Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Costume Contest!

Did you party down with your bad self last night? I didn't get the chance to dress up this year, let me live vicariously though you! Email me photos to katehowe at mac dot com! I'll post em and we'll vote!

Happy Halloween! PS spent the day playing with the boys, looks like I'll be driving out Monday morning rather than tomorrow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last La Pa

Last la Parilla Lunch shared with the lovely and talented Alisa. (Don't turn your computer sideways, that's what she's like all the time.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes

Tonight, we watched Transformers all together. The boy were in their new Power Rangers costumes (Oh my god, I can't believe I'm saying this! I was going to be the mom that resisted branding and violent play! AHHH! Well, its well regulated, anyway...)

The boys were sharing popcorn with me in front of the fire. When they were in bed, Bodhi asked me to lay down with him, something we don't really do anymore. I asked him what was up, and he put his head on my chest and wrapped his arms around me and said, very seriously, with no tears, but all earnestness, looking into my eye from about four inches away, "Mom, I don't ever want to be apart from you."

"I know, babe, I don't ever want to be apart from you, too." I said, with a little bit of rising panic inside. I've been trying not to look at this as a long term thing, just as two three week ski trips back to back. And then we are together again, and its okay.

I think the current plan may be that they boys try to join me at Christmas with my mom.

He touched my face, and kissed me and snuggled in tight and said, "I don't ever want to leave you." Strange that he said that rather than, "I don't ever want you to leave me."

I laid there and thought, this is right. This will make a better life for all of us. Is this right? Am I crazy? Is it going to be okay? And then looking ahead at that life and thinking, Yes. Yes.

Off the mountain by four, I'll be living five minutes from the Elementary school. They'll be able to ski and play in the snow and swim at the club. Things we can't afford otherwise.

We can survive till Christmas, I know we can.

Beard Juice Tequila

Alright, maybe I'm on a bit of a rebellious tear, here, but I had this thought about two years ago, and I've been trying to convince the Griz and Bridger Bowl to pick it up, for some reason, they are resistant. I can't figure it out. Maybe Lost Trail?

I don't know, somewhere ballsy needs to do this, it could turn into one of those disgusting traditions that all the ice beard men would wrestle with each other to participate in. (Oh, yes you would, don't deny it...)

Photo of Dave Downing, who wants you to know that he felled his moose with his bare hands while on ALPINE skis, and as a prize, Jess married him. They now live happily in Whitefish, where they have Moose pie for dinner every night and she darns his wool socks, but only when he's got his beard.

Okay. I used to have a little "house" that I rented in LaBufadora in Mexico, south of Ensenada. It was the very early nineties, so there was no cell service down there, the nearest telephone was a 20 minute drive past a village where guys with old rifles stood in the road and made you pay to pass. (I had a few beers with them a couple of times, nice guys, just tryin to make a buck, you know...)

Anyway, it used to make my sister, Beth, insane that I went down there, I'd take off without telling her, and disappear for four days or so, drinking Dos Equis for breakfast and writing where no one could bother me. (I was working on and EPIC romance novel interactive DVD game that we couldn't produce because the DVD technology was so new, they weren't sure what the format would be!)

Not the point. SO there is this little bar, with no sign, in LaBufadora, where they serve Rattlesnake Tequila. WHAT, you may ask, is rattlesnake tequila? Simple:

RattleSnake Tequila
Take one 5 gallon water jug, dump the water out. (Who needs water when you have Dos Equis?)
Fill bottle almost to the brim with cheap Tequila.
Catch a rattlesnake, live.
Drown the rattlesnake in the Tequila, it will release its venom into the brew, making it slightly toxic and very potent and delicious.
Let sit for six months until the scales are floating, and the snake is essentially pickled.
Stir and drink! (Make sure you have a spot on the floor picked out to sleep on, you're not going far.)

I'm not saying this is safe or even smart. Just because it didn't kill me the dozen or so times we were out there doing shots doesn't mean its an intelligent thing to do. That is all.

Alright. What the BLEEP does this have to do with skiing?

So you know those ice encrusted full beard wearin tele men we were celebrating below?

Beard Juice Tequila
Take a five gallon jug of water. Empty water into snowmaking resivor.
Place jug on counter of local apres bar, closer to the hill the better.
Fill halfway with cheap tequila.
Have all ice encrusted beardies chip their ice off and let their beard juice run into the jug until its full. (It should take all season).
Have a contest at the end of the season to see who can drink a shot or nine without tossing his cookies.
Ten bucks a shot, beard juice contributors get two free shots.
The winner gets a season pass.

Right? Brilliant, right? I'm fairly certain that the Tequila would kill all the germies in the snot and sweat and whatever else is hanging out in Dave Downing's beard...

I'm not, uh, a physician, or a pathologist, so obviously, do this at your own risk... But if anyone decides to do it, I want to come MC the drinking contest!!

Happy Winter, Y'all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicks Dig Dirty Hippies

Photo by John Shafer

I was talking with my friend, who asked to remain nameless because he knows he is a total hack (we’ll call him Birdman), who really only tele’s for the chicks, the other day. This time, he was lamenting the difficulty of growing the requisite Tele-man beard this year.

"I can't do it. It itches. I'm shavin'."

"Sack up, Birdie. A little itch is no price for a truly tremendous winter growth. Shave it now and you'll be nothing but scruffy at the beginning of the season. All your fellow knee-dropping duct tape wearing free heelers will look at you with disdain."

"Yeah. And they'll get all the chicks. What is that!?" Suddenly, Birdman is angry, bristling as it were. "Why do chicks dig dirty hippies? What is that all about?"

I thought for a second. He had something here.

"You aren't a dirty hippie Birdie."

"No, but I play one in the winter, dammit!"

This man, getting some sort of advanced degree in statistics, and very well respected in the marketing world, known to indulge in the occasional massage and trip to the steam room, was trying to grow a beard to get chicks.

