Thursday, December 27, 2007

x games 2008

I just found out that I've again been selected to compete in the Monoskier X event at Winter X Games 12 in Aspen. Our race will take place on Sunday, Jan. 27 at about 2:30 pm, and will be televised LIVE! Mark your calendars...

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Some of you may remember when I blogged about my college friend Eric Lindley's then-new album, Nightcat! Well, now NPR Music's "All Songs Considered" program has profiled Eric on its website and added one of his songs to its online music player... you can check it out here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

new USSA & USST websites

The powers that be have apparently decided it was time for an overhaul of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association websites. They've done a pretty nice job, adding some video content to the Disabled section of the USST site and lots of good information to the Disabled section of the USSA site. Hey, looky there — who's that handsome devil whose photo they decided to put on the header of the section?

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Last time I logged into MySpace, I was in Chile. At the time it started displaying the site in Spanish. I figured that would change once I was back in the States, but nope — apparently now I'm part of MySpace Latino. I even get my friend requests from bogus hot chicks sent to me in Spanish.

In other news, the World Series is coming to my neighborhood next weekend. People here in Denver aren't used to caring about the Rockies, but man, do they ever care now. The Boys in Purple are on everyone's lips these days. Gerald had the idea that we should rent out our apartment for the weekend — apparently places are renting on Cragslist for exorbitant amounts, starting around $500 a night. It's not a bad idea... all that remains to be seen is whether the Rox will be playing against the Indians or Red Sox. I'll be watching Game Six tonight with fingers crossed and breath bated.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Yesterday Elitsa and I were privileged to witness the premiere rivalry in Argentine soccer: El Superclásico, River vs. Boca. These two teams' fans make a Yankees-Red Sox game look like a cuddle party.

Held at River's home field, El Monumental, the game attracted a sold-out crowd of about 40,000 River supporters and 3,000 Boca fans — along with about 1,100 police officers and national guard troops, according to the newspaper Clarín.

Within 10 blocks of the stadium, the police presence was hard to miss. Everywhere cops in riot gear, with batons and tear-gas guns, lurked on streetcorners imposingly maintaining order. In particular the roughneck Boca fans from the other, "bad" side of town were eyed suspiciously by the cops, and if one of them stepped out of line he would be roughly corralled back into place.

Not being a huge fútbol fan, and I have to admit that the game itself felt a little underwhelming. Two goals and maybe two excitingly close shots in ninety minutes of playing time is not my idea of excitement. But it was hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd. Almost everyone was wearing the team colors of red and white, although we passed through a fiercely partisan crowd of blue and yellow Boca fans outside the stadium. (The rivalry between the fans is so intense that the Boca fans have to enter through a special corridor to the stadium, sit in their own isolated section guarded by hundreds of police, and after the game ends, the River fans cannot leave the stadium until all the Boca fans have been first escorted out to practically the next zip code.) When River, who had been considered the underdog, scored each of its goals, everyone around me from a 10-year-old to a chain-smoking old man offered me jubilant hugs. In between goals (what I would consider the boring part), the fans sang loud, amusing songs that everyone knew the words to except us. And anytime a referee, a River player, or (especially) a Boca player did something unpopular, fans young and old unleashed a torrent of puta! this and tu madre that. It was all gloriously uncivil.

I have a bit of a cold and a headache and don't feel like writing much more, but here are some photos of the whole affair.

The Boca section:

Various River fans:

Elitsa outside the stadium:

Friday, October 05, 2007

viedma, argentina

After some drunkenness on Wednesday night and hungover-ness on Thursday morning in Santiago, Elitsa and I hopped a short flight over the Andes to Bariloche, Argentina, and then took and then a really awesome train ride across Argentina. It took like 17 hours but itwas really fun, like a hotel on wheels. We had a sleeping car and an awesome attendant named Lucas who brought us vino and cerveza. We had AC power to watch DVDs and a dining car to eat meals. Now we're in the internet cafe upstairs from the bus station in the town of Viedma (wi-fi! amazing!), on the Rio Negro. We have 14 hours to kill until our bus to Buenos Aires, so we're hoping we find something fun to do in this podunk town.

Friday, September 28, 2007

friends on top of kilimanjaro

My ski racing friends Hannah, Sandy, Liz, and Katja (along with Sandy's friend Kati) just completed their all-female, all-disabled trek up Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can read all about it and see their pictures right here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

first ski day in portillo

It's a good tired, as they say.

We only skied for like four hours, but we're all pretty exhausted. I haven't been living at altitude this summer — Denver is only a mile high, but Portillo is the same as Winter Park, 9,000 and change at the base, and going well upward from there. So there's that, and the fact that we haven't been on snow since July. In fact, many in our group haven't skied since April.

The mountains here are pretty epic, and they surround a small alpine lake, the Laguna de los Andes. Some of the off-piste skiing requires you to traverse across the frozen lake once you get to the bottom.

I posted photos from our crazy night in Santiago on my Facebook page... check em out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

santiago de chile!

Just arrived in Chile. This is my first time traveling to ski somewhere I can actually speak the language (well, besides New Zealand and, uh, Canada), and I've already surprised myself with my ability to communicate at least at a basic level. People keep coming up to Elitsa and me and offering their transportation services. Eventually we'll need some, but for now we have a couple hours to wait for CDY's flight to get here. Then the plan is to head to our hotel here in Santiago, drop off our mountain of baggage, and then hit the town. Tomorrow morning we'll return to the airport and meet all the rest of the athletes and coaches when they arrive, then take our chartered bus to Portillo.

"We" will consist of Kevin Jardine, head coach of the Challenge Aspen disabled ski team (and former U.S. disabled head coach); current U.S. head coach Ray Watkins; his wife Gwynn (now an assistant coach for Aspen; a few more Aspen hangers-on; and a motley crew of athletes from Aspen, Winter Park, Breckenridge, and points beyond. The U.S. disabled team will be represented by me, CDY, Elitsa, and supposedly Joe Tompkins, who no one's seen training or racing in a year and a half but who has a way of popping up unexpectedly.

We'll train in Portillo for about two weeks and then drive back to Santiago, where the rest of the guys will fly back to the States. But for Elitsa and me, the trip will have just begun; we'll spend the next week traveling around Argentina and possibly Uruguay before returning to the U.S. on October 11.

Friday, September 07, 2007

more on the ski spec

Click here to watch a video promo about the event.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

goodbye evans

When I talked to my parents on the phone today, I learned that Evans Huber, a childhood friend of mine was struck by lightning and killed last night while camping in Baxter State Park with his mom and brother. I had not seen or talked to Evans in years, but I was affected by the news. Two years younger than me, Evans grew up on Peaks Island, Maine, where my family spends our summers. His parents and mine were close friends, and my mom and dad had recently started visiting more regularly again with Lare, Evans' dad. I remember Evans as the quintessential island kid, curly-haired, barefoot, bike-riding. He hung out with the island crowd, the kids who snuck beers on the Back Shore and jumped off the towers at the ferry dock, but also seemed more interested in the world beyond Peaks, a trait he no doubt inherited from his parents.

