Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"the icebox of the rockies"

That's the nickname of the town of Fraser, Colo. (this link is very interesting if you like data as much as I do), where I currently reside, and it deserves the moniker. Today was the first real cold day of the winter: 16 below zero when I went by the bank's time & temperature sign this morning around 8:00. (I hear that at 5:00 a.m. it said minus 30.) It was nice and sunny today though, with no wind, so it was bearable — as long as you didn't ski too fast. After each run, it's definitely essential to rub your nose a few times to ward off frostbite.

Yesterday I ran into Christin Lathrop, Dartmouth class of '03, at the library. She was with another Dartmouth racer and Christin's twin sisters Abbi and Jenny, who ski for Colby College. All were in town for the women's Nor-Am races that are being held at Winter Park today through Friday. The field consists of basically the best high school and college racers in the U.S. and Canada. I saw some Italians and Slovenians walking around as well.

On Thursday some of us will be driving to Beaver Creek to watch Daron and Bode try to continue their amazing racing season in the super G on the renowned Birds of Prey course. Then we head to Frisco, a town in Summit County, where all of us U.S. Disabled Ski Teamers will be staying for almost two weeks to train for our opening races in Breckenridge Dec. 9 & 10.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

another powder day

It has hardly stopped snowing in the past three days. It has only added up to maybe a foot down here, but up on the mountain it was enough to open a bunch of trails. GS training today was cancelled, and we went powder skiing instead. Fun fun fun... I just can't wait until the pair of powder skis I ordered gets here.

This is one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Homecoming (drag) queens

Reading this New York Times article made me realize that I've never been to a school that had a Homecoming king and queen. At Gould, where I went to high school, we had no Homecoming at all (no football team), and I certainly didn't miss it. At Dartmouth, Homecoming is sort of a big deal, what with the freshman bonfire and all, but as far as I know, no king and queen. Are there any Dartmouth people reading this who know if we ever had something like that?

Friday, November 26, 2004


Today was our first real powder day up at Winter Park. About 4 inches of new snow last night on top of maybe 6 more over the past couple days made for a nice fluffy surface for the first few runs — until all the holiday crowds showed up and the lift lines got clogged. I went up on my own at 8:30 and skied for a good two hours, then ditched the crowds and headed home. While I was skiing, they opened like 4 nice steep trails with a pretty good base of natural-only snow. Fun stuff.

Tomorrow night: R.E.M. concert at the Fillmore in Denver.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I got my hair cut this morning. Kind of a boring thing to blog, I know, but it was kind of a symbolic act. This past spring, summer, and fall I was consciously trying to grow my hair long in front to make myself feel like a little more of an... indie scenester, or something. Of course, around my ski team, the long hair went over like a lead zeppelin. So I succumbed to peer pressure and got it cut really short, but I like it. I definitely feel like more of an athlete now. (I'd post photos, but I have no digicam at the moment...) It's strange to negotiate these dual/multiple roles: student/writer/rock fan in the spring and summer, ski racer in the fall and winter. If I were more of an individualist, perhaps I'd find an image that encompassed it all. But we're all sheep, aren't we?

Oh yeah, slalom training this afternoon was pretty great. I skied maybe 7 or 8 gates of the best slalom I'm capable of the moment, and the rest was okay too.

"What position should I wear?" —R.E.M., "Crush with Eyeliner"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

a routine morning, and a dramatic one

I probably took 15 consecutive runs on Parkway today between 9 and 12. Parkway is pretty much the easiest run at Winter Park, and one of only 4 trails currently open. (If anyone has too much snow on his or her hands, please send some this way.) We were training slalom on the trail, and it was going pretty well for me, but sometimes it's hard to gauge how well you're skiing when you're training on something that flat.

The lifties must have been pretty tired of scanning our passes by the end of the morning, and Winter Park has a stupid policy that on the lower lifts they have to scan your pass every single run, even if you've obviously been through the line 10 times already.

Speaking of chairlifts, yesterday morning right after the lift opened, this young girl had trouble getting on. By the time they stopped the lift, the girl was hanging about 30 feet in the air, with her dad hanging onto her basically by the collar of her jacket. She kept slipping lower and lower as the jacket pulled up over her head, and for about 10 minutes everyone in the lift line was gawking and speculating about how to get her down. The most common sentiment seemed to be, "She can't weigh more than 70 or 80 pounds. Why can't that guy just pull her back on the chair?" A ski area employee climbed the nearest lift tower and lowered down a rope so they could, I don't know, lasso the girl or something, but by that time her dad was losing his grip, and she fell. Luckily a coach had rushed up the line and laid a big foam pad on the ground under the chair. Although ski patrol took the girl down in a stretcher just to be safe, the word was that she was basically fine. As far as I was concerned, the incident just provided proof that if any resort employees are on top of things, it's the ski coaches.

Monday, November 22, 2004

In which this weblog's title is explained and alternate titles are rejected.

I suppose I should have anticipated this, but my humble blog's first reader has been baffled by its title. It was meant to evoke a well-known statement about the nature of snowflakes, and thus, by extension, the wintry world of ski racing from whence it originates. Of course, now that I've had to explain the title, it's certainly lost some of its panache. Thanks, Jared.

Perhaps it would interest the reader to know that the idea for this blog was conceived while driving across Iowa, a very boring state which also, perversely, supported George W. Bush in the recent election despite having defeated him in 2000. While driving, I jotted down a list of possible titles (don't worry, Mom, my eyes never left the road). The next day, while driving across Nebraska, I pared the list down to the current title. In the end I decided it would be best to go with something vaguely skiing-related.

The list of alternate contenders, annotated:

  • "yellowsnow" (Tasteless.)

  • "middle park" (Too obscure; this is the name of the region in Colorado where Winter Park is located as well as the name of the local high school.)

  • "vox clamantis in colorado" (Too Dartmouth-y.)

  • "blue america" (Too political. Besides, it's probably taken.)

  • "boards of colorado" (Too obscure.)

  • "downhill battle" (A witty pun, but alas, already taken by a website that has nothing to do with skiing.

  • "patriotism means never having to say you're sorry" (Too cynical, preachy, political, and just plain pretentious.)

  • "meg white and the seven dwarves" (Too random, but I'll be damned if that wouldn't make a great name for Meg's backing band, should she ever go solo.)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Well, here I am.

I have finally joined the modern world and established a blog. We'll see how often I get around to updating it. I have lots of cool ideas for this thing. For the meantime, I will just post this link to an NPR story about an incredibly strange phenomenon. (Thanks to Ari and Abby for this.)