Sunday, December 26, 2010

187 Minutes - Feature Length Film

As promised in my previous post. Here is the film footage of our most excellent adventure of being stuck on a chair lift for 3 hours on our 15th wedding anniversary. Don't worry Solitude gave us each a free ski pass AND a $5 coupon that we can spend anywhere at the resort! As the minutes and hours ticked by we were yelling back and forth from chair to chair deciding what the resort was going to need to do to make us happy customers again. This wasn't what we had in mind. Maybe I'll use that $5 coupon to get a drink the next time I ski there.

I don't know if this will be entertaining to anyone other than the people stuck on the lift. You get pretty loopy after being up there for a while. After I went back and watched it, I thought it actually was pretty funny. You be the judge.

187 Minutes from Jon James on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

187 Minutes - a true story

For those of you who haven't heard. Today Big Cottonwood Canyon had a tree break and fall taking out a power line that cut power to the entire canyon. It was a little before 1:00 and we had just made the decision to do one more run before heading over to the Stone Haus for lunch.

Here is the Trailer for the movie that will debut tomorrow. Its all true and yes it was our 15th wedding anniversary.  One we won't soon forget.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crashing is Fun!

So after a long week and an exceptionally hectic and challenging week at work an early morning Dawn Patrol seemed like a good way to clear the mind and blow off some steam. So Mike and I made plans to meet up for a little pre-work powder festival.

When we pulled into the parking lot across the street from Alta we knew it was a big day when we had a tough time finding a place to park. We looked up onto Flagstaff and could see dozens of headlamps working their way up the mountain. Its kind of crazy to to see how popular backcountry skiing has become.

 After both Mike and I agreed it would be a nice change to take it easy on the way up, we called a truce and took it as easy as you can while climbing a mountain. Once we hit the ridge we checked the time and decided that if we hurried we could do a lap on the north side and get me to my 9 o'clock meeting.

The Snow was so good! I was trying out a new pair of BD Megawatts. Ya they are pretty good in the powder (Ben you are never getting these skiis back). I couldn't believe how that rockered tip just plowed through things. 

 After hiking out of the north side we hit the ridge and headed back toward the car. About half way down we dropped into a little gully for some fun. I was riding the ridge, popping in and out of the gully, when I decided to go back on top, pick up some speed and air back in. When I popped off the lip I was surprised at how much air I ended up grabbing, but was more surprised when I hit and had my bindings pre-release and send me tomahawking head over heals down to the bottom of the gully. Crashing is fun. Its like getting tossed into a washing machine on spin cycle!

When I stopped one of my skiis tagged me in the back of the helmet.  The other one was nowhere to be found. Mike was above me so he skied over to probe the snow. After about 10 minutes of not being able to find it I turned around and took a look down the gully and noticed a single ski track following the bottom of the gully. Mike skied down a couple hundred yards to see if he could see it. There it was sticking straight up. Too funny.

No I didn't make that 9 o'clock meeting but I did have a smirk on my face the rest of the day. Life is good in the Wasatch.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A little of this and a little of that

Over the Thanksgiving holiday there was a lot of skiing going on. A couple of tours in the backcountry, and a couple of days at Solitude with the kids. Here are a couple of photos to tell the story.

Thanksgiving morning we got up early for a quick tour. Turned out it wasn't so quick after we hit a sketchy spot on the top of Mount Superior and decided to back off it and take a detour. Good times either way.

Hitching a ride back up with hill to retrieve the cars.

 Friday it was just me and the girls for a day on the hill. They are getting really good and lots of fun to ski with.

We took P-diddy up the next day thinking we would schlep him around in the baby backpack. At the last minute I threw in a pair of skis and boots for him thinking he might like to slide around a bit. He liked it a lot and the baby backpack stayed in the car all day. We had a tough time convincing this guy to come off the hill. He told me on the lift ride up that we were both Batman. "We have capes and that's why we can fly up the mountain"!

Here he is in the lodge attacking that hamburger the same way he attacks his sisters with his Batman pajamas on. He says he likes to wear his hair "Fikey"!

I've got a new ski buddy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's all about Confidence

So I never made it out on that ski outing I promised to write about in my last post.  Damn 8 am meetings! But I did make it out for some Tram laps at Snowbird for a couple of hours on Saturday. Here are a couple of philosophical thoughts that came from that.

So my brother and I both lived in Mexico for a couple of years. Neither one of us has been back for a long time. His company is opening up Mexico for business and he went down to the Distrito Federal to get the ball rolling. As we were talking the other day we were discussing his trip and I was asking him how his Spanish was holding up. He mentioned that he was a little rusty and was a bit hesitant to break into his Spanish until after he had built up some confidence after having been there for 4 or 5 days. We talked about how it takes some confidence to go bust into the christian tongue.

So what does that all have to do with skiing?

While I did get out for a quick lap in the backcountry a couple days before Halloween I haven't really skied for about 6 months or so. I knew that this day would be a good chance to tune up my technique. When I got to Snowbird Saturday morning I went straight to the ticket office to pick up my pass for the year. After sifting through 5 or 6 other Jon Jameses in the computer system, the nice guy in the ticket office finally found me. Who knew there were so many season pass holders with the same name?

I was scheduled to meet up with some friends, but I was 99% sure those friends would be late. So I headed out to see what lifts were open. After a quick discussion with one of the Ski Patrollers I figured I would hit the tram before they shut it down for the day due to high wind gusts (the forecast said there had been gusts up to 90 mph the night before). After I fumbled my way down Chips to try and remember how to ski I  quickly headed back up to see what the Cirque had to offer. The traverse to get out there was pretty bare and riddled with rocks and grass. After picking my way through it and getting my face sandblasted off with ice crystals from big gusts of wind, I made it out to the upper cirque. The snow coverage didn't look great so I worked my way down the traverse until I found myself at the lower portion. The coverage was good and there wasn't a track on it. After gathering myself I dropped in and couldn't believe how good the snow was. I started ripping turns and picking up speed. My brain shut off and my legs took over. After catching some air off the lower roller at the bottom I stopped, looked back up and smiled about as big as you can. It was so good that I headed straight back down and caught the next tram car up. I must have done 5 or 6 laps through the same run throughout the day. Every time I went back the wind had swept it clean of any tracks. Each time down I would take a little faster and ski a little more confidently. About mid day I met up with my friends and took them back up there. We weren't disappointed as we crested the top and looked down into an untracked field of snow. My friend commented at the bottom that he felt a bit tentative, but couldn't help but notice the way I was charging it. I had to come clean with him and tell him that was my sixth time down the run that day.

It had me thinking about confidence. How it determines so much of our attitude and the way we approach life. Life is so much more enjoyable when you attack it with gusto. Everything from speaking Spanish to attacking a hill on skis. So be confident. Know what your talents are and believe in yourself.

The weather man says I will be waking up at 4:30 am on Tuesday to test the goods. Hopefully this time I'll make it out and will have a story to tell.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ya I'm the last guy to the cool kid blogging party.

I have been meaning to start a blog for something like 4 or 5 years. But you know how busy a guy can be when he is married, has a full time job, a wife, 2 mortgages and 4 kids? I recently bought a new Mac Book Air which has had me playing around in the evenings just because Steve Jobs has made it so fun.

So tonight I make my first blog post. I'm not a great writer but I do go on some cool adventures and this will serve as a good way for me to keep track of those and share a few pictures along the way. Ski season is just about to kick into full swing. I've got some new gear that I am itching to get out and try out.

I'm headed out Wednesday morning for some dawn patrol action. Pictures to follow.