Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bath time bliss

The boys, Bodhi, ethan, and duke after an awesome NIGHT at the hot springs.

32 Days, 16 hours to Level 3 Exam

Today, one hour of wedge turns, one run in the Whirlpools with Dan Hall, visiting with lovely wife Jen from Brighton, forty minutes of Wedge Christies.

Wedges feel good. Wedge Christies need work. Tomorrow: Teaching, more wedge christies with video and someone watching.

Never, Ever, EVER Leave your Wingman!

Another quick update post before we tackle the backlog of Aspen and Crested Butte training...

So the reentry into Bozeman was bumpy at best. I have to say this last week and a half has tested my belief in myself and my sense of self in a way that its hasn't been tested since... well, since LAST year at this time, about four weeks before the Level 3 Exam.

Because I want this blog to be a true account of what it takes to get to teams tryouts in five years (with only THREE LEFT! AHHH!) I need to write about the warts and the bumps as well as the good times. So here goes.

The trip to Colorado was spectacular. I learned a LOT, changed my skiing significantly, gained deeper understanding of skiing in general, and my skiing in particular. I learned to face fear (hello, jumping off a waterfall on my skis), and I learned that its okay to go straight, and maybe even okay to go fast.

On Wednesday, I drove home about 15 hours, got in late, got up early, taught at Bridger all day (YAY ladies group! WOO HOO!). Things felt weird in the locker room, just a little off, and I thought, okay, well, I've been gone for two weeks, so thats to be expected. I'll just quiet myself down a little rather than ranting on and on about how much fun I had cliff hucking, and sharing everything I'd learned or been working on in Aspen.

This was hard, because, you know, I'm a bit verbal, and I get really excited about stuff, and I really wanted to verbalize what I'd learned in Aspen so I could help make it stick. But, concerned about widening the gap I was feeling, I decided to turn the volume down on Kate a bit.

On Friday, I went back to school, where things felt really weird there as well. There had been some hard feelings that I was allowed to go on my trip while others were not. When I left we were all very good friends, when I came back, there was a large gulf between us. This really rattled me, as I have come to rely on Health Works as a safe haven, and my friends there have helped me through a lot. The day was tough, we had some good conversations that made the issue clear, but the sadness was thorough on both sides.

On Friday night, Tom and I killed the dream. I suppose there was a part of each of us that was hoping that one day we'd end up back together after a good break, but we realize on Friday that that's just not the case.

Saturday, I went over to Mama Jen's house (This is one of my very closest friends, we nursed each others kids! When the chips are down, this is the friend I run to.)

I spent the day in her house processing through the shock of the conversation Tom and I had had the night before and letting the reality sink in. That night, the boys slept at Jen's house, and Tom and I had a farewell party. We spent the evening sitting in front of the fire, talking through how we ended up there. Tom put it well, "So, what did you do last night?" "Well, I got a massage, hung out with my best friend, and divorced my wife. And there were only the two of us all night!".

Sunday, I went up to teach at Bridger with a little TINY (uh) hangover, emotional and physical, and landed right in the lap of friends who care. Shannon and Alex gave me snuggles as I fuddled my way through the day, ending in a great lesson, which helped re-energize me. I ended up doing something I never do, I canceled my evening massages and went home to my family.

It was fine at home, warm, safe, still a family, nothing has changed from the day before, the week before, the year before, and I'm so proud of Tom and I for that.

Monday, back to school, and of course, a torrent of tears in Chair massage, worried about my friends, just too emotionally raw to take any more and I lost it.

Tuesday back at Bridger for the epic ski day with Alex and Mike Leslie, which set me back to normal, including four huge wrecks and a possibly fractured wrist (whatever). Starting to normalize.

Wednesday. Integration seminar at school. This means we all sit around in a circle and talk about what's working and what isn't. I have to say I wasn't looking forward to it, because I knew that the subject of me being allowed to leave for training trips was a sore one, and was going to come up.

I have to say its an amazing thing that Ruth, our head of school does, getting the whole school together (all 13 of us!) and talking through any issues we have. We talked about a lot that day, and then, the issue that was bothering my friends came up, and we talked through that. It was hard, but great, and in the end, I felt that things could get back to normal there as well.

Now is the strange transition time, I have all of March off, and I am catching up on school missed, and shifting my focus with all I have in my being to training for the Level 3 exam. This week they overlap as I go in for tutoring and take some missed exams, but get up to Bridger as much as I can.

