Dew Tour and Award Shows

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To say the least, the last two weeks have been the busiest weeks of my life. I wanted to write about the Grand Prix halfpipe competition at Copper Mountain and my final day of Avalanche Safety, but there's too many other things!

This past week was Dew Tour here in Breckenridge, and it wasn't at all like last year. Unfortunately semester finals and Dew Tour ended up in the same week, so there wasn't a lot of picture taking. The course was also entirely different. The halfpipe was moved to the top of the run and made into a 22 ft pipe instead of an 18 ft pipe. They also added another jump to freeway, making 4 jumps instead of 3, and I swear they had to have made these jumps twice as big!

This is the first jump of the four. This jump is also the smallest.

 It was supposed to snow Thursday and Friday, but it ended up being absolutely beautiful for those two days. My very good friend Dania won the halfpipe competition, I'm so proud of her!

Saturday and Sunday a huge snow storm moved in, and instead of taking pictures I ended up riding the slope style course all day which was awesome! Me and my friends Anna and Angeli, who usually compete but are out because of injuries, "slipped" the course and helped move the snow for the competitors. They ended up closing the last two jumps on Saturday because the heavy amount of snow was making speed and visibility impossible.

(There's me at the top in the hot pink and lime green jacket.)

My good friend Keri killing it!



Sunday was finals and Ashley ended up winning and Keri got 2nd! I've never been so proud in my life!

 Somehow during this crazy week I was also able to attend a few different award shows and go out to dinner quite a few times with all my skiing friends. The first was the 1st Annual Summit Film Festival Award Show, where my friend Grete won best performance for female skier, and a movie that a few of my friends were in called Eye Trip won quite a few awards.

Anna, Anais, Ashley, Jen, Me, Angeli, Keri

My friend Anna introducing a movie.

On Thursday we all went out to dinner at Empire Burger and then attended the AFP awards (AFP meaning Association of Freeskiing Professionals) where quite a few more friends won awards.


Roz and Jen

Last night a group of about 18 of us went out to Taipei Tokyo to celebrate everyone's success. I don't have pictures yet because I wasn't the one taking them, but it was definitely a blast. Dania, Angeli, Erica, Ashley, and Emily are all driving back to Utah today so I got to have all their leftovers. Looks like I'm going to be eating Japanese for quite a while!

I'm so proud of all my friends, and watching them compete has really inspired me to push myself more in the park. I really hope to compete in the Dew Tour someday!


Avalanche Safety Field Day 1

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On Friday my Avalanche Safety class spent the day hiking in the back country. We met at 9am in a town (more like a small collection of houses behind Keystone in the boonies) called Montezuma, and went over the day's itinerary and checked safety gear. We then split up into three groups with three different instructors and began our hike up the switchback's of Webster Pass. To say the least, this isn't a good class for someone who isn't in remotely good shape. We were out for a total of 6 hours, and around 4 1/2 of those hours was hiking up a snowy mountain.

We were hiking through the woods and our instructors were pointing to other peaks across the valley from us, explaining the different avalanche paths and the current conditions. It was interesting observing them from afar, but it really hit home when we came to our first avalanche path on our trail. The thick forest abruptly turned to a 100+ yard wide field of nothing but snow. We executed safety procedures by crossing one at a time, and it was crazy how long it took each person to get to the other side. As I crossed I took a picture looking up the path, and as you can see it starts at the peak of the mountain. The mass of this path was astounding, and it was an extremely humbling and nerve-racking feeling to hike across it.


We continued hiking and all of a sudden hear a "BOOM" with a rumbling in the distance. My instructor, who was directly in front of me, turned around in horror. After a few seconds we realized it was thunder, but it definitely freaked us out! After a mile or two my group stopped to dig some snow pits. Snow pits are dug to research the soundness and strength of the surrounding snow layers. Every snowfall leaves a different layer, and because there are so many types of snow, every layer is different. Avalanches occur for a number of different reasons, but what an avalanche is, is the failure of one or more weak layers in the snow pack, called facets. By doing a number of different strength tests on the snow pack, we were able to determine if there is any faceting, where it is, how it's going to react to pressure, etc. We also learned about the reactions of different combination's of layers, such as hard layers on top of weak layers.

(Not a picture from our actual hike because flat light made it hard to get good pictures of the layers. )

We then kept hiking up, observed a few more avalanche paths, and finally stopped for lunch. After lunch we continued up the mountain and stopped to do more digging. Instead of digging a pit this time, we cut out 2x2 meter blocks in a few different spots. By doing this we were able to have a skier stand on top of the blocks to test the real strength of the snowpack and possibly create a mini-avalanche.

