Wind-y-land

Early morning Sunday sipping on some tea, prepping to head out for a skin/ski, listening to the wind. The wind is certainly a constant presence here, and I have to admit the location of the caboose might potentially be even windier than when I lived in Eldora, which rumor has it is the 2nd windiest town in the U.S. The caboose seems to lie smack dab in the Caribou wind tunnel however, a town that one hunderd years ago was known as the "Place Where the Winds are Born."

The wind has wrecked havoc on our snowpack the past week. Last Sunday I got up early and took what might have been the best run of the season. Deep, perfect snow. Couldn't have been better. Yesterday I skied the exact same line. It more resembled a World Cup downhill course, all iced down and wind packed. Still fun, but type II fun…the earn it type. I enjoy going out almost every day though and just seeing what the snow pack is doing. Getting the whole picture, instead of just the snapshots of the good.

Elaine and I headed out to Devils Thumb Friday to get a little nordic skinny skiing action on. I have not been out much this winter, in part to avoid a few folks from my old life and also because I want to provide Stella with exercise when I do a training session. I do miss it, but I'll get back into it full-on when the time is right and circumstances allow. A glimpse into the future though – Elaine is an absolute natural. It must be because she spent a lot of time as a kid skating back and forth at the base of Eldora to get between lifts, but her V2 alternate technique is about as natural as I've ever seen for somebody who has been skating twice in her life. Great balance and a good physique for the sport too – light and strong. I've coached nordic, I've seen a lot of skiers and I can honestly say she might be the best I've ever seen after just two sessions.

Friday was perfect. We skied the heck out of the dog loops and there was hardly a soul there. Just sweet sunshine, crazy clouds over the divide, and immaculately groomed trails for two plus hours. Devil's Thumb has gotten quite fancy in the past five years, but we had fun exploring the new lodge and dreaming of a time when we'll be able to afford sitting down by that giant fire place and enjoy a meal of top sirloin or something like that. Someday. We headed into Winter Park post ski and enjoyed some amazing pizza at Hernando's before crossing the pass and heading home.

The big mountains continue to becon. We love Ned, we really do, and my job is amazing. Great people, great fun and they have taken care of Elaine and I. For now and for the foreseeable future, it's good. But when we head west, into the bigger stuff, it makes us giddy. Obviously it's natural to think and dream about diving in completely, about heading to a small town nestled smack dab in the middle of the Rockies where we can carve out lives for ourselves. Where we can nordic ski with Stella, with amazing backcountry, where we can mountain bike, where we can just start fresh, have a family eventually and just be 100% inspired. It'll be interesting to see where it all falls. But that's in the semi-long term future. In the meantime, it's all about living life here and now at full speed, with relentless optimism and an attitude that we will not get beaten. And taking care of a few remnants of the 2009 debacle so all that can be a distant memory in the rear view mirror. It's 2011 now, and that's where that stuff belongs.

We're getting married Monday at Loveland! It's exciting. As Elaine said, "little girls always have these ideas for their weddings. I remember when I was growing up, I just wanted to be skiing at my wedding." Cool. Last night after work we headed to The Ritz where Elaine got a cool wedding dress to put over her ski suit, and I got a sort of earthy Native American leather top where I can be like Kevin Costner in "Dances With Wolves." We look good I think. We already have rings, but we headed into town and found – well basically the perfect momentos to exchange on this day. For two Woolly Mammoth slayers, I honestly couldn't have designed a better gift signifying our love.

After the wedding, Elaine has a big week! She'll be taking a ski building class where she will, in one week's time, take a stock piece of birch wood and by week's end have a pair of handbuilt skis. It's pretty cool to think she'll be maybe one of a hundred people in the entire country who knows this ancient skill. She's artistic as hell, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. Sounds like she'll be getting a 210 cm piece of wood to start with…these won't be wimpy skis, that's for sure.

This blog should pick up now. A camera arrived in a small brown box yesterday. Nice and compact, so I can wear it on my pack when skiing or climbing or biking or hiking. Waterproof so we can shoot those stormy moments we both love. Dabbed with it last night, and am going to take it out this morning. Pictures enhance words, and I'm excited to share some of that with friends and family. Below is our first ever shot with this bad-boy…great subject I think!

OK, off to do skin up some mountain, catch a sunrise and start the day right. Make it a great one where ever you are.

Elaine_grain

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