Evans went to McGill University in Montreal and graduated the same year I did, in 2005. I hear that he was in love with a woman he met there, a Canadian, and was planning to get a visa to move to Canada and live with her. His brother Emmett is still an island presence at the age of 18; he was hit by the bolt, too, but survived. Their mom, my mom's friend Lois, was uninjured.

How do you deal with something like that if you're Evans' family? I have no answer. I have never been touched by tragedy in that way, and I am grateful. I do not know how I would or could respond to the death of my own brother, but I know that I am looking forward to seeing him next week, even more than I was before I heard the news about Evans.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ITEM: team "you know, for kids" stuns in pub quiz debut

DENVER (AP) — In a debut that rocked the local drinking community, a new team calling itself You Know, For Kids took third place last night in its inaugural GWD-sanctioned pub quiz competition, held at area ex-pat bar The British Bulldog. The team, composed of three members of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and two of their hangers-on, seemed not unhappy with its performance, but universally agreed that it "could have done better, considering."

The team roster consisted of secretary-general Carl Burnett, Director of Professional Sports Studies Chris Catanzarite, VP for '80s Music Affairs Nick Catanzarite, Exchecquer and Former Mullet-Owner Gerald Hayden, and Hot Nurse/Science Geek-in-Residence Mary, who spoke to the AP on the condition that her last name not be used. (Full disclosure: OK, this reporter does not actually know Mary's last name, and is too lazy to find out.)

The team faltered in the early rounds due to overconfidence in its knowledge of 1980s popular music (they knew their Bon Jovi but not their Belinda Carlisle), but rallied when Hayden and Mary arrived, advancing to fourth place, then third. After two stellar rounds, including a Catanzarite-brothers-led dominating performance in the sports round, the team seemed a shoo-in to advance to the top two. Undoubtedly through administrative subterfuge, the team instead fell back to fourth place, necessitating an eleventh-hour (literally) rally to secure its final position in the top three.

Reached for comment at his Greenwood Village workplace, Burnett vowed, "We'll be back. Just wait till next week, when we'll be sure to do some pre-gaming before the quiz starts. The Bulldog's list of performance-enhancing substances sure is delicious."

Monday, August 13, 2007

power invasion ministries

Yesterday while biking along the Platte River trail here in Denver I saw a building that scared the hell out of me. It's a fortress-like concrete edifice, nearly circular in shape, located in a barren industrial area. Two large signs on the building identify it as the home of "Power Invasion Ministries," with a King Arthurish sword-and-shield logo. Of course I had to Google it when I got home from my ride -- was this really a church, and if so, who or what were they invading with their power? And why were they located in what looked like a fallout shelter to be used in case of industrial accidents?

I found their website (which includes the breathtakingly candid slogan "Desperate people, desperate for God"), and it answered my first two questions. Apparently, the "power" part comes from Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” They don't cite a biblical verse mentioning an "invasion," but their mission in that regard is spelled out pretty bluntly. The Power Invasion folks apparently believe they have been

[a]ppointed and anointed by His Power to Invade [sic] the greater metro area of Denver by uprooting, tearing down, destroying, and overthrowing the power of darkness; and called to build and plant a new foundation.

Invade, uproot, tear down, destroy, overthrow -- wow, those are some strong verbs. I suppose that's the point, but like the ministry's building, its intentions scare the hell out of me. These people would like nothing better than to see people like me either converted to (their particular brand of) evangelical Christianity or driven out of town. These same people are on the pulpit every Sunday denouncing the spread of ideas they find dangerous -- including, I'm sure, fundamentalist Islamists, whose ambitions exactly parallel their own. One recent Power Invasion sermon (by "Pastor Randy") was titled "What you Tolerate May Destroy You." In a free society, I am reluctantly willing to tolerate the existance of groups like Power Invasion Ministries. But I really hope their Pastor Randy was wrong about the destruction part.

what is g.o.p.?

On the Brooklyn-based neo-Afrobeat group Antibalas' awesome 2007 release, Security, is a 12-minute slab of funk called "Filibuster XXX." After seven frantic, instrumental minutes, West African-accented vocalist Amayo starts in with some of the funniest stream-of-consciousness political musings ever committed to wax:
What is G.O.P., class?
Let us examine the cronynynynynism:
Is it Greedy Old People, class?
Is it Guilty Of Purjury?
Or, let's try this one...
How about Gas, Oil and Plutonium?

It would be fun to keep going...
  • Guns Offer Protection?
  • Generating Offshore Profits?
  • Grumbling Over Palestine?
  • Governator Obliterating Priuses?

Well, class, what is G.O.P.? Can you add to the list?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

mt. hood camp #2 wrap-up

I was back at Mt. Hood again for 10 or 12 more days on snow and got back on Monday. The ski team just posted a great press release about the camp, which includes a photo of all of us on the croquet lawn.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

sadler's ultra challenge

Lately I have become a bit of an armchair cycling fan. (No, not cycling IN armchairs — that would be absurd.) I have been catching stages of the Tour de France on TV, but lately I have turned my attention to an equally exciting race: the Sadler's Ultra Challenge. This is an eight-stage, 267-mile endurance race for disabled athletes, run every summer for 22 years from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska. There are divisions for wheelchairs and handcycles, but in recent years the handcycling category has come to be far more popular and competitive. This year the race, like most elite handcycling races over the past few years, has been dominated by the Mexican-American Alejandro Albor. This guy is really amazing; I've seen him ride and he makes it look so effortless, which I assure you it is not. A double amputee, Albor has a built-in advantage since he's not dragging any dead weight, but he also has a unique style of movement, sort of rolling back and forth over the handcranks of his bike. (He is one of the few handcyclists I've seen who uses alternating cranks, like a regular bike, rather than double/simultaneous cranks.)

You can read Ian Lawless' blog entries about the 2007 Ultra Challenge here and view complete stage-by-stage results here

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the sentence dictionary

If I may brag just a little bit, I am really excited to have just been hired as a freelance lexicographer for Oxford University Press. They — no, we! — are beginning a new collaborative online project to compile something called the Sentence Dictionary. Essentially it will be a web-based dictionary based on the already-existing New Oxford Dictionary of English (NODE) and New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD), Oxford's major single-volume dictionaries of contemporary (British and American, respectively) English. As I understand it, the Sentence Dictionary will include headwords, pronunciations, definitions, and etymologies identical to NODE and NOAD, but will include much more thorough documentation of each word's usage "in the wild," as it were — in a list of real-life examples for each headword. This will be particularly useful for foreign learners of English, and for native speakers looking up unfamiliar words that they wish to use idiomatically in their own writing.