I had the opportunity to ski with Josh yesterday and get his eyeballs on me. I was lucky that it was a deep powder day and I was on my fat skis, which I don't ski my best on. In other words, Josh got to see me NOT at my best, but at my most mediocre. Which is a good thing. I have a lot of work to do. Powder is my weakest point, and fat skis are still confusing to me!

Josh asked me, "Where'd Kate go? We need that chameleon back. The one who could change her skiing every run. You've plateaued."

I thought about what he said, and he's right, my intensity and intention for absorbing information and being a master student had all but disappeared in the last two weeks. And it wasn't turned up to high before I left, as my attention was split by all the issues with school and divorce and my private practice and my kids and paying bills, writing a book, a technical manual, and arranging details of upcoming trips with sponsors and magazines.

That afternoon, I went in for tutoring with Aubrey for Pathology. It was incredible, a terrific session, but the thing that was wild was that she said the same thing that Josh did. "Why are you hiding and apologizing for being you? Why are you taking on the guilt of the whole room?"

We talked quite a bit about that, it doesn't happen to me very often, but I had definitely come to a place in the last two weeks where I doubted my choices, who I was, at what cost would I go to this try out, was I making good decisions or terrible, horrible, destructive ones, and why can I not tell the difference between a good decision that keeps me on my path with balance, and a catastrophic decision?

I decided then and there that my gut is right, that Josh and Aubrey and Shannon and Jen have all seen that the choice to pull back myself and be more quiet, not ask for what I need, not honoring myself, was hurting rather that helping.

And so, once again, I decide that who I am is who I am, and that some people may feel overwhelmed by that, and that's okay, they don't have to stay close, and some people like it, and that's okay too. Right now, I have four weeks to the toughest certification in skiing. I need to be me, believe in me, give myself permission to learn like I learn, turn up all the receptors in every cell in my body to absorb and understand the changes I need to make in my skiing.

After I left Aubrey, I went to give a few massages, and I was thinking about how for the last five years, I've been working on staying true to me, trusting my gut, honoring who I am rather than subjugating to what is convenient or comfortable for others. This subjugating is an old habit brought on by being raised by a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

And if there is ONE THING I'm NOT gonna do, its let THAT GUY get in the way of me passing my exam! Here's when it hit me, the thread from the past that tied it all together: I'm sixteen, we're at Disneyland as a family. He asks, "What's your favorite land?" to all of us.

This is a game, the game is a competition for who in the family can come up with the deepest, most creative, most meaningful answer, and the prize is pride for the person with the best answer, and crushing devastation for those who weren't quick enough on their feet.

I decided to go with honesty. "Fantasyland!" because its true, I love it, I love how much work and time they put into carving the designs in the wood on Mr. Toad's wild ride, the promise of the castle, the creativity of Alice's wild ride, the coming of age of learning to love the teacups...

The answer: "Of course it is. Because you live in fantasyland. You have no concept of reality what so ever. And you never will. I'm not surprised to hear that at all." And guess what? We had been walking through Fantasyland, and we left. Immediately. Lets cut that dreamer off at the knees. (What's a more Reality based part of Disneyland, IS THERE SUCH A THING?)

And yesterday, I reached back in my mind and found that moment, and then raced forward, stopping at each moment that I found in my memory where I apologized for thinking differently, where I felt badly and didn't follow who I was. I systematically unplugged those moments in my mind, identifying them as reactions to how someone else felt rather than as my true self making decisions.

And today, I head to Bridger on a bluebird powder day to work low end demos on groomers for a few hours. I'm back!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rippin' Bridger with Athos and Porthos!

I really felt like I was hangin with the three musketeers today! (That would be Mike Leslie and Alex Sweeny) I guess I'd have to be D'artanyon, being a bit wet behind the ears, still.

After a very tough five days or so... I got to ski the crap out of Bridger Bowl. I honestly am not sure I've ever charged as hard as we did today, fast and fun, through bumps, steeps, off the HiT, through the trees all over the place, through the gullies, off the jumps, just go go go!

I felt myself again, playing, having fun, working hard, and my legs were THERE! For the most part, they ended up where I wanted them. I asked one technical question of Mike Leslie, got a straight answer, and got right back to it with great results.

I went down HARD three times, once right off the first run down Slucebox in a total white out, I hit a bump hard and felt okay absorbing it, but then, the evil CLICK! and I stepped right out of my left ski, went right over the handlebars, smacked my helmet on the hard bump below, and munched my right wrist, which was already pole planting on the next bump. Oops.

