Christmas, New years, Raffle Winnings and snowboarding at Guardsman Pass!

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0
This blog update needs some serious refinement but I decided to post it now so I could get it online and start  thinking about our next update.
Wow been almost a month since our last update, been busy and honestly bit lazy since the holidays. Cna be tough to hop on the computer after sitting behind one 60 hours a week at work.

After going to 3 free “Know Before You Go” local avalanche clinics it came time for my official avalanche training at Brighton called “Backcountry 101” this is not a level one certification class(Need a splitboard) more of a precursor to one. It consisted of one 7 hour night class session and a full day in the brighton side country with 3 other students and 2 snow safety instructors which in my case happend to be one of the avalanche control experts from Brighton and their lead avalanche Dog handler.
Here’s some pics from my day in the field at Brighton “Backcountry 101”
Brandon showing how to cut a block out for an ECT test.
View from our field training area
Ifyou have a Brighton season pass this class is only 40$ compared to 150 at the Utah Avalanche center and all the gear you need is rent-able at any local REI or may other retail
or backcountry outlets. That 40$ could save your life.

It’s no secret that snow across the entire lower 48 has been pretty abysmal this year(relative to normal) and Utah is no exception, not as bad as Tahoe or Colorado but still pretty poor, December was the driest on record.

Here’s a video Ryan took of him and I at Brighton with his Contour HD(I forgot my helmet mount for my GoPro, sorry Ryan) during what turned out to be a half ways decent snow day, not a full blown pow day but at least we had 5-6 of fresh to ride off of groomed runs instead of rocks trees and ice.
For Christmas Eve we did a little shopping and went to a greasy spoon for breakfastBloodies and then headed up to Park City to spend the day with Lizzy, Ryan and Laura where Ryan and I practiced with our avalanche beacons in the local park and the girls had cocktails and made Christmas cookies.
For Christmas Day we choose to participate in a tradition born in New York City, Movie theater and Chinese food.
View from the theater parking lot
We slept in until noon made a quick lunch and then went to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” at one of the great local theaters. As far as the movie we were blown away great movie that had some of the most graphic and disturbing scenes I’ve ever scene in any theater in fact we saw a few people walk out about a 3rd of the way through the movie because it was so violent and graphic, the realism is what really did it. Now I’m reading the book and it’s even better than the movie!
After the movie we went home to spend some more time relaxing and trying to find somewhere good that was actually open Christmas day evening for dinner. After surfing the web for reviews and making 7+ failed phone calls we settled on a Asian restaurant called Cafe Trang where I ordered an amazing Pineapple Chicken red Curry. It was Aubrey’s first time having good Thai curry(actually anyThai food she enjoyed) and we both LOVED it! That’s good for me because Thai food’s one of my favorites and now that she knows a dish she likes we can get curry more often and while I wouldn’t say it’s good for you coconut based current isn’t terrible for you either.
Jalapeno, habaneros and cream cheese rolled
into crescent rolls Yum
There’s a glut of free avalanche clinics and classes available out here, I goto every one I can because their all put on by different people and organizations with different agendas and viewpoints. When it ceoms down to it you can never have enough snow safety training and free swag. I’ve been trying to get the Minnesota crew together for one of these and we had the perfect opportunity when the Utah avalanche center announced a really well organized and well vendor funded 21+ snow safety event hosted at the Snowbird(the resort Aubrey works at) Tram club bar and restaurant. As I mentioned this one had a huge amount of vendor support and they were even selling raffle tickets to win everything from powder skis, helmets , goggles, beenies, gloves pretty much everything you can imagine. I convinced everyone to go and we ended up buying 50$ in raffle tickets when we saw how few people actually showed up. Not only did we win something but we won a 600$ pair of powder skis, a 120$ helmet, 100$ watch, 50$ gloves, a hat, stickers and a bunch of other junk. We took our winnings and stumbled up the mountain(literally) to have some apps and libations at Aubrey’s restaurant The Aerie so we could see the new million dollar remodel, try the quinoa fritters and meet her co-workers

Click to see the huge pile of gear they were giving
away at this particular snow safety event.




