and scroll down to Movement, Movement, Movement! to see and comment on all the videos. Happy MA practice!!

Wherin We Take our New Boots out for a Spin.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous to get out there on my new boots. I thought I had more control to some extent, able to feel the snow better inside my sloppy tennis shoe like AT boots.

Boy was I wrong! First of all, out of the box, the Dalbellos felt amazing. My big toes were still squished, and my pinky toes, as well, but they were still a bazillion times better than anything I’d worn off the rack before.

I got my first six or eight turns in on an easy groomer, and Shannon pulled up next to me and asked, “So what do you think?”

“Its AMAZING!” I replied, “It’s like, I move my foot just a teeny tiny bit, and the ski…”
“responds?” she asked.

Uh, yeah. Gee, I guess I was missing a lot! From there on, I proceeded to have probably the best ski day of my life.

We took it easy on the groomers to just feel the boots and get used to how FAST the skis did what I asked them to do, and then we stopped for lunch at noon. My feet, despite the great fit, were cold and sore, so we took off boots and took our time warming back up. Meanwhile, Joe Krakker showed up. You remember Joe “I’m not lost, I broke a binding” Krakker, don’t you?

He just got back from a month in Thailand after six months on a smoke jumper crew, and now he works at Snowbird.

Strangely enough, he hasn’t changed at all, the first thing he did was throw my new boots in the trash can, and in under an hour had tried to push Shannon over, skid over my skis, popped me out of my bindings and, well, you get the picture. Welcome back, Joe.

We took a couple of runs with Joe off the groomers in the gullies, which had much better snow, and I had the amazing experience of randomly skiing really well. Apparently, its not that random. When you have gear that fits right, its much easier to turn!

At two, we all hooked up with Rob Sogard, the head coach of the Demo team and the Head of Training at Snowbird resort in Utah. This gave us an excellent opportunity to make fun of Joe in his new Blue jacket, but he categorically refused to wear the matching pants, as they don’t emphasize his, uh, enough. So you get the point.

The clinic was spectacular. Its really amazing how fast our skiing changes every single time we clinic with Rob. I shot a lot of film for the new MA online club, which Rob is really excited about, and has promised to visit the site and do some analysis of our analysis! This is really exciting. I’ll get the MA footage up as fast as I can so we can all get rolling on it.

After a couple of runs, Rob gave us a task of jumping in every turn. Let me just say here that I had the run of my life. I have never ever skid like this, and honestly, didn’t think I would touch this feeling for another three years at least. I confirmed my suspicion that I am heading towards a Big Mountain specialty, as I LOVE being in the air.

I got air off of every single bump, just launched it, and stayed squarely over my feet every time. I landed ready to take off again, skid aggressively into the fall line, and was able to stop thinking about it and just let go and ski it. It was the most amazing feeling. It was so incredible that I actually cried on my way down the canyon driving home, I just couldn’t contain the emotion that came up at having felt that, skid that way, made that improvement.

The next run was skill blending in the chop, meaning medium to large radius turns that were smeary and then, at some point during the turn, you hook up your edges and take it as an edging turn. I felt great in this run, as well, able to concentrate on the task and not having to worry about whether or not I was going to go endo and have YET ANOTHER spectacular crash. I am finally at a place where I feel like I can make some sort of purposeful turnshape, more likely than not while staying forward, on most terrain. I still have a huge long way to go, but now I am at a starting point where Michael might actually have something consistent to work with.

At the bottom of that run, Rob told me he was impressed with my “mindful platform” that we had been discussing at Hood, and that now, I had a stance that was consistent through the entire turn, so now I could really get to work on some movements. YES!

Shannon skid beautifully. Her control is amazing, and Rob commented on what an incredible technician she is. He gave her a task and she preformed it beautifully every time. She has the opposite problem I do, now she needs to show us her sparkling personality in her skiing, and I need to calm down and get more specific. That’s why we train well together!

Movement Analysis Update! D-Team Oversight!

Rob Sogard has agreed to check in periodically on the Movement Analysis section of the blog, and do some of his own analysis, and check in on our ideas on the skiers we are looking at! I am excited and gratified to hear this, and we had a terrific discussion about how great it will be if we can get a National, cross divisional discussion going that is really positive and geared towards improving everyone’s analysis. I can’t think of a better way to learn from other schools and really promote an open discussion.