I thought for a moment about the allure of the knuckle dragging, beard wearing, duct tape using, shovel-for-a-backpack, full bearded man of the wild, heels free, bombing through the pow... I must have gotten a dreamy, far off look in my eyes, because The Bird caught it immediately.

"Yes, Kate. THAT. What the f@$k is that??"

"I think, Birdman, my love, that it must appeal to a women's love of a competent man. You can't be a total dip-s@$t and get this done. The real "mountain man" the McGyver of the ridge, the man who can fix a binding with duct tape and some cordolette he has tied on his avy pack, this same man with the luscious long beard frozen together from face shots, this is the man that will not let you go hungry or freeze to death. It appeals to our inner need for survival."

He eyeballed me skeptically. "Chicks dig dirty hippies because they keep you warm? But they smell bad."

I pondered this. Was it smell? Or musk? "Oh, I don't know..."

He rolled his eyes. Here it comes.

"Yeah, they are on the musky side, but the competence, the power, the surety, the confidence... the bucking of the trend, ditching alpine skiing for living free in spite of it all... Tele skiers are that wonderful rare breed, like Aid or Trad climbers, they are a do-it-yourself, like... I don't know... no one has to hold their hands, they get out there and Figure S%$t Out. The man that comes into the Griz (our local watering hole for dirty hippies here in Bozeman, MT) with his face sealed shut with ice, he spent a hard day taming the mountains..."

"Oh, please, he did not. He rode the chair-lift and probably went straight; dropping his knee all the way to the freakin' ground." The Bird shot back.

"Yes, that's just what he did. But in the Griz, we don't know that. We look at him and think, O' wild man, lead me into the mountains and let me be your squaw..."

Birdman stopped. "You don't really think that, do you?"

I smiled. "No, not really. And the beard juice that drips off y'alls face as you are thawing is pretty disgusting. But that's not the point, Birdie. For the day, just for this day, you be a dirt bag knee dropper, sporting requisite full beard, and let some chick fantasize that you could fell a moose with your bare hands and never get lost hiking through miles of back country, and you'll probably have a pretty good winter!"

"Just the winter?"

"It depends. You gotta shave if you are going to hang out with her on the river in the summer. Different kind of dirty hippie there."

Birdman pulled out a notebook and started writing. "Okay, lets go through this again..."

Kate Howe is the author of the Blog Skiing in the Shower, and a PSIA Level 3 Certified instructor at Aspen Mountain, where she thinks longingly of the dirtbag tele skier she left behind in Whitefish, MT.

Shaun White's Private Halfpipe!

From Colorado Snow:

Oct 28, 2009
Shaun White’s private halfpipe
Written By: Devin Reams

Some day when I grow up, I’ll have my own private halfpipe. In the meantime, I’ll just have to watch Shaun White play on his. Not everyone has heard of this yet, but Red Bull built Shaun a halfpipe in the backcountry of Silverton, Colorado and will start posting some awesome videos soon. In short: he’s planning to invent a series of new tricks that will change the sport forever. Check out Shaun White’s private halfpipe and check back here for updates.

From Kate:
Not only is the video on building a halfpipe in the back country extraordinary to watch, the website is beautifully designed, and the video streams seamlessly! Go check it out and keep checking back, November 3 they go live with all Shaun's new tricks!!

Avalanche Advisory

This is Mark Staples from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center with an early season Avalanche Information Bulletin issued at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28.

Mountain Weather:
Overnight up to 2ft of snow has fallen in the Bridger Range, 12-16 inches near Big Sky, and 4-5 inches in the mountains near Cooke City and West Yellowstone. Northerly winds have been blowing 12-15 mph with gusts up to 38 mph. October has been especially cold and snowy with preliminary climate data indicating Bozeman may experience its coldest October on record beating 1969 for the coldest daily average temperature. Precipitation has been above normal with MSU recording an additional ½ inch of water above the monthly average.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:
With such cold weather and abundant snowfall, avalanches are a very real possibility. A human triggered avalanche occurred on October 6th in the Bridger Range on Sacajawea near the summer trail breaking on the interface from the October 1st storm. On Saturday, October 24th a group of four skiers was caught in an avalanche near Trapper Peak south of Missoula. The West Central Montana Avalanche Center collected an excellent report from one of the skiers HERE.

Read the rest of the Advisory HERE.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Telluride has new back country access

USFS adds three new backcountry gates off
ski area

Lower Bear Creek and the backside of Palmyra Peak, now open for business
By Matthew Beaudin

Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 8:49 PM CDT

The United States Forest Service removed Lower Bear Creek’s veil on Wednesday, making the tempting terrain legal to ski this winter by adding two backcountry gates — into Reggae and Contention — just off the top of Lift 9.

In the same decision, the USFS also added an access gate off the backside of Palmyra Peak, the newly opened 13,320 matriarch of the ski area. That gate will allow backcountry travel into Lena and Alta Lakes basins.

The Lower Bear Creek area is frequently skied by Telluride’s locals, legal or not. Those who have been caught and had their passes removed are, by any measurement, a fraction of those skiing the terrain.

“There’s been probably 20 years worth of violations into the closure area,” said Scott Spielman, the recreation manager and snow ranger for the USFS’s Norwood Ranger District. “With access points, it allows users to make an informed decision.”

For the rest of the article from the Telluride Daily Planet, click HERE.

Hate Free BoZone March Nov. 1

In response to the Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist "Creativity Movement " group's recent activity in Bozeman, targeting the Montana State University community, public schools, at least one local business, and people of color, Bozeman United, an ad hoc, non-partisan coalition of concerned citizens and organizations, will hold a "Hate Free BoZone" march and rally on Nov 1, from 2-4pm. The march will assemble at 2pm at the intersection of 8th and Cleveland (MSU campus). We will march north on 8th to Main Street for a rally at the Willson School gymnasium. The traffic department has requested that marchers park their cars downtown (the parking garage will be open and free) and walk to 8th and Cleveland.