But aside from that bell wringer, oh, and one on the bottom of Test Face where I decided to go one more bump over and realized it wasn't a bump, it was a huge ROCK I'd just augered my right tip into, flipped over, skis over head, side twist back into the fall line, and according to Mike, nearly skied out of it ( ha ha, didn't feel like it to me!) Things were ROCKIN!

I had two big saves, one in the John and one going Mach Scnhell over the whoopties on my way to go off a big ramping airplane turn (in both cases, I was caught inside, with my face about two inches from my on snow ski and my other ski up in the air)... WHEW! I was like, I AM NOT GOIN" DOWN! The one in the John I managed to save, got the ski back down, twisted around switch in a big V, then took a seat and tumbled sideways, I just really REALLY did not want to land on my face at high speeds, and the one on the way to the jump I managed to get my foot back down and wobble over the cheater's way out of the jump, laughing hysterically. Yes, I did drink a red bull today, WHAT"S YOUR POINT??

Skied my booty off all day, then at about 1:30 my body was HURTIN after the beating I'd put it through, drove down to the Urgent Care and got an xray on my wrist. Looks like a sprain, can't rule out a Navicular Fracture, but it doesn't hurt that bad, so I'm in a splint and feeling good!

Posts coming soon as I catch up on homework and head into semester break.

Stay tuned for possible Heli Skiing in Alaska adventure! Better get on that Skier's Edge Machine and get em strong, the Vertical is a lot longer up there! Go baby GO!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Secret Ingredient to my Secret Ingredient Soup is...

Nothing. There is no secret ingredient. You have just have to believe something is special for it to be.

It has been an interesting three weeks for sure. I am VERY excited to write a post about training in Aspen, about Cliff Hucking Camp in Crested Butte, and about the five or six other things I've been pondering lately. I've been invited to ski with Kim Reichhelm in Alaska in a Steep Skiing Camp and to write an article about it. (wow!)

But right now, in the midst of some personal turbulence, I have to say that I'm grateful for my team, my support group, my friends and family, and, yes, Po from Kung Fu Panda.

When things get nutty like this, and many things happen at once, for instance, I'm on the road, training, missing my kids, meeting deadlines, catching up on homework, interviewing for jobs, and going through an amicable divorce with my best friend, the thing that keeps me grounded is...

Well, here's how I do it. Step one: snuggle the kids a lot. Step two: call someone when I feel wobbly inside. If that doesn't do it, call someone else. Write about it. Snuggle the kids some more. Check in with Tom and talk about it. Go up and ski some, teach some (wow, that helps a LOT), give some massage, snuggle the kids, watch some of my favorite movies that make me feel strong: Kung Fu Panda, Meet the Robinsons, Steep. Yup, kid movies. OOH! And Secrets of the Furious Five. That's a great one.

I think about the fact that Suffering is wishing that something was other than it is. I try to let go of my desire for this to be other, and accept that it is how it is, so I can let go and move forward.

I listen to music that lifts me up, I sing out loud and off key in my car, songs like Proud by Heather Small. Cheesy? Maybe. Powerful? Definitely.

I call my mom, I call my mentor. I ask for hugs from my friends on the hill. I listen to myself, and try to make some space in my crazy schedule for healing, mine and Tom's.

And then, as my spirit starts to lift, I say thank you to all the amazing people in my life that help me get across gaps like this. I do believe in myself again. I feel back on track, it's been a very very hard 48 hours, and I feel I'm coming out of the tunnel, its not strange that life continues, people go to work, kids go to school, cars drive on the road.

I choose to rejoin and to focus on my task at hand.

So thanks for your help and support, stay tuned, as the ducks line up, the posts will start rollin' in.

Much love and gratitude,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Historic helper utah

Welcome to historic downtown helper, utah. The minds have been idle for three days, head electric for verizon laid off, downtown is empty. Folks are very sacred. Sign of the times?

On the road!

Bye bye Aspen! Thanks for every thing!

what a long strange trip its been!

Almost to grand junction. Beautiful day for a drive, grateful dead keeping me company on the road.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gear Review: Elan Deep Spice for 09/10

Four days ago, I was thrilled and excited to look outside and find two boxes, one shaped mysteriously like skis! YES INDEED! My first big powder boards ever! Elan shipped out the new 09/10 Deep Spice woman's ski to me, and I couldn't wait to try it out!

I've never been on a powder board before, or a ski with so little side cut, and I almost didn't want to get out on it, because I knew I wouldn't ski as well as I could on it. Kurt made the astute suggestion that if I didn't want to be a TOTAL gaper at camp, I should ski them for a day. So I spent my last day in Aspen on the fatties, in about 2" of fresh.

