Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Proud to be a Coloradoan

My candidate for President didn't win last night, gathering a paltry 1% of the vote. But there was one result I was very happy with. The voters of Colorado decided to lead the nation in ending the ridiculous prohibition of marijuana (yes I know, there is still the small problem of Federal prohibition, but one step at a time.)

I find a useful guide to thinking about many social policies is to ask yourself what people will think twenty of forty years from now. I'm pretty sure future generations will find it hard to believe that once upon a time we sent SWAT teams to break down people's doors in the middle of the night and send them to jail just to stop a few people getting high, all while creating the massive black market on which the criminal organisations who reap so much death and destruction thrive. Sort of like we did in the 1920's when we ran the same experiment with alcohol with the same tragic effects. Alcohol is not without its problems, but I think we've proved that it does massively less harm when legalized and regulated.

Not that I plan to rush out and smoke a joint. Doesn't appeal to me at all. But neither does sky diving. People get hurt doing that too, but that's a pretty stupid reason to make it illegal. Police should focus on real crimes; the ones where people hurt someone other than themselves.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A wasted vote?

I've spent a lot of time over the past few months trying to figure out which of the two presidential candidates would be least bad.

Yesterday I submitted my ballot (I voted by mail - everybody going to a polling place on one day is a ridiculous process for managing an election in the twenty-first century).

I voted for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

A number of people have told me I wasted my vote (including one libertarian!). I strongly disagree. Voting for either of the other two would have been a waste of my vote. Worse,  it would have been seen as tacit approval of a man, regardless of whether it was Obama or Romney, with little regard for personal or economic freedom and no willingness to take the hard decisions necessary to fix America's fundamental problems.

I don't blame the politicians despite my lack of regard for them. They are simply the best two men in the country at giving the electorate what it wants no matter how irrational those desires might be, 2012's masters of pandering. Right now what the people want is to moan and cry about how terrible everything is and how they want something better, but not to have anything actually change. That is to say, the majority of American voters want to keep doing the same things but get a different result. Last time I looked, that was the definition of madness. Well I refuse to be a part of it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

New author blog

If you are more interested in following my journey as an author than my exploits as a skier you may prefer to follow my new author blog at

For those of you more interested in skiing, don't worry, the 2012-13 ski season is only 43 days away and I shall soon be providing my normal blow by blow account of what I hope is a better season than last year!

Monday, October 08, 2012

When is a holiday not a holiday?

When you live in the US. Of the many places I have lived (or spent extended periods of time working) the US is the least universal in its observance of public holidays. Sure everybody takes Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas but there are a whole lot of other "holidays" where only a small proportion of people are actually off work (which is kind of inconsistent with the whole concept of holiday if you ask me.)

Columbus Day (today) is one of them. It's one of those holidays that is largely unobserved unless you work in a government office or the Post Office. I know this because Marie just asked me if the Post Office was closed today. So I typed Post Office Columbus Day into Google and had the answer seconds later. Which leads me to the real point of this post, to ask "how did people live before the Internet?"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fusion Reactors

As I have mentioned previously, I was very conscious in writing Newton's Ark to keep the science as real as possible. The most speculative technology I included was probably the micro fusion reactor - a small, highly portable fusion reactor that could power a sattelite for decades.

This technology requires us to find a way to build a self-sustaining fusion reaction that produces positive net energy. And then you have to miniaturize it - I'm going to ignore that challenge assuming we can solve the main problem.

This technology has been a decade away for the past sixty years. Will we ever solve this problem? Who knows. It may really be a only decade away, it may be another sixty years away or it may never happen. It's hard to extrapolate from the experience to date. There has been some progress but not enough to be completely confident that the fundamental challenge can be overcome.

It is still an active area of research though. In fact I recently received an assignment to design a biometric security system (iris recognition) for an experimental fusion reactor facility!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More on keeping sci-fi real

I posted recently on keeping the sci fi real in my first novel Newton's Ark.

I just ran across this article talking about prospects for stopping an asteroid, specifically debunking the scenario presented in the movie Armageddon of using a nuke to split it in half.