The examples are to be culled from a corpus of contemporary English, the billion-plus-word Oxford English Corpus, which contains many thousands of books, web sites, magazine articles, stories, journals, blogs, and the like, all of which have been hand-selected and tagged for their country of origin and vetted for quality to some degree. Oxford's corpus software is able, in many instances, to tell when a word is being used as a particular part of speech and in a particular sense; for example, it can tell with reasonable accuracy when ground is being used as a noun meaning "earth," a past participle of "grind," or a verb meaning "stop (a plane, etc.) from flying." But the software's accuracy is far from 100%, and even when it does make the correct choice, a human is needed to determine which are the "best" examples. An example sentence that disparages a particular politician, for instance, is undesirable both because it expresses a strong opinion that may distract from the sentence's illustrative function and because it contains a reference that could soon seem dated or obscure.

This is where we freelance lexicographers come in. In a test exercise I did for Oxford as part of the application process, I went through hundreds of potential example sentences (all for words beginning with adv-) and determined which were the most suitable. (Let me say that I have a much fuller appreciation for the subtleties of the word "adventure" than I did before!) Apparently my soon-to-be bosses agreed with my decisions in enough cases that they want me to do more such work for them. It's not the most dynamic sort of task, but it is kind of dorkily influential. I am now a lexicographical taste-maker of sorts, however anonymously. How exciting!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

the first russian winter games

The big news in sports yesterday, as far as I was concerned, was the awarding of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics to Sochi, Russia. By all accounts, Vladimir Putin's presence at the IOC meetings in Guatemala City (!) did wonders to secure the choice of his country's bid over Salzburg, Austria and Pyongchang, South Korea.

I'm pretty happy with the result. Although none of the three cities has ever hosted an Olympics before, Austria has done so twice, both in Innsbruck (1964 and 1976). Obviously, Austria is accustomed to, and well-suited for, hosting winter sports. Most of the facilities they would've used for the Games were already in place, a major selling point for their Olympic bid. But picking Salzburg would have been a safe yet boring choice. Athletes in most of the winter sports already compete in Austria all the time, and with the exception of Switzerland it is essentially the only country where alpine skiing is a major, front-page sport. In short, holding another Winter Games in Austria would do little to boost the popularity of winter sports by creating new fans.

Neither Russia nor Korea is known internationally as a winter sports destination, and yet both would desperately like to become one. Both Sochi and Pyongchang have invested millions of dollars to attract skiers and snowboarders, even hiring top ski-resort managers from the Alps and Rockies to oversee their operations. Putin himself is known to enjoy skiing at Krasnaya Polskana, the mountain range near the Black Sea that will host all the snowsports for the Sochi Games, and when I visited Pyongchang last year for disabled World Cup races, the slopes were crawling with wealthy business people from Seoul and beyond. Pyongchang's major ski resort, Yongpyong, has taken things to a typically East Asian level of excess, installing amusement-park rides at the base area and providing skiers with high-pressure air hoses outside the lodge to clean the snow off their equipment.

I guess that's part of the reason I favored Sochi over Pyongchang: the Koreans just seemed to be trying too hard. It's certainly a plus that they'd already hosted well-organized World Cup events in alpine and disabled alpine skiing, and they'd already put in a runner-up bid for the 2010 Games (they lost out to Vancouver). But to some extent the Koreans were trying to pass off cubic zirconium as diamonds. From my experience, Korea is just not a world-class winter wonderland. It's cold, but not particularly snowy. (When we there, in January, the only snow to be seen was the manmade stuff on the ski hill.) The mountains are no taller than the Appalachians. And the host city they'd selected is not so much a city as a collection of villages, full of tacky new brass-and-marble hotels, not charming chalets. And as tasty as Korean food can be, the stuff they fed us athletes there was pretty sub-par.

Sochi, on the other hand, is terra incognita for most winter athletes outside Russia. To my knowledge, it has never hosted a major international ski or snowboard event, although I'm sure hockey is popular there. But my impressions of the place are pretty favorable. The city of Sochi itself is a resort town on the Black Sea, with palm trees and a mild climate year-round. But the surrounding mountains, which are less than an hour's drive from town, are snowy and huge: Mt. Elbrus, at 18,000 feet, is taller than any other in Russia or Europe. In footage from ski movies I've seen, the Krasnaya Polskana range is a powdery paradise, with some of the most extreme lift-serviced terrain anywhere on the planet. In short, the only reason Sochi is not already known outside Russia as a winter sports destination has to be economic or political. Russian democracy is still new, and negative stereotypes about the country still abound. In deciding as it did, the IOC has given Russia a huge opportunity to show the world how far it's come and to transform its Black Sea region into a true international tourism destination. Let's hope the Russians take advantage of it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


"Spilled pig parts shut down Edens"

"Northbound lanes of the Edens Expressway were closed for more than seven hours Sunday after a dump truck carrying greasy pig parts toppled and splattered its load across the highway."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

mt. hood wrap-up

USSA has put out a nice press release summarizing our most recent training camp at Mt. Hood.

I also just stumbled on some pretty decent photos of us skiing at our last training camp, at A-Basin in May, including this one of me. (You can view a larger version by mousing over the image and then selecting "medium," "large," or "original.")

Monday, June 25, 2007

new photos

I just uploaded a bunch of photos from my trip thus far to my Flickr page. Flickr won't let me create sets since I'm not a Pro member anymore, but you can view just the pics from this trip by starting here and then scroll through them by clicking Next.

Friday, June 22, 2007

yreka, ca

I'm writing from Yreka, California — not to be confused with nearby Eureka, California. (Although they look like they should be pronounced the same, Yreka is actually pronounced "why rica." I would have to look into it further to be sure, but I'd bet this is a spelling-influenced pronunciation.) Yesterday I drove here from Mt. Hood, where I've been training for the last couple weeks. (Well, minus a little side trip to Chicago... but that's another story.) Along the way I had breakfast in Government Camp, had lunch and did some shopping in Bend, and had dinner in Ashland.

I checked into an Econo Lodge here in Yreka last night and was going to just go to bed, but instead I took a stroll through town. I'm glad I did, because I ended up in this bar called the Log Cabin Club with a bunch of Native Americans playing pool and made a bunch of short-term friends.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

spit on a stranger

Lots going on these days and I need to get some sleep, but I had to mention a brush with stardom I had this evening. Just this morning I was skiing at Mt. Hood in Oregon, and in the afternoon I flew to Chicago, where I'm spending a few days at the biennial conference of the Dictionary Society of North America. Exciting! My friend Shifra and her boyfriend Ben met me at Midway Airport to pick me up, and while we were waiting around for my bag, I saw a tall, familiar looking figure walk by. I was pretty sure I knew who it was, but then I was certain when he picked up a guitar case. "Holy shit! That's Stephen Malkmus!" I gushed to Shifra and Ben. They stared at me blankly. "You know, from Pavement?" I said. "He lives in Portland, Oregon so it makes sense that he would be at this carousel. Wait, he must've been on my flight!" But SM and his girlfriend had already made a hasty departure and I was left gawking fanboyishly, with a sudden urge to go check into my dorm room and listen to "Spit on a Stranger" and "Gold Soundz" and "Here" on my iPod.