HAHA! Look how deep that snow is!

It was really windy, and I was really chilly!

It was a really eye-opening day, and it made me realize how real avalanches are. Unfortunately an avalanche took it's 2nd victim of the season in Colorado yesterday, and it's only December 6th. Read the article here.


Thanksgiving and Avalanche Safety!

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Well, my Thanksgiving pictures are a little late. But better late than never, right? Thanksgiving was super fun this year. We had it at our house and we cooked the Turkey and a bunch of food. We had over another house of our friends so there was about 10 of us, quite smaller than my Thanksgiving last year. I think the biggest difference from last year was that last year it was about 20 guys, me, and one other girl. This year it was 8 girls and 2 guys!

(Sorry they're not the most high quality pictures, they're all taken from my iPhone.)

On Monday I had my first 4-hour avalanche safety class to get Avalanche Safety Level I Certified. That class we talked more about weather than avalanches, because of course without weather, you can't have avalanches. We learned a lot about forecasting: Wind direction, what causes snow, different types of snow, etc. We learned about fatality rates with and without safety gear and other statistics. Frighteningly, we also learned that Summit and Aspen are the most dangerous locations in North America for avalanches, for a number of reasons. It was extremely interesting, and I'm very excited for my next class tonight!

Then on Friday we have our first field day in the back country, thank God the weather is going to be nice! We are going to hike up Webster Pass in Montezuma, a little town hiding behind Keystone. Webster Pass is an old mining road that I've actually off-roaded on in the summer, that has access to some awesome back country in the winter... which is also very avalanche prone. We were told to bring all our hiking gear, a shovel, a lunch, and even toilet paper!

Next Friday is our second field day off of Hoosier Pass, which is the road that leads south of Breckenridge, from Blue River to Alma. I'm assuming this is going to be the sketchier of the two days, seeing as we were told we were not allowed to go if we showed up without a beacon. Then after the day is over we go back to Breckenridge for our written test.

I'm really glad I took this course, and I highly recommend it to everyone who skis or snowboards. I have a phone interview with Vail Resorts tomorrow for a weekend job in ticket sales. I'm really hoping I get it just so I can afford a beacon this season... I'm now learning just how important they are! There have been two fatalities in North America for avalanches already this season. The first I have already mentioned in a previous entry. The second was a snowmobiler in Utah. Him and his friend had safety gear with them but decided to leave it in their car because "they weren't going to be doing anything dangerous." One of them ended up being buried in an avalanche only two feet deep and suffocated. Had he had his beacon, he would have walked away fine.


Risk Taker

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Today I was supposed to go to a much needed doctor appointment in Golden. It snowed last night, and the single digit temperatures make the roads extra icy. As I was making my way to Frisco from Breckenridge my car slightly fish-tailed twice on the same road I totaled my car on last year. Though terrified, I decided to get on to the highway anyway, only to soon realize the highway was just as icy. I wish someone could have taken a picture of my face, because I'm sure it looked like I had just seen the devil. Every muscle in my body was tense, both my hands were clenched so hard to my steering wheel my fingers were probably turning purple, and I could feel the anxiety carving wrinkles into my face by the second. I usually talk myself through things I'm scared of, but I didn't even give myself an option. I got off on the next exit, Silverthorne, and took Dillon Dam Rd. home.

I've been a risk taker my entire life. My parents tell me that when I was little I would always say,
"I laugh in the face of danger," a quote I learned from one of my favorite movies, The Lion King. In middle school I made a beaded necklace that said "No fear," and wore it proudly. I've participated in almost every extreme sport known to man, and I've never let a boy tell me he was better than me. Being a skier in the mountains, I take risks everyday. And it's not even the type of risk that a normal person is in everyday, like the risk of getting in a car accident on the way to work... I literally go out of my way everyday to put myself at risk, for fun.

I have always believed that those who live in fear for their lives are the ones that never really live at all, and I always told myself I would never be "one of those people" who had petty fears that controlled their lives way more than they should. But sadly, ever since my car accident on January 2nd, 2010, I have become that person I said I would never be.

It's amazing to me how one event can have such a significant impact on a person's life. For the first few months after my accident it haunted me, and I told myself within time it would get better, but it hasn't. To this day I still have vivid memories: what I saw out my windshield, the sound of my car smashing to pieces, and what I was thinking as it was happening. I could pick the face out of a crowd of the paramedic who first opened the passenger side door, though I saw him for no more than 20 minutes in my life.

