March Madness

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If you were not in town this past week, you were very lucky. You missed the busiest week I've ever seen in Breckenridge. Here's a picture taken by a local CMC student, Alexandra Fowler, on Peak 8. Can you believe that lift line?!?!

Besides that I have been doing a lot of school work. It seems my professors are all in sync when it comes to the larger assignments. Next Thursday I will be doing an on-camera interview at CMC with a production crew, so that should be pretty cool. Then the next day I will be leaving for Salt Lake City for the 5th annual Queen's Cup. I'll be staying at my close friend Ashley Battersby's house, who got her first X Games medal a week ago in Europe! Congrats girl!!!! It should be an extremely fun weekend with my girls.


Backcountry Safety

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A 20 year-old was killed in an avalanche yesterday a mile west of A-Basin. He moved out here in November from Spring Grove, IL to work at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Him and his two other friends did not have any back country gear. Colorado has some of the most unstable snow pack in the world because of low moisture content and wind. With the heavy snow fall in March followed by spring-like temperatures in April, it makes it even more dangerous.

Most of us live here because our passion is skiing and snowboarding. I, myself, am always willing to spend money on new skis, boots, etc if I need them, because this is what I live for, and I know a lot of other people feel the same way. What I don't understand is how some people can have 6-7 different pairs of skis and no back country gear (that is unless you don't wonder out of bounds). Yeah, it's expensive, but it will save your life. I don't have the means this season, but next season I hope to start acquiring my own gear. Until then, I will use friends gear or not go out of bounds, period. (Even though there's a chance it can happen in bounds, too.) Riding in the Rockies is not a joke.

Here's a list of general back country essentials. You can find all of them at www.backcountry.com.
You can also buy avalanche survival packages.

1. AVALUNG ($100-$300)
If you want to survive an avalanche, you better have an avalung... or chances are you won't. It's a pack that holds oxygen and allows you to breathe while waiting for rescuers to dig you out. There are two kinds, one is small and can be worn on your chest, and another includes a backpack.

2. BEACONS ($180 - $450)
An avalanche beacon, also known as an avalanche transceiver, are used to find buried people under the snow. If you are buried, rescuers (whether that's your friends or ski patrol) can use their beacons to send signals to yours to locate you. It's very important for everyone on the excursion to have one. It does no use if someone buried doesn't have one and someone unburied does. A beacon can greatly reduce the time in which you are buried, or will get you rescued when you may have never been found at all.

3. SHOVEL ($20 - $80)
Small, light, and sturdy, the shovels are made for backcountry excursions. They're short enough to be able to put in to your pack, or attach to the back, and light enough that won't even know they're there. It's not only good for greatly reducing the time your friends are buried under the snow, it's also good for helping you build those back country kickers.

4. SKINS ($100 - $200)
Skins are long strips of synthetic material (formerly animal hides) that are attached to the bases of skis for uphill climbing. The skins run smoothly over snow in a forward direction, but have texture that prevents the skis from sliding backwards. I would personally chose skins over snowshoes any day. You don't have to carry your skis on your back up the mountain, and you don't have to carry your snowshoes on your back down it. It saves a lot of energy and time.

5. Snowshoes ($100 - $300)
Whether you're a snowboarder or a skier who isn't a fan of skins, snowshoes make life a whole lot easier when the snow is thigh deep (and I can tell you that from first-hand experience). Snowshoes have been around for thousands of years and make deep snow trekking a breeze. Snowshoes distribute your body weight over a much larger space than your foot, giving you the ability to "float".

6. Multi-Tool ($15 - $150)
My dad bought me one of these when I was younger, I still to this day have it, and use it at least once a day. Never in my right mind would I go on an excursion without it. You can buy them in a miniature pocket size, or a standard hand held size. 

7. Heatsheet ($4.99)
The Adventure Medical Heatsheets Two Person Blanket reflects 90% of your body's heat to help keep you and your buddy warm through an unexpected emergency. It's 2.8-ounces, it's bright orange so you can be easily spotted, and it's $4.99. If that's not good enough reason to buy one, you might deserve to be cold.

8. Lighters ($1.00)
I've had people argue with me that a lighter won't last forever, won't work if its wet, and that you should learn how to start a fire without one. All of those statements are true, but here's my theory. Once you start a fire, you can pretty much keep it going indefinitely... Unless a huge storm were to hit. It only takes one short flame to start a fire, and that won't use much fluid. I have reason to believe I would expire before my lighters would run out of fluid. Besides, I rather be able to start a fire with zero effort and save it for other things.

9. Steel Water Bottle ($15 - $30)
I know their are some plastic water bottles that are BPA free, but a plastic water bottle can't be held over a fire. It may seem like a fantastic idea to just eat snow to hydrate, after all, it is water. The problem with snow is that it's composition is at a 10/1 ratio. That means that one inch of rain will equate to roughly ten inches of snow. Basically, you'd need 160 inches of snow to get one bottle of water at 16 ounces (as picture below). The rate at which you will burn energy by eating the snow is more than that of what you will gain. If you hold a water bottle near a fire to get it warm (not hot, we don't want it evaporating, either) it's easy to keep stuffing snow in it until it's full.