UPDATE: I'm a total idiot for not knowing this, but it turns out that the Pitchfork music festival is in Chicago this weekend, and Malkmus is playing Sunday night! How could I have not known this?? And how am I going to get tickets on such short notice???

ANOTHER UPDATE: I'm a REALLY big idiot. Pitchfork Festival is JULY 13-15, not June. Malkmus has no dates scheduled anywhere until then. Who knows why he's in Chicago.

Monday, June 04, 2007

the wisdom of bansky

Plenty of people more qualified than I (including, recently, The New Yorker's Lauren Collins) have written about the graffiti art of the enigmatic Brit known as Banksy. Fewer people have noted his knack for coming up with snappy, irreverent catchphrases, which are strewn throughout the pages of his books, although Collins does note that Bansky's "talents as an aphorist ... seem to inspire all who cross his path," citing two examples:

  • “Never paint graffiti in a town where they still point at aeroplanes.”
  • “Only when the last tree has been cut down and the last river has dried up will man realize that reciting red Indian proverbs makes you sound like a fucking muppet.“

Going through the latest Banksy compilation, Wall and Piece, I was struck by a number of other quotables:

  • "Graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people: politicians, advertising executives and graffiti writers."
  • "Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place."
  • "A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to."
  • "Some people represent authority without ever possessing any of their own."
  • "There are no exceptions to the rule that everyone thinks they're an exception to the rules."
  • "People seem to think if they dress like a revolutionary then they don't actually have to act like one."
  • "Nothing dispels enthusiasm like a small admission fee."
  • "Painting something that defies the law of the land is good. Painting something that defies the law of the land and the law of gravity is ideal."
  • "You can win the rat race but you're still a rat. The human race is an unfair and stupid competition. A lot of the runners don't even get decent sneakers or clean drinking water. Some runners are born with a massive head start, every possible help along the way and still the referees seem to be on their side. It's not surprising that a lot of people have given up competing altogether and gone to sit in the grandstand, eat junk food and shout abuse. What we need in this race is a lot more streakers."
  • "We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves."
  • "We don't need any more heroes, we just need someone to take out the recycling."
  • "People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

new digs

I am very excited about my new summer job and apartment. Starting June 25, I will be working for the communications department of Charter Communication as a glorified intern. (I say "glorified" because I will be making a half-decent wage and hopefully working on some cool projects, not just making coffee.) And starting June 1, I'll be living with my current roommate, Gerald in Apt. 605 of The Barclay Towers a really nice apartment building right smack in the middle of LoDo, the most central part of Denver. The building has a rooftop pool and gym on the 33rd floor, which is visible via Google Earth. Am I one to brag? OK, maybe a little.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

i want to start a band here in colorado called "maine"

Back in the '70s and '80s, some honest, hardworking rock bands would name themselves after their home towns, states, or even continents. This phenomenon gave rise to Boston, Chicago, Kansas, America, and Europe. (I'm pretty sure Asia was a different deal.)

Then, sometime in the '90s, some meddling indie rocker had the harebrained idea of naming his band after a different place than the place they actually came from. If you ask me, this is just a recipe for disaster. Recently, this disturbing trend seems to be ramping up. Look at the situation they've gotten us into:

  • Illinois is from Pennsylvania.
  • I'm From Barcelona is from Sweden.
  • Beirut is from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Calexico is from Tucson, Arizona.
  • Manitoba is from Ontario.
  • Of Montreal is from Georgia.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

If it's been a while since I posted anything, that's because not much is going on these days. The ski season at Winter Park ended on April 14, and since then I've been laying low. I've been talking with my sponsor, Charter Communications, about the possibility of interning with their PR department this summer/fall, either in Denver or at their St. Louis headquarters. Nothing is confirmed yet, but it seems to be looking like a good bet.

I've been to a couple of concerts in Denver lately. I met up with my ski tech, Ian G., at the Gothic Theater in Englewood for a rousing performance by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Then last night Nick and I went to see Bright Eyes at a decidedly non-rock-&-roll venue, the Temple Buell Theater at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Conor Oberst & co. (I counted 12 backing musicians, including two drummers (both women!), two guitarists besides Conor, a bassist, a keyboard/trumpet player, two cellists, two violinists, a sax player, and a flutist!) played mostly songs off of their new album, Cassadaga, but capped off the evening with a raucous performance of the older fave "Road to Joy," which incorporates the melody from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Oberst looked dapper in a white suit and encouraged the crowd to its feet, turning a concert-hall performance into some semblance of a rock-club throwdown.

I have also been going to the gym a lot to get started on a new conditioning program for 2007-08, following a lot of Red Sox games on the Internet, and putting off cleaning my desk and my bedroom. Also, I've gotten quite a bit of research done for Check it out if you haven't already.

Our first ski team camp to prepare us for next season will take us to A-Basin beginning May 8. Then we head to the OTC in Colorado Springs for a few days of testing, and then perhaps I'll get in a trip to Maine before our next ski camp in June, at Mt. Hood, Ore.

I'll leave you with an amazing photograph. This picture, by one Ron Jenkins, shows a baseball bat that left the hands of the Cleveland Indians' Kelly Shoppach (a former Portland Sea Dog, I might add) and wreaked havoc on the jaw of an unsuspecting fan. I think my favorite part is the concerned reactions of all the people around him, contrasted with the incredibly unconcerned (or more likely, oblivious) cool of the little girl at bottom center. The photo is captioned "Bat out of Hell." I'm unable to post it here directly, so follow this link.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

should we talk about the weather? should we talk about the government?

Yesterday I was outside in short sleeves. Last night, the wind picked up and it started snowing. By this morning there were a couple inches on the ground. The clouds had cleared and the sun was out, but the wind was still out in full force. As I sat inside getting my hair cut, gusts blew snowdrifts off of roofs, and the air above the tops of the mountain peaks was full of towering wisps of white. Looking outside now, the gusts haven't let up much. Spring in Winter Park is an unpredictable time.

I met up with a college friend, Andy F., in Denver yesterday. We went to see the new Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. Daniel Liebeskind's modernist creation has very few right angles and very few curves; even inside, structural columns descend at odd angles. It's a great space for looking at art though, and the highlight was "RADAR," a couple's private collection of contemporary work from around the world, from Japanese anime-inspired sculpture to one of Damien Hirst's formalydehyde-preserved creatures — in this case, a bull's head.

