Exploring the outer reaches of human movement.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Signing up for ski or snowboard lessons?  Here are a few key points to consider:

Multi-week lessons provide the foundation for learning and advancing on the snow quickly.  The weekly trip to the mountain not only builds muscle memory, it also builds traditions and emotional memories too.

Experts say kids do best when taught by the same teacher throughout their lessons.  Does the ski school you are considering offer it?

Small class sizes are important to all, but especially kids.  Most ski schools have nine to 12 kids per instructor.  Some high profile resorts, like Park City, Utah, have limited the student / teacher ratio to six.  How many students will be in your class?

Kids in class?  How about you?  Giving yourself the tools and techniques to ride better may not sound as fun as bombing around the mountain.  But, you'll need those skills in a few years when your kids get to be faster than you...

If you haven't signed up yet, Olympic Ski School offers all of the above.  http://www.olyski.com/  Classes start January 7th.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Open Season Rail Jam

The Open Season Rail Jam is the first freestyle competition of the year.  The competition takes place in the terrain park at Stevens Pass and is open to everyone. 
The comp is Saturday, December 18th.  Register in the Granite Peaks Lodge at 11:00 AM.
The winner earns an invitation to the Big Air Fiesta.

Who Turned On the Lights?

Night skiing at Stevens Pass begins this Thursday, December 16th.

Conditions permitting, they will operate the Skyline, Hogback, Daisy, Tye Mill, Brooks, and Kehr (Big Chief) chairs.

If you plan to ride at night, get yourself some clear goggle lenses.  You don't have to buy a new set of goggles.  Go to Pro Lens at http://www.prolens.com/ or call 1-800-PRO-LENS.  They will sell you a clear lens for the goggles you already own.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pineapple Express

Sunday, December 12th:  Stevens Pass will have limited options due to (forecasted) heavy rains.  The terrain park will be closed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snoqualmie Opens. Stevens Wednesday.

Snoqualmie opens for limited operations Friday, November 26th.

Stevens Pass is scheduled to open Wednesday, December 1st.  Check out their web site on Monday.  They should have the schedule, number of lifts operating, etc. posted then.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baker & Crystal Open Tomorrow

The Ski Area will begin daily operation Saturday out of both base areas, with 7 chairlifts running. It is early season, low snow conditions, operations will be limited to main groomed runs only and skiers and snowboarders are reminded to be mindful of early season conditions and use extra caution.

Crystal:  Open this weekend!
WE ARE OPEN WITH LIMITED OPERATIONS! The Discovery, Quicksilver, Chinook Express & Forest Queen lifts are open this weekend from 9a.m. to 4p.m.
Tickets have been reduced to $20 due to limited operations and early season conditions. We are closing Mon-Wed and plan to reopen on Thursday (conditions & weather permitting).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grand Opening!

It's that time of the year when skiers and snowboarders check conditions every hour for the first chance to ride on a few inches of snow and claim their own first tracks of the season.

Timberline (Mt. Hood, Oregon) is open!  http://www.timberlinelodge.com/

Whistler (B.C.) opens Friday, November 19th.  http://www.whistler.com/

You may not have to wait much longer to get your first rock dings in the Puget Sound region.  The incoming weather system has Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain both prepping (and praying) to open by Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Best Terrain Parks

If you're planning a holiday to a ski resort this season, make sure the resort has a good terrain park.

This time each year, magazines publish their resort guides to help riders make decisions on where to go for vacation.  In recent years, most have added a section for the best terrain parks.  Instead of picking a list from one magazine or online publication, I've compiled a list of resorts from all the lists I could find.  I simply noted which resorts received recognition in the most publications.  Parks mentioned the most are listed first, but #1 isn't necessarily the one with that made the mosts lists.  The first three, for example, all were mentioned the same number of times.  I just chose to list all ties alphabetically.

Most mag's have a top ten list.  I'm not quite that good:  I only have a top nine...  And, here they are:

1.  Breckenridge, CO
2.  Mammoth Mountain, CA
3.  Whistler / Blackcomb, BC
4.  Buttermilk, CO
5.  Copper Mountain, CO
6.  Keystone, CO
7.  Northstar-at-Tahoe, CA
8.  Park City, UT
9.  Vail, CO

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Swap Meets

Seattle SkiFever & Snowboard Show:  Oct. 15 - 17th
     Washington State Convention Center

Mercer Island Ski & Snowboard Swap:  Oct. 23rd
     Islander Middle School, Mercer Island

West Seattle Halloween Ski Swap:  Oct. 30th - 31st
     West Seattle VFW - 3601 SW Alaska Street

Newport High School Ski Swap:  Nov. 12th - 13th
     Newport High School, Bellevue

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Freestyle: Downtown Throwdown

5th Annual Downtown Throwdown.

Kick off winter this Saturday, October 9th from noon 'till 5:00 at Occidental Park in Seattle.