The skis are 133 in the tip, 105 underfoot, and 122 in the tail, and I felt like a pig on roller skates all morning! I was working hard not to get frustrated, because I knew my job was to listen to the ski and see what it wanted (OKAY, it wanted POWDER), and we went out into Canopy Cruiser, a SUPER long, rather steep powder tree run with some bumps. Megan and Cindy Lou and I skied it in the morning, then Kurt showed up and we skied it again, hopping into GLE (Greatest Line Ever!) at the end.

I felt like I had to work SO hard to get the skis to come around, they felt long and heavy and not very turney. I knew that I had become a bit side cut dependent to get the skis around, and tried to find the pivot point.

The skis have quite a bit of camber, and aren't as soft as a traditional powder ski, but still flex really nicely, so when they de-camber, the pivot point is solidly midsole of the boot...

Skiing bumps in these monsters was quite a lesson in humility, and I felt like saying "Okay, I get it, can I have my other skis back??" but I stuck with it. Then, we ran into Bob Pearlmutter and his friend Pete Anzalone.

Bob runs Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, an awesome cat skiing operation off the backside of Aspen Moutnain. We all went for a hike up Highlands Bowl and the FIRST thing I noticed when I loaded these guys into Megan's bowl strap is how incredibly LIGHT they are compared to my Magfires! Less than HALF the weight, I'd guess. Boy, the hike was a LOT easier!

At the top, Bob and I discovered that we have the same boot sole length, so we swapped skis, I rode his Atomic Snoop Daddy's sown, and he hopped in the Deep Spice. I was really excited to hear his opinion, as this is what he does for a living!

We went for a rippin' run, and I was glad to be on a ski with a titch more sidecut for the ride down the bowl, it was a bit more familiar to my newbie legs, so I could ALMOST keep up, and Bob was laughing, and chatting, and HAULING down the G's in the bowl.

His review? "This is an AWESOME ski! I wouldn't call it so much a powder ski as a Big Mountain ski. Elan has never made timid skis, and this is no exception. Kurt will tell you, I'm not a fast skier..."

Kurt interrupts "Bob makes more turns per linear yard of skiing than anyone I know..."

Bob continues... "But these skis are happiest when they are going fast, and I just had to let them run! It was awesome! They are very stable at high speeds, with long, open turns. This is exactly the kind of ski I need for my job. Awesome!"

I was glad to hear this, and when we swapped back, I spent the afternoon trying to convince myself to let them open up and run. By the end of the day, I could do rail road tracks on them, but I was wrecked tired! I tried to carve on them, but kept getting caught on the inside and having my outside foot run away! I tried them out in bumps, crud, pow,and on the groom, carving, and buttering.

I finally came to the conclusion that it was good that I had stuck with it, and that learning to adapt to a big straight-ish ski was really good for my skiing!

That night, I drove to Crested Butte, and got in at 2:30 in the morning. I had to be on snow at 7:45, so on about four hours of sleep, I got after it again. I'm gonna leave the details of the camp for another post, but let me just say thank GOODNESS I spent a day on the skis before camp, and by noon on the first day, I was really REALLY enjoying the sensation of letting the skis have the speed they wanted.

By the end of the second day, I was totally and completely in love, able to ski chop and crud at speeds I've never been able to handle, loving having a big, stable platform to stomp the landing on, and I was able to make short radius turns on them, and carve on the groom to some extent without having my outside foot pulled away!

Long story longer: The Elan Deep Spice is a hell of a ski. In Bob's words: "If this is the "woman's" ski, I'm afraid of what the men's is like! This is plenty of ski for me!" It loves to rip, it loves to float, it loves to drop, and I love to play on it! Up next? ANOTHER PAIR with AT bindings on them!! YEAH!!

For more info on Aspen Mountain Powder Tours: Our direct reservation line is 970-920-0720, our email and you can find us on the Ski Co website:!

Core Shots and Kiddos

So Carrie Jo went "Moderate" (7 feet?) and didn't get out QUITE far enough, the rock was buried under about 6" of fresh, and here is her beautiful core shot, straight through the base, through the wood, and into the metal top sheet! YOU ARE SO HARD CORE!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ski this!

The steepest cut run in north america!

Blue bird pow

Just Hucked a seven foot flag air! Blue bird powder day in crested butte!

Morning gathering in crested butte.

