Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heavy Trees Redux


Heavy Trees Redux
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Heavy Trees Redux

www.sugarbowl.com

Look at all that snow. Those poor trees can barely hold up their branches.

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Top 5 Lessons Learned from Skiing

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008/2009 Ski Season: Day5

Sugar Bowl

Heavy Trees Redux

We got to Sugar Bowl at 9:00 AM on the button on the Bay Area Ski Bus. Tahoe in general has been hammered by storms throughout the past week. Sugar Bowl got probably 2 feet of fresh since Christmas.

I took one quick run on the Judah lift which served a groomer/terrain park.

We spent the morning on the White Pine lift teaching a new skier how to ski for the first time. The sides of the trail were 1-2 feet of fresh while the run itself was all groomed for the beginners.

The best skiing of the day was on the Disney side of the mountain. Off the Disney Express, the Crow's Traverse gave access to Strawberry field which was tree runs jammed with fresh powder.

Lines were pretty short, the weather was great, and we got a trace amount of snow to boot.

Great day at Sugar Bowl!

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Sugar Bowl Posse


Sugar Bowl Posse
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Warren, Lauren, Jodi (and Demetri if you look at the reflection in Jodi's goggles). Taken on the White Pines Chair Lift, aka the Bunny Slope.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Gonna Have a Bad Time

French fried when he should have pizzad:

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2008/2009 Ski Season: Day 1-4 Recap

I'm back from my trip to Snowbird for the start of the 2008/2009 ski season. What a blast! We hooked it up with the Bay Area Ski Bus and flew to Salt Lake City on Saturday, December 20th. The flight was out of Oakland, so we packed our gat, locked the doors, and hoped for the best.

We met Walter and the rest of the crew at the gate. I was the only one of the group who had previously skied Utah so, naturally, everyone started to ask me questions.

What's the snow like?

What happened to that skier in the avalanche last week?

How big is the mountain?

What about Alta? (Alta is for skiers :) )


After answering all these questions and more, I was dubbed the "expert skier," much to my chagrin.

We landed in SLC and hooked up with Canyon transport for the ride to Snowbird. Our driver was really cool. My only question to him was about the roads. They are notoriously dangerous and often closed. He assured me we were all good on that front so we headed out.

We made a pit stop at the grocery store at the base of the canyon. Jodi and I loaded up on trail mix, cheese, crackers, and my favorite, yogurt.

When we got to Snowbird, we checked in to the Cliff Lodge. This place is tight! Right on the mountain, you can ski in and out of the Cliff via the Chickadee slope or the Cliff Access run. We got a crappy room on the 6th floor with two queens. Unacceptable. I went to the front desk and upgraded to a King on the 9th floor with access to the Cliff Spa. Nice!

Day One:

I took Jodi down to Cliff Sports to rent some skis. She got Dynastar Legends 165s which were perfect for the pow pow in store. We headed out to the Chickadee slope with Andrew, also on Legends. I could hardly wait. As I clicked in, I started whooping and hollering. Jodi and Andrew were a bit slow and I couldn't wait any longer for the first turns of the season. We did a few laps on Chickadee then took the plunge and hit the tram.

We took the tram to the top and it was a mad house. The wind was howling and snow was blowing everywhere. I took a few minutes next to the ski patrol shack to hang out with the recscue dogs and ski patrol. We needed to get moving or get blown off the mountain!

It was a bit dicey coming down Chip's Run. I needed to do some cajoling to get Jodi down the mountain. In retrospect, maybe the tram wasn't the best place to start out. However, the mountain is pretty difficult to navigate and I only learned later how to get to easier lifts from the Cliff.

The lowlight of the day was getting mowed down from behind by an out of control snowboarder.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We hit Gadzoom, Gad 2 and then headed back in. All in all, it was a great first day of the season.

Day 2:

Jodi went in for a lesson and Walter and I ripped it off of Peruvian. Tons of snow, maybe 12" overnight plus some nice ungroomed all over the mountain. It was a blast. My legs were feeling it for sure. We met up with Jodi at the Mid Gad lift and shortly thereafter. Jodi and I headed to Gad2 when I decided to hit up Little Cloud.

