Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where's the cloaking device when you need it

Only our homeland security overlords in Washington DC could be stupid enough to think that flying a 747 over New York was a mission that could be kept secret. Or perhaps the cloaking device they borrowed from the Star Trek set didn't work...oh wait, that's science fiction and we live in the real world, but clearly someone in Washington doesn't.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Pretoria rugby

I attended another Super 14 Rugby match in Pretoria last night. This time it was the Bulls vs the Waikato Chiefs, again from New Zealand. The score was close right to the end, which is always good for maintaining interest. The home team won, which is also good for keeping the crowd in a good mood!

The weather was ideal, until one minute from the end when there was an unseasonably late thunderstorm. Not quite like the awesome summer thunderstorms here, but we still got soaked walking back to the car. It was still a fun evening though.

Thanks to Pieter for the ticket and the company.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paying an eToll in a rental car

I noticed this sticker on the window of the car I rented today to drive from Steamboat to Denver to get my flight via London to Johannesburg.

(apologies for the quality of the image; due to the slope of the window it was difficult to get a shot without the sunlight behind the subject)

I wish Avis in Australia did this. Sydney in particular is a pain with a rental car because there are toll roads everywhere and all of them are electronic payment only. If you don't have an eTag unit (as you wouldn't as a tourist) there is a process to register online to pay the tolls, but the user interface is lousy and in my personal experience it doesn't actually work; the one time I used it, I received an unpaid toll notice even though I'd registered.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New countdown

The counter at the bottom of this blog page has been updated.

Only 226 days to the 2009-2010 ski season (but who's counting!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And so it ends

Today was closing day for the 2008-09 ski season here in Steamboat.

I went out on principle, expecting it to be mediocre at best, but I must say despite being a bit damp (being warm enough to rain at lower elevations) it was OK. It's wasn't great, but it was good enough to ski Closet, which is not bad for April 12.

Here's today's track for 10,374 vertical ft.

And here's the consolidated track for the season, a total of 450,000 vertical ft in 35 days of skiing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Five years

Today we've been living in Steamboat full time for five years (notwithstanding the amount of time we spend on the road, it's our permanent and only home).

We owned a condo here since July 2002, but we were living in Singapore at the time which is even further from Steamboat than Australia.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Birthday skiing

I only went out today because I like the idea of skiing on my birthday. I didn't expect it to be great, but it was probably the worst day of the season. We had a warm day yesterday and then the spring slush froze hard overnight, and now it's not warm enough today to soften it again.

So only 5,102 in vertical ft in 45 minutes. That's my least vertical of any day this season. But you know what they say; the worst day of skiing is still better than the best day of whatever...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Abysmal user interface design (but that's not the surprise)

Here's an example of abysmal user interface design. That's not surprising; I see this crap every day. But this is from Apple! (it's part of setting up the "Genius" service in iTunes)

Is the second box for your password or does it have something to do with AOL? And what on earth does the red arrow mean?

This could easily have been fixed by putting the two radio buttons to select whether to use your Apple iTunes Store ID or your AOL ID across the top horizontally, keeping this selection visually separate from the entry of your user ID and password.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cream cheese

Today's post is not about food; "cream cheese" is an attempt to describe the texture of the 6 inches of new snow that fell overnight. Whatever you call it, in my five seasons skiing this mountain, I've never seen snow quite like it. Usually with conditions like they were last night - the temperature around 30F, the humidity higher than usual, and windy - what we end up with is cement; heavy, sticky and very tiring to ski. Today's snow was definitely crusty, but somehow it wasn't all that hard to ski. In fact it was an absolute hoot.

With the wind, the gondola was still closed when I arrived at the base around 9.30 am, so it was the Christie Express and then across to Thunderhead. It was a little slow, but so much better than the days only two seasons ago before the Christie Express when a closed Gondola meant an hour and a half to get up the mountain.

When I jumped on the Storm Peak Express the word was that Sundown was closed, so I skied Closet with the intention of traversing through Rainbow Saddle back to Storm Peak. But when I hit Duster and saw Sundown running I knew I had to head down that way and ski the trees some more. Almost exactly like Wednesday, from there it became Sundown Express, ski the trees, repeat (six times). The Priest Creek face is the best tree skiing in the world, so who can blame me!

Here's today's track for 17,980 vertical ft in 2 hours and 53 minutes. The final verdict; a better day than I expected and much better than April 4 has any right to be!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Close but no dice

Monday's declaration as the best day of the season stands, but only just. There's been another two feet of snow since then, but the difference today was that it was a little windy and not so cold overnight, so the snow was heavier.

I was in the gondola line at 8.10 am anticipating a big powder day. I began with a traverse from the top of the gondola to the lower half of Whiteout. Days like today make skiing the big bumps seem like cheating.

Then it was onto the BC chair for fresh tracks down Sunnyside. And then, unlike Monday where I circulated on the Pony Express, today it was the Sundown Express. Ski the trees. Repeat. Six times.

After that I decided to head down, but couldn't resist a couple of circuits on the Thunderhead Express. I'm glad I did because the best run of the day was in the trees to skier's right of Ted's Ridge where the snow was untracked and waist deep. Whoa!

Here's today's track for a total vertical 21,498 ft in 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Update (21 April): Just uploaded from my phone (self-portrait). Here I am waiting for the bus after skiing. Looks pretty wintery doesn't it?