This peaceful march and rally celebrates the diverse individuals and families that call Bozeman home and reaffirms our community-wide commitment to a hate-free, safe, and welcoming Bozeman where we value and embrace diversity. Please come out with your family and help us celebrate what makes Bozeman so special, all of us!

In addition, the coalition has reserved Room 235 in the SUB on campus for sign making from 12-4 Saturday Oct 31st. Please bring waterproof markers, heavy paper and other supplies to share.

There will be a hat passing at the march to collect donations to cover expenses for the banner across Main Street and fliers. Please contribute what you can.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's in a tattoo, anyway? (Part One)

I've discovered that I love getting tattooed. And while I've been interested in marking my body in a permanent way for a while, I never really thought through the evolution of my love of tattooing and being tattooed.

I was talking with a friend last night, and he asked me why it is that I've gotten so much ink lately, and I told him I have nine or ten more pieces I'm longing to get, including a large piece on my back. (Much to the horror of my mother, I'm sure...)

But here's what occurred to me. My first tattoo was in 1991, on my low back (years later to be called a "tramp stamp" damn it all...) I couldn't think of anything significant or meaningful enough to me, so I asked the woman to draw up something beautiful, art deco, that would follow the line of my body and just be a present from me to me. She drew up several pieces, and I picked one. An acquaintance from acting school went with me, and she chose one of the designs I'd rejected, and had it put on her body in the same place.

She sat with me while I got my (surprisingly painful) first ink, and it occurred to me that we'd be linked forever, this girl I barely knew, with the sister design to mine on her body, and her company while I leaned over the chair and felt the needle scratching my skin.

My second tattoo I got on a whim. Tom and I were walking down Hollywood Boulevard when we'd been dating all of two weeks. I said, "I want a tattoo." And we walked into some random shop, I drew a climbing rope on my ankle and two little stick figures, one belaying the other, and some tiny flowers. Tom and I had been climbing buddies for about a year at this point. I drew it on in ball point pen and the dude, a little stoned and uninterested in the work, put it on in all black, forgetting to add the color. $30 later, I was out the door sporting some new ink. But I wasn't thrilled. I mean, I'd drawn it on because it was what I thought of at the time, just wanting to mark me, mark a new chapter, take myself back to some extent.

Tattoos and men and I have an interesting history, that first one broke my first husband and me up. He liked clean skin, and I thought of my body as my own. It wasn't the defining moment, the actual issue, but it was enough of a wedge to serve as an excuse for both of us to annul our six month marriage. Helllllooo, Hollywood!

This tattoo I got with Tom was a small rebellion against a boyfriend who I was crazy about but who was, sadly, crazy himself. Young, wild, and trying to feel free, I made the mark.

There's more here, too... I'll write about this in a different separate post, I think... because I found out years later that that boy had put a major piece on his back about me, after we broke up. Strange to have part of your life on someone else's body.

I didn't get any ink again until seven or eight years later, just barely post pregnancy with Bodhi (well, maybe he was six months old). This piece, I thought through. This would be the Wife/Mother piece on my arm, and I did it as a piece of installation art on my body in 2003. There weren't a lot of blank English words on people's bodies at this time, and the model co-ordinator at Art Center saw the exhibition on the piece and sent it in to Skin and Ink, where it was published as a daring new trend in tattooing. I was pleased, I was daring! These two tiny tattoos were DARING!

It was exhilarating, I planned this piece in class with my favorite teacher, the amazingly intelligent and funny David Schafer, who was a bit shocked that I'd tattoo my body for a school project. I was thrilled about it because it was on my wrists, there would be no hiding it.

I planned it for months, I thought through it. I finally had a piece that was significant, that I believed in. You can read more about the Wife/Mother project and see more photos here.

This was the first time that I felt the power of conviction in my tattooing.

I've never understood why people get a picture of Garfield on their shoulder, even if you love Garfield, it just didn't make sense. But I think my little climbing guys and my filagree are the same, just masquerading as something important. These marks are significant in that they were me desiring to find something significant enough to place on my body forever. These marks to me now represent the search for the beginning of the path.

I always wanted more ink, but was nervous to be respected by having visible tattoos. Then I met my friend Tiffany Mylott, an incredibly beautiful Yoga instructor and a massage therapist, who is covered in ink, but has managed to make a collection of pieces that are significant to her, full of color and beauty, and show her character, beliefs and love right there on her body. She is no less feminine for these pieces, her beauty, already luminescent, shines brightly out of the mandala on her arm, and her tribute to her wedding day.

Emboldened by the beautiful color I saw on her, I sought out Chad at Third Chapter Tatoo in Bozeman, MT. I had seen several pieces by him on people around town, and every time I'd asked who had done that piece, the answer was Chad.

I had asked my sister about a year before what a word for patience was. This was the lesson of a year and a half, the focus of my life, Patience in skiing, in bumps, in changing edges, patience with my heart, with myself, with my kids, patience in life. Liat gave me the word Aequinemitas, meaning Patience through Peace of Mind, and I fell in love with it. I wrote it on my skis, I focused on it for a year. I then took a piece that Tom had designed for me, an art deco design showing a drop of oil unwinding in water, which reminds me also of the way the fascia feels as it lets go and loosens under my hands when I'm giving massage. Only with deep patience, and by listening to what the body wants do things change. I took the chance, and Chad did this amazingly simple, beautiful, and very technical piece on my arm. Its a hard piece to do because there is no black outline. Color only. And I loved it.

This was the first time that I understood that while you get what you want, because its your tattoo, its very important to allow the hand of the artist on your body. I was art directing Chad quite a bit at first, and he was gracious to me. By the time we'd got going, I had let go a little and as he asked me if I wanted shading or not, I told him, "Do your thing, make it beautiful".. Suddenly, Chad was enjoying himself as well.