To find all the posts and videos on MA, look on the sidebar under Movement, Movement, Movement!

A note on the comments: This is an EGO FREE ZONE! The purpose of this club is to stretch your abilities in MA, not to shred the person skiing. LOTS of video will be going up in the next few days, as we have solved the sideways video issue, so hop on, and get practicing! You’ll help the skiers, you’ll work on your MA skills, and you’ll have an opportunity to have those skills evaluated by several members of the Demo Team!

Don’t forget to send me clips if you want them to be analyzed. You can mail them to me at :

Kate Howe
628 Starling Dr.
Bozeman, MT 59718

Put them in Quick Time format on a CD or DVD, and I’ll post them! You can also upload them directly to and send me the embed link. Email the link to me at :

Happy Viewing!

Full Cert Free Ride Proposed!

Tom and I have been talking since I started skiing about one big difference in the skiing industry versus the climbing industry that we come from. In the climbing industry, if you have a business card, or a pay stub, showing you are full time, a manager, or a high end trainer, you climb for free in any gym in the country.

We were talking with Troy Nedved again on Big Sky’s opening weekend about what a hassle free tickets are for the staff in ski schools, that people are constantly begging for free tickets, and resorts that open early, like Big Sky, or stay open late, like SnowBird, get inundated with requests for tickets.

I mentioned to Troy what our policy had been in climbing, and how it made life so much easier for everyone. A few weeks later, the policy between Bridger Bowl and Big Sky changed. I don’t know if this had been in the works for a while or was a coincidence, or what, but whatever it was, its great!

Full time or fully certified (level 3) instructors can now ski free at each school, so we have an open exchange policy with a well defined easy to cary out rule set.

I proposed to Rob Sogard this weekend that we expand this most excellent idea and make a Level 3 “free ride” pass, which would be good nation wide.

This would do several things, first and foremost, it is a truly outstanding carrot, because who WOULDN”T want to train to their level 3 with a perk like that at the end?

Next, it will help with nationalization of standards and exchange of ideas, as full cert employees will be able to travel all over the country and work out together.

Rob seemed excited about the idea, and it was discussed as perhaps starting as an early season pass, through Christmas, and seeing how it goes.

I’ll keep you posted as we work out the details!!

Welcome to the Team, Josh!

Josh Spuhler has agreed to be my second coach! I am really thrilled about this, as he is our training supervisor at Bridger Bowl, and he is also training to go to the D team. Josh and Michael have trained together for years, Michael brought Josh along in his own skiing for years, so this feels like a great fit for all of us!

I want to say thanks to Kurt Blunck, who was previously in this position in my team, but who moved on to another job. Thanks for all your time and energy, Kurt!

Movement Analysis: Leapers in the Bumps at Snowbird!

Rob Sogard and his snowbird instructors perform leapers in the bumps.(Sorry about the filming, I wasn't sure who to follow!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wherein we Have a Fabulous First Day at Snowbird, Visit the Boot Guru and Buy Boots!

Oh, its a girlie trip, yes it is. I think Spuhler (Josh, will you please email me with the correct spelling of your name? Good golly.) is probably thanking his lucky stars that he didn't come with us!

Tonight, we soaked in the hot tub, and then came upstairs to eat takeout Chinese, drink our bottle of red wine, and watch ANOTHER version of Pride and Prejudice! Yes, it's been a great day.

We got a hold of Rob Sogard this morning, happiness! We get to ski with him tomorrow afternoon, I am so excited!

The Super 8 motel we are staying in in Sandy, UT is really spectacular. I've stayed in a LOT of value hotels, and they usually suck. Lets be honest here. We have a $45 hotel room. It has a great mattress, its clean, and big, the hot tub is really nice, the pool is warm, they have coffee makers and hair dryers and dvd player rentals, and it smells good! Thanks, Super 8!

Skiing today
was leisurely and fun, we went into mineral basin for a while, skid a bunch of groomers, just had fun and toured the mountain. It was slow and fun, a bit cold, and we just let go and skid. We tried hard not to think or work on anything, but just have fun. We quit at 1pm and headed over to Park City to see Brent Amsbury.