Here's a relevant passage from my book:
“Despite all the holo-movies you might have seen where they destroy the asteroid before it hits the Earth and everyone lives happily ever after, it isn’t possible with the technology and time we have available. To nudge the asteroid off course we have to hit it far enough out that we would need to launch now. Problem is we don’t have anything with the range and payload required....”

“Can’t we just nuke the damn thing when it gets closer to Earth?”

“Yes sir we can, but we risk turning a single very large asteroid into multiple asteroids, each still plenty big enough to wipe out a large city. Better to have only one object to track and to limit the impact to a single location.”
I think this quote from the article nicely captures my philosophy:
...fiction is all about the make-believe. But good science can make for a more plausible narrative, making it easier to suspend disbelief.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Keeping sci-fi real

One of the things I set out to do when writing Newton's Ark, was to keep the science part of the science fiction plausible, by basing the technology of the future either on already emerging technologies or at least on plausible projections of current technology trends.

This article on taking control of drones by spoofing GPS signals is a good example.

Here's the relevant section in the book:
“The early drones worked exactly that way, Major. They were vulnerable; if communication is disrupted the drone is pilot-less. Worse still, if the signal is intercepted it is possible for a hostile force to take control of the drone. Back as far as 2012 the Iranians captured what was then one of our most advanced drones by spoofing a GPS signal. They convinced the drone that it was landing back at its base in Turkey when it was really landing in Teheran. Incidents like that were the impetus for the EM program."

Saturday, July 07, 2012

New book format

Newton's Ark is now available via Smashwords in EPUB format suitable for iBooks, the Nook and the Sony eReader.

It should also be available via iTunes, Barnes and Noble and the Sony Store within the next week or two.

Update July 18: It is now available on iTunes (and looks great in iBooks on the iPad) but not yet on the other channels.

Update: July 21: It is now available in the Barnes and Noble store for the Nook.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reality intrudes

I was making good progress on the sequel to my first novel, Newton's Ark, with the first thirty pages almost writing themselves. Then reality intruded. I was offered a month of consulting work at a daily rate that exceeds my annual book royalties based on current the sales velocity. Hard to say no to.

I also stumbled across a wonderful idea for another book which I had to start writing while the idea was fresh in my mind. So my expected completion date on book two of the Emulation Trilogy is now more like Christmas 2012. Apologies to those who have read the book and are waiting to discover what happens next!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

World's worst telco

I haven't tried every telco in the world, but I would be very, very surprised if there is anyone out there worse than Australia's Telstra. Even AT&T aren't this bad and they are the template for "totally customer un-friendly former monopoly telco". I'm trying to use a Telstra pre-paid mobile phone while I'm in Australia - unfortunately Telstra is the only carrier with coverage at my Mum's house - and at every single step the processes and technology have failed to work as they should. Whatever is the opposite of the Midas Touch, Telstra has it; everything it touches turns to crap.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Paperback now available in Europe

The paperback version of Newton's Ark should be available via Amazon in Europe from tomorrow for £5.99 or €6.99.

US pricing for the paperback is $7.99.

If you're really worried about price though, the Kindle edition is a bargain at $2.99 (or the equivalent in pounds or euros). Interestingly, I make a bigger royalty on a $2.99 kindle edition than I do on a $7.99 paperback.

That makes it hard to see how traditional publishers can justify asking almost as much for the Kindle version (and sometimes more!) than for the hard copy. e-books should be considerably cheaper, not only because they are much cheaper to produce and distribute, but also because they are more restrictive (you can only lend them once ever, if at all, and you can't resell them) which ought to mean more sales. The disruption of the publishing market has really only just begun.

"Plant Our Brains in Robots"

If you find the ideas in this article from Wired magazine title Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant Our Brains in Robots, Keep Them Alive Forever interesting, then you should read my book Newton's Ark (and the forthcoming sequels).

I'm attempting to explore similar concepts through fiction, with the goal of trying to understand how these sorts of technological developments might affect the human experience. My view is that when confronted with ideas this radical, stories are the best way to explore the possible implications. Otherwise it's all too abstract, all to clinical, all too remote, and therefore all too easy to ignore, at least until it actually begins to happen and we're totally unprepared.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book pricing in Australia

I'm in Australia at the moment visiting family and while I'm here I've been into a few book stores. Shocked is the only word I can use to describe my reaction to the price of books here. Take, for example, Caleb's Crossing, the latest book by Geraldine Brooks (I haven't read it but I loved People of the Book). It is available on for $10.88 in paperback and $16.17 in hardback; it's nearly $25 (in paperback!) in the book store here.

