Dinner at Lizzy’s, more westbound friends, gear upgrades, Know before you go and GoPro down!

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

After 2 short work weeks this one seemed to last an eternity, when I finally left at nearly 7pm Friday night I had over 55 hours in and was ready for a Saturday morning of snowboarding, dinner at a friends and lazy Sunday around the house.

Along with our first “In & Out burger” experience after work Friday night Aubrey and I went to a hole in the wall Japanese restaurant with an extensive authentic menu called Koko’s Kitchen. With a large ethnic variety of takeout customer traffic I had high hopes but long story short it ended up being a good value(large portions+cheap) but the quality of the actual sushi left something to be desired, I’m thinking we should have gotten some of the warm food as that’s what everyone picking up takeout had ordered. We red boxed “Crazy, Stupid Love” on the way home and settled into the couch for Friday night movie night.

I woke up to reports of 3 inches of fresh snow overnight at Brighton, measly amounts by Utah standards but with almost the entire inter-mountain west being mostly dry we’ll take whatever we can get. Weather people say storm windows is gonna start opening around mid December and we sure wish it would hurry. While I wished for more snow Saturday was nice the sun was out, temps were good and lift lines non existent one you left the base area. I was by myself so I figured this would be as good a time as any to try our my newly stickied GoPro snowboard mounts and new Smith Turbo Fan Prophesy goggle.

First off I was told ahead of time to be wary of using the included sticky mounts on my snowboard but I figured if I attached it carefully I’d be fine.

The mount was a giant fail boat but short entertaining HD video
Click YouTube Link for HD /
Back to the drawing board on snowboard nosetail mount project have to buy something free solution is not going to work out.  Also didn’t have time to fully charge battery so I spent the remainder of the day testing the still photo mode of the GoPro Hero2.
Brighton opens this week for night skiing, it’s lit all the way from the top of Crecent lift to the base, total night riding acreage is about the size of AftonAlps but much narrower and longer of course.
Old smiling Bob here(Above) is telling me about how much fun it is to hike to the “unlit” adjacent potions of the mountains for take moonlit runs back to the base.

Not to bad, a little bit of fresh and almost nothing iced over yet

Looking off the backside of Brighton, that’s all off resort hiking area I plan on becoming very familiar with this winter but not without a partner and my avy gear.

    Ahh Solitude

Looking towards the base of Brighton

Looking up to the highest point of Brighton, need more snow to get Great Western lift running to access 🙁

After Snowboarding we drove to Lizzy’s place in Park City for beers and nice dinner of spagetti and lamb meatballs with her room mate Laura and too many of their new friends for me to remember.

Thats LizzyLaura and soon to be Ryan’s place like 2 blocks from Park City Mountain Resort lifts
Smith Prophesy Turbo Fan  OTG Goggle

So this brings me to a brief product review of my new goggles(see them at the end of my above video), I’ve always wanted winter goggles I could wear a pair of prescription glasses under so when I happened upon a 50% off coupon for smith optics web site I jumped at the opportunity. Although not 100% necessary being able to wear my glasses with goggles might come in handy in the backcountry while studying snow crystal charts, distant snow surface conditions, making slope angle estimates. These are also the “TurboFan” series which have a high quality fan built into the top center with a two stage switch built into strap. You can see the black switch on the right hand side of the above picture. Iv’e had fans built into previous paintball goggles and they were a godsend, this concept works wonderfully especially for those of us that wear face masks that tend to send your warm moist breath directly up into your goggles. So if you wear glasses(their fine with or without glasses) andor ever have an issues with goggle fogging for your active winter activities save your pennies and invest in a par of these you will not be sorry. They also leverage Smith’s AirEvac Goggle+Helmet integration system which I take advantage of with the Smith Helmet+Goggle combination.