This guy has got it together! He looked at my feet and guess what? Prepare to be very shocked, they are a nightmare. No plug boots for me, no off the rack boots. My left foot wants to stand on the heel rotated out words, my toes want to stay up, and I have almost no range of motion on my left foot! My right has bigger range of motion, but the bones along the pinky toe side doesn't move properly, causing me to have an uneven gait, which explains why I go through shoes so fast, and why my feet hurt so often when I hike!

Apparently I need super stiff last in my shoes so that I don't have to bend my big toe at all but just rocker off the ball of my feet. This is interesting because the tendons under my big toes get really sore. By the way, this ALSO explains why my toes hurt when I do duck walks, and why I get blood blisters under my right big toe. Isn't this incredible?? I also have a really super wide foot and a high arch, and a foot that spreads a lot.

He knew this after five minutes with my feet. I was just a tiny bit blown away. Shannon is all excited to get her feet done now, which will be so good because she gets massive foot cramps sometimes, and has all kinds of opposite issues than I do.

Brent then told me that I needed a certain type of boot, and I am SO glad he did, because there are hundreds to choose from, and NONE of the boots I was considering after reading all the reviews were on the list.

He asked me what Michael wanted me in, if I lifted weights, how much I could bench press, and gave me a short list of 5 boots to go try on, with two favorites on the top.

Here are the contenders:

Mens Dalbellow Proton 12 or 10
Wms Nordica Olympia Speed Machine
Lange Exclusive
Atomic H90 (hawx)
Head Dreamthang

Now, if the right boot for me was neon yellow and purple, I'd still buy it, but I was really hoping that one of these would be nice looking. I tried on four of the five, all but the Lange, and lucky me, they are all Orange! My very very favorite color, and also the color of the new Rossi Z9 which I hope to get this year. Not that it matters. But hey!

The Dalbello was sweet right out of the box, and I was shocked at how well it felt and fit. Its also really beautiful. about $500.

The Nordica was also really beautiful, but compared to the Dalbellow was narrow, not as soft inside yet stiff outside. I WANTED to like the Nordica more because its really sexy, also orange, but the Dalbello beat it hands down in off the rack fit and comfort. The Nordica is about $850.

Next was the Atomic Hawx, which I was excited about, as Rick Blevans has a pair and likes it. I like the idea of mid foot flex, and its supposed to allow you to stay balanced as the forces change during the turn. This boot was so flexible, it felt just like my AT boots (I wear Garmont Mega Rides right now), and it was also not as comfortable. The Atomic Hawx is about $709

Next was the Head Dreamthang, which was really lovely off the rack as well. It was beautifully styled, the Dalbello has a less comfortable factory foot bed, but Brent is going to redo them anyway, so I tried to just feel the rest of the boot. The Dalbello had just a nidge of comfort over the Head, but the Head was just a titch stiffer. The Head was about $745.

For more than $200 less, the Dalbello wins! I have my boots. Brian the Bootfitter at Jans in Park City was nice enough to patiently help me out, and was kind enough to "ruin yet another great holiday picture" for my blog. The store had an incredible selection, and Brian was enormously knowledgeable about every boot. He really wanted me to take my time and wear the boots, feel them, and ask questions. All in all, it was great.

I get to ski in them tomorrow, and then I take them back to Brent so he can tear them apart and remake them.

We got back to the hotel, and my very own ski technician fixed the forward pressure on my binding so its right for the new boots. I always wondered what that was and how to do it, as I hear instructors talking about it all the time. Apparently its how hard the back part of the binding pushes on the boot. Whaddya think? Is there anything hotter than a chick in a backwords baseball cap with a screwdriver working on skis? Yeah... that's hot. But simmer down, boys, she's taken.

More tomorrow!

Video Blog #2: Where in SuperKate and the Laedy Shannon Land in Salt Lake

If you subscribe and the video above is not showing, go to the blog to watch the short video blog from our arrival in Salt Lake City, UT.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Movement Matrix is Live

Warning: What you are about to discover might result in many hours spent online. We suggest you get cozy in your favorite flannel jammies, and make sure there's a surplus of hot cocoa and popcorn. Then we invite you to check out the Movement Matrix, an innovative multimedia application that is revolutionizing how instructors achieve their skiing and ski teaching goals, with up-to-date, action-packed interactive tools in a convenient, user-friendly format.