For all Australian readers, I would say if you don't have a Kindle buy one. Now. Forget about walking the dog. Forget about feeding the kids. Jump on now and buy a Kindle. Caleb's Crossing and lots of other great books are only $9.99 on Kindle (and even the 'expensive' books are $12.99). Not to mention there are lots of books like mine available at the ridiculously cheap price of $2.99.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Usual occupation?

We are in Australia at the moment visiting family. When filling out my arrival card yesterday I decided to answer the question on usual occupation as AUTHOR. Now the pressure is on to take this writing gig seriously!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Special offer - Newton's Ark for free

Amazon are running a special offer on my book for tomorrow. For one day only the Kindle version will be available for the special price of free.

The deal runs from midnight to midnight Pacific time (currently GMT -7) on April 22.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing the sequel

When I finished my first novel a little less than two weeks ago, I felt like I would need a break of a month or two before starting work on the sequel. One of the things I discovered though was that part way through the characters started to drive the story.

It seems the characters are still driving the story and were keen for it to continue. A few days ago I found the characters were giving me so any ideas for book two that I just had to start writing. The good news is that it is going much quicker this time--I've written four thousand words in the past two days. I think that is because most of the characters are already established. All I need do is ask them what happens next!

The working title is Faraday's Mine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seeking feedback

Now that my book has been available for a week and a half I'm hoping that a least a few people have read it. What I'd really like now is some feedback. What did you like, what didn't you like, which characters appealed to you, are you looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy? Anything that will help me improve as a writer.

I would especially like people to add a comment on Amazon because that helps not only me, but also potential buyers. I'm not looking for unrealistic five star reviews to pump the book up, but rather genuine and informative reviews that will help someone decide whether it's the kind of book that would appeal to them and whether it's worth handing over three bucks to read Newton's Ark (of course it is!)

Here's the link to create a review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paperback available

The paperback edition of Newton's Ark is now available.

For now it is only available through the CreateSpace estore.

It should be available on some time next week.

Feel free to order through CreateSpace though since I make a bigger royalty there, which makes absolutely no sense since CreateSpace is owned by!

I've already posted on the process of self-publishing for the Kindle. I'll post soon on the process of self-publishing a paperback through this channel.

Update: the paperback is now available through

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Self-publishing for Kindle

I recently self-published my first novel, Newton's Ark, as an e-book in Kindle format via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program. I thought it would be worth making some observations for the benefit of other inspiring authors who might be considering this path.

The big change that self-publishing makes is that it removes the traditional publisher as gatekeeper. There's plenty of stories out there of books that were rejected by multiple publishers only to go on to critical or commercial success or both.

What self-publishing does do though is push back on the author an awful lot of responsibility for the process of producing the book; stuff like editing and proof reading and formatting and design. You can do it yourself but it is not for the faint of heart. You need a combination of skills to get it right. Traditional publishing skills like attention to detail, editing and graphic design, mixed with the technical skills necessary to translate a manuscript in Microsoft Word into a properly formatted Kindle book within the constraints of the Kindle format (e.g. the fact that is has no such concept as 'keep with next') and the quirks of the Kindle publishing platform. The good news is that there are plenty of people out there who will take care of this stuff for a modest fee. I didn't try any of them - I was determined to do this myself - but if you don't like banging your head against a wall as much as I do, perhaps it is worth trying.

It is way too early to tell whether self-publishing via Amazon will be a commercial success. That seems to me to be dependent on a mix of the quality of the book, the marketing effort and sheer luck. I can control the first factor, am working on the second one but it's not my strength, and can only cross my fingers in terms of the third factor.

I will also be releasing a paperback version soon, also self-published, this time via a company called CreateSpace (which happens to be an Amazon subsidiary). I'll report on that process once it is complete.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

It's published!

