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.

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