For the rest of the story on the Aequinemitas tatto, click HERE to read the detailed post.

The next chapter, coming tonight, my new tattoo, and what it means to feel it heal.

Recession? What Recession?

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Vail Resorts Inc.’s season pass sales rose 13 percent in September as skiers eager for powder prepared to make tracks a year after the financial crisis.

“This year the economy is still struggling but there is more confidence that it’s not getting dramatically worse,” Robert Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said in an interview. “The economic issues that we faced last year started right at the beginning of ski season and got worse until the end of the season.” The company operates five U.S. ski properties.

For the rest of the article from Bloomberg, click HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On the overwhleming nature of too much to do.

So I move to Aspen next Saturday. That means I have seven days until I get in my car and drive there. There are many things that I should get done before I go... and for some reason, I've decided that the best way to get that stuff done is to sit down and write a blog post... because I've read everything on Facebook and on my Tweet Deck...

Here's the deal. I'm overwhelmed. Not with the idea of moving, I'm ready to move. In fact, I wish it was moving day. I have felt for the last month like I'm spinning my wheels, just killing time until I can start my new life. And I think that my love of a crushing deadline and my desire not to be in the situation I'm in here at home anymore is making me myopic to the day of the move, unless I'm engaged in my kids, I'm focusing down the tube to the day I leave. Which isn't helpful as far as moving toward getting gone.

I think I also don't relish the fact that once I'm gone, I'm having to trust that everything will be okay here. Letting go of the kids for a few weeks is even harder than I thought, and with so many SO Many unresolved issues, I feel like I can't put my head down and get to work because there is so much obstinately unresolved crap. And its time to take the bull by the horns and hammer out how this is all going to work, because the constant change of plan is making me feel like I'm standing on a keyboard and someone else is playing the paino.

Honestly, I'm excited to be in my own place, living on my own, standing on my own two feet, making my own money, starting over, turning a page, as it were.

I'm overwhelmed with the fact that there's a week to go, and I wish I'd gone through the barn the attic and the garage all summer like I was going to... but didn't really have time or energy to.

This business of divorce is very tiring. It takes up a lot more time than I ever thought it would, and I'd love to write more about it, the ups and downs and what its been like, but I can't do that right now, so there is all this... silence about this huge part of my life, this giant, emotional and time-sucking thing, like swimming upstream through slow molasses.

This is another reason I'm excited to get outa dodge, we both need some space, here, and living on top of one another in the same house has not made this any easier.

What I need to do is make a list of everything I need to do, in all categories, not just of my appointments, and make a performance plan, essentially, to make sure I get it all done before I go. (And here I hear my little sister, who is a workflow expert, saying "Lists don't work!" and she's right, but I gotta do something, because I'm getting nothing done fast except preemptively missing my kids and Mike and his kids.)

But I want to sit at my computer and write and play with my boys in ooblick and make cookies with them, and then next Saturday, just wander out to my car, turn it on, and go to Aspen.

Its not often that I turn my face away from hard work, I'm a fan of running at the thing that scares me, or running at the thing that needs tackling, I find that when you go at it, it gets done sooner, and when you look away, it grows, and sometimes it grows legs and follows you around.

The funny thing is that I also have a bunch of stuff that doesn't need to get done before I go, but needs doing. And I'm gonna loose this awesome enormous iMac that I work on when I leave, and have my old, slow, broken PowerBook to work off when I'm down there, so I feel like I should knock a bunch of computer stuff off the list, too... I had this grand idea that I'd buy one off Ebay for $500, but that's another dream on hold, because money is still tight, and that's okay, the computer I have will make it.

Wishing it was different is taking the energy I need to make it happen. What is now? What is in the now? What is my reality that I need to face, handle, and walk through, no matter how inconvenient, unknown, scary, painful... seven days to do it all.

And its time to get started. Now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reader Question: Which Rando Bindings Should I Buy?

One of my friends and readers of my blog, triathlete Jonathan Rice, just sent me this question:

Oh queen of ski, I just bought skins. I'm going to, some day, convert one of my tele skis into an AT ski. What binding should I be looking at?

Hello, Mr. Rice! Depends on the ski you are on and the terrain you want to shred, how much weight you are willing to pull up the hill with you. I ski on Dynafit, but you need Garmont or Dynafit compatible boots. They are super light weight and excellent as long as they don't fail. Angela and I were skiing Saddle two years ago and one fo my bindings wouldn't hold, we were six turns down the face and had to do some surgery on the binding. I usually ski downhill with them locked on in touring mode now, but that means they WONT come off if they need to.

An EXCELLENT FAQ on Dynafit bindings by the talented Lou Dawson at WildSnow can be found HERE.

On the other had, they weigh NOTHING, and in over 100 days in the back country in the last three seasons, they've only ever failed that once. Now I make sure to rinse the springs in the creek when I'm done.

Fritschi and Naxo make great successively heavier rando bindings, fairly stable, you will find people that swear by both brands. I'm a fan of Fritschi over Naxo, I just felt like it transfered more energy to the ski. Naxo's binding is discontinued, but you can find it used or in backstock. A good FAQ on the Naxo is also at Lou's blog, HERE.

From Altacam.comThe Swiss Company Fritschi Diamir built an incredible reputation for the design and development of alpine touring bindings. Add the Black Diamond name to the mix and you have the AT bindings of all time. The Freeride Plus goes up to a 12 DIN setting, and can handle your aggressive skiing.

Introduced in the 2006 season, the Fritschi Diamir Freeride Plus Binding has remain virtually unchanged. Just like the original Freeride, these bindings are designed for big-mountain freeskiing or whatever you can throw at them. The adjustable toe height and Teflon anti-friction plate guarantee that the Freerides will fit any alpine touring or standard alpine ski boots.

As stated above, the all time Alpine Touring Binding.

