Steamboat Bound

Steamboat Springs on 11/7/06

It would seem that I’m headed to Steamboat Springs, CO! I’ve heard about Steamboat for years, and now I’m finally going to get to check it out. It’s the place Wil from 120DaysOfPowder.com ran off to. Just watch his videos for a while and you’ll get all fuzzy warm inside dreaming about the powder drenched descents.

Now that I’ve got another trip planned, I’m back in the gym. My last gym day was 11/21 – the day before we left on the Winter Park trip. If you count the trip as exercise (and it was!) then that’s just over 2 weeks of slacking. In those two weeks, I’ve consume more food than I like to think about. I guess my metabolism is high, because I can’t seem to get full. Tonight I got on the scale to see if all the consumption had done damage. I weighed in at 171lbs – I think I was 172lbs when I left for Winter Park. Go me!

I don’t really have a fitness ‘program’, but I’ve developed some habits. For a bit more information on snowboarding fitness programs, you can check out the fitness post on hitting kickers. He’s also got a few other exercise related posts. There are also a few snowboarding fitness posts on about.com. I might try detailing my own routine in a future post.

Enough about fitness, I’m excited to talk about something else – methods of travel. That is, specifically in relation to the upcoming Steamboat trip. I’m going with someone I should probably call out as my bestest friend in the universe. She really wants to fly there. Best tickets we can find last minute are around $450 and airport transfer is around $40. I want to drive. This is, in part, because fuel costs will run about $300 – saving us at least $700. It’s also because, tonight I decided I need to trade my Xterra in. We’ve had this long thread about the perfect snowtripping vehicle on DallasSnowboarders.com. I posted every vehicle I would consider owning and have been researching them all. At the end of it all, I can’t find another vehicle that seems to best the Xterra in total package. So, I think I’ll get another one. I think taking a road trip to Steamboat Springs is an excellent way to break in my new ride.

Back From Winter Park: iRide Cap In Hand

iRide HatSo we had a fantastic time in Winter Park. The snow conditions weren’t the best – we had a lot of dust on crust. However, more of the mountain was open this year than when I went two years ago. I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped. I wanted to try a 180 on the jumps, but I wasn’t able to figure it out. In fact, I really wasn’t even close. However, falling twice made me realize just how much I am going to have to exaggerate my body movements. After crashing on both 180 attempts, I crashed on the same simple straight jump I had landed time after time. It was the end of the third day, and frankly I was trashed.

Halfway through the trip, I did find something interesting to play with in the future. I’d been thinking about this thing they call butter. Something to the effect of riding up on the nose and spinning around such that you land switch. I leaned forward on the board while I was thinking about it and felt the board start to come up and around real smooth. Suddenly I realized I was starting to do it when I didn’t intend to and tried to straighten back out. It was too late, and my hesitation made me wipe out. However, I was surprised and how naturally it was starting to happen.

So the bus ride to Winter Park was hell. The condo was laid out great, but was falling apart. I had to rebuild the shower door and later Roger was hanging the handle back on the stove. When we locked our keys inside, Cyn was able to pop the door open using her driver’s license. I can’t complain much, the place had a kitchen and we ate good. We even had a turkey on Thanksgiving day. I must say, the group I was with was great. Everyone was all over things like cooking and cleaning up dishes. I also met lots of other neat folks including a rider from Dallas who got started at 36 and has been riding for 5 years. He was really comfortable on the board and impressed the group time and again.

So, finally, about the iRide cap mentioned in the title of this post. Cyn noticed a cap in one of the ski shops that she had to point out. How about that, someone else snagged the name “iRide” and put it on a cap with a snowboarder! Granted, the iPod-esque logo was predictable… however, Ride does not really imply snowboarding any more than a mountain bike or rollerblades. I have to wonder if someone visited my website before creating these hats? Oh, and for the record, iPod didn’t inspire my journal name – that was actually a fluke. Anyway, check out the cap in the photo for a grin.

Here We Go, Off To Winter Park

Don't Look BackIt’s the day of the trip – finally. It’s always been the day of the trip, in my mind. It’s approaching on 11:00. I was up early this morning. I cooked myself a yummy breakfast, washed all the dishes, cleaned the counters, washed up the laundry, and took out the trash. I’ve got most of my stuff packed aside from the food items. I’ve printed my map to the bus stop. I’ve got snacks set aside for the trip. Folks should start showing up in a couple of hours.

I can’t decide on taking the laptop. If I bring it, then I have a place to dump photos and movies off of the camera – meaning I can take a lot more video than I normally would. I would also have lots of movies I could watch in the evenings. Having the movies almost encourages me not to take it. If there is Internet access from the resort, it sure would be nice to post a photo and update while I’m there. I guess I’ll decide at the last minute.

