The family that skis together…

IMG_4662Given that I didn’t once don skis even once during the 2014-15 ski season, this season couldn’t possibly have been any worse! Last winter was all about obsessive run training. This year I was determined to get back on the snow in something other than running shoes. It was great!

We had four days at Keystone with the kids bracketed by a resoundingly meh backcountry trip in November and a glorious ski date in April. We enjoyed four days with the kids at Keystone quite a bit; it’s bigger than the resorts we are more familiar with (Loveland, Eldora) with lots to explore (which is my big driver). There are lot of kid-friendly aspects to keep everyone happy as well. One of the main lodges and the bunny slopes are up at the top of the mountain so everyone starts out with a gondola ride and spends the day at 11k with spectacular views. There are other non-skiing things like a giant snow fort (with internal slides) and a traversing gondola. Continue reading

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Deseret Quartet

Desert adventures, 2016 edition!

Desert adventures, 2016 edition!

Once again, I threw my professional cares to the wind, picked a pair of beat-out running shoes I wanted to destroy, crammed the trusty dad-mobile to the roof with camping gear, and headed west. Last year’s eye-opening Spring Break trip proved that our life of adventure and exploration wasn’t over just because we had young kids.  They survived and thrived for four nights of camping and relatively challenging hikes in the springtime deserts of Utah.   This year, they’re a year older (7.5 and 3.5) and correspondingly tougher.  We modified last year’s winning formula by making it slightly tougher and more ambitious.  The plan: two nights in well-known Moab.  Then two more nights farther afield in the remote Goblin Valley State Park in the San Rafael Swell. Continue reading

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Pointy Things

An important part of cutting-edge scientific research is collaborative meetings like this.

An important part of cutting-edge scientific research is collaborative meetings like this.

Michele is the nearly-unique combination of an academic colleague who works on very similar topics to me and a wellmatched, kindred outdoors partner.  He’s more accomplished as an astronomer than I am (based on head-to-head faculty job application results), but I think I could take him in a running race (actually, let’s not test that, shall we?  Be kind to my ego.).  He moved away from Boulder four years ago and has been regretting it ever since.  Fortunately, he was visiting this week for some work-related things and we decided to reacquaint him, and me, with Colorado mountains.

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Ten Years a Slave (to my running habbit)

The earliest running photo I can find (July 3rd, 2006).

The earliest running photo I can find (July 3rd, 2006).

I was looking through some old stuff the other day and discovered that the tenth anniversary of my first run was coming up.  Whoa!  Has it been ten years already?  I remember that night clearly: a couple climbing friends got together and took a run along the Bobolink (aka South Boulder Creek) trail on a weeknight in January figuring it would be a good way to keep in shape for some upcoming mountaineering ventures.  One thing lead to another and here we are… Continue reading

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2015 Year in Review

All the runs of 2015, courtesy of Sisu.

All the runs of 2015, courtesy of Sisu.

Obviously, it’s been a big year for me running-wise.  In previous years, I’ve hit 1000 miles only twice and that was in mid-December.  This year I rolled over that fourth digit on June 20th.  The pace fell off quite a bit after that, but I still managed another 427 miles during the rest of the year, surpassing my old record (from 2014) by 380 miles.

The highlight of the year was definitely Bighorn. However, I had a number of wonderful, adventurous runs in the training beforehand and golden summer/autumn/winter after the race.  Since a new year is time for retrospection and smugness, here are some highlights that haven’t made this blog so far. Continue reading

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Walking the Planks

2015-11-25 08.54.37

Been a while since I was up here in snow mode…

It’s been a long time since I was on skis; 18 months to be precise.  Last winter I spent all my free time (and more) running my way into some semblance of fitness for Bighorn.  No, the last time I was on planks was in May of 2014 when I made a ski descent of Horseshoe Mountain.  It wasn’t super-pretty, but I wore skis the whole way down and only fell about ten times.  Technicalities count, right?

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Last Call for Summer Mountains

No, this photo is not upside down.

No, this photo is not upside down.

October in Colorado is a weird month.  Unlike summer in the high country, which arrives gradually, winter arrives like a slamming door.  The first significant snowfall of the year could be in September, or it could wait until Halloween.  In any case, by the middle of October, the days are statistically numbered and any chance you get for one last chance in the mountains before the snow flies should be taken advantage of.

Nice colors at the start.

Nice colors at the start.

Accordingly, Brian and I met up at the Lawn Lake Trailhead in RMNP and did a “run” up to Ypsillon Lake and beyond.  I’ve been to Lawn Lake a couple times, but never taken the left turn up the long, forested ridge to Ypsillon Lake.  It’s nice.  Steep, decent trail, and something new under the sun.  I haven’t seen Brian since Bighorn (where we had somewhat different experiences), so it was fun to do a detailed debriefing.  He’s trying again, so it looks like I’ll be up there as well pacing him for as little or as much of the course as he would like.  I’m pretty excited about that.

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