My first novel, Newton's Ark is now available on Kindle, for US purchasers here and for UK purchasers here.

Here's the brief description that appears on Amazon:
December 20, 2047 - the day the human race faces extinction. With a little more than two years to prepare, President Paul Carlson struggles with the awful choices he must make to ensure the survival of the American people. Meanwhile wealthy industrialist James Newton embarks on his own audacious and radical plan to save humanity. As both sides race against time and the growing economic and social collapse, Major Regina Lopez finds herself caught between these competing forces. Which side will she choose as she faces sacrificing everything she believes in to protect the people she loves?
A paperback edition will be available within the next 1-2 weeks, however the Kindle edition is significantly cheaper and I make better royalties on that, so all in all it would be a win-win if you purchase the electronic copy, and you'll save a tree in the process!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The last hurrah

I skied today despite the fact the mountain is looking very sad and the lower mountain is closed, simply because I wanted to get one more set of turns in before it's all over for another season. The mountain is not due to close until Sunday April 15, but I don't think it is going to make it. Less than two-thirds of our normal snowfall combined with temperatures 15-20F above normal for this time of year is just killing the snow and there's more of the same forecast between now and the 15th. So this may well be it until November.

here's the GPS data:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Proof-reading is hard

I've finished the final draft of my novel after receiving some excellent feedback on the first draft from several people (you know who you are), feedback which I think has significantly improved the story.

Now I'm doing the hard slog of polishing it for publication. Checking for inconsistencies in the story, tightening the language and fixing the typos. It's a process which involves reading the same material over and over again, which is really hard and much less fun that writing the story. I hope other people like this book, because by the time I'm done I don't think I'll ever want to read it again!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

As bad as I've seen it

I skied yesterday, mostly because I wanted to ski with some friends who were heading out. Parts of it were OK, but with the below average snow pack and the ridiculously warm temperatures we've had throughout March (15-20 F above average) it's getting very patchy. And one run in particular - Westside - was about as bad as it gets.

Let's pray for snow or the season will not last until April 15.

Here's the GPS data.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Louis Friends

i skied last week with my friends Rob and Elizabeth from St. Louis. Just some easy cruising with some slush bumps on the side, in ridiculously warm conditions (so warm that we had a BBQ on the deck on Friday afternoon).

Here's the GPS data.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

Snowshoeing Rabbit Ears Loop 1A

Today we snowshoed the Loop 1A trail on Rabbit Ears Pass with Aline and Tony.

It was warm again today but fortunately a little cloudy with a breeze which made it perfect.

Here's the GPS data.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thunderhead Express

It's not often that I go out and spend the entire time on the lower mountain but that's exactly what I did today. We found Goldilocks conditions - not too hard and not too soft - so we just kept circulating on the Thunderhead Express. Concentration was good enough to do twice, which is unusual on a non-powder day. Vagabond was also nice and not too crowded. Even Heavenly Daze on the way home was good.

The high temperature today was 60F or 15C. That's the warmest I've seen it in March in eight seasons.

Here's the GPS data. Only lap 1 on the lower mountain is mine; Tony and Aline stayed out after I was finished.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Summer skiing

It should be spring skiing this time of the season but it is so ridiculously warm I am calling it summer skiing.

I skied with Tony and Aline again today.

Here's the GPS data.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I skied today with my wife's brother Tony, and her sister Aline.

Aline hadn't been on skis for several years (she normally snowboards) and Tony hand't been on his snowboard for a couple of years (he normally windsurfs) so we started out on the bunny slopes. They both quickly graduated to Wally World and had no trouble on Heavenly Daze on the way home, so they'll be read for harder stuff tomorrow.

It was warm. warm, warm today, somewhere around 50F or 10C.

Here's the GPS data.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A classic spring day

Today I skied with a former colleague on what was a classic spring day - it was a little crusty early but it got better and better as the day went on and the snow softened. After lunch Shadows was particularly good.

Here's the GPS data.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Not a powder Monday

A big proportion of the best powder days seem to be Mondays, including the best day ever and this late season powder day.

Yesterday was not one of those days. In fact it was so unremarkable I forgot to post my report. Anyway here's the GPS data.