Of all the things to be haunting my mind, I keep thinking about someone who’s not going with us. Anyway, I’ve still got to pack up the cooler when my friends get here with their stuff and then I’m ready to hit the road. Another weird thing haunting my mind, I don’t feel like I want to come back. I haven’t even left yet, and I’m not looking forward to coming home. At least I got the apartment cleaned up a little before we left. I suppose I could use the next hour to wash all my bedding. It sure is nice coming home to clean sheets.

Days Left: 1

Winter Park Web Cam ShotOne more day of work, and then tomorrow I leave. Only somewhere between 6% and 10% of Winter Park is likely to be open. I was hoping for a little bit more snow, but I’ll still have just as much fun. Just checked the weather. Wunderground thinks there’s a 20% chance of snow on Thursday and Friday. Weather.com thinks there’s a 10% chance. If you noticed, next week it starts ramping up to a 40% chance. I’ve noticed over the years that the big dumps like to come right AFTER Thanksgiving. It’s funny how it works like that.

I’d like to thank everyone that comes by my journal, but most of you are google searchers. I sometimes wonder if anyone is subscribed to my RSS feeds. Maybe I should start playing with that Feedburner stuff. You know, I just recently started seeing revenue on this site from the google ads. This week I’ve raked in nearly $2. That’s like $8 a month! That almost pays for a GoDaddy hosting account. This encourages me to talk about things that would attract ad clickers. Although, if I did that, I’d be a sell out. But, I guess having the ads in the first place kinda makes me a sell out… Last month I got about 5,500 page loads and I’ve already had more than 5,000 this month. My traffic ramps up during the season, and my more frequent posting seems to be increasing traffic. I wonder if any ‘real’ sponsor would be interested in replacing my google ads with something a little more targeted? That sure would be nice as I’d feel a lot better about promoting a product I actually like rather than random text ads assigned by google.

Anyway… off to work for one last day… and tonight I finish packing.

The Last Saturday

Winter Park on ThanksgivingIt’s the last Saturday before our trip. I’d like to say that I’m stoked, but I’m actually a lot more confused. I woke up in a haze this morning trying to remember everything I need to get done before I go.

Yesterday broke me, as I spent the entire day fighting with Overstock.com and FedEx about the delivery – I mean misdelivery of my snowboard wheelie bag. The original mistake was mine – I didn’t noticed that the suite number of the delivery address was truncated by 1 digit. However, I’ve been desperately trying to update both parties with the new address. I kept getting re-assured that it’s all taken care of only to ultimately have been lied to. It was actually FedEx that lied to me – three different times. The last time they said my bag would be re-delivered to my office Monday morning. Good thing I followed up to make sure, as it turns out they sent the bag back to Overstock. Idiots. Honestly, I rarely see such an extreme level of incompetence as I’ve seen with Fedex in the past week. Overstock, on the other hand, was mostly cool about it. They’re only failures were not having a mechanism in place for me to fix the address on the shipment (I discovered the error almost immediately after placing the order) and for not having a mechanism in their system to overnight a product (they offered to send me another bag, but it would have gotten here after we all left).

*Deep breath*

The Fedex mess happened right after I got finished fixing my truck. I’ve had the transmission repaired three times now – this last time costing me about $700. This time, I honestly believe it’s fixed. That first shop screwed me pretty bad. Anyway, while picking the vehicle up, the battery expired. While I was replacing the battery, the clamp on the end of the battery cable fell apart. Almost $100 later, I could start my truck without a jump.

So by the end of the weekend I need to have found a board bag, possibly a helmet, checked all my equipment for anything that needs to be replaced, packed all my gear, cleaned up the apartment, return my parents truck (borrowed it while the Xterra was in the shop), purchased food for the trip making sure it all fits in the cooler, upgraded the kernel on my laptop (so my card reader will work) and I have no idea what else. The last thing I should be doing is wasting time on the Internet… *innocent look*

Please.. everyone out there in Internet land… put some positive energy out in my direction such that nothing else will break down or fall apart for the next few days… I just keep reminding myself, I’ll be snowboarding soon.

A week and five days away.

My LaptopA week and five days from now I should be on a bus half way to Winter Park. If you ever read my journal, you already know this. So yesterday concluded my heavy weight training. From here, it’s low-weight/high-reps, lotsa cardio, and a slightly better diet.

My body isn’t the only thing I want to work on before I go. I intend to bring my laptop so I can clear the photos and movies off of my camera each day. The problem is that my laptop’s card reader isn’t currently working. I have a Dell Inspiron 630m with an integrated card reader running Ubuntu 6.10 aka Edgy Eft. What the hell is an Eft? Anyway, the Linux kernel that comes with 6.10 is 2.6.17. The kernel that supports my card reader hardware is 2.6.18. So, to get my card reader working, I have to do something I’ve never done (by myself) before: compile a new kernel. I’m nervous as I really don’t want to blow my laptop up. I *could* just use my external card reader… however, it irks me to have hardware on my laptop that I can’t use. Can we get three cheers for open source software? Still, it beats Windows XP any day of the week.