Megan's favorite binding is the Duke, its heavy as all get out, but its the best Alpine binding she's ever been on, AND its a good quick convert rando binding. I don't mind a little weight for day trips, I'd probably buy the Duke and put it on some heavier skis for things like Saddle and the rest of the the Bridgers. Blackmore is a bit of a haul, I'd maybe want a lighter ski and binding for a day like that. Either that, or just train a little heavier and take the big guns everywhere!

Read what Lou has to say about the Duke "A binding John Wayne would be proud of..."HERE.

Hope that helps!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Goodbye, Whitefish. T-16 days till the move to Aspen

This is my 1000th post! Can you believe it? And it marks an important milestone in the move to Aspen, in about an hour I'm hopping in my car to go say goodbye to Mike and his kids. I'm not sure when we'll see each other again, maybe Thanksgiving, possibly not till Christmas.

Leaving is hard, leaving my kids, leaving Montana, leaving this new love, leaving his kids, leaving my home, leaving Bridger Bowl, leaving my kids, leaving my business, leaving my friends, leaving my kids, leaving my kids.

So I'm trying to take it one good-bye at a time. And this next few days, while doors are opening in front of me (I'm now officially writing for Ski!) and I'm moving through them gladly, I want to be sure that I am HERE NOW to experience every moment of the next sixteen days. (While packing, raising money, tying up loose ends, and spending time with my kids.)

Goodbye Whitefish, Mike, Marley, Ethan and Cyrus. It was a magical summer, and I can't wait to see you all in Aspen at Christmas!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Never Ending Becoming

It is always amazing to me how much work there is to be done. Part of me loves this and part of me can't stand it. For instance, I'm looking forward to ski season so I can focus all my energy on understanding how to bend my ski high in the turn rather than focusing so much on how I work in the world, why I am here, and how I'm meant to interact with the rest of the humans around me.

But really, they are both so totally interwoven, I can't ever get away from becoming, because its, I believe, the point of it all. To get as far as I can get in this lifetime toward a peaceful, happy, joyful existence. That's part of why I love to ski, its like touching that kind of joy, its like sampling what life can be in all its facets once I've figured it out more. The funny thing, is that the life seems to be the journey, there really is no "figuring it out". Well, for a few there are, those rare enlightened beings who have let go of ego and suffering and simply exist, helping others to do the same.

Anyhow, I'm waxing a bit rhapsodic here as I'm puzzling through something that happened to me over the weekend.

Here is the bare bones again, and thank you for your indulgence while I lay myself bare. I guess, again, the reason that I do this is because I'm a person, struggling to make sense of it all, and you guys are too. So I figure, why hide? Why hide my flaws and mistakes and warts and stubbornness and all that. Why not just lay it bare, sift through it, look at it, learn from it, be grateful for the lesson, and grow. (And I think I always have to write that disclaimer because its scary to show you guys, my readers, whom I love and cherish, how very flawed I am. But that is what makes us human, and here I am. Human.)

I pride (and there's the first mistake) myself on being a great communicator. I like to think that with all the years of study that I've done in Psychology and communication, in coaching, in teaching, that I'm really, really good at being clear when I speak.

I also am proud of myself for having learned in the last three years, and especially in the last year, the installation and protection of boundaries and self respect. I now feel when those boundaries are being bumped up against, and I protect them, I protect me, fiercely. I have finally lost the fear of saying to someone, "I'm sorry, you can't talk to me like that. That does not feel good. Please say that differently, or don't say it at all."

The problem is, and perhaps you can read it in that above statement, that in learning to protect and care for myself, I have become a bit of a warrior, sometimes when its unnecessary. This may be because I had NO boundaries before, and so in order to feel them in effect, I must be very vigilant of them now.

And this weekend, I had to learn a very painful lesson that its time to trust that the boundaries are in place, and to put some compassion back in there for the person who is trying to talk to me, even if its in a less than ideal tone of voice. In caring for myself, I had lost my grace.

Realizing this was very hard, it was painful, because I believe that I care so deeply for my friends, for those I love, and because grace and care and compassion is something I hold in such high regard, that to see that in learning the lesson I needed to learn so badly, I had lost this essential piece was just...

For the last three days, I've been looking at trust again. Trusting myself. Trusting that I will care for myself, for my children, that I can feel that boundary, that I will step in if its dire, that I can feel the difference between semantics and battles worth fighting.

The scary thing is that it took a near train-wreck to bring me to my senses. I was so carefully guarding my boundaries, that I forgot someone else's heart, plight, feelings and fears. And that lack of care for them was like a beacon to their own boundaries.

And I stood on the precipice and felt, for the first ten hours, sorry for myself and wronged. And then, with the help of Tamara, who took me gently by the hand and asked me to look with my heart for what the other was feeling, I realized that there was so much sadness, so much surprise at my lack of connection and care, I realized, suddenly, I had been careless with the most important thing there is, grace and compassion for (all) but especially the ones you love.

I spent the next ten hours weeping about my carelessness, and living in fear that I'd learn this lesson the hardest way, (and yes, I've had to learn this lesson the hard way before, as we peel down the layers, the same lesson, closer and closer to the core of the matter is exposed. I've said good bye to several friends I've loved by not realizing I'd wronged them by simply not having a compassionate heart for their hurt while they were wounding mine.) And I spent the next five learning to breathe again.

I am fortunate that I have a strong, compassionate team around me who is willing to gently shine a light on the path when I get lost. Amy, Tamara, and Mike were my guides through this unexpected surgery, and, as with any abrupt becoming, it was wicked painful, but the end result was a well weeded, well tended beautiful becoming. I'm just grateful I came through it without loosing anyone in the process.