Sunday, March 04, 2012


These huge icicles form on my back roof in the spring. The warm weather melts the snow on the upper roof and then the water refreezes when it hits this small roof which doesn't get much sun.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Spring can wait

Now that we're into March we ought to be enjoying spring skiing. Since winter didn't really arrive until February it has decided to stay and it's very welcome.

Eight inches of new snow overnight on top of nine inches in the preceding twenty-four hours and the sun coming out makes for an awesome powder day. And it started snowing again late morning as I was heading in.

I started with the lower half of Whiteout where there was enough fresh snow to make the bumps quite friendly, then Twister-cane (the trees between Twister and Hurricane) before finding the really good stuff in Shadows and Closet. 2:30 trees and 3:30 trees. Best of the lot was definitely Shadows. Here's some video of just one of my three awesome runs through Shadows this morning.

Here's the GPS data.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When the wind blows...

...find the spot where the wind blew the snow to, not the spot where it blew it from.

The 5am report said 7 inches, most of which fell during the day yesterday when it was very windy. So I went looking for the stashes in the trees. I started out with the Rainbow trees where there was a little bit, and then the 2:45 trees where there was more, before I hit paydirt in Shadows (twice) and Closet.

As an added bonus, the mountain was totally deserted today. No lines, nobody in the trees (except me!) and lots of untracked lines. One of those days where I went out with fairly moderate expectations and came home very happy!

Here's the GPS data.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Powdery leftovers

Another four inches overnight to keep it soft and powdery. Not deep, but on top of all the snow earlier in the week, it makes for some very nice skiing.

Best run of the day was this one down skier's right of Sundown Liftline. The 2:30 trees were also great, but I didn't ski them as well.

Here's the GPS data.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A foot of cement

The trouble with a day like Monday is that it ruins you for every other day. When I checked the 5am report I actually said, "only twelve inches" (I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't been there.)

Nevertheless I was hoping with a foot on top of three feet in the previous forty-eight hours it would ski deeper than that.

Instead I found a foot of cement. Still a lot of fun, but very exhausting to ski as you can see from my limited vertical today. Best run of the day is hard to pick. The bumps on Whiteout were excellent--the heavy snow slows you down a lot so it's easy to ski the big bumps, Shadows was good and Vertigo on the way home was probably the best by a whisker. Here's some video of the run on Whiteout. Unfortunately the Vertigo run is obscured by the frozen rain sticking to the lens.

Here's the GPS data.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Best Day Ever

January 10, 2008 has now been dethroned as my best day ever.

The 5am report said 27 inches - yes 27 inches of super light Champagne Powder - and it was still snowing throughout the morning, so we're talking nearly three feet of new snow!

Every powderhound in North-West Colorado was out super early - so it was also the longest gondola line ever. I skipped that and went the Christie-Thunderhead route, and began my epic day with an epic run down Concentration.

Then it was over to Pony Express which was finally the powder wonderland it ought to be. So deep that I was choking on snow and could barely see where I was going through the billowing clouds of powder. Several runs there and Shadows to finish before heading home.

Here's some video highlights. Remember that you're not seeing the really deep stuff where the camera was buried in snow!

Here's the GPS data.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finally the epic powder day

The 5am report only said four inches, but when it's the last four inches of three feet of snow in the past week, it makes for an epic powder day.

I hit the Pony Express first up since the Pioneer Ridge area is now finally open, but it was only so-so. Then Triangle 3 which was nice followed by Typhoon where it was super deep and soft. I thought this would be the run of the day before hitting a submerged log and tearing the brakes off both my skis (the repair bill is $60 and no injury so it could have been much worse).

After that it was Closet which was also super deep. Finally, Vertigo on the way home which is getting better all the time.

Here's the GPS data.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I know why Hemingway drank

I'm in the process of writing a novel - not intended to be great literature but I hope it will be entertaining and thought provoking. I'm planning to self-publish via Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.

It's an interesting experience. You start out with an idea and the outline of some characters and then they take on a life of their own and start hijacking the story. But the worst of it is that you can't switch them off. It's like a mild form of multiple personality disorder, all these voices in your head. So now I know why Ernest Hemingway drank so much!