Speaking of art, the totally overrated English band Art Brut has an awesomely simplistic song that goes, "Modern art makes me want to rock out!" I could only listen to that song so many times, but that's a slogan I'd be proud to wear unironically on a T-shirt.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

what we have here is...

I love discovering a classic that I'd somehow missed until now. Tonight I finally saw Cool Hand Luke in its entirety, and I'd have to put it in my all-time top ten. Paul Newman's Luke is the ideal anti-hero, and the film is the prison-movie antithesis of feel-good fare like The Shawshank Redemption. Plus it has some memorable lines. There's the classic "What we have here is a failure to communicate!" (This one is #11 in the AFI's list of the top 100 American movie quotes of the last 100 years.) And then there's my personal favorite, Luke's line in the poker-game scene that gives him his nickname: "Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

Then perhaps best of all, there's the song "Plastic Jesus," which I first heard my cousins singing when I was probably ten. Later, I heard the Flaming Lips' version, released on their 1993 album Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. But I'd never heard Luke sing it until now.

Plastic Jesus

Trad., arr. Ed Rush and George Cromarty

Well, I don't care if it rains or freezes,
Long as I have my plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
Through all trials and tribulations,
We will travel every nation,
With my plastic Jesus I'll go far.

Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
Through my trials and tribulations,
And my travels through the nations,
With my plastic Jesus I'll go far.

I don't care if it rains or freezes
As long as I've got my Plastic Jesus
Glued to the dashboard of my car,
You can buy Him phosphorescent
Glows in the dark, He's pink and pleasant,
Take Him with you when you're traveling far

I don't care if it's dark or scary
Long as I have magnetic Mary
Ridin' on the dashboard of my car
I feel I'm protected amply
I've got the whole damn Holy Family
Riding on the dashboard of my car

You can buy a Sweet Madonna
Dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
Pedestal of abalone shell
Goin' ninety, I'm not wary
'Cause I've got my Virgin Mary
Guaranteeing I won't go to Hell

I don't care if it bumps or jostles
Long as I got the Twelve Apostles
Bolted to the dashboard of my car
Don't I have a pious mess
Such a crowd of holiness
Strung across the dashboard of my car.

Monday, April 02, 2007

new look for

Thanks to the web talents of Jared and the graphic-design skillz of Richie Jay, there is a whole new look over at my lexicographical endeavor, Go check it out... you can search for stuff, but since there are still not very many entries online, the best way to browse the dictionary right now is probably to start here, on the Recent Changes page.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

some old videos

I just got around to uploading a few old videos of myself from New Zealand and Winter Park onto YouTube. As soon as they approve them they should be viewable here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

u.s. nationals wrap-up

Today was the fourth and final day of official competition here at the U.S. Disabled Alpine Championships in Waterville Valley, N.H. For me, it was a pretty weak ending to a pretty strong season. I had been hoping to come away with my first national title but ended up with only a 5th-place finish in GS and a DNF in slalom. (Because Waterville's race hill is not homologated for speed events, this was the first U.S. nationals not to include a super G or a downhill.) In addition to the two official "championship" races, we raced another GS and slalom that counted as regular Nor-Am races. Those didn't go much better for me; I didn't finish the GS and managed 3rd in the slalom.

Tomorrow should be interesting... they set aside some of the prize money provided by the event's title sponsor, The Hartford, for the winners of a head-to-head, pro-style disabled race, similar to the annual World Disabled Invitational race at the Wells Fargo Bank Cup in Winter Park.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

world leader pretend

On March 12, one of my all-time favorite bands, R.E.M., was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Van Halen. It was an awesome ceremony in which R.E.M. were introduced by Eddie Vedder and played a four-song set that included collaborations with both Vedder and Patti Smith, and you can watch it streaming online here.

In a recent Rolling Stone piece in which the members of R.E.M. comment on their discography, Michael Stipe says that "the big moment" on their 1988 major-label debut, Green, is the song "World Leader Pretend":
It's a tribute to Leonard Cohen, using military terms to describe a battle within. I was so proud of the lyrics and my vocal take that I refused to sing it a second time. I did it once. That was it.

You can tell that Stipe was proud of the song back in 1988 as well, since until 1998 it was the only R.E.M. song that ever had its lyrics printed on the album's sleeve or booklet. "World Leader Pretend" has always been my favorite song off of Green, too — not only because it's a beautiful song with great guitar and piano lines, a string arrangement, and countrified pedal steel, but because it's one of those rare songs that make me, a not-particularly-close listener of lyrics, pay attention to the words coming out of the singer's mouth:
I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it’s all, it’s all for nothing
I know the barricades, and
I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognize the weapons, I used them well

This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the wall, and I will be the one to knock it down

I’ve a rich understanding of my finest defenses
I proclaim that claims are left unstated,
I demand a rematch
I decree a stalemate
I divine my deeper motives
I recognize the weapons
I’ve practiced them well. I fitted them myself

It’s amazing what devices you can sympathize
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the walls, and I will be the one to knock it down

Reach out for me and hold me tight. Hold that memory
Let my machine talk to me. Let my machine talk to me

This is my world
And I am the world leader pretend
This is my life
And this is my time
I have been given the freedom
To do as I see fit
It’s high time I’ve razed the walls
That I’ve constructed

It’s amazing what devices you can sympathize
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the walls, and I will be the one to knock it down

You fill in the mortar. You fill in the harmony
You fill in the mortar. I raised the walls
And I’m the only one
I will be the one to knock it down.

I won't pretend to know what Stipe's getting at, exactly, with lines like "It's amazing what devices you can sympathize"; what I love is his wordplay. First of all there's the line "This is my mistake; let me make it good." There's a great ambiguity here: does he mean "Let me make my mistake well" or "Let me fix my mistake"? I'd like to think that Stipe realized it could be interpreted both ways at once, and I love the idea of "making a mistake well."

Another thing that's always struck me is Stipe's employment of one of English's most delicious homophone pairs, raise and raze. Though pronounced the same, they mean exactly the opposite of one another. From the context (not to mention the lyrics printed in the album's booklet) it's clear when the wall is being "raised" and when it's being "razed," but it's fun to substitute the opposite meaning in each instance and see how it affects the lyric's meaning.

The last thing I want to talk about is the section that begins "I proclaim that claims are left unstated." (A nice line in itself, no?) Stipe begins this line and the next two with three different verbs — proclaim, demand, decree — that the linguist J.L. Austin called "performatives." (Forgive me for getting all linguistics-major-y here, but bear with me.) A performative verb is one that accomplishes something simply by the speaker uttering it: by saying "I proclaim..." you are proclaiming something; by saying "I demand..." you are demanding it. Contrast these with what happens in the fourth line of the section, "I divine my deeper motives." Divine is an ordinary, non-performative verb; by saying "I divine..." you are not accomplishing anything. You are just stating what you do, or have done. By using three performative verbs in a row, Stipe has tricked the listener into hearing his narrative voice as an authority. (Who uses performative verbs like proclaim, demand, decree? Officials, politicians, people signing treaties and cutting ribbons.) But when he gets to "I divine..." he has pulled the old switcheroo. It turns out that this narrator is not an authority figure after all; he is just a normal human being (with "deeper motives," even!) trying to get in touch with his feelings by making proclamations, demands, decrees. The joke's on you, dear listener — Stipe's not being performative at all; he's just being introspective.