It seems to me that the beauty of this life is that the becoming never ends. The core issues I'm here to tackle will keep presenting themselves, in different and smaller permutations, as I learn more and more where they come from, why they exist, and I gain deeper understanding that allows me to let go of the behaviors associated with them. For instance, growing up, I had no ability to protect myself when I was disrespected, so now, when I feel disrespected, I do protect myself, a great step forward. The next step was to do it with my swords down, which was hard to do. I learned it, but not completely, there are some situations I'll go into both swords drawn without even realizing it. The next and hardest was to learn to go into it realizing that the disrespect I am feeling is probably me projecting the hurt I've felt in similar situations from the past onto the one I'm in now.

And rather than feeling that deep pain pulled forward from the past, and assuming the worst, perhaps, I can put down not only my sword, but my assumption, my ego, my pride, my pain, and listen with an open and giving hear to the person who is trying so hard to communicate with me. This is the big challenge. To be there for the other person, without looking through the filter of your past. To trust that your boundary will be there if you are truly threatened, but to see through that boundary, not like curtains, or gauze, but like an open window.

I'm grateful for these lessons, because I know they move me forward. I know they will make me better at loving the people I love, better at listening to my kids, to my students, to my teachers, just better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do you have current CEU's on your relationship?

I was hiking up Big Mountain last month with Mike and some friends, and we were talking about people, and the nature of relationships. Friendships, mentor-ships, working relationships, romantic relationships, they all have something in common.

They need to be tended. Now this is nothing new, we all know that we need to care for each other, pay attention to each other, but it occurred to me in a way that it hasn't before.

We were talking about staying current in our respective fields, and how there are some people who are always psyched to learn, to make sure that they are up on what is changing in their field.

I love to take CEUs (Continuing Education Units) in Skiing (of course) Philosophy, Psychology, Massage, in writing, in art, in music... I love to keep growing and learning. I'm not sure who said it, but suddenly we were talking about the fact that people don't do that for each other.

What I mean by that is, can you imagine if, to keep your certification in your relationship current, you were required to do 32 hours a year of continuing education on your significant other?

You should know what they are doing, what they are interested in, how they are growing and changing, what their path is. You might even take a class in something that interests THEM so that you have a deeper understanding of this person, who means so much to you.

Now, if your partner is an accountant, and you are a performance artist, you might very well be putting each other to sleep. But as I see it, you are still obligated to care for your relationship with the same eager forward thinking as you would care for a career that you feel passionate about, and keep your education current. That means not just GOING, but paying attention and learning.

Its not just something you should do for your partner, but something they should do for you. My friend Shanon once said, "A relationship is not 50/50. Its 100/100. You give it everything you've got, and so should they."

Mike also put it nicely. Think of your love as a bit of cave man fire. You just got it. You aren't really sure how it was made, but you know its precious and important and hard to come by. If you are going to keep it, you'd better carry it carefully if you move it, you'd better tend it, feed it gently, blow on it to give it life, and check it frequently to make sure its still burning.

A truly excellent book on this subject, which I'm reading now, is called "Hold Me Tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love." Now I have to say, I am not a fan of self help books, that's one thing I don't really read. But this is like an easy to read Psych text book that is written by a woman who completely revolutionized couples therapy in the last twenty years. Its AWESOME. Check it out.

Just got sponsored by Leki! WOW!

Holy WOW! I just got an email from Greg at Leki saying they'd like to have me on their gear! YES!! Super awesome! This pole/glove system is SO rad, and SO great for teaching! I'm SUPER PSYCHED! Man I can't tell you how many times I've been putting my poles on over my big mittens while flying down a traverse at Mach Chicken and not looking where I'm going because everyone else can get their freakin' poles on quick! EXCELLENT!

Thanks for picking me up, Leki!

Austrian skier Hermann Maier retires from ski racing

October 13th, 2009


Hermann Maier, aka "The Herminator", retires from racing. Former bricklayer, Maier has two Gold Medals, and four World Cup titles. Survives amazing crash at Nagano to win the gold two days later.

Hermann Maier, 36, announced his retirement from ski racing after 13 years of competing on the world cup circuit. Maier blames physical problems for his decision. He said: "I have decided to bring to an end my career as a competitive skier. After a lot of thought, the decision just made itself spontaneously." He remains one of the most decorated alpine skiers in history.

Read the rest of the article on Teton Gravity Research, and see video of Herman Maier's crash two days before winning the gold in Nagano.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Warren Miller MASSIVE Giveaway!

To celebrate Warren Miller's 60 years of making ski movies, Warren Miller Entertainment, Ski & Skiing Magazines have teamed up to present the BIGGEST SKI GIVEAWAY IN HISTORY.

Everyday from October 1st - November 29th, 2009 - HUGE prizes from the top brands in the ski industry will be awarded. Including:
* Konflict ski boots
* Prophet 90(179cm) skis
* Day of cat skiing for 2 at Keystone
* Two nights at the Village at Squaw, plus a two-day lift ticket
* Snowbird Four nights at Cliff Lodge, Four days of lift tickets for two, guided skiing and early tram.

Visit HERE and answer one (easy) ski trivia question - once you've completed the entry you're eligible to win a prize on that day. Visit the site each day to participate and don't forget to enter into the GRAND PRIZE giveaway!

Get with the program! Women's Camps article by me in 32 Degrees!

My article on Women's Ski Camps came out! WOW! How exciting!! To see a full size image you can actually read, click on each photo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meet the Trainer! Welcome to the team, Stone Clinic!

Laura Keller, MPT

Head of The Stone Clinic Physical Therapy Department, Laura will be putting together the team that will train me!

With a master’s in physical therapy, Laura strives to stay on top of the most innovative and progressive techniques in her field through continuous education, She has completed the highly esteemed Folsom Long-Term Advanced Manual Orthopaedics Course. She has participated in many community health action outreach programs as a physical therapy coordinator and has been involved with treatment and instruction on injury prevention for the Sacramento Ballet. Before she came to The Stone Clinic, Laura was the manager of two outpatient orthopaedic clinics. Laura has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and spent a year living in Spain to master the language. She received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. Laura's interests lie in all things outdoors including mountain biking, volleyball, skiing, and travel. She has contributed to Ski Racing Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Ski Magazine, Skiing Magazine, and

Check out the early season DEALS from AspenSnowmass!

