“Telemark” is Norwegian for “I Can’t Afford Real Skis”

Surfing the powder on the inaugural run.

Free your heel and your mind will follow,” is what the telemarkers say.  Actually, they have many pithy sayings including “Randonee is French for ‘I can’t tele.‘”.

The backcountry skiing bug has bitten me a lot more gradually than most of my obsessions tend to.  Ten years ago, I happened across a pair of burly cross-country skis and started tooling around the local trails in them.  I found a cheap pair of skins and suddenly I could ski up stuff I lacked the skill (or equipment, yeah, we’ll go with that) to get back down.  Maybe stiffer boots is the answer.  Plastic telemark boots came along with the rest of the tele rig and hit all the right buttons for me: light, old-school-cool, and able to, in principle, do some pretty gnarly things on and off piste. Continue reading

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It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

My priorities have changed since I started down this career path.

My career path always seemed pretty obvious. My parents were science majors at an elite liberal arts college on the east coast. My dad got his doctorate in chemistry from an Ivy. Science was everywhere in my house: my folks got me up to see the last moon landing when I was two months old.  I was inundated by Legos. When I was twelve, my grandfather and I got out his telescope and saw the rings of Saturn (so tiny, so perfect!). Consequently, I’ve been crazy about space and rockets for as long as I could remember. Twelfth grade physics class showed me that the universe had operating rules and my fascination only increased. There was never any doubt that I’d end up with a PhD in some sort of hard science, then go off and professor at someplace prestigious, followed by a stretch goal of becoming an astronaut and/or winning a Nobel Prize. It was just a matter of buckling down and working my way up through the ancient system of apprentice/master that is academia.  Honestly, I never really questioned it.  Perhaps I should have more.

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2018 in Running – Looking for the new

Mile 510 – June 30 – Gibraltar Lakes, IPW (best photo of the year!) with Ben, Matt, and Kathy.

2018 was supposed to be the year of exploring new places – and it was! After 15 years in the local mountains, it’s getting harder to find new trails but it’s definitely possible, even if the new territory is merely a tenth of a mile connection from one well-known trail to another.  Many thanks to people who inspired me and accompanied me in exploring new (to me) spots of our little planet.   Continue reading

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2018 Family Camping

Camping is in tents!

Another year gone and the kids another year older, tougher, and more capable.  Also, more independent and less interested always in coming out with us to the mountains.  Nevertheless, we had a few good family trips this year.  Of course, the ski spectacular that was the 2017-18 ski season got us off to a good start.

First up was a two night trip to Fruita in early June… though the highlight of the trip was definitely a hike up to the legendary Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon on the way there.  All these years driving past, we’ve never stopped at Hanging Lake, but this year we finally did.  It’s definitely a tough hike for the length, but the lake at the top (as well as the spectacular Spouting Rock just past the lake) is spectacular.  There was grumbling on the way up, but none once we got there. Continue reading

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Check yourself before you wreck yourself

I mean, I’m certainly not the fastest guy on the trails, but I’ve got more trail running cred than most of the racers here. After a full summer of big runs in the mountains, throwing down thousand-feet-per-mile grades off trail at five-digit elevations, a marathon with only a couple of moderate climbs should be a nice, relaxing, birthday-season desert frolic with friends.

Rawr! Kendal is a great person.

I’d journeyed out to Moab with Nate, Annie, Jesse, and a bunch of other like-minded runner idiots for a little, casual trail racing at the well-reviewed Moab Trail Marathon. It’s a big race! There were about 800 people in each of the marathon and half-marathon distances which are run concurrently. Heck, there were even starting waves of about 200 people each. It’s the USATF trail marathon championship, so there were some big guns of trail running out there. I conservatively put myself in the fourth wave figuring on about a 5-hour finish.

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Divide By Ben Error

Descending to Rogers Pass with James/Bancroft/Parry in the distance

It’s the wonderful time of year when summer is still kind of holding on, but winter is clearly on deck and ready to leap in at any minute.  Whatever great feats were accomplished in the mountains were or weren’t accomplished and now it’s time to eek out every last drop of summer-conditions mountain fun before the snow flies.  Accordingly, Ben and I managed two impromptu local runs.  Oddly, they were the only times I managed to get up to the Divide all year. Continue reading

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Splendid Solitude

Shelf Lake

My theme for 2018 (most years, really) is to go out of my way to explore new places.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised, really, at how easy this often is.  Often times, new places aren’t all that out of my way.

Craving a late season leg stretcher and one more blast of alpine beauty, I teamed up with Brian for a little casual cruise up into the familiar (and spectacular) terrain of Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain NP.  I’ve been up in there in all sort of conditions and ended up at every nook and cranny of this incredible place.  But, as it turns out, there is still new territory up there.

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