Category Archives: Travel/Outdoors

Off To Fruita

Survived the longest tram line in history on Friday, skied insanely deep snow on the last day of April and the night skies are clear. We’ve got some lovely mountain biking in Fruita, Colo. this weekend.

Just checked into the Balance Rock Motel– it’s quiet, clean and perfect for an early rise and shine. We had planned to ‘rough it’ but the weather turned nasty this week. The ground is a tad wet and Sage has a wet cough. Though she’s in good spirits and was really looking forward to camping, I decided to do the responsible parent thing and stay in a motel.

There are only a handful in town (more in Grand Junction) and with the Fat Tire Fest happening this weekend, we got lucky. Three rooms left at the Rock. We were pleasantly surprised with what our $50 bought us. The intermittent refrigerator whir is a bit disruptive but other than that, the bed is a king, the room is clean and smoke free and there’s plenty of room to stash our bikes. It’s pet friendly for a price but Tenaya’s fine in the car. I’m just psyched that Ryan agreed to bring her along. The old girl doesn’t get out much but this is the perfect roadtrip for her. Since one of us will be with baby Sage at all times, Tenaya can hang at a slow pace. She doesn’t have to run on the trails or stay by the car. She also doesn’t need to worry about over heating. It’s cold! 29 degrees tonight.

Though there are ample camping spots throughout the area, it’s convenient and smart to stay in a motel when the ground is wet and the freeze cycle is still spinning. The days are forecasted in the mid 50s and partly sunny. Ideal riding weather. Ok, I’d prefer 60s but at least it won’t snow on us.

We left SLC in the middle of the storm. Snowbird had the best two powder days all season and I got to ski this morning. At 6:30 pm we were driving to Price. At 11 pm we had made it to town. Despite the Fest, the place was quiet. All closed up for the night. We saw stars. Loads of them. Whew. The dark streets slapped under our wheels from the dusk rain. I best sleep now. We’ve got a busy day ahead. Glad to be here. I like these crossover spring weekends.


Ooh, boy, am I going to have a serious bout of jetlag when I get home. It’s 3:43 a.m. in Utah…but only 11:43 at night in Maui. We just got back from one of those cheesy luaus where the food is mediocre, the show kitsch and yet you still wind up having a great time. It helps that there’s an open bar with the tender free pouring. And that I can never get enough of watching Sage dance and enjoy herself.
A few more days and we’ll be back in town and I’ll be wondering what happened to the summer. Like Goto our 60-year-old Japanese surf instructor in Lahaina said about the waves: You wait and wait then all of a sudden it’s on top of you so you better be ready to paddle hard and ride otherwise you’ll miss it. Is that a bad thing, really? When the falls and winters are so spectacular along the Wasatch and down south? I feel like such a loser that I’ve climbed a handful of times at Rockreation, scaled the cliffs above the Needles gondola at Snowbasin once and done two hikes. How could I be this lame when I used to have multi-sport days? Now, I’m lucky if I get in a multi-sport week.
I can’t blame motherhood. Ryan would watch Sage after 4pm if I asked him. I can blame the heat, the finishing touches of construction, the prohibitive high price of the only local gym in town (that needs a serious dose of humility- 24-hr Fitness won’t you please open up a branch in Park City?). But now that it’s gotten cooler, the Stump Jumper is begging for a spin. It’ll happen when I get home seeing as at home there’s no surf to tackle. Did I mention that I am the queen of the big foam board? I stood up on every wave I caught and rode it in until I felt it was time to paddle out. Pretty cool sport. And Lahaina, Maui, has got to be one of the best spots for learning. They call them surf farms- the schools that teach out there; dragging classes of 5 to 8 people each out to places like the Breakwall. And some bitch did put her board between my legs as she cut me off in mid-surf. But it’s not like we don’t experience the same on any given powder day. The good spots are bound to be packed. Goto, the Mr. Myagi of surfing, also compared the experience to driving on the freeway- you get in your lane and go. Don’t worry about the other drivers.
Wish I could stay another two weeks here and hone the surfing- maybe get up on a hard board (or at least try) but the time will soon arrive to head back and kick the mountain sports back into gear.
Maui’s been great though. The highlights- surfing, of course, having Matthew Murasko from Olukai Footwear take us through the Bamboo Forest just off the Hana Highway, brilliant sunsets, snorkeling in Honoloa Bay and watching Sage go nuts for the water (in the jetted tub, the pools at the Westin and the ocean). Tomorrow we’ll do the Maui Onion Festival with my parents. I hope they’ll have Maui onion rings so that the next time I dine on onion rings in some stateside restaurant I can brag that I had real Maui onion rings in Maui.