Hi there! I've added a button on the sidebar of my blog, so that when you are all ready to come out and ski with me in Aspen this winter, you can book directly from my site! I'll post deals I find around the Aspen Valley for lodging and lift tickets whenever I find them to help make your journey to Colorado affordable and fun!

(Hey, you are NEVER too old to grab a group of friends and pile into a condo all together. The couches are PRETTY DARN COMFY! Bring your sleeping bag, a few of your best friends, your family and kids, and come SKI with me! Be a recessionista, condos, gas and food are cheap when you are splitting them with friends!)

To start us off, here are a few GREAT deals that the Aspen Skiing Company is offering for early season booking: (Click HERE to see a whole PAGE of awesome deals and packages!)

Kids Ski & Stay Free in March

Aspen/Snowmass is the best place for family fun! Whether they're exploring the interactive kids' trails in the Family Zone on Snowmass, enjoying a day at The Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center, or learning to jib in the Buttermilk Terrain Park, kids love all there is to do here. As always, kids ages 6 & under always ski/ride for FREE at Aspen/Snowmass!


Purchase 5 full days of ski/snowboard school private lessons and receive $50 to spend in-resort on lift tickets, equipment rentals, retail items and on-mountain restaurants by December 1, 2009! $50 credit applicable with each purchase of a 5-day private lesson (full day private lessons only).


Don’t wait until you get here, purchase at least 7 days in advance and SAVE BIG! Whether it's Value Season, Holiday Season, Peak Season or Late Season, buying lift tickets, lessons and equipment rentals 7 days in advance saves money. PLUS save time by having your lift tickets delivered directly to your lodge. Save even more by leaving your gear at home – no airline baggage fees – and renting from Four-Mountain Sports.


The fastest women in the world return to Aspen November 28-29, 2009, for the Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Alpine World Cup! Winternational weekend includes Slalom & Giant Slalom Races on Aspen Mountain, Dine Around dining specials, fireworks and a FREE Bud Light Hi-Fi concert.

(Look for my article in the December issue of Ski Racing Magazine on watching the World Cup live in Aspen!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sponsored by The Stone Clinic!

YES!!! YES YES YES! I've been emailing these guys on and off for about a year, they are the cutting edge of athlete rehabilitation! Their goal is to make you stronger, fitter, and better than you were before you were injured.

My thought, in contacting these guys, was that I have some old injuries, and an old(er) body, and that I'd like my body to be as physically healthy as it can be so that it can not only stand but THRIVE in the intense training environment I'm about to enter. So I want to feed it right, and strengthen my joints, ligaments, muscles... core!!

So I sent them another email asking if they'd be willing to remote train me, and they said... YES!

They are currently putting together a training program that will probably feature the Skier's Edge machine in my workouts, plus nutrition and supplements and who knows what else! I am about to get schooled by some of the nations top experts on making athletes as strong and resilient as they can be!

And you guys will benefit from it, because I'm going to post what I learn right here! YAY!!!

Welcome to the team, Dr. Stone and Staff, and thanks so much for helping me get another HUGE step closer to my goal!!

Check out the Stone Clinic HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"It's not going to stick" (But there's over a foot on the ground and its still snowing...)

So its been snowing a bit here! About a foot every other day! Its so funny to me, I talk to people on the phone, and I'm all psychotically happy because its snowing, and snow makes me HAPPY!

And its odd to me that this is often the conversation:

"Hi, Lucy!"
"Hi, Kate, how are you?"
"I'm great! Its snowing! How are you?"
"I'll bet you are happy about that! You know its not gonna stick, right?"


Really. Why is that? I mean, yes, I've lived in Montana for five years, I do know that most likely snow that falls in September is not going to stick. On the other hand, WHO CARES when its going to melt, or what its going to do in the future? RIGHT NOW, its SNOWING!

And its beautiful! Look! Look outside your window! Look how much is accumulating! You know, it melts off and packs down during the winter, too, but who cares? Really?

I wonder what it would be like if the conversation went this way:

"Hi, Lucy!"
"Hi, Kate! How are you?"
"I'm great! Its snowing! But its probably going to melt off by lunch. I wish I could go for a hike, or something, but this fall snow is just a problem. Not enough to do anything in, and its too wet to hike through! Want to meet me at the mall?"

I mean, really. You don't know how deep it is till you hike up there and look. And you don't know what your skis will float on until you try. And you never know, you might have a really awesome time out there enjoying what IS sticking rather than being inside being sure its NOT going to stick.

WHO CARES? Right NOW, its sticking! Its snowing! Get outside and play for F&*$'s sake! You can debate the probability of it being the base for this year's snowpack over beers when you are done.

(Photos from the last two days, skiing up in Hyalite and at Bridger Bowl with Angela on the occasion of her 40th birthday, and my 38th.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"I just stopped caring what people thought"

I was hiking Bridger Bowl today with my wonderful friend Angela (its her 40th birthday today, happy happy, Angela!), and we were talking about Closing the Door Firmly. And this thought has sort of kept plugging in for me, and we talked about lots of things as we wandered up the road to the Apron to see how deep the snow was.

The thing that struck me as we were walking was that at some point, in order to be able to let go and close the door firmly, you have to stop caring what other people think.

Now, I thought about this, and I've heard succesful people say this before, when they are interviewed, or in print, regarding having faith in themselves enough to put it all on the line and go for it, or to stick to what they believed in, or to believe that they could do it (whatever it was) in the face of adversity.

So many of them say, "At some point, I had to stop caring what other people thought and just listen to myself."

Now, in the past, when I've heard this, I've always thought to myself, wow, that must take a lot of conciet. How can you ever be so full of yourself that you stop caring about other people?

Or how can you ever be so cocky as to be sure you are "going to make it"?