Need powder tips? Ideas on stance in the bumps? Drill demonstrations for carving? A visual aid to share with your clients over lunch or during apr├Ęs ski? Choose from more than 300 video clips using our sophisticated filter that allows you to comb! ine various skiing situations, skills concepts, and conditions to find the perfect solution. Visit to discover the innovation behind the Movement Matrix and learn more about how this one-of-a-kind application can inspire your skiing and ski teaching.

BOOT-astrophe. Dangit.

So, I was REALLY excited to come to Aspen, Shannon agreed to drive with me, and I cleaned out my gear, brought everything home, tuned my skis, packed, emailed everyone I know in Aspen, begged a place on Cindy's couch, was excited to catch up with Megan and Andy and see Aspen for the first time, as well as FINALLY get my boots done by Master Bootfitter Jim Lindsay.

Alas, the appointment I thought I had was filled before it got confirmed, and there are no more appointments free until February.

We are supposed to leave in like nine hours. Sadness. SO, I called Karen Kirk and she suggested that I go see Brent Amsbury in Salt Lake City. I've emailed him, and Rob Sogard, hoping to find a place to stay, and get an appointment and maybe, if I am really lucky, hook up with Rob and ski with him this week.

I am sad about Aspen, but I will WILL be there in February (that trip is all booked and confirmed, thank goodness). Cross your fingers that we can work something out in Salt Lake, as I need to be out of my Tennis Shoes (AT gear) and into real boots pronto!!

*** UPDATE ***
I got an appointment! I'm seeing Brent Monday at 4. I think we are going to stay in a motel. We'll see if Rob's around to ski with! Happiness!

My first Video Blog! Welcome to the Virginia City Chairlift at Bridger Bowl!

Vintage Tom Skiing!

Tom's dad just sent Ethan this great pic of him as a kid! Thanks, Bill!

Friday, December 14, 2007

GEAR HEAD! Black Diamond Covert with Avalung arrived today!

I am no longer cursed with carrying my skis on my camel bak, wincing as they smack me in the head with every other step! Today, glorious of glories, my ski pack arrived. I am now the proud owner of a pack, shovel, probe, and my beacon should be here any day. Its my goal to get one hike a day in every day that weather permits on the ridge. SO EXCITED!!! Gotta get strong for my trans sierra trip with Sue this spring!

Black Diamond integrated an Avalung into their Covert Winter Pack to make backcountry ski days as safe as possible. This incredible pack impressed Couloir Magazine so much they gave it the Design Innovation award. The Avalung's shoulder-mounted mouthpiece is easily accessible to help you survive in an avalanche by allowing you to breathe under the snow. In addition to increasing the chances of your living through an avalanche, the Covert Winter Pack has a dedicated avalanche-gear pocket for your shovel and probe, and carries either skis or a snowboard. Black Diamond made a 22L size for after-work laps and resort-accessed backcountry, and a 32L size for dawn patrols. *Avalung is not removable.

Bottom Line: Don't take chances in the backcountry. Be safe out there with the Avalung-equipped Black Diamond Covert Winter Pack.

When its perfect, its perfect.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Tom and I used to go climbing together in far off lands! We loved pushing ourselves and trying things just out of our reach (and lots of stuff that was way over our heads). One of the things that always really impressed me about Tom was that he enjoyed a classic 5.6 with great movement as much or more than climbing a really tough 5.13.

This was always surprising to me as my idea of fun was ALWAYS to try the next hardest thing, to tackle something undoable and do it. Tom, on the other hand, can play. I never would have learned this lesson without him, I never would have thought, OOH! Theres a really fun 5.5 we should do! Before Tom, I would have thought of that as a waste of time. He slowed me down and showed me the beauty of simple movement, the pure pleasure of a route that's just fun to climb.

This morning, I went skiing for the first time this year with Michael and Josh. We took off up the Alpine lift, and headed off to the South Boundary of the ski area. On the lift, I was excited and chatty, eager to jump right into hard training with Michael. I didn't want to appear pushy, so I tried to just contain it and told myself to go with whatever, if they just want to ski, just ski.

We got to the top and I asked Michael, "So what are we doing? Where are we going?" He smiled and said, "Down." Josh laughed and we took off three in a row, through thigh deep sparkling powder. It was silent, easy, the sun came out and the powder spray looked like glitter in the air. We floated down moderate pitches giggling all the way. It was a perfect moment. I had the thought of grabbing my camera and getting a clip, but I just wanted to be in that moment, enjoying just skiing, just being with people I like to spend time with, loving the movement and the feeling, not training, or trying, or pushing, just skiing.