I attended my first in person avalanche training seminar last Thursday called “Know Before You Go” it’s a free program they have all over the state that consists of a 1.5 hour presentation followed up with questionanswer and very basic in store equipment(beacon, shovel, probe) demonstrations. This is a very basic free presentation only meant to inform people completely new to the danger of avalanches winter travel in mountainous terrain. The presenter(whose name escapes me) is the real deal, he was a Heli guide in the Chugach range in Alaska for over 6 years with many appearances in both Warren Miller and TGR films. He is now the head of avalanch patrol at Alta ski resort and the sole operator of the onsite howitzer used to control far off difficult to reach avalanche danger zones, this guy is the real deal and has seen and done it all including being dug out of an avalanche and digging dead and critically injured best friends. See a great video of what these guys do to keep us resort folks safe here.

My actual hands-on, classroom and avalanche field training starts at brighton in 2 weeks, now that I have all my own “Avy” gear I can take this 3 day class and spend time at the local Beacon practice fields located at

SnowBird, Solitude and the Canyons. I almost hiked and rode Gaurdsman’s pass Saturday afternoon but didn’t have any water or backpack with me not to mention was alone so I thought better of it and went home instead of possibly getting myself in over my head 3 weeks into our winter adventure. I spent ALOT of time researching and talking with experts(online and in person) about the various avalanche beacon brandsmodels with an emphasis on rangesensitivity and ease of use.

My Black Diamond AvaLung backpack, K2 rescue Shovel, Black Diamond Avalanche Probe and Pieps DSP Smart Transmitter, all set just a few more minor items to add to the list!

Friends Incoming!

Our good friends Robin and Canada are getting into town on Friday to visit and of course go snowboarding and skiing this weekend. Canada’s one of our good friends and Afton Alps ex first tracks crew member who moved to Southern California the summer before last, we miss him and his antics, it’ll be nice not to be the only nerd in the house for a couple days. Robin’s one of Aubrey’s long time friends from Bennigans who’s studying to be a Doctor(MD) down in Kansas City were so excited to have them both staying with us and miss them bunches.

Canada and Robin 

Also another one of our good friends(met through Lizzy who moved to Utah ahead of us) and backpackingclimbing partners Ryan Wilkus is coming to stay with Lizzy for the winter. I’m really looking forward to sharing some epic backcountry experiences with Ryan and my new found friend and avalanche mentor Logan……say tuned for more pictures, video’s and stories from next weekend!

Lizzy and Ryan
 Love and miss everyone at home and abroad were doing fine and hope all is well with you and yours!

Ruth’s Dinner, Emigration Canyon, Black Diamond and Backcountry.com store visits

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

Pretty chill over the last few days, just hanging around the apartment trying to not spend money and waiting for the new storms and snow to make their way east.

We continued onto stop 3 (#1 was Crown Burger and #2 The Red Iguana) of our “As seen on TV” (Diners, Drive in and Dives this time, Food Network) restaurant tour to an 80 year old Utah classic called Ruth’s Diner see the youtube episode segment here.

Tucked 12 way up Emigration Canyon we arrived around noon and the place was PACKED. It was a 40 minute wait so we put our name in, grabbed some complementry coffee from around back and continued our drive up the canyon to take some pictures while we waited our turn.

Back to this amazing meal, for starters just for stopping in they bring out what they call the “Mile High Biscuit” as the restaurant is about a mile above sea level. About the size of newborn baby this giant carb bomb melted in our mouths and induced copious salivation, easily the best I’ve ever had anywhere period hands down.
Everything they serve is farm fresh, local, sustainable bla bla bla all that good stuff. I had Ruth’s Classic combo eggs, hash browns, pancakes and insano good fancy bacon, Aubrey was more adventurous and had the Crab and Avocado Omelet which consisted of real and fresh succulent crab meat, avocado, green onions, tomatoes and cream cheese with their amazing signature made from scratch hollandaise sauce which we requested on the side for group dipping and calorie control. One of the best if not THE best breakfast I’ve ever tasted, simply amazing. We’ll be coming back as they have several dishes including but not limited to whats supposed to be the best mac’n’cheese in the entire state that we’re dieing(yes that’s how I spell “dieing” deal with it) to try.
After we stuffed ourselves silly at Ruth’s we decided to to hit up two stores we’d been waiting forever to visit in person, first was the Black Diamond Equipment Company storefront where we picked up Snow grain classification card for my upcoming avalanche training, the Wasatch backcountry Touring Map #1 and some random stickers and post cards.
The second stop was someplace I was really waiting to see the Backcountry.com storefront I’ve spent countless hours surfing their site and making a snowboarding, backpacking and canoeing wish list. For those of you not familiar this is the backcountry store to end all backcountry stores. Tramdock, Dogfunk, Whiskey Militia and Steep and Cheap are all part of the backcountry.com family of online retailers. We didn’t buy anything but it was a super cool place lots of people sitting around watching snowboard and ski movies(also known as “snow porn”) eagerly trying out and picking up new gear they purchased online. This place had a great vibe kinda like walking into google headquarters but for the serious outdoorbackcountry enthusiast.