My favorite thing circle. All sixty of there women rip! Air and double black diamond!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The terrain

Cliff camp

This is how we feel after going hard all day! Drop after drop air after air!

extreme mother Hucker

Carrie jo, my extreme skiing teacher, who competes, and her nine week old baby! Mom nancy is here helping out, and carrie jo had to bomb down the hill to nurse the Kiddo! She Hucked two big rocks on the way down!

POC demo gear goes fast at rippin chix.

The POC hear generates instant interest!

crested butte rippin chix Camp!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Photos from the road!

My mom and her ski club had a lesson with Kurt on Wednesday! So fun! She made her best turns ever, very round and controlled, I was psyched!! It was so fun to ski with her here in Aspen. Good job, mom!

Megan and I skied the Highlands Bowl on Monday, we worked on bump technique and then just ripped up G6 in about 7" of fresh. Awesome! When my brain is working again, I'll write up all the cool stuff we worked on...


Jason Closic during the Passport training day for the Trainers at Aspen Mtn, where I got awesome feedback on my wedge christies and medium radius turns from Andy and Squatty!


Aspen Brewing Company VS. USA in local hockey!

My first ride up the Poma lift at Snowmass, I had a whole day skiing with Squatty, and we went up and skied the Cirque on a beautiful cream-cheese windblown crust.

ALMOST to Aspen!

Excited to be there, so close!


Brushin' my teeth at Cheveron!

Four hours of sleep in the back of the Bronco, 50 miles to Idaho Falls!

In the luxury suite in the back of the Bronco (sleeping on the massage table in my sleeping bag!

Thanks, Gorsuch, THE MOST AWESOME ski shop in Aspen!

WOO HOO! Thanks so much to the guys at Gorsuch, an INCREDIBLE ski shop here in Aspen, just at the base of Aspen Mountain!

Jared Ettlinger, Corey McClendon, and Chris Lemmens mounted my new Elan Deep Spice 09/10 skis at the last minute! I can't wait to get out there and rip around on them tomorrow!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hit the Road!

And, after four hours of packing, I'm ready to go! Just wanted to say thanks, as this blog is supposed to be an honest account of "what it takes", here's what it took this time to get on the road:

Help from my amazing school to get time off class without being penalized. (Thanks, Ruth!) Which meant, not sleeping until 2 or 3 in the morning every night while I caught up on previous missed work from clinicing at Bridger!

About 10 hours of massage a week to save money to make it there and feed myself! (Thanks, awesome massage clients, you ROCK!)

A nice donation to my training fund. (Thanks, Susie, YOU ROCK!)

Time off work at Bridger to go train. (Thanks, Bonnie, Dave and Josh, YOU GUYS ROCK!)

Tom committing to babysit the kids alone for two weeks (Thanks, kids and Tom, you guys, well, you know...)

Tiffany videotaping all the class I am missing, me videotaping a presentation I am supposed to give for Pathology class... (Thanks, Tiffany, you are in my heart!)

POC sending a box of gear for demos, Elan shipping out some 09/10 gear for the photo shoot, Powder considering the article on Cliff Hucking Camp, 32 Degrees signing on for an article on women's camps... (Thanks, guys!)

Crested Butte Mountain Resort taking care of me and Devon, the photographer for the articles... (whew! Thanks, CBMR! We'd be sleeping in my truck...)

And Megan and Kurt taking care of me in Aspen, so once I get there, I can get my butt on the lift to ski with them, and Squatty and Weems again!

So once again, it takes a village, and a month of hard work and no sleep to get my ass to Aspen! In my truck I have touring gear, cross country gear, all mountain gear, race gear, massage gear, ice skating gear, and food. Ready??

To my huge ski family, thanks for getting me out the door, let the adventure begin!!!

Much love and gratitude,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Amanda is on iTunes!

From my awesome hiking buddy and mom of doom, this chica is MAKING HER DREAM COME TRUE!

Congratulations, Amanda, the songs are AWESOME!

We're on itunes, itunes....The Tractor Song & Trophy Wife are now available for a .99 download. Unbelievable! Vanessa's voice is amazing and really makes it sound like a hit. Thank you, thank you to Atlanta musicians and music producers, Angela Motter and Clay Cook who successfully co-produced my original songs, lead vocalist, Vanessa Olivarez, Fiddle player, Walter Ray, drummer and male vocalist, Tony Caporale, banjo and acoustic guitar, Angela Motter, and Clay Cook on the bass and steel guitar.

So cool, I never thought this would really happen. So go download my friends!!! Just type in Amanda Martin Fowler on itunes and the tractor will pop up. Fun.....Consider it a contribution to the artistic fund for one crazy lady on a mission.

Love to all,
Your Trophy Wife