As I ascended the mountain on the Little Cloud lift, things got progressively more hairy. The wind was whipping around and snow was poudning my face. My gloves were frozen, my face bright red, and my jacked stuck to the lift. When I got off the lift, it was an absolute white out. I couldn't see two feet in front of me. There were a group of 4 skiers hanging out ther and I shouted "I'm following you guys, I have no idea where I am going." That plan didn't work out too well as two of the four guys were clearly outmatched by the conditions. Only one skier and I went down the slope right away. He was okay but kept stopping. As I didn't want to go alone into the abyss I stopped too. At one point, the wind was blowing so hard the snow was whipping by me at over 40 mph. I was stopped but had the feeling of moving due to the snow drift. That really freaked me out. I eventually got to a bit lower elevation and regained some visibility. I was frozen through and kept turning all the way down to the base of Gad 2.

When I met Jodi near the Gad 2 lift, I let out a shreik. She says: "I've never heard your voice so high." I was pretty shaken up but was good for a few more laps. We hit the Bass Highway and called it good.

Day 3:

We started out at Baby Thunder lift. There was tons of fresh powder. I had some fun ripping up the ungroomed sides of the runs. There was one whole run that was untouched. That is utill I got there.

We hit some more laps off of Gad 2. There was pleanty of freshies to be had in between the zig-zagging Bananas run. I had some mogul action, a brief encounter with some rocks, and I was all good.

Day 4:

Our last day was also really fun. We got out for first chair on Wilbere and hit up the Baby Thunder area again. They had come through and groomed most of the runs which made it more fun for the beginners. I ripped it up under the chair and got some more fresh tracks. We went to Gadzoom and it was still pretty windy. We hit up Wilbere lift and then headed in to turn in Jodi's skis and have lunch. The whole Bay Area crew was there at the Cliff getting lunch. We headed back to SLC airport and flew back to Oakland on Christmas Eve in time to wrap presents and sack out.

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Powder Stash


Powder Stash
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Volkl Mantra 184s eat powder for breakfast.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wasatch Mountains on a Clear Day

View from Gad Valley at Snowbird. Shot while skiing on Christmas Eve 2008.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bluebell


Bluebell
Originally uploaded by dmourati
First tracks on Blue Belle off of the Baby Thunder Lift. DEEP Pow, maybe 3 feet. I have no idea how noone beat me to it. Those tracks to the left are mine from the previous run.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Praying for Snow and Getting It

Olli throws down in front of the Gad 2 lift.

I saw Olli getting suited up in a neon green boarder outfit. I figured he would look good in front of the brownish wall in the background. He agreed to get me take the photo. He didn't like his pose in the first one so wanted to really throw down for this one.

Check out the snow!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

y=mx+b


y=mx+b
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Slope

Handheld at dawn out the room of my hotel.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Making a List


Making a List
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Checking it Twice

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Hip Hop Lego Style

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Junior Meteorolgist in Training


This time of year, I put on my weatherman hat and turn into a junior meteorologist. I can tell you how the wind is blowing at Squaw, or how much powder fell at Alta. I'm talking about skiing. It is my winter passion and I am absolutely licking my chops.

I've scheduled a ski trip to Utah for December 20-24th. I've been there before, and I loved it.

The snow is already in good shape at Snowbird, with a 32" base. They got 8" earlier this week and another 1-2 feet are on the way.

Perhaps more impressive is the storm heading for Tahoe right now. My sources predict 3+ feet of snow in Tahoe between now and Tuesday.

If you are looking for snow information, specifically Tahoe for the rest of the season, or SLC for the next week, stay tuned!

Additional Sources:

snowforecast.com
Best for predictions
onthesnow.com What's fallen as of this morning
snocountry.com Up to date snowfall including today

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Adidas


My Adidas
Originally uploaded by dmourati
Man, I love these shoes. I bought them at some funky soccer shop in Chicago circa 2000. They're still kickin'

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Indoor Soccer Starts Again

Tonight I play my first indoor soccer game in over 5 years. I found a league at Off the Wall Soccer in Santa Clara, CA that plays Wednesday nights. My team is Balco United. I hope there is no steroid requirement before taking the field.

When I was a kid in high school, I used to play indoor at the Odeum, then run by a Greek named Tony Dallas. I would go around school during the day and recruit players at $5 each to join in to rent the field. We would show up there, 8 or 10 of us and pool our money together to pay for the field rental. I think it ran about $60 an hour. Somehow, we always wound up short but Tony would let us play anyway. I think it was in no small part because both he and my dad (and me) were Greek. Either that or he figured there was noone else there vying for time on the field. Still, we would play for two hours or more every week. It was a great time.

I'm looking forward to getting back into playing. I took a few days to get sorted out last week and played one 3v3 pickup game and then just kicked around with Jodi to get some semblance of touch back. Mostly, I'm concerned about fitness. The field is huge and it's 6v6. We may have only one or two subs which will make for a long time out on the field.

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