Welcome to June and the Summer?

I think I shall ski tomorrow. Yes, Snowbird is still open and yes I’m still interested in making turns. I know it’s supposed to be summer but the trails are too muddy for hiking or biking and the mountains are still covered in snow. I’ll admit, part of my motivation is a story I’m working on about the economics of late season skiing (check out the June 16) but the other is that I’m desperate for exercise. I climbed at Rockreation with Kristen last Wednesday and that was about it since my week in Mammoth May 16 where I skied one day and snowboarded (or shall I say, got my body pummelled) one day. I’m committed to climbing at least once a week but I really thought I would be moved into my new office – stairstepper and all- by now and back to my workout regime. Best laid plans. My sheetrock guy went to jail for a week on cocaine charges and the momentum jerked to a halt. Needless to say, I didn’t welcome him back after his stint in the “graybar motel”. I’ve already unwittingly had my camera and watch stolen since construction began, I don’t need to attach a neon sign to my things now. So I still have a bunch of little things let to finish.
The thrift store finally hauled off my entertainment center and my parents big screen TV. Funny. I thought that piece of rear projection history would be worth a whole lot more than whatever that 5-n-dime in Heber is going to sell it for. Sigh. It was one of the first ever on the scene. I dragged it out from San Diego and it worked great until I upgraded with the folks’ next hand-me-down. Then it sat in the garage collecting dust; failing to sell at last year’s yard sale and throughout the year on Craigslist.
Tomorrow, I’ll ski and forget all about it. I hear it’s mid-winter up there. Looking forward to the bragging afterwards. “I skiied the last day of May.” And next week, I’ll have “skiied the first weekend of June.” We are promised turns at least until Dad’s Day. No word yet on Fourth of July skiing but no matter. Ryan, Sage and I are off to Boston to visit Vavo and Vavao(?)- that’s grandma and grandpa for those Portuguese challenged. Did I fail to mention that Sage is half Portuguese? I think that is sooo cool. Who would have thought that this whitebred American Jewish chick would wind up with a Portuguese (non-practicing) Catholic? I did always have a thing for dark, handsome foreigners. It started around the time The Godfather won those Oscars. Maybe Sage’s legacy will even help her get into college one day. You never know.

Sage Signs For More

Speaking of which, those gorgeous blue eyes of hers are here to stay! Her mousy blond hair is past her shoulders and although I clipped her some bangs to keep the strands from getting glued to her snot nose in the mornings, they have grown past her nose again. She can point to most all the parts of her body, she still loves baths and when we watch “So You Think You Can Dance,” she actually drops to the floor and tried to breakdance. I promise to video this soon so you can all chuckle with us. It’s too cute. She’s also learning to jump up and down. She does great in her crib but only gets one foot off at a time when she’s on the ground. She occasionally gets them both airborn but when she lands, she falls. Tomorrow I bet she gets it. Her words are coming along and it sure helps that she knows sign. Otherwise, it would be hard to figure out whether she wanted the book or the ball, juice or shoes, cracker, cookie or cheese. It’s so much easier to communicate with her. But I forget how important it is to teach everyone else the signs too. My mom whined when she spent the day with her in Mammoth. She laughed and scolded me because Sage signed to her all day long and she couldn’t understand a single word or figure out what Sage wanted. Oh the poor things!