The Aerie lounge with one of Aubreys coworkers
pulling a photo bomb behind Lizzy and Ryan
Here’s Ryan covered in our winning’s once we got home
Winners rolled into crescent rolls with
Cholula for New Years eve
    For New Years eve evening we invited some new friends(Logan and Erin) out for a two quick cocktails at a local dive bar in then back to the house for some pretty kicken appetizers Aubs whipped up that afternoon.
 I started drinking mimosa’s at about 10:30am(not sure what I was thinking) and while I don’t really remember being intoxicated I do remember being extremely tired, I sadly did not make it until midnight but neither did Logan so I don’t feed so bad.
Since we’ve gotten here we haven’t had cable or really any TV so we’ve been watching all our TV on my work laptop and listening to music on my 20$ clock radio alarm clock with a headphone jack. We did good saving all summer and didn’t really buy anything or go on any vacations and we needed a new TV at home and something for music in the bed room anyways so I splurged and bought us some electronic presents for Christmas.
TCL(Samsung reject) 40in LCD and Vizio 200w Soundbar total cost for both 400$ shipped. Sure there’s better places I could have spent money(Splitboard or Heli sking)  but we’ll get lots of use out of this even after we get home.
As our first piece of Art Aubrey and I bought together is a Jamie Pierre print from the Levitation shop here in Salt Lake, Jamie Pierre was set to be the new Mountain Ambassador at Moonlight Basin MT(Where Ben works) this winter died in a early season(pre-resort opening) avalanche at Snowbird in Gad chutes. All revenue from the sale of these amazing prints go to supporting his wife and children. For those who aren’t familiar with Jamie he holds the world record for the highest cliff jump at Grand Targhee WY and was featured in many Warren Miller,TGR films and GoPro commercials. I figured this would be a good reminder to us of our first winter in Utah and a personal reminder to me that no matter how much training or gear I have bad things can happen to the best of the best so be careful and conservative so I can live to ride the backcountry another day.

The following Thursday we got 3-5 inches of wet sleety mashed potato snow which were thankful for so I decided to take the day off and work so Aubrey and I could actually get in a day at Brighton together here’s a quick video from that day.

Just updated my GoPro Firmware and forgot to set it back to 1080p widescreen 🙁 sorry for the wierd music was tryingt o find something that wouldn’t’ set off Facebook’s copyrights violation video blocking.

I’ve been scoping out the local easily backcountry since this summer looking for the ideal place for Aubrey and I to go for our first backcountry experience. I knew for avalanche safety reasons it would have to be south facing and low angle and somewhat close to civilization in case one of us got hurt. So after much deliberation and planning I chose Gaurdsman’s Pass it’s a 2.5 mile hike from Big Cottonwood canyon toward park City. The pass is what separates Salt Lake County from Summit County(Park City)

This hike included a 10,132 foot summit hike once we got to the pass just to get the 360′ view, you can see the top of the summit in the upper right section of the above picture. This is why where here to get away from all the tourists, boots and fur and ski resorts so we can earn our turns with the rest of the real mountain folk.
1-8-2012 Gaurdsman Pass
Thats my girl

Weather station ontop of the wind blown summit
We got some very good news the day I’m posting this(No mom Aubrey is NOT pregnant) that this wierd weather pattern we’ve been stuck in since early November is finally moving out and even the most conservative of snow forecasters agree the old system is moving out and the new system is moving in around January 16th and we should have at least several feet of fresh new snow by the end of the month.
This equates to several feet of new snow over the next 2 weeks
THIS is why were here and what we’ve been waiting for! Look forward to some epic incoming powder day GoPro video incoming over the next few weeks. Mental note pick up GoPro pole……