Happy New Year all. Well, our snowy December has pretty much continued on right until the end of 2012. They are saying a drier pattern is moving in for the next 10 days or so, but we can't really complain too much. Dry stretches are part of winter too, and it looks like it'll shift back to snowy in early to mid-January. I've said it before but I still believe this is going to be a great winter. I know folks in Summit County are lamenting the lack of snow, but here in Nederland it's actually quite good. I've sort of put my rock skis away and haven't paid for it yet.
We had a good Christmas with a little resort skiing. Santa was good to us, and Elaine got some very fashionable ski gear, including a pair of Cree Indian ski mitts that look very cool. Her favorite animal is an eagle, so the eagle eating the fish on these things is very appropriate.
Spent the evening having dinner with Elaine's family which was great, although I must say I miss my side of the family a lot. One problem with working retail is you don't get holidays off, but I'm hoping to fix that soon. Oh, my sister gave me perhaps the best gift of all - a custom made calendar of Elaine and my summer adventure on the Colorado Trail. It means a ton that she put that together for us.
Days at work have been ridiculously busy, so we've been making it a point to get up early and ski to maintain sanity. There have been lots of skins in the pitch black where we get to the top of our training hill right as the sun rises. It's been cold too - in the single digits - so it feels very "Call of the Wild" out there. Lots of tracks of animals, and just the two of us heading through the sparkling snow, hoods up, in our own little cocoons. It's nice and peaceful, and a necessity during this stressful time. My headlamps has a red colored beam, which I like because it keeps your night vision fresh.
We've been taking our fast-and-light gear out a lot. It's amazing how much time this stuff chops off. A loop that usually takes an hour-twenty on big gear can be done sub-hour. I cracked the hour mark for the first time about a week ago, and then a few days later, with Elaine leading the entire time, she did the same. I figure it's like Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile mark...once that happened once, the mental barrier was gone and lots of folks did it. I know for me the hour thing had been elusive for a few years. The photo above is of Elaine after the effort. The girl is getting awfully fit, and I'm a very lucky guy to have such a great ski partner as my wife. One thing about marriage and relationships - if your interests are too seperate, I feel like you are missing out on a huge part of the deal. I like it the way we do it...skiing with my wife and best friend pretty much every day. When it's time to have kids down the road were going to keep having fun, but with a bigger posse!
We were a bit lazy on this first day of 2013, and had planned to go for a ski up to Heart Lake, but when we got there I realized I'd left my skins at home. Oh well, adapt. We headed home, got the skins, and did a little session at the local stash. It was heinous up there - super cold and very windy. We ended up off the normal path and had to boot up some exceptionally hard snow. I love this photo from this evening, as it speaks volumes about what skiing here is like. This place makes you tough for sure.
Otherwise, we've been planning for a little trip up to Jackson Hole. The US Ski Mountaineering Championships are up there on Saturday, and we signed up. We're likely going to get crushed by a very elite field, but it should be fun just the same. Even more fun will be skiing Teton Pass for two days after. I have not been up to Jackson for skiing since I was in middle school, so I'm beyond stoked. Plus, the Tetons are the mountain range on my wife's wedding ring, so it seems like an appropriate place to take a nice little post-Christmas rush vacation. Wish us luck, and have an awesome ski day wherever you may be!