I've gotten myself into a lot of "Oh S**t!" moments though, which has really made me ponder why this one is any different. I've been in worse sports accidents that physically affected my life a lot more. I walked away from my car with no injuries, and all the came from it was a new car. So why should something so insignificant affect me on such a deep level? It bothers me that I can no longer be on the road without being scared. It bothers me that I don't trust my friends who I know are good drivers. It bothers me that I don't trust or feel safe in my own car. But most of all, it bothers me that all of this bothers me.


Condolences to the Wolf Creek Family

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As you all may know, the west has been getting hammered with snow the last few weeks. Tahoe got a storm that dropped 3-5 feet, Utah got a storm that dropped 2-3 feet, and Colorado has already gotten a total of 8 1/2 feet! All the snow has been beyond our wildest dreams as skiers and snowboarders. Unfortunately, will all the fun that amount of snow brings, it also brings dangers.

On Monday, November 22nd, Wolf Creek Ski Resort in Colorado closed due to a fatality of one of their own. Director of ski patrol, Scott Kay (seen to the left with wife Chantelle), was caught in an avalanche around 7:45am "while working to protect others," a Wolf Creek representative said. "To our great sadness, he did not survive." The 41-year-old was a long time employee at Wolf Creek and leaves behind a wife and two sons; 6 and 8. If you would like to leave a message, you can do so on Wolf Creek's facebook page.

My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends at Wolf Creek. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers this Thanksgiving.

I have expressed my strong feelings for safety equipment a lot in the past (avalungs, beacons, probes, etc). So many riders think they are safe when in the ski area boundaries because of avalanche control. But when such large amounts of snow falls in such a short amount of time, it doesn't matter where you are. It is true that sometimes safety equipment won't save you, but it's worth every penny to give yourself that chance.

I hope you all have a safe and fantastic Thanksgiving, and please continue to be safe the rest of the season!



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It's been way too long since I've updated, and I apologize for that. It's been a very busy few weeks! Since I've updated we have got snow, snow, and more snow! There have been a lot of records that have been set in the last few weeks with early openings of certain runs etc. Keystone and Breck have opened and it's been so fun to be skiing again. My best friend Ashley has been staying with me for the past two weeks from Park City, Utah. Her and my roommate Elise are going to be in Dew Tour in a month so they have been working hard on the jumps and rails.

My friends Ashley, Angeli, Riley, and Oakley came from Park City for opening weekend of Keystone. I hadn't seen any of them in months besides Riley, so it was really awesome to see them. That's the hard thing about being a skier... you have so many great friends that you don't get to see to often because of all the traveling and living in different states. It was our friend Ryan's Birthday so we made him a Birthday Cake with a Tall Tee on it (it's a style thing for skiers, don't ask). We also made home made pizza's and salads and had a great night.

Oakley and Riley being goofy

Ash the pro skier trying to be a filmer... haha!

Angeli hiking some features in the park.

Ryan's Birthday cake!

Angeli cutting the pizza!

The next week Breckenridge opened and it couldn't have been a nicer day. There was fresh snow from the few previous nights and it was beautiful out. All my roommates were there and it was probably the most snow Breck has ever opened with.

This past week we had a storm that dropped I believe around 46" in 72 hours. It was a crazy storm that moved in really quick and CMC ended up canceling all classes for the Summit and Eagle campuses. 
My friend actually took this picture but I happened to be driving at the same exact time this picture was taken... the storm moved in so quick and visibility quickly turned to practically zero!
This was actually taken a little bit before the storm hit... you can imagine what it looked like after.

The night the storm rolled in I parked on the street so my friend Ashley could park in my spot. Never in my life have I had to walk up a snow mound to get inside my car. I almost got out... until I backed over a huge pile of snow that bottomed out my car.
Luckily one of my neighbors was out helping other people, so he stopped and pulled me out. As he was driving away he yelled "Go bears!" and I was confused until I saw a Chicago Bears sticker on the back of his SUV. He must have seen my Wisconsin plate... HAHA!

Just as the first storm cleared up another one started to move in... This is going to be an amazing season for snow!

