Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No airline executives were harmed...

Recently I wondered if I would need to ritually sacrifice an airline executive in order to appease the airline gods.

I'm pleased to say such drastic action seems to have been unnecessary. Last week I managed to fly from Denver to Chicago to Ottawa to Washington to Los Angeles to Brisbane without a single delay or disruption. I even got the best seat on the plane (1A) on the Qantas flight to Brisbane!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seriously Seriously?

I'm all for free services sponsored by advertising - the entire Googleverse for example. But receiving "sponsored screensavers" aka ads on my Kindle to save $24? You have got to be joking This must be an April Fools joke that's ten days late.

This is doubly disappointing given the rumours on the tech sites that Amazon would soon offer the Kindle for $99 or even free to Prime members like me!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sweet closing day

The weird weather, spring one day, winter the next, continues so after yesterday's spring conditions today it was winter again. It wasn't an epic powder day, but it was a powder day and on closing day, April 10, that's epic enough!

The 5am report said three inches but it was snowing hard this morning so it was at least six inches by the time I hit the mountain at 10am.

And it just kept getting better for the rest of the morning. I thought my first run down Triangle 3, with plenty of wind blown drifts, and skier's right of Tornado, where the hard bumps were filled in just nice, would be my best run of the day. Then I thought my run down a completely untracked Priest Creek liftline would be the best of the day, until it was surpassed by the 2.45 trees, then the 2.15 trees and finally by Shadows where I was still able to find fresh lines after noon.

My home run for the day and for the season was, fittingly, Vertigo. It was a little dust on crust but the new snow was heavy enough to provide plenty of grab, so it was definitely skiable. Not the best I've ever seen it, but awesome for April.

Here's the GPS data.

So that's it for the 2010-11 season. I managed 40 days which given my travel commitments and moving house in December I'm happy with. It's way less than the 116 days I managed last season, but I had more powder days this year with the awesome 400+ inch season we've had. Any season where you ski Closet on opening day and Shadows on closing day is a great season.

Today is also our seventh anniversary of living in Steamboat. Living the dream doesn't get any better than this!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A better birthday

Last year on my birthday I ended up at a South African Emergency Room. This year I went skiing. It's not hard to figure out which experience makes for a more enjoyable birthday!

I was out around 10am which was probably 30 minutes too early, so the first runs were hardpack, but by 11am it had softened nicely in a number of places. Best run of the day was my second attempt at Vagabond after the snow had softened.

Here's the GPS data.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Is it really April 6?

For the past couple of weeks the weather has been swinging wildly between spring and winter. Today it was both. More rain than snow at the base, but definitely snow and quite misty and chilly at the top of the mountain (there's a reason it's called Storm Peak!)

It started snowing in the wee hours of the morning, so there was 3 or 4 inches on the ground by breakfast time and perhaps 6 inches by the time I managed to get out at 11 am. But that was on top of a hard base from yesterday's warmth, so you had to pick your spot or it was very dust on crust. My first run down Whiteout was especially bad. My eyes saw powder but my skis felt nothing but hard pack, and my head hadn't yet resolved the the two. It got a lot better after that though.

Best run of the day was definitely this one down the Ridge - largely untracked and deep enough to not feel the crust underneath.

This run down See Ya on the way home was also fun and interesting. On the lower mountain the snow was wet and heavy so it was a completely different feeling skiing through it. And you can see from the water accumulating on the camera lens how wet it was down there.

The other brilliant thing today; being the last week of the ski season there was barely anybody on the mountain.

Here's the GPS data.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sydney airport deja vu

I'm sitting in my home office in Steamboat listening to the the radio from Australia on the internet.

The Australian Minister for Transport is currently talking about the need for a second airport in Sydney.

I have two words for him: Badgery's Creek.

That was the name of the second Sydney airport announced by the Australian Government in mid-1989. It was a political sop back then. I know this because I was part of the small team that put the proposal together to provide political cover to get approval to build a third runway at the real Sydney airport (whenever I land on 16L/34R, I like to think of it as "my runway").

It's still a sop now. There are very few cities that successfully run more than one major airport. New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Chicago come to mind. All much bigger cities than Sydney.

One of the things the Minister was just rabbiting on about was that demand for slots exceeds supply. The best way to match supply and demand and to ensure a resource is allocated to its highest value use is via a very secret mechanism economists call price. In the context of airport slots that means auctioning slots off to the highest bidder. Of course that's not how it works. So I have zero sympathy for bleating about excess demand.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Angry airline gods

Clearly the airline gods are angry with me because in the past 2 months I'm 0 for 3 in terms of attempts to travel out of Steamboat without major disruptions.

In early February I attempted to travel from Steamboat to Dublin. It was supposed to be easy - direct flight from Steamboat to Chicago and then direct flight to Dublin. My flight out of Steamboat was delayed and I missed my connection in Chicago, so instead of the direct flight to Dublin I had to go via London which has the world's dumbest immigration process for transiting to Ireland.

In late February I attempted to travel from Steamboat to Washington via Houston. My flight from Houston to Washington was cancelled so I had to overnight in Houston.

Then today I attempted to fly from Steamboat to Washington via Denver. It was snowing hard as I left for the airport and half way there I received the email notification that my Steamboat to Denver flight had been cancelled.

Note that only this last disruption had anything to do with the winter weather in the mountains.

If anyone knows how to win back the favour of the airline gods, please feel free to comment. Do I have to ritually sacrifice an airline executive or something?

Update: 6.24pm: here's the report in today's paper on the storm and flight cancellations.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

More than it looks

Here's today's GPS data.

It doesn't look like I did much - only 8,100 vertical ft in 1:46. But most of that was bumps, including three laps on Whiteout which totally jellied my legs. Which is why on Mother Nature on the way home I had my first proper ski came off fall in the bumps for the season.