And some people say pop music is shallow...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Zoncolan results

Here I am, a week after writing my last blog post and I haven't even been able to post it yet. I'm now in another metal tube, heading from Italy back to Colorado, only this time for some reason we're heading much farther north than usual, up over Greenland. I suppose, barring any unforeseen difficulties, I'll be able to post this tonight when I get home to Winter Park.

It's been a worthwhile trip. We drove about four hours from Munich down to Arta Terme, Italy, which is tucked up in the Dolomites in the northeastern corner of the country, very close to both the Austrian and Slovenian borders. We had two days to ski the race hill and settle into our hotel before the first race, which was a slalom on Monday.

That morning I felt really great, ready to turn in a good performance... maybe that should've been my first clue that things weren't going to go my way. As soon as I got onto the course for the first run, things felt weird. The snow outside of the race course had been really soft, starting to turn slushy by 9 or 10 a.m.; on course, it was a different story. After sliding around on the first few gates, I started to find a rhythm on the next few — only to lean in badly on the entry to the first hairpin and slide off-course. After maybe 15 seconds of racing, my day was over. Even worse, in the second run all three of my male monoskier teammates went down and out as well.

I finished the GS the next day, and while at the time I was pretty disappointed with my 12th-place finish, I think finishing two solid runs built up my confidence a bit. It was also pretty encouraging to see Gerald and CDY have better races, finishing 6th and 7th. On the morning of the final race, a super G, I didn't have much motivation: I hadn't had a decent finish yet in Italy, the course didn't seem well-suited to me, and my warm-up runs just felt off. Before the start I told Nick, "If I have any success today, it will be a fluke." I didn't make any major mistakes in my run, and got to the bottom having thoroughly enjoyed it. It's nice when ski racing is actually FUN, even if "fun" doesn't always correlate well with "successful." Somehow, though, I crossed the line in second place, and only three more skiers who came down after me were able to beat me. Suddenly I had my first top-5 World Cup finish of the season, in the last World Cup race of the season. Not only that, CDY gave our men's monoskiing team its only podium of the season, finishing third.

For the U.S. Ski Team's press release on the races, click here. For complete results, go here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I'm writing this from inside a metal tube about 33,000 feet above the North Atlantic Ocean. At home it's 11 p.m. and at our destination, Munich, it's 7 a.m., but whatever time it technically is here, it doesn't feel like sleepytime. Despite the many other things I could be doing right now to pass the time — like doing seven Sunday crossword puzzles, or watching the movie Happy Feet, or reading a magazine so pretentious that it insists on spelling out all numbers, like "five thousand thirty-two" (that would be The New Yorker) — I have instead been listening to Jay-Z while staring at the little animated map that I can call up at the touch of a button on the LCD screen behind the balding head of the man in front of me. (That was a lot of prepositions. Whew!) This map amuses me to no end, because (a) I am a huge dork, (b) it gives distances in miles even when displaying them in German (show me one German person who has any sense of how far "1431 meilen" is), and (c) it depicts extremely obscure cities but not important ones. Apparently this cartographer lives in an alternate dimension where New York and Paris are not worth noting on maps but Stephenville, Newfoundland and Keflavik, Iceland are. I mean, if you're going to mark a city in Iceland, surely Reykjavik is the natural choice, no?

While I'm on the theme of stream-of-consciousness rants, let me tell you about how cool my computer's current desktop background is. It's a manga-style cartoon of Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka hurling a flaming, planet-like object, accompanied by some Japanese characters I can't read. I downloaded it from The Onion's website, where it accompanied a story titled "Excited Red Sox Fans Eagerly Await Debut Of Matsuzaka's 'Ultimate Galactic Dragon Gyroball Pitch Power Explosion'." I love The Onion; I really do.

Continuing with the randomness, here's something I've been worried about lately. When you enter the town of Fraser, Colorado (the town line is just a few hundred feet from my house in Winter Park), a sign proclaims Fraser "The Icebox of the Nation." Ever since I moved there, I've heard it said as gospel truth that Fraser has the coldest annual average temperature in the lower 48. But a recent New Yorker article about Sublette County, Wyoming, notes that it, too, claims to be "the icebox of the nation." Disturbed, I did some Googling and discovered that at least five other towns — International Falls, Minnesota; Pellston, Michigan; Truckee, California; Stanley, Idaho; and West Yellowstone, Montana — also claim the title. Which one is truly the Icebox of the Nation? And more pressingly, why do they all insist on the anachronistic word "icebox," anyway? Wouldn't "The Refrigerator of the Nation" be more au courant?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

blog? i have a blog??

No, I hadn't forgotten, and no, I wasn't too busy to update it — just too lazy. I haven't done any racing since last time I posted, but that will change soon. On Thursday the whole U.S. team leaves for the World Cup Finals, on Monte Zoncolan, Arta Terme, northeast Italy. We will race two super G's, a GS, and a slalom on a hill most of us have never been to before. The rumor is that conditions there are decent, thanks to snowmaking and a relatively high altitude. Many other European ski areas are already closed for the season or have too little snow to host a race, thanks to spring-like conditions all winter long. We were scheduled to be racing in Abtenau, Austria right now, but those races fell victim to the balmy weather and were canceled a couple weeks ago.

In other news, I spent five days at the end of February driving around Arizona with Jared in a ridiculous car — a silver Chrysler Sebring convertible, the kind of car you would buy if you were going through a mid-life crisis but were too conservative to consider a Miata. And it wasn't even that warm, so once we left Phoenix the top was up most of the time. We did, however, have a great time in various Northern Arizona locales, such as Jerome, Flagstaff, the Hopi Rez, Ganado, and the Hubble Trading Post.

In Keams Canyon, we met up with a Hopi potter named Karen Charley and spent the better part of an afternoon talking to her and learning about her pottery. Then we took Karen and her granddaughter out for dinner at the Hopi Cultural Center on Third Mesa, where Jared and I stayed for the night. She also set up a meeting with the superintendent of her school district whose board she serves on in Jeddito the next day, and Jared (a teacher) had a good time talking with him about their situation.

On our first day we had hit up Arcosanti, a crazy concrete desert experiment in "arcology" (architecture + ecology). But we met so many cool people there that we decided to go back and stay there for our final night. We made some friends, learned their bronze casting, and even played music with some of the workshop kids there. I may end up going back to do a workshop there myself some day.