So now at 21 months, Sage can say (and sign) More, Ball, Book, Please, Cheese, Da-EE, Mama, Juice, Food, Shoes. She can sign- shirt, pants, bath, hug, baby, boy, yes, thank you, diaper, poop, toes, dirty, water, cracker, cookie, dog, sleep, pacifier, milk, up, down, and I’m sure there are some I missed.
When we read Goodnight Moon, she points to the pictures in the book as I say them- Goodnight Cow jumping over the moon, goodnight brush, goodnight stars. I ask her where the balloon is and she puts her finger on the image. I have no idea if she’s smarter than the average toddler but it’s so thrilling to see what was once a lump, interacting and responding like a little human being.
Tenaya is her protector. If she’s not sleeping at the side of my bed, she’s curled up at the baby’s door. Must be those scraps she snags from the highchair at mealtime. Only takes a few snips of bacon to know who your best friend should be.
Well, I best hit the hay if I want to have any energy for the slushfest tomorrow. The forecast stated 60 degrees and sunny in the mountains! Toodles.

Our First Roadtrip!

Sage is seven weeks old. Boy, time flies when you’re changing diapers and nursing. Everyone has asked me that universal question: How are you doing? I’m fine …and probably better than most new moms from what those who have seen me say.
I don’t feel quite rested 24/7 but I do get some sleep and although my tummy is too soft for my liking, I don’t feel fat.
Knowing that I was never a kid person and lived quite the selfish life, you’ll be pleased to know that I still get around, still go to movies and out to dinner, still have tons of fun and Sage is a dream child 80 percent of the time. Yes, there is the occasional hour or night when she’s a female Damian but for the most part I couldn’t be luckier or happier. She sleeps long enough for me to get 30 minutes in on my stairstepper, to do laundry, eat breakfast, respond to email and complete a 12-hour roadtrip to Yosemite. We got back last night from the national park and the poor thing didn’t scream once from being strapped to a carseat for what seemed like an eternity. She wailed only when she wanted my boob and we would either feed her the bottle or make a ‘nurse’ stop.
I’m starting to exercise again. I was such a slacker the last few months. We climbed two days in Yosemite and I have a Stroller Strides class in Salt Lake City tomorrow morning. All I can say is that motherhood isn’t as bad as everyone has made it out to be. It hasn’t changed my life so completely yet that I have any regrets or feel like I’ve “lost myself.” I tell people that having a child is like having 12 puppies. You’re busier than you ever wanted to be but she is so adorable it makes up for any inconvenience. And all I want to do is hold her so I guess it’s my own fault I’m getting nothing else done these days.

Sage’s first campfire

For more photos click :

Jackson Hole Roadtrip

I got my wish. The snow fell, and fell, and fell. Finally, we’ve gotten a break and I can start sleeping again. One more hevay snow warning until tomorrow but the sun and hot temps are predicted for the rest of the week. Over the last 2.5 weeks we the Cottonwoods have received about 13 feet of snow bringing base depths to more than 200 inches at most resorts. So why would I leave a perfectly epic powder week in Utah for Jackson Hole where they have half the base we do?