25 riders, 30 tons of snow and a bunch of rails should make for some smiley times.  And, it's free!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Season's Pass sale ends Oct. 5th

The Steven's Pass season's pass renewal sale has been extended until October 5th.  If you had a pass last season, now is the best time to renew it.  If you know anyone looking to buy a pass, give them the discount code (below).  These will be the lowest prices of the season.

Click on the link to Stevens Pass:  http://store.stevenspass.com/store/Default.aspx

Then click on "Buy A New Pass".  When checking out, use this discount code:


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Freestyle Skis

Common question:  What are the best skis for freestyle skiing?  Answer:  Depends on what type of freestyle skiing you do.  Typically, the question is about skis best suited for the terrain park.  Skiers all have their own unique style, just like everyone else.  So, certain skis may be better suited for your style.  There are many quality park skis, so I can't recommend a particular manufacturer.  That said, here are a few things to consider:

Twin tips:  Having tips on both ends of the ski is not a requirement, but it is helpful when learning how to ski and land jumps backwards.  You can ski and land switch without twin tips, but if you're going to be buying skis, get some twins.

Width:  Width refers to how wide the ski is underfoot; the most narrow part of the ski.  I would go with mid to upper 80 cm's.  This gives enough width to float you in powder, but isn't too wide for tricks and features in the park.

Length:  Length can be personal preference.  If you are new to the park and just learning tricks, short is better.  Riders talk about "swing weight" on park skis.  Short ski's are easier to "swing" onto boxes and rails.  (as are more narrow skis)  General guide:  Stand the skis up next to you.  The tip should be somewhere between your shoulder and the top of your head.

Bases:  A dedicated park ski will have reinforced bases to protect them from hard features like rails and boxes.  Any time you session a hard feature, you will cause damage to your skis.  These bases will help the ski last longer when put through this abuse.

Binding Mounting:  True park skis have bindings mounted in the middle of ski.  (center mounted)  This allow one to ride forward or backwards (switch) easily.  Conventional skis are mounted more towards to tail of the ski.  If you plan to ride all over the mountain, but occasionally take a lap through the park, a conventional mounting is recommended.

Graphics:  If you like everything about the ski but hate the graphics, get some stickers...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day sales

This time of year, ski shops try to unload last year's gear.  For as long as I can remember, there have always been big ski and snowboard sales over the Labor Day weekend.

While shops won't have all their 2010-11 gear yet, they will have some.  If you're in the market for new equipment, this is a good time to check out the latest and greatest, and save some money at the same time.

I've attached a link to a site that I think is pretty good at explaining snowboards.  If you don't know what you want, read this before you go.  That said, most snowboard shops have pretty skilled staff and they will generally steer you towards the right equipment.  If the "dude" is too cool to listen to how you ride, find a different "dude" in the shop to help you.


I read a great article by Mike Porter about ski design.  I'll try to find it (and get permission) to publish it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Season Pass sale

Seattle weather graced the last day of August with 56 degrees and rain.  That got us snow hounds thinking about strapping on a board or clicking into our skis again.

While the upcoming ski season still feels a long ways off, it's actually time to start planning.

Stevens Pass is having a sale on their season's passes.  If you had a pass last year, renewing now will save you the most money.  (passes get more expensive closer to winter)  If you didn't have a pass, here's a way to save some money:

Click on the link (below) to Stevens Pass, then click on "Buy A New Pass".  When checking out, use this discount code:



Saturday, August 28, 2010

Questions and Answers

Q: Why should I take a terrain park / free-ride lesson?

A: Terrain parks are a very popular and fun way to play on the mountain. 80% of all U.S. ski resorts now offer designated freestyle terrain. You’ll need instruction to understand the flow and etiquette of the park, as well as how to safely ride in the park environment. Having a coach will help a rider progress their skills and safely challenge their abilities on the many features the park offers. The skills leaned in the park will make riders better everywhere on the mountain.

Q: What will I learn?

A: Riders will be coached on three key elements: 1) Park etiquette: How to safely navigate the park and interact with other park riders. 2) Specifics movements and skill development for riding park features. 3) Overall rider development.

Q: Is protective equipment required

A: Yes. Helmets are required. As with any aspect of skiing and snowboarding, there is an element of risk. Riders may wish to consider additional protective equipment. Some helmets can be fit with mouth / chin guards. Body armor is an option, along with elbow pads and shin guards. Padded shorts are pretty common. Wrist guards are a good option for snowboarders.

Q: I see some huge jumps in the park. I don’t feel comfortable with features that big.

A: There are many features in the park to cater to all abilities. Riders will start small and work on features that are appropriate for their ability.

Q: Can anyone sign up for terrain park coaching?

A: Most anyone can sign up. Riders do have to be Level 4 snowboarder / Level 5 skier (comfortable riding intermediate terrain, like Skyline) and at least eight (8) years old. Helmets are required. The park and pipe have a youthful spirit, but no one is too old to try. No terrain park or half pipe experience is necessary.

Mission Statement

Provide a focused, multi-week approach to teaching skiers and snowboarders how to safely tackle the many features the terrain park and mountain offers. Coaches will help riders progress their skills on features appropriate for their abilities.