After our day  of mostly window shopping we made yet ANOTHER run to target for dinner where Aubs picked up ingrdients for one of her always wonderful and healthy dishes consisting of cage free organic chicken breasts topped with avocado and baby swiss, saffron infused quinoa and a spring mix side salad topped with glazed walnuts and cranrasberries.
Now onto the boring stuff , we started reading Water for Elephants for our roadtrip and finished it this morning while laying in bed, wonderful period book(1930’s) about life in a travling locomotive circus. Tonight we rented the movie from iTunes so were going do the Book Vs Movie comparison from the comfort of the couch.

More storms forming on the horizon as this dreaded slow moving high pressure system moves out tomorrow night with moderate storms incoming sometime between Wednesday evening and Friday morning. More info on projected incoming storms over at http://wasatchsnowforecast.com/ , these guys are great please take moment to visit their page.

That’s it for now hopefully everyone is doing well, things are going good and were having a great time but we sure do miss our family , friends and of course the Harley and Molson our dogs who are home safe, sound and spoiled with grandpa and grandma.

Take care and we hope to see some of you sooner rather than later!

Powder Day, Alvin & Lizzy, Crown burger and my first GoPro video attempt

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

A nice storm started shaping up in the pacific early last week and finally rolled into northern Utah Friday evening dumping a foot of fresh fluffy Utah powder by the time I jumped out of bed Saturday morning. I threw my gear in the car grabbed my new never before used GoPro Hero2 and headed out for Brighton about 15 miles from where were currently staying. Being it’s pre-tourist season I ended up in the second row of cars parked right near the already spinning lift, things were looking good lots of fresh snow and no crowds to contend with.  The previous evening I messaged Snowvols a Utah local who I met online at snowboardingforum.com , Snowvols is friendly and experienced backcountry rider originally from the south who runs marathons for fun, this should have been my first hint that keeping up to this guy was gonna push me hard but that’s why I’m here right?

After meeting up Snowvols and Ryan from http://www.snowboardingforum.com we headed up the crest express for our our first turns of the day. Surface conditions were perfect soft, fluffy and fast. Previous to this storm riding the woods and black diamonds was totally out of the question but now with the fresh foot of snow we could carefully venture out into the woods and closed sections with somewhat less worry of rocks and other “snow sharks”, I still bounced off lots of rocks and trees but no real gear damage and lots and lots of heavenly faceshots. After chasing Vols for 2 nonstop hours of epic early season riding my lungs were burning and my back aching. I said my goodby’s to what I hope will be our Brighton shredding crew so I could get home to Aubs who was enjoying a a well deserved morning of newspaper , coffee and relaxation.

After I changed out of my gear we headed out for the dreaded “move to Utah for 6 months Target run” to get everything we needed to get by, food, shampoo, garbage bags, and a something for Aubs to make her healthy and tasty fresh fruitvegi smoothies. 2 hours and 250$(eek!) later we eventually escaped from the black hole also known as Target.
One of the things I really love about Utah is no matter where you go your have mountains literally surrounding you on all sides. See this shot of a random 7-11, yes they still exist here even without gas pumps yep you guessed it slurpy , candy and Cheetos heaven.