Me and Ashley took a day off skiing yesterday and went out for lunch, shopping, and then dinner. She is going home Wednesday but will be back in a few weeks. I love having her around. She's one of those friends you don't find very often- the kind you meet and you instantly know you have a friend chemistry. We have the same values and beliefs about religion and life and the same taste in food, clothes and music. We went to one of our favorite stores Claire's and after an hour of debating, ended up leaving with almost all the same jewelry as each other. She is an incredible skier, one of the best pro's in the world actually, and my hero. I wish we got to spend more time together, but she's busy traveling to all the places I'd kill to go. I'm so blessed to have her as a friend. You can actually check out her website and blog here.

Ashley being goofy at Claire's trying on glasses and ear muffs.

Oh yeah, it's not even Thanksgiving yet but my friends all decided to get into the Christmas spirit! I came home to find a Christmas Tree and Stockings in our living room!


Double Take

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The 2010/11 academic year marks the fourth anniversary of the common reader program at CMC. Every year a book is chosen from those books nominated by faculty, staff and students across all campuses. Last year we read the book The Translator by Daoud Hari, a native Darfurian who intimately describes the terror and horror he witnessed of the genocide in Darfur. He then came and spoke at the Breckenridge campus and answered many of the questions we had.

This year the book was called Double Take by Kevin Connolly. Kevin Connolly was born in Helena, Montana in 1985. He was also born without legs. He went on to win the X Games in mono skiing, and with his earnings, decided to travel the world... via skateboard. He traveled to 17 different countries and took 32,728 photos of people starring at him as he rolled past. Unfortunately I have not had time to read the book yet, but from what I have heard, his journey will change the way you look at the world and yourself. This week he is traveling and speaking at different CMC campuses, and will be in Breckenridge on Wednesday from 7-9pm. If you're a student at CMC and are free, make sure you pick up tickets at the front desk before tomorrow. After that, tickets will be offered to the public and they will sell out.


Blue Skies

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I woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky and a sea of white waves. The three day storm is finally over, and ended up dropping a total of 29" here in Breckenridge! On Monday only the peaks had a little bit of snow, and now here's a picture from 8am this morning.

Yesterday I drove me and my roommates up to A-Basin for a pow day, here's a picture Rachel took on the way up!

It's safe to say Colorado is making up for the poor snow season last season and late start to this one. What an amazing season this is going to be!!! I had money saved up last year that I put in a "fun account", and I finally spent it on some much-needed snow gear. It's going to be a season with way above average snowfall and way below average temperatures. If you're a new rider in Colorado or a parent with a kid in Colorado, here are some fantastic gear ideas.

What I bought:

Demon Snow Impact Shorts: $55.00
This is the unisex version of Demon Snow's impact shorts. These are great for any season... and I should have invested in these a long time ago. I was going to get the female version, but these offer a lot more hip protection, which is mainly where I need it. If you don't want this to happen, get a pair!
Black Diamond Covert Avalung: $220.00
The most money I have ever spent on something I hope I never have to use. If you like to go out of bounds into the back country or hike up peaks, this is a must-have. For some odd reason I have noticed a large amount of riders who have beacons (mentioned later), but not avalungs. The average time it takes to find and dig out someone in an avalanche is about 20 minutes, and without an avalung you can only survive being buried for 15 minutes. What's the point of having a beacon if they're going to find you dead? An avalung allows you to breathe for 60 minutes, and also doubles as a backpack for all your gear.

Under Armour Cold Gear: $50 - $70 each
It is going to be a CHILLY season. If you like to stay warm and dry without looking like the Michelin Man, invest in some mid to heavyweight base layer gear.

Midweight PhD SmartWool Socks: $20 a pair
Until SmartWool, I never found socks that could keep my feet warm enough. Not only do they keep you warm and dry, they have extra padding where your feet need it most. My parents bought me a few pairs for Christmas last year and I still think that was the best present ever. ($20 a pair may sound expensive, but I think diamond earrings and designer purses are expensive... and useless!)


Avalanche Beacon: $200 - $550
A beacon is a device that's strapped to a skier/ snowboarder/ snowmobiler underneath their jacket. If you get buried in an avalanche it acts as a personal locator, and will help rescuers and/or your friends find you a lot faster than they would without one. As soon as I get a job this is going to be my next investment.
Other Impact Clothing: $20 - $120 +
Again, great for any season. It really depends if you ski or snowboard and how you're most prone to falling. My roommate Rachel just purchased the knee/shin pads below... last season she had a bone-deep gash on her leg that needed stitches. Unfortunately it usually takes a good accident before we want to invest in protection. In words of wisdom... buy it before you hurt yourself.


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