Jared took some good photos, and he has posted them online here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

oh dear

I just realized that I never wrote anything about the super G's earlier this week here in Winter Park. See, I had written this nice long post but then Safari took a safari and crashed. Anyway, I was really happy with my run the first day and ended up second, a couple seconds behind the Australian speed specialist Shannon Dallas. The next day, though, a small mistake cost me big-time and I ended up in fifth place — my first non-podium finish of the Nor-Am season. D'oh!

Results from all the Nor-Ams are finally posted here.

biracial, cilantro, picaroon

What do these three words have in common? No, they're not subject-lines from spam e-mails, although they sound like it. All three of these fantastic words were contained in a single game of WEBoggle, my favorite online word game. If you follow the link, prepare to waste hours...

Monday, February 05, 2007

got advice?

Musically speaking, the band Cake may have gone downhill lately, but they're still a clever group of guys. Their website features a section in which the band attempts to answer fans' queries for advice; recently, a reader named Tim presented them with a doozy. Rather than attempt to answer it, the band has offered a copy of their new rarities CD, a t-shirt, and a signed vinyl LP of their first album, "Motorcade of Generosity" to the reader who can write the response to Tim's question, which you can read here. Good luck...

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Theoretically I'm watching the Stupor Bowl right now, but football really doesn't hold my interest, so I'll write a self-satisfied blog post instead.

I finally managed to win a slalom race today, the opening day of the Winter Park Open disabled Nor-Am races. I had an ugly first run but was in the lead by half a second or so, enough to put me in a position where I could give my all on the second run and win the race by several seconds. It was a nice confidence booster, even though I know it probably would've been good enough for, like, seventh place in a World Cup race.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

more eric lindley/deth p. sun

A little while ago I blogged about this guy Eric Lindley, who I went to college with, who makes great music. His first real CD arrived in my P.O. box today and I'm listening to it right now and it's pretty awesome. Some of the songs maintain the spare, creepy acoustic vibe that his demo CDs and live performances have, while others are sort of fleshed out with other instruments. (In case you missed the original post, you can listen to some of his songs on his MySpace and if you like it you can buy the CD for 11 bucks on his label's website.)

Anyway one of the most arresting things about the CD, besides the music, is the awesome cover art. It is from a painting done by a guy whose (real) name is supposedly Deth P. Sun, which he says is Khmer. I just spent about half an hour looking at the paintings on his website, which go very nicely with Eric's record. He paints a lot of cat people, turtle people, mountains, rainbows, iconic words, and other odd sights. His work is sort of cute and scary at the same time, kind of like his name.

I think this might be my favorite painting on his website, but maybe it's just the caption that does it for me: Brushing Teeth

On an unrelated note, we race Nor-Ams the next three days here at home in Winter Park.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

from the x games athlete lounge tent

...which has free wi-fi, naturally, as well as many diversions and much free food.

I guess I am now officially an Xtreme Athlete, having competed in my first X Games and made it to the semifinals. Now it's time to go party like an Xtreme Athlete.

Tune in to ESPN tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. ET and maybe you'll catch me racing, although they might only show the finals. I wish I could be more specific about the time of the broadcast, but alas...

If you want to cheat and peek at the results now, head over here for the results and here for the full story.

Friday, January 26, 2007

spokane, wash.

Racing in Kimberley finished up today with a slalom. I had two solid runs (my second run was fifth-fastest) and finished eighth — not my best result, but I was satisfied with my performance. As soon as we got off the hill, five out of the six U.S. monoskiers on the trip loaded into a van to drive down to Spokane and catch a flight to Denver for the X Games.

Halfway there, though, we got a phone call: our 6 p.m. flight out of Spokane had been cancelled, and we would be stuck here for at least the next 12 hours. We considered our options and decided to take our rescheduled 6 a.m. flight to Denver tomorrow, then hop on a United flight directly to Aspen. If all goes as planned, we should make it into Aspen around 10:55 a.m., just in time to get on snow around 1:00 for the preliminary rounds of the monoskier X competition. Fingers crossed, I'm going to try and get some sleep...

Today's results are here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

GS in kimberley

Booooo. I made a big mistake on the top, flat section of my first run in today's giant slalom, and then a few gates later I went down, making a foolish mistake by leaning into a turn on the steepest part of the course.... DNF.

Slalom tomorrow... one more shot at a decent result.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

super G in kimberley

This afternoon finds me asking myself that most frustrating question in ski racing: "Why wasn't I fast?" Today's super G was a fun course on a fun hill with soft snow, which is what I'm most accustomed to these days. Despite a foggy upper half of the course that severely limited visibility, I thought I had a decent run, maybe good enough for a top-5. But I was already in fifth when I crossed the finish line, and soon slipped back to 10th. At least I was still the top American finisher in my class — although by all accounts Nick and CDY both had great runs going before, respectively, falling and DNFing. I guess hopefully we'll see on the video of today's race why I was so slow.

One bright spot was that my friend Shannon Dallas of Australia got his well-deserved first World Cup win today. Full results can be found here, and USSA's press release is here.

I'm currently listening to music by a Dartmouth acquaintance of mine, Eric Lindley. He makes introspective, spooky acoustic music along the lines of Iron & Wine or CocoRosie. If this sounds interesting you can listen to some of his songs on his MySpace page or buy his new CD here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

aspen world cup wrap-up

I'm on an Alaska Airlines flight from Denver to Seattle; from there I'll transfer to Spokane, where we'll all pile into rented minivans and drive four hours or so up to the faux-Austrian village of Kimberley, British Columbia. We'll get to sleep in tomorrow and perhaps freeski a bit in the afternoon, and then we have three more days of World Cup racing — a super G on Wednesday, a giant slalom Thursday, and a slalom Friday. Immediately after the slalom, five of the team's six monoskiers will hightail it back to Spokane, fly back to Denver, and drive up to Aspen (which we just left last night) for the X Games' Monoskier X event on Saturday afternoon. It seems a little illogical to go to so much effort to compete in a crazy, somewhat dangerous race, but what the hell. You only live once.

Sorry I've neglected to post the results of the later Aspen World Cups... I'll give you the rundown of the last four days:
Tuesday, GS #1: I put together two solid — but not stellar — runs, finishing as the top American (seventh place) in a race that features a slew of DNFs (did not finish) thanks to a difficult hill and variable snow conditions. Germany's Martin Braxenthaler wins the men's sitting category handily, repeating his feat from both super G's.