After we puting away our bounty of commercial items from Target we decided we were to tired to actually cook anything we purchased we headed to the most famous burger join in Utah, Crown Burgers.We first heard of CB on one of our favorite food shows Man Vs Food when he did a Salt Lake City episode which you can watch on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scrHXwyLc0Q Their famous for their Pastrami topped double cheeseburger jammed with onions , tomatoes, lettuce and fry sauce. If you don’t kow what Fry sauce is your not from Utah people here put that stuff on everything. Everyone makes it differently but fundamentally it’s a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise and pureed pickles with small changes in the level of herbs and spices and it’s dam tasty and near heart attack inducing on site.

                               mmmmmm crown burger, I’ll be eating plenty of these to replenish ride calories
Sunday we planned to try and see Lizzy who just moved here ahead of us from Minnesota and Alvin a Salt Lake local who spent time working in Glacier and Tahoe with Lizzy and Aubs in for a little reunion of kindred spirits. We started out the night at the desert edge pub in Trolley Square near the university just outside of downtown and continued to 3-4 of his favorite bars restaurants. Per usaul I was happy to be designated driver so the 3 of them could have some drinks and remissness about old times gone by. Was great to see Alvin again as he makes us all laugh until we can’t breath and our abs beg for mercy.

The above shot is from the giant maple trees growing out of the sidewalk that haven’t even lost their leaves yet. Not many places where you can ride a foot of the best powder on earth and then 20 minutes later be longboarding or playing disc golf comfortably with only jeans and a sweatshirt……heaven.


posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

I wanted to stay at Walmart for awile so I could see if anyone was crazy enough to take a second look at what I can only hope was a shirt designed for a “bad Christmas sweater” contest. Anyways people here are just as weird as Walmart people at home they just wear more makeup and tighter pants.

We made it!

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

Outside of me not paying attention and almost letting the car run out of gas(yes it was chugging and sputtering) somewhere in the middle of Nebraska at 11:30pm at night the trip was pretty uneventful. We made a brief stop in Lincoln to grab some terrible bar food, stretch our legs and then drove on and spent the night in some hodunk town off of I-80 somewhere in Wyoming,  Woke up had our breakfast and headed out to park City where we hooked up with Lizzy, Laura for an amazing dinner and met 2 of their many new found Park City friends.   Would love to live there but I’m a canyons guy and it’s just too far from where we work and play. no matter I’m sure we’ll be seeing them a couple times a week at least.

Is this thing working?

posted in: Winter 2011-12 | 0

First blog attempt(Ever) I only have a few minutes but told myself as part of my pre trip preparations that I would at least try and get this started and try to stay with it throughout the winter.

Still have so much to do and not making much progress, not bringing my PC so I picked up a 1TB mini external hard drive for this winters photos’s, video and itunes library. Also finally picked up a GoPro Hero2HD been saving those best buy certs for over a year now and when the new Hero2 came out I knew it was time so we had it for our road trip.

Gonna miss the dogs so much been taking them them to play lots of disc golf, the dog park at Battle Creek which they love and lots of little drives, walks and trips before we go, I’m thankful for the warm weather so far hope it holds out another 10 days.

For those of you that don’t know I’ve been given the opportunity to live in Utah and work out of our office in Sandy Utah just a few miles away from Big and Little cottonwood canyons containing resorts like Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude.  After several grilling interviews Aubrey got a gig at what should be one of the most exclusive restaurants in the ski world, Aerie on the top floor of the Cliff’s lodge at Snowbird under new management and after a multi-million dollar remodel they hope to blow people away with their new chef, staff and menu should be a great view at least during her work day, it’ll be great for her to finally be working literally up in the mountains again.

It’s going to be interesting as we don’t know where were gonna be living 2 months from now but we have a month of access to a furnished apartment until we find something suitable in the Sandy or Cottonwood Heights areas close to where we work and play.

More to come we haven’t even started to pack yet and were down to almost 10 days before we have to hit the road so Aubrey can make it to start her training.

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