You might think it was all about the pineapple jalapeno margaritas and the après-ski scene at the Mangy Moose. You’d be partly right. The note from Jackson Hole nearly slipped past me as I breezed through my e-mail inbox last week. There it was reporting 21 inches of new snow in 24 hours. Finally, Jackson Hole, Wyo., was getting filled in. Local reports say they’ve had the driest season in five years.
But, hey, at least they’re open- unlike Bogus Basin, Idaho, which recently closed and sent the scheduled U.S. Freestyle Championships back to Park City Mountain Resort and the Utah Olympic Park. So, we leave. Going to Jackson, however, is like running to the store for milk. It’s an easy four and a half hour drive north.
We left late and arrived in time to catch a few needed winks at my favorite ski-in, ski-out lodge, the Best Western Inn at the Village. I love the place because it’s conveniently located in Teton Village and you get parking; the TVs are huge and the sheets silky soft; they allow pets; and their Vertical bar and restaurant serves the only margarita I have ever craved – the spicy, sweet pineapple jalapeno marg. (I hear the restaurant is tops too.)
I have to be honest; we Utah skiers are waaay too spoiled. After three runs, we were complaining about the conditions at Jackson. Had we not gotten the storm that left Utah with more than three feet of untracked, unbumped powder, we would have thought the skiing at Jackson killer. But, by the time we came off Rendezvous Bowl, we had a packed powder, moguly experience. Bumps everywhere. On the bright side, Jackson has an enviable collection of ripping skiers so the bumps are in the right place.
Of course, I made the stupidest mistake you should never make before leaving home. I had someone new tune my skis. I won’t name names but since my boys Matt and Mark at the Sportsden were out for the day and I desperately needed a baseweld from the rock that snuck up and hit me on the Baldy Traverse at Snowbird, I dropped them at a shop in Park City. The problem with tuning your skis and then leaving town is that when they don’t ski right you can’t take them back to be fixed.
My edges were a mess. The shoprats must have put the skis through the grinder after sharpening the edges because I had the grindpattern in the metal. Thank the planners for putting one of the best repair shops around- Bridger Sports- right at the base of the resort. Jason did a quick re-grind and hand file and I was back out loving my Head Mojos. He also recommended a few secret spots that might spice up our Jackson ski experience. So long as you have beacon, shovel, and probe you’re good to go past any of the backcountry gates.
We headed for the Upper Rock Springs gate and were immediately skiing untracked powder. If it weren’t for the 200 or so ski tour operators in town for the SkiTops convention, we might have found a Jackson Hole Mountain Guide to glide with but instead we were on our own, and soon standing above a shot they call Spacewalk. And it has that name for a reason. After about seven turns down a steep couloir through tracked up, fluffy crud, we peered over a 20-foot rock with no way around it. Mandatory air. I looked at Ryan. “You go first,” I said nervously.
It was big for me. Ryan mentioned something about trying to walk through the ice on the side, I said no way, then he backed up a couple of steps and jumped. The soft landing broke his fall and he yelled, “Yeah!” My turn. “Go straight off, feet together, hands in front, steady your balance, look ahead,” I chanted to myself; and jumped. The adrenaline surged as I sailed and landed. It was soft. Wahoo! Our day was made. Time for Moose Brews and hero stories over a giant plate of nachos at the Mangy Moose followed by margs at the Vertical.
The next day we refueled at the Atrium restaurant in the Snow King Resort hotel. Their $9 buffet breakfast with all the staples completely hit the spot and allowed us to go all day without stopping for lunch. If only we had that guide. Jackson is a tremendous mountain but when it’s all skied up, you need a local’s knowledge and eyes. We wasted half our day stopping to figure out where to go to find good snow without falling off a cliff or dying in an avalanche.
We skied mostly trees on the higher runs as the warm temps had turned the lower terrain into mashed potatoes. As the day waned, runs started to fill in but not soon enough. We had a benefit dinner to attend at Nani’s Pasta House in the town of Jackson. The unique event wasn’t like other sit-down dinners. You go in like you would on any other night but the $30 tab for salad, pasta and tiramisu went to help fund The Refuge – a non-profit org that aids at-risk teens. Instead of some tough chicken and frozen veggies on china you got an Old-World plate of al dente spaghetti and veal meatsauce and met some of the kids benefiting from The Refuge as they helped serve and clear the tables.
With a stomach full of noodles, we made a quick stop at The Liquor Store for ‘real’ beer then headed into the storm. The Utah forecast was calling for multiple feet over the next few days.
Jackson’s closed now but the summer’s are even bigger with Yellowstone National Park in their backyard. For lodging and resort information call the Jackson Hole Central Reservations at 888-838-6606 or the Jackson Hole Chamber at (307) 733-3316.

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