For those who are interested, I started just before Christmas and I'm about half way done, so I hope to have a first draft by the end of the ski season (April). Unless of course every day between now and then is a powder day, in which case I may be delayed a little.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Best day of the season (so far)

I almost didn't go out this morning when I saw the 5am report said only four inches. Btu it was still snowing so I headed up the gondola around 9 am and I am so glad I did because by 9am there was another five inches on top of the four.

I started with Shadows which was good followed by the Priest Creek Liftline and then the 3.30 trees which I thought was going to be the run of the day, until I hit the 2.30 trees not once, not twice but three times; in places it was at least a foot deep and largely un-tracked, especially towards skier's left.

Vertigo on the way home was good once again. This feels more like skiing in Steamboat ought to be!

Here's the GPS data.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shadows calling

I woke this morning at 6 am wondering what the storm that has been sitting on top of us for the past 48 hours had left. The 5 am report said four inches, but I knew there would be more, and I heard Shadows calling my name, so I was in the gondola line by 8.20 am.

Shadows was very good as was the Sundown Liftline, but again the 2.30 trees was the pick.

I also managed to pick up my favourite lower mountain run Vertigo on the way home. It's only been open a few days, and while you still need to look out for the hazards, it's less bumped up than usual, so with the powder it was sweet.

For some reason I had the camera turned off in the 2.30 trees, so here's my run down the Sundown Liftline instead. As you can see it was lovely and sunny today.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bad break

The 5 am report said five inches but it was snowing hard when I got out of bed so I waited until noon to head out. Did you see how I made that sound like a plan rather than just laziness on my part? Actually I also wanted to get down some ideas for the novel I am writing - more about that in a later post.

By the time I got out there was at least six inches - making it officially a powder day - and in some places nearly a foot. I managed in an hour and a half to hit the classic tree runs: Shadows (good but a little shrubby below Duster), 3.30 trees, 2.30 trees which were the best, and Closet. I saw a grand total of three other people on these runs.

I came off the mountain when I heard that my Aussie friend Amanda (one of the Canberra girls) fell and fractured her tibia. She is scheduled for surgery later today, but she's going to be OK.

Update, 6 pm: I just discovered that California Dave and his wife Cesli were skiing with David and Amanda today and Cesli also broke her leg (fibula), about half an hour before Amanda. Today's conditions were diabolical for intermediate skiers - heavy push piles which grab your skis like Hulk Hogan if you push the tails rather than guiding the skis through the turn - but it's still hard to believe that two of my friends broke their legs this morning!

Here's the GPS data.

And here's that run through the 2.30 trees (actually more like 2.45).

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

From all over the place

I skied with a whole bunch of people today.

First up is Big Al. He's 77. If I can ski like that when I'm 77 (if I can ski at all then) I'll be very happy.

The others in the group were Ben, one of the Aussie pilots I skied with a couple of years ago, his dad Ian and uncle Graham from England, and finally Neils from Sydney.

Here's the GPS data.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

California Dave

I skied today with my friend Dave from Santa Barbara, California, and then later with my Aussie friends as well, so in the end there were seven of us tearing down the mountain. It was pretty good until about 11 am when it started to get busy, making tearing down the mountain a little harder.

Here's the GPS data. Still waiting for snow.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Canberra boys (and girl)

I skied again today with one of my Canberra friends Therese and some guys from Canberra she knows, Grey, Paul and another Dan.

Today we really ripped up the groomers, lower Rainbow in particular which was nearly perfect for going fast.

Here's the GPS data.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Canberra girls (and boy)

I skied with my friends from Canberra today - David, Amanda and Therese.

I called today's post "Canberra girls (and boy)" for two reasons. First, I'd already used "Canberra friends" on my previous post, and second, Amanda and Therese were unhappy that I hadn't called it "Canberra girls" after seeing a post called "Brisbane boys". It's hard to keep your audience happy.

Here's today's GPS data. It was a beautiful bluebird day, the groomers weren't bad for the first hour or so and the bumps had just enough wind blown snow in the troughs to make them nice.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Canberra friends

Today I skied with Aussie friends from Canberra, Amanda and Therese.