I’ve also been making the last of my purchases. Today I snagged a Demon Wheelie Bag for $60. I really have no idea what the quality of the bag is. Most wheelie bags I’ve found start at $100 and quickly run up to over $200. I barely missed a $150 bag for $50 on craig’s list recently (arg). Anyway, here’s hoping the Demon bag is good for the money.

I also took some time to try on helmets. I’m glad I went shopping instead of getting on online. I tried on a dozen helmets, easily. I found two that fit well enough to consider buying, and only one that I really liked. The best fit for my head was the Giro G10. (I would link you directly to the helmet on their site, but like so many companies, Giro doesn’t realize that using pure flash prevents people like me from promoting their products with a direct url link… less dumb please!). The helmet runs just over $100 (about $110). The built in headphones were another $30. That puts me at about $150 for a really nice setup. I was hoping for $15. Still, if I damage my head, it will probably cost more than $150 to patch it back up. I’m just having a hard time putting the money out. For this trip, I might just borrow a crappy helmet from a friend.

ZR700 w/my picAnd this brings me to my last purchase consideration. I would like to get a hand-held video camera. I’m on a tight budget. I think that a good zoom will be a pretty important feature. Given that the slopes are usually white, I don’t think I need to worry about low light quality. I originally thought I wanted a mini-DV cam. With all this in mind, I was originally completely sold on the JVC GR-D650. For less than $350, I can get 25x zoom and a pretty sharp picture. Then, for a comparable feature set, and slightly less money, the JVC was pushed aside for a Cannon ZR700. I still get the 25x zoom, but for less than $300. (By the way, if you’re reading this and you’re looking for a comparable camera with better low light, check out the Cannon Elura 100). However, all this research was focused on a miniDV cam. I’ve recently considered checking into other media and ended up reading this:

Given their ease of use and the fact that they potentially eliminate the need for media, it’s a wonder that hard-drive-based camcorders still haven’t replaced DVD-based camcorders in the post-MiniDV world. After all, a camcorder the likes of Sony’s Handycam DCR-SR40 can store as much as 440 minutes of MPEG-2 video in its highest-quality setting on its built-in 30GB hard drive. Dropping to the lowest-quality option bumps that up to 1,250 minutes.

The upshot is that the video is ready to move to my computer with ease. I imagine that this would save me a lot of time. I have no idea what kind of software tools have improved the miniDV to digital video file process, but the last time I did it required recording the digital video file real time. That’s no fun.

The downside is that the low end camera runs a couple of hundred dollars more. There’s also the fact that the camera has a hard drive. I don’t know if this is an issue or not. Hard drives traditionally don’t like being bumped hard, and this might happen if I wipe out while I have the camera with me. However, iPods also have hard drives, and snowboarders love them. In fact, I’ve never heard of an iPod’s hard drive being damaged when someone fell with it. (Does this happen???)

Anyway, if anyone has a camcorder recommendation, please let me know. I’ve got a week and five days to decide if I’m gonna spend the money.

14 Days and Counting

Wil Filming JP in some deep powder.Well, I’ve got about 14 days until the snowboarding trip. A friend of mine linked me to and entry on Wil Everts’ blog called Day 45: Morning Commute. She sent me there to see the video on the page… knowing it would get me stoked for my trip. The first part is some snazzy lift riding (hard core to the bone, lemme tell ya)… but then, they go DOWN the mountain. For something so simple, it sure was wonderful. No crazy freestyle tricks or nutty grinds… just a wonderful run through some rather deep powder. And really, the powder was the star of this video. See the snap shot I took from the end of the video? That’s either Wil or his friend Wil’s friend JP. See the powder all over him? That’s not from falling down.

I can’t wait to go. I’ve been with my gym routine for 4 weeks now. This last time, I had a voice in my head encouraging me by talking about the snowboarding trip… so I over did it a little and I’m very sore. This made me realize that after this week, I should probably stop with the heavy weight lifting. I don’t think I’d have much fun if my body hurts before I even get there. So next week will be lots of cardio and lots of lighter reps.

I still need to get that helmet, snowboard bag, and video camera. I really want the video camera, but it might just be beyond my budget this year. Here’s hoping… if not, maybe I can borrow one from work. Anyway, I gotta get back to imagining myself in 4 feet of powder… I mean work.. err.. something.

Blizzard dumps 18 inches of snow on Colorado

Winter Park Cam ShotOMG OMG OMG OMG!

DENVER, Colorado (AP) — A powerful snowstorm dumped 18 inches of snow in parts of the Colorado mountains and spread eastward Thursday, snarling traffic and shutting down dozens of school districts.

I could crap my pants! Attached is a webcam shot of the town of Winter Park. I’m so freak’n excited!

Oh, and I have more awesome news coming up very soon… I should be able to announce it by this weekend. Life is good!