What hit me today is that to "Stop caring what other people think" doesn't mean being concieted. It means the opposite.

It means seperating yourself from your ego enough so that the reason you are doing what you are doing is not at all attached to praise or blame or guilt or celebration. What you are doing is just what feels right for you, on your journey. And those who love you will see that and give you grace, even though they may not understand it. And those who don't, well... they are living in a world that has limits.

The fact that they can't see what you are trying to accomplish, or the fact that it might be possible, is most likely because they are limited in some way in their own life, and you being brave enough to believe in yourself is like holding a mirror up to that which they could do.

No one really wants to look at their own shit. So when you are working hard toward a goal, especially an unlikely goal, or an improbable goal, (in societies eyes), it is hugely important that at some point, you stop caring what other people think.

And that this doesn't stem from a place of entitlement or ego, but just the opposite, that you are open enough to trusting your path that you can allow space for other people's fears. They can use you on your journey to be challeneged to lay down their preconceptoins about themselves, about you, about people "in your situation" whatever that might be, about the norms.

And, as we know, you can't please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you. Some people will be down right put off by you. And that's okay. Life is not designed for everyone to like everyone. We all have to find our people, our niche, the place where our lives make sense.

I know, for instance, that to some people, my own journey is seen as selfish. I have gotten emails from moms who are angry with me for the choices I am making, and feel that I am doing a disservice to my kids by skiing.

I have also gotten emails from moms who have gone back out and started playing again, and because of that, they feel that they are better parents, they have more energy and they are more playful.

I think both are right, I think that time spent away from the kids takes time away from the kids, and that quality time is worth more than quantity time. But like everything, there needs to be a balance.

For those who disagree with my choices, I've had to learn to come to a place where I'm grateful for their input because there is probably a great lesson for me in there that will ultimately make me a better person. It's probably a hard lesson to learn.

I've also come to a place where I realize that often times that lesson is just to let go and allow that person to have their anger, and let it belong to them. To realize that my choices don't make sense to them, and to see that that's okay.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Closing the Door Firmly

WOW, so I've been thinking about writing this post for about a month, and then I read the article below, on "You Can't Do What You Want by Doing Something Else", and had some further thoughts... then, in the last twenty four hours I've talked to about half a dozen other people, and in the course of the conversation, we've come to what basically amounts to the contents of this post. Sheesh, I guess I'd better write it!

From Bruce Eckle's post: There's a quote that appears again and again in various forms: "close one door, another opens." It seems like magical thinking until you see it happen. And it only happens when you don't leave the door partially open, but instead firmly close it. For some reason, being certain that you're ready to move on does cause some kind of magic to happen, and I don't know why.

This reminded me of something that my friend Aubrey recently went through, she posted the following on her FaceBook page after she unexpectedly lost her job: "My job was annulled today. That's a first. Funny how working the wrong job (wow you should meet my ex-managers) feels worse than the space left over when it goes away. Must be making a big space for something good!"

Aubrey and I chatted about this a little bit more, and I loved that her understanding of the pain of something ending is the feeling of space being made for something bigger.

Putting those two thoughts together brought me here:

In my life, I used to "play it safe". I used to make SURE that the next door was open before I closed the one I was walking through. In FACT, I used to make sure that as many doors were left open beind me as possible. What I didn't realize (and I should, because my mom used to wonder if I was born in a barn quite often...) is that when you leave all the doors open, its terribly drafty!

I used to do it in relationships, I'd make sure that my next one was all lined up before I left the one I was in, I used to do it in my profession, I'd make sure that everyone around me agreed it was a good gamble before I'd try it.

Its like trying to grab onto a flying trapeze while holding a string of dental floss between your fingers. That little distraction, your little "safely" of the thing before, of the "other" keeps you from committing 100% of your energy towards success.

And this reminds me of the dry land training that I used to do for skating. We'd work out on a jump box, doing a series of complicated power enhancing moves up to the top of the box, and the boxes got successively higher, and the jump got increasingly more difficult.

(For the insatiably curious, get a box thats about 25" off the ground to start. Jump with both feet from a stand still to the top of the box. No steps or running jumps. Now, jump with just one foot, and land on the other. You may swing your free foot, but no steps or running jumps. Static take off. NOW, jump from one foot and land on the same foot. Same deal, static take off.)

To succeed at this, you must see yourself doing it. You must focus on momentum, you must see the arc of your body, you must relax and let your core do the work, you must give all you have while staying relaxed. You must feel your muscles fire all the way down to the tip top of your toe pushing finally off the ground.

If, during this process, you are holding onto the thought "but I should be ready just in case I catch my foot on the bench and fall over" or "Its likely that I will not clear the box, and the fall is going to hurt" you will, most likely, not make it. And trust me, that is painful.

To succeed at this exercise (which is great training for anyone who is trying to learn to do an Axle, by the way), you must let go of all safety and self preservation, you must surrender to your commitment to execute this maneuver, and you must only focus on the things you need to do physically in order to succeed. "What if I fall" or "Don't fall" are not things that help your physical body accomplish the task at hand.

I think its the same in life. I think that to be free to find what you need in a relationship, you have to close the door firmly on your last one. That is not to say that you need to be cruel. That is to say that you need to be finished, and that they need to know it, and you need to know it, and then there needs to be a period of time in which you are finished before you are really emotionally available to anyone else, including yourself.

I think that to be free to see the potential on your path in your career, you need to close the door firmly on past obligations, on safety's, on what society, or your parents, or your sister, or your high school history teacher would think was wise or the "right" thing to to.

You must let go of the idea of holding onto the dental floss, "just in case", so that you have your whole mind and both hands free to catch that trapeze bar when it swings your way.

Thoughts? Personal experiences? I love love that so many of you email me and share these things with me, if you can, please post them here as a comment so the rest of the community can benefit from your experience! We all are SO much less alone in this than you'd ever imagine.