Movement Analysis: Karin Kirk and Rick Wollum ski the Whirlpools (I think)

Karen Kirk and Rick Wollum ski the Whirlpools at Bridger Bowl. 13" of Cold Smoke!

Practice your movement analysis on Karen! Rules of the game: no bashing or trash talk, use this as an opportunity to practice honing your eye. Everyone is welcome to comment, I hope to get a cross-divisional discussion going on! Keep an eye out for visiting commentators, I hope to have lots of masterful eyes stop by and give us their two cents!

Well, I have a program that turns the video the right way up, but it still uploaded sideways! I have TONS of video already, so hang in there, I'll fix it and post shortly!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New On Line Movement Analysis at Skiing in the Shower!

Shannon Griffin works on five short radius turns, one medium radius turn and five short radius turns in a new corridor on Thunder Road at Bridger Bowl, MT.

I am so excited! Today, Shannon and I were talking about starting a Movement Analysis club in town that would meet once a week to watch video and do some MA. The only problem is that I don't have one night a week available right now! (except maybe Friday, which I was saving for Jimmy B's, but maybe we could have beers at whoever's house is hosting??)...

Anyway, the point is I decided to post video here to my blog, and open all of it up for MA, so we can have a discussion not just in our ski school, but across divisions, and get perspectives, and really get talking!

If you have a video you'd like me to post for MA, send it to me with the name of the skier (if you know it), where they are skiing, and what the task is if there is one. I'll put it up and everyone can do some MA in the comments section.

All Movement Analysis videos will be labeled "movement analysis" so if you want to go back and look at the archives, you can scroll down and choose videos tagged with Movement Analysis.


Video from today's Drills with Shannon

Kate works on Medium Radus Turns on Thunder Road at Bridger Bowl, MT.

Today I skid for about five hours, drilling with Rick Wollum, Kenji, and later with Shannon. I am working on keeping my upper body more still, and driving my outside knee out, as well as keeping a mindful platform: that is, a platform that is the shape I choose it to make, as opposed to me compensating for where my skis have gone under me.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this, its a A LOT better than last year! i'll post some "vintage" training later this week to compare. Feel free to do some MA on this and post your comments! Lets hear it!

First Day Back at Work! Welcome to Ski Season!

YEAH! I can't believe we've started already! And to think, a couple of days ago I was almost dreading going to work. Can you believe it? It seemed like a LOT of effort to get all my gear together and move into my locker and then get really cold over and over until spring...

But you know what? Inertia is like that. My job does not suck. It is the opposite of sucky. I spent the last three days skiing in Montana Cold Smoke powder. I was worried that I'd forgotten how to ski, and forgotten how to teach, and forgotten all my MA. But no, that's not so.

Yesterday it was -24 on the chair lift, causing me to order Patagonia's Down Sweater to wear under my instructor's coat. The only new development besides that was the fact that the implant screws in my jaw got really cold, so my jaw was cold from inside the bone! WOW, that was a funky feeling!

Thanks to Taekwondo and hiking all summer, I came back in fairly good shape, and it took about 3 days to get my feet under me. The intrepid Rick Wollum allowed me to borrow his eye, and we worked on sending my body away from my feet rather than allowing my feet to travel away from my body. Active, rather than passive.

Another new thing this year is that Bodhi is going with me three days a week, so he gets to hang out in our truly outstanding Playcare facility, and ski once a day, (today we took a run together on Snowflake before heading home). Its great to have him there, I get to go in and get snuggles and eat lunch with him, and our playcare facility is TV FREE which I adore. He is happy and wiped out at the end of the day.

Looks like its gonna be a great season! Welcome back, everyone!

Spiff's Continuum is flying at the Flying C!

Spiff's Continuum is finally up and flying at the Community Food Co-op in Bozeman!

Consisting of two 20' x 20' diamonds woven out of 1/8" mahogany, the material acted like a giant wooden blanket. I am SO excited about this material, that I can't wait to do a full series in woven wood! Tom and I have designs for eight more pieces already!

Thanks to Refuge for the paint, Empire for the wood, and ABC Rentals for the Genie donation. And thanks to the Co-op for an Artist's consideration as well. Now my studio is warm! Thanks to Mason Griffin (again), Shannon Griffin, Tom Wight, Lori Campbell, and Liat Miriam for their help getting this thing off the ground (Literally!) Thanks to Kelly for allowing me to exhibit in this exhilarating space.