Wednesday, GS #2: The rest of the field starts to figure out the hill — but not the Americans. I fail to finish the first run after misjudging a big knoll in the middle of the course. In the afternoon I join a posse of fellow DNFs (Gerald, Ricci, CDY, and two Italians) to explore the rest of Aspen Mountain. It is Gay & Lesbian Ski Week in Aspen, and we manage to catch some of an event called "The Drag Race," which features costumed (though not necessarily all cross-dressing) participants showing off their style on skis and snowboards before a panel of judges. We see four men dressed as poodles, a female "priest" performing a same-sex mock matrimony, and a close-to-seven-foot snowboarding queen who we hear won the event last year. Then I ride the gondola to the top of the mountain with a screenwriter who wrote Air Force One and who uses his cell phone in the gondola to reschedule his appointment with his personal trainer. At the top, we take pictures of each other and, following the Italians' sensible lead, order beers and drink them on the mountaintop lodge's sun-drenched terrace.

Meanwhile, Braxi wins again, and Nick has the Americans' best (and only) male monoskier finish in seventh place.

Thursday, slalom #1: This is the event where it seems like I could be starting to become a contender, but I make a major mistake in each of the two runs. Still, it's good enough for another seventh-place finish — just behind Gerald, who has a stellar second run. Braxi wins his fifth straight race, although Austria's Jürgen Egle is close behind.

Friday, slalom #2: I go down in the first run but finish the course. Starting the second run in third-to-last place, I have my best run of the week. Only four skiers are faster than me that run, but I was so far behind in the first run that it doesn't matter — I still finish at the back of the pack. Still, my final race run of the Aspen series is encouraging, giving me a morale boost going into the Canadian races, not to mention valuable World Cup points. I now stand in fourteenth place in the season-long overall standings (PDF), the top American in my category so far.

Better yet, Jürgen wins the race, finally knocking Braxi to the second step of the podium.

For full race results, click here. For the full text of the USSA press releases, head over here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

World Cup super G's in aspen

Well, I can't really say that today went how I was hoping. I made a really unacceptable line mistake in the first run that led to me blowing out of the course and not finishing the first race. In the afternoon, I skied a decent line but was just plain slow... I finished tenth. Perhaps the worse news was for the U.S. team in general: Laurie was the only one on the podium in either race, and in the second one my finish represented our team's top placing in the men's sitting class... not a good start to the season.

To make matters worse, I was just informed that I've been fined €100 by the IPC for "failing to report to the yellow-flag zone" after blowing out of the course... maybe tomorrow I'll explain what that means. Maybe then I'll have some good news to report as well.

USSA press release here
Official results here and here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I'm comfortably ensconced in a room at the Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass, Colo., but tomorrow morning sometime around 11 a.m. I will be racing down Aspen Mountain — the region's old-school, steep, hardcore ski area — at around 40 m.p.h., hopefully on my way to kicking some Austrian ass.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

congrats to chris k.

Chris Klebl is a really nice guy who is quickly becoming one of the world's top disabled nordic skiers. It's really nice to read about his success:
VUOKATTI, Finland (Jan. 13) - Paralympian Chris Klebl (sit-ski; Heber City, UT) added a World Cup podium to his resume Saturday, finishing second in the 10K to open the Disabled Cross Country World Cup season in Finland.

"This is kind of a surprise," said Klebl, who became a four-time national champion earlier this month in Houghton, MI. "I really didn't plan on peaking until Germany (the second World Cup), but I'll take it, I'm stoked - this was a good way to start the World Cup season."

Klebl credited time-on-snow for the victory, saying that he's had over 70 days of training in Utah prior to starting the competition season.

"I've been really fortunate because I've been able to get in a lot of training. The Europeans have been hurting - it can't be good when you have Paralympic champions saying they've only been on snow three times. So physically, I'm feeling good."

Head Coach Jon Kreamelmeyer couldn't have been more excited for Klebl's first World Cup top-3, praising the second year Team member for his outstanding work ethic. "I'm extra proud of Chris, he's put in a lot of time and work into this season and he deserves to be up there," he said.

Read the full press release here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

monoskier x: what is?

On January 27 at 2:00 p.m. MST, I will compete in the new Monoskier X event at Winter X Games 11 in Aspen, Colo. has this to say about the rules of the event:

Mono-Skier X debuted as a demo event at Winter X Nine and now makes the jump to a medaled event at Winter X 11. Mono-Skier X is modeled after Winter X mainstays, Snowboarder and Skier X with one key difference that the event features the top disabled mono-skiers in the world.

Mono-Skier X is a fast and furious course race that features disabled sit-skiers racing over tabletop jumps, banked turns, rollers and gaps. Like the other X course disciplines at Winter X, Mono-Skier X is a fusion of motocross and downhill racing on snow.

In each of the qualifying races, the winner advances to the Final, while the 2nd place finisher goes to the last chance qualifier. In the LCQ, the winner advances to fill out the 4 racer final. In the final, the first racer to the bottom takes home the gold.

Competition Format: Men and Women

Qualifying12 (3 heats of 4)1Winner advances to Final, 2nd place goes to LCQ
Last Chance Qualifier3 (1 heat of 3)1Winner advances to Final
Final4 (single heat)11st thru 4th place

Got it?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

huntsman cup wrapup

Writing this from Park City, Utah, where we just finished up three days of racing at the annual Huntsman Cup. I didn't manage a win but did land on the podium every day, making it five straight this season. I'm happy to be skiing so consistently although I'll admit I was a little disappointed not to finish better than third in today's slalom. Rather than try to recap all the races for you, for now I'll just post links to the relevant press releases and result lists.

GS 1 (Fri. 1/5): release | results
GS 2 (Sat. 1/6): release | results
SL (Sun. 1/7): release | results

bid on my race suit

If you're reading this and you or someone you know is a ski racer, this may be of interest... I donated my race suit from the Paralympics last year to Gould Academy, my alma mater, for a fundraising auction they're doing. Bidding is open now through Feb. 4, and as of now you could pick it up for a song at $100. Go here to view the auction listing.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

rough day

I'm writing this from Park City, Utah, where we're getting ready for the annual Huntsman Cup races, which run this Friday through Sunday. The rest of the team skied at Deer Valley this morning while I stayed behind tinkering with my monoski. At noon I joined the others at Park City Resort to run some slalom.

We were training on CB's, a long, steep hill that used to host men's World Cup races every year. (I usually like the trail, and I like to say that they named it after me.) The course today was on the steepest part of the run, and the snow was mostly man-made, a contrast from the stuff we've been skiing on in Winter Park. What's more, I was skiing on a new shock absorber and my monoski just didn't feel right. These factors came together to foreground some of the weaknesses in my skiing, and the result was that I had an absolutely awful day of training. I didn't make it through the course once, blowing out or falling several times each run. The coaches kept offering advice, but all I wanted was to be left alone and try and work my way out of the hole I was digging for myself. On days like today it's really hard to make yourself keep skiing when you know it's not going to get any better. All I can do is put today behind me, be glad it was only a training day, and redouble my efforts tomorrow.

(The linguist in me wonders: why redouble? It's not like I've already doubled them...)