I know I haven't mentioned food, or hunting for food... or anything like that. But if you aren't planning on going to an area where you could get rescued within 48 hours, chances are you shouldn't be coming to my blog for input, and you probably aren't ready for that, anyway.


The Year from my iPhone

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I know the year's not over yet, but I was looking through my iPhone and noticed there were so many awesome photos, 400 to be exact, and I haven't shared hardly any of them. I got my newest iPhone this past summer, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites starting from then, until now. (You can click any of the pictures for a larger view.)

My two dogs, Dillon and Dan. Dillon (top) is a 1-year-old Golden Doodle Pug, and Dan is (7 in this pic), but now an 8-year-old Yellow Lab.

The staff dock at one of my favorite places in the world: Lake Owen Camp in Northern Wisconsin.

My first tattoo. Fibromyalgia awareness.

Another one of my favorite places. Our family's summer house on Minocqua Lake in Northern Wisconsin.

Where I spent a lot of my summer. Copper Mountain, Colorado.

I took a bike ride to the Frisco Marina before a storm rolled in.

Clinton's Gulch, a short drive from Copper Mountain.

One of my favorite views. Copper Mountain on the right.

Colorado Mountain College on the left with Baldy Mountain in the distance.

A rainbow from the patio of Colorado Mountain College.

The sky chutes, taken from Copper Mountain, Colorado. Can you see the word "sky"? You're looking at the backside of Breck. I heard it's illegal, but in the winter you can see tracks where people rode down them.

My friends longboarding on Boreas Pass Rd. I would follow them down the entire mountain, at the bottom they'd all pile in my SUV and we'd drive back up. We'd do this all day long...

The mountains looked so majestic when the smoke from the California wildfires moved in.

My friends getting ready to jump in at Green Mountain Reservoir.

Taking my roommate's dog Chaco for a walk on Baldy Mountain.

HAHA! My friend Rachel in business class. How does THIS happen?!

When my friends Paul, George, Tony, and Mark moved into their place they didn't have a lot of furniture. Here's Paul getting comfortable in a storage bin.

Fall starting to arrive in Copper Mountain.

Mother nature does beautiful things. Can you believe this is real?

My friend Jason parked his car outside a party not realizing his front right tire was not on the ground. He came outside to his car rolled into a tree, luckily it was completely unscathed. Everyone thought it was so funny we moved the party outside.

The hallway leading into a friends house. 5 people live here... so do 30 pairs of skis.

I didn't want to forget the date of our first snow storm.

My 2nd tattoo, which is just as meaningful as my 1st. This way I will always have a piece of winter with me!

My friend Paul fell backwards into a tree that was full of snow. It's the tree directly behind him that no longer has snow on it... Hmmm, I wonder where it all went?

My friend Ashley's car broke down in Silverthorne, Colorado. She lives in Park City, Utah. It's okay, I rescured her... and Taxi'd her.

My roommate Raven feeling mighty sleepy while getting ready for surgery on her broken wrist.

Rachel, I, and CJ having some fun in the gondola at Breck.

My roommates twin brother, Ryan, is a deep sea diver. We bought him this costume hat and he wore it the entire night while he cooked us dinner. To say the least, it fit perfect.

My friend Blake had an Audi. Had an Audi. He popped his tire and was too lazy to get it fixed so it ended up getting towed. I guess that's what happens when you're a lazy ski bum who can walk anywhere, including the mountain. He didn't care, he just hoped the towhees had fun digging it out.

My Romanian friend Alex took me to an Indian buffet restaurant and made me try EVERYTHING (not kidding). I've never tasted anything like any of it in my entire life.

No one really rides through the park at 8:30am, haha!

My friend Jason getting ready to drop a small cliff on a double black diamond run on Breckenridge. This picture does not do justice how gnarly that run was. It was an amazing powder day, and one of the most memorable riding days of the season.

The morning after a big snow fall from my deck.

One of the many hidden forts throughout the trees on Breck. It is terrifying climbing the ladder up to this thing in ski boots. I'm a chicken and take them off on the way back down. It takes a lot of skill to get them back on when you're on the last step without putting your feet on the snowy ground. HAHA!

I installed blue lights in my new X-Terra.

Me and a bunch of close friends hanging out on top of another one of the many hidden forts.

Me and my friends having a late backyard session.

Going through one of my favorite tree runs on peak 9 on a powder day.

Early morning at X Games in Aspen.

Glenwood Springs Canyon on the way back from Aspen. Just this morning a massive rock slide destroyed this part of the road. It's expected to be closed for months.

We snuck my friends dog, Tibby, into Northside, a restaurant we regularly hang out at. What? She likes to hang out, too!

After doing this blog, I can honestly say I am extremely blessed to lead this life. I am loving every single second of my college experience, and will never forget any of these moments. These are truly the best days of my life... and I thank God for that!

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