This has been an amazing experience, producing pieces for the co-op, and this one will run through June. At that point, we are going to decide if we want to continue producing pieces for the space or not. If you are in Bozeman, drop in and check it out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Speed Racer!

Yeah! My sister, Beth has been hard at work on this movie for over a year, and the trailer is finally ready! Speed Racer! Click here to watch the trailer!

Women's Ski Clinic


Attention women skiers!

Time to refine your skiing skills with other women of similar abilities. Take advantage of this great early season clinic on great early season snow!

Saturday, December 15th

2 Hours .... $35
4 Hours .... $60

Make your reservations through Snowsports at 556-5662 today!

PS. Yes, that is a pic of Shannon, Maggie and me with Mike Hickey!

All Content © Bridger Bowl 2005 - 2006. All images © by respective artists and photographers.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Spiff's Continuum

Spiff's Continuum is flying! Well, part of it. Well, kind of. Okay, lets back up.

It has been an insane week. But things are going well. Refuge Building Supply donated 13 gallons of paint for this project, Empire Building Supply donated 30 sheets of mahogany door skin, and ABC Rental donated the use of the Genie lift for three days. Tom, Liat, Mason and Shannon have all donated their time and I wish I was sponsored by Red Bull, because I've had a CASE in the last three days.

It's about 10 degrees in the "studio" today, meaning the paint won't dry. We have one day to apply five coats of paint to each side of these suckers. Liat works in her down while I head to Home Depot to suck it up and get a propane heater.
That's better! Two of these suckers got the room up to about 90 degrees in about 1/2 hour. Now we can work in our t-shirts!
Liat begins priming as the room warms up. YES, that is a 100 Lb Tank of propane! Who builds sculpture in December in Montana? Next year we're doing the co-op piece in AUGUST!
25 Sheets primed. This is the first time I've used American Pride paint, it is amazing! It has great texture, cleans up SO easily (which is good for me because you KNOW I am a messy, messy girl), and comes out beautifully.
Shannon came over on her way home from Big Sky's Fall Fest where she skid with Andy "You're a Tigah" Docken all day. She came over just in time to apply the first coat of color, which just happened to be exactly the color of her favorite ski jacket!
Hot Pink on one side, day glo yellow on the other side. I realized at about 3am that my mom bought me a pair of pants that looked just like this in 1983! Yeah!

These colors are QUITE a departure for me, but I am excited to see how they come out. I was reading Bill Waterson's Calvin and Hobbes collection and I was just AMAZED at his bold and unusual color choices. Its funny how in a comic we don't really notice color and composition, or if we do notice, when they are well done, they are just a seamless part of the storytelling. As I read through the collection I was just AMAZED at the color use, and actually took the book to Refuge to color match right off the comic strip. That's where we got the name, "Spiff's Continuum" in thanks to Calvin and his great imagination.
With a nice new saw blade in place we hold our breath and hope the paint doesn't chip or get dirty while we rip the wood into 6" strips, which are then scrubbed clean and pop riveted together.
Liat takes over for Brad on kid duty, with mood lighting in the bath tub. She's teaching Ethan how to knit! He's making his own Christmas Stocking. Cool!!
Mason and Tom begin riveting as Lori and I weave the first big square. The original concept was to have one long continuous amorphous weave that flipped and curled. Unfortunately, Tom threw his back out HARD on the ice the other day, and was in an ENORMOUS amount of pain, and Mason had to go blow up the snow pack at Bridger at 5am (he's on the ski patrol), so we re-designed the piece right there on the spot. Now it's five big rectangles hung independently and curling.
And now that its up, we realize that perhaps it will be just TWO of these big weaves, but it is imperative that the shapes talk to each other, and that they really behave dynamically. For about 10 minutes, I really hate the color, and the piece. I am working hard to stay positive. There are elements I am happy with, I like that you can see one color through the other, which was the premise for the original piece. By the time we load up the car, I'm okay with it again, and Tom and I talk about how to make the second half come out well. We are going back tonight to finish the install (sorry, Lori!). The one big bummer? We were SO careful with the pieces, continually cleaning them, and STILL the piece got scratched and dirty. Ah, well. I'm curious how it looks in the sunlight!