Here's the GPS data.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Brisbane boys

The forecast yesterday was for a foot of new snow overnight, so in anticipation I stayed off the booze at the Australia Day party we went to last night.

Whilst the predicted storm hit us and hit us hard it moved through quite quickly so we only ended up with four inches. Still it was nice, although it was a bit windy and cold up top. The trees to skier's left of Cyclone were particularly good.

Here's the GPS data.

From the 1:10 mark I skied with Matthew from my old home town of Brisbane who I met on the Sundown Express chair. I think I might have freaked him out a bit in the 2.30 trees but he was a good sport.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More trees

Today was a day to ski some more trees which is what I did. Closet was good and Shadows was also nice, but there's a few exposed hazards lower down so the best run of the day was the 2.30 trees.

Here's the GPS data. No video today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trees, finally

At last we have enough snow to ski the trees with some confidence including Shadows which my favourite tree run. Plus it was a beautiful warm sunny day. Now I just want a storm that dumps 12 inches overnight so I can ski some serious powder trees.

Here's the GPS data. Note the long stop between the half hour and one hour mark. The Sundown Express stopped for some reason and was then closed after I got off.

Notwithstanding the return to the trees, the best run today was some lovely wind packed powder on Tornado.

Video to follow.

Update: Here's the video of that run down Tornado.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An unofficial power day

The 5 am report said zero inches, but it started snowing around 6.30 am and by the time I got up the mountain at 10.30 am there was at least six inches. So officially it was not a powder day but unofficially it was! On top of that, the snow was the perfect texture. Heavy and wet enough to stick to the layer underneath but light enough to still be a whole lot of powdery fun.

Here's the GPS data.

I skied with my Aussie friend Nicole today. Unlike Tuesday when it was cold, today it was warm. About 45F warmer!

Video highlights to follow later, probably tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A very different Tuesday

As much as I enjoyed skiing with my Aussie mate Pete last Tuesday, with 11 inches of fresh powder this morning, today was a very different kind of Tuesday.

Here's the GPS data.

Here's the video highlights from the first half an hour before my camera died (the battery doesn't like it when it's really cold and it was really cold at -10F or -23C)

Best run of the day was the top of Sundown Liftline (which unfortunately funneled into the worst run of the day on lower Three O'Clock).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snowshoeing Pearl Lake

I went snowshoeing with Marie out near Pearl Lake where her friend has a cabin. Between climbing up a decent size hill and digging one of the cars out of the snow twice (not quite as dramatic this time and I wasn't the driver so less ego damage) it was a pretty decent workout. Here's the GPS data.

I didn't realise until I got there that the friend's place is on the site of a defunct ski area - if you look at the satellite version of the map you can clearly see where the ski runs and lift lines were.

Next time I'm taking my skis (on my back) so I can add the old Steamboat Lake Ski Area to the list of places I've skied - all 370 vertical ft of it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Skiing with Pete

I skied today with an Aussie friend Pete McMahon. We got out early while the tourists were still in bed and the first hour was awesome tearing up the groomers even if there was the occasional icy death trap to be avoided. It got a little busier later in the morning but the sun was out and the snow was better than I expected it to be especially on Buddy's Run, so all in all just another day in paradise!

Here's the GPS data.

And here's some nice bumps I found to skiers' right of Buddy's Run.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Much better

We just got back from two weeks in Australia and it looks like I didn't miss much. It was bad enough before I left - the last two days I skied before Christmas I didn't even bother to blog they were so bad - but word is that it has been even worse since.

Fortunately we had six inches of new snow yesterday, so today was surprisingly good. It was one of those rare occasions where the lower elevations got the most snow so the best runs were to be had on the lower mountain. Heavenly Daze in particular was way better than I expected it to be.

Here are some highlights.

And here is the GPS data.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Tim Tam contraband

Coming through Customs in LA yesterday, the agent asked us if the food we had declared was Tim Tams and said he'd have to confiscate them because they had too many calories!

Tim Tams are distributed in the US by Pepperidge Farm
and are intermittently available at our local supermarket. All the friends we've given samples to have loved them. Looks like the Customs agents in LA like them too!