Monday, December 29, 2008

First trip to Lutsen

Well Melissa and I just returned from our first trip to Lutsen yesterday. Overall we had a great time. Friday I left work a little early and headed home to pick her up so we could get on the road. We packed up the car quick and headed out. The weather was rainy and pretty crappy but the roads were in pretty good condition so over all we were not slowed down at all. We made it to Duluth in a normal time. Gassed up in Two Harbors and headed further up, we planned to stop at our favorite restaurant on the way up like we sometimes do, so we were both looking forward dinner at Northern Lights. This is a great little spot right before you hit Beaver Bay. The food is always good. I had my favorite menu item, the prime rib sandwich with fries. It also comes with a horseradish sauce that is just excellent. Melissa had salmon which she said was really good. After dinner we drove the final 45 miles and checked into our hotel.

Saturday we got up to foggy and warm weather. The temperature was 36 and I was worried. After all of the rain that we had on Friday I was concerned that the snow was going to be sketchy and low and behold I was correct. It was like really bad spring conditions. The snow was hard and crappy. And the fog was thick. We moved around the 3 mountains looking for good pockets of snow and luckily we were able to find some good stuff. Cliff Run on Eagle was in really good shape, which is a fun little double diamond right off Manitou. We skied that one a number of times. We also found areas of good snow on Hari Kari, and Koo-Koo. Moose Mountain was socked in with fog and the visibility was really bad, the skiing was very poor over there. Ullr the little mountain was really busy because it was not affected by the fog so it seemed everyone headed over there. We skied one run there and then decided that the lift line was worth waiting. Finally in the early afternoon the fog started to lift and the conditions started to improve as the snow started to soften up. The runs on the north face of Eagle were all great by the end of the day, we skied them all, Split Rock and Cliff Run turned out to the in the best shape of the Eagle Runs. We headed back to Moose to find, Grizzly, Bull and Glade to be in the best shape over there out of the ones that we skied. Overall it turned out to be an ok day.

Saturday night we went to the Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais and had a really good dinner followed by some great music. It was a fun night.

Sunday we woke to temps in the low 20's and a clear sky. After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed back up to the mountains. We found the conditions to be excellent, surprisingly. We started out over on Eagle working our way around the mountain. We skied the north face diamonds. They were great, night and day difference from Saturday. We then skied over to Moose to check out the runs over there, again they turned out to be great. The run of the day for me was Upper and Lower Caribou, which is a nice long cruiser. The snow was in great shape and it was just fun cruising down in the middle of that run making nice turns the whole way. It was great. We ended up having a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed with Saturday. But what can you do, I can't unfortunately do anything about the weather.

I am looking forward to more snow in the forecast for tonight. I am going to try to get to Welch Village on either New Year’s Eve night or Friday or both. I think we are going

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another ski day another powder day.

Another powder day under my belt for the year. Skiing has been awesome so far this year. Here in Minnesota we are actually having a real winter so far. Things are great. We went skiing on Saturday at Welch in the middle of the biggest snowfall we have had for quite a while. It was snow hard from the time I got up Saturday till I went to bed. The snow was soft and fluffy. Down at Welch we found pockets of great powder. I think I have discovered the secret to powder stashes here in Minnesota; ski the edges of the runs, especially the green runs, seems that new skiers stay away from untracked areas. I wonder if that was stupid to share my secret?!?! Oh well just another public service. I am looking forward to this weekend. We are making our first trip up to Lutsen. I can't wait to get back up there and check everything out. I guess they are building a new lift which is suppose to open at some point this season. But Lutsen is so bad at planning that I am guessing that it will not open till March, just in time to close. In other news. I am really excited for Christmas, our house is nicely decorated and everything looks great. I have a cold currently, and it sucks. I am really hoping that it will be gone be the time we leave for our weekend ski trip. Also I passed my Amateur Radio exam, so I am a technician level HAM operator, I got my call sign from the FCC on Friday, KD0FZT... Yeah for me. Another dorkie thing to keep my mind occupied. I am going to get a hand held radio and play around on the 2 meter and 70cm bands first. Learn as much as I can and then try to pass the general exam and maybe start to look at maybe doing some HF stuff. But that is a while off.

There is more snow in the forecast and I am loving it. We are going to Big Sky Montana to ski in February and they are getting snow as well. So this winter is really looking like it is going to be great.

Just in case, Happy Christmas everyone.

I am going to start adding some pictures to the old blog, I just always forget to carry my stupid camera...


Friday, December 12, 2008

NEWS FLASH - Elephants live longer in wild than in zoos

WOW!!!! Here is a shock... Why do newspapers waste their time and energy to report the obvious.

WASHINGTON - Zoo elephants don't live as long as those in the wild, said a study sure to stir debate about keeping the giant animals on display.

Researchers compared the life spans of elephants in European zoos with those living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and others working on a timber enterprise in Myanmar.

The researchers found that the median life span for African elephants in European zoos was 16.9 years, compared with 56 years for elephants who died of natural causes in Kenya's Amboseli park. Adding in those elephants killed by people in Africa lowered the median life span there to 35.9 years.

For the more endangered Asian elephants, the median life span in European zoos was 18.9 years, compared with 41.7 years for those working in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise.

Georgia Mason of the animal sciences department at the University of Guelph, Canada, noted however that the life spans of zoo elephants have improved in recent years, suggesting an improvement in their care. But, she added, "protecting elephants in Africa and Asia is far more successful than protecting them in Western zoos."

There are about 1,200 elephants in zoos, half in Europe, said Mason, one of the report's authors. She noted that zoos usually lack large grazing areas, and that zoo animals often are alone or with one or two other unrelated animals, while in the wild they tend to live in related groups of eight to 12 animals.

Steven Feldman, a spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, contended that the report did not reflect conditions in North America.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Powder Day!

We went skiing last night as kind of a last minute thing, it was snowing like hell outside when I left work at 4 and wasn't suppose to stop so it seemed like the obvious choice. Melissa and I packed in the car and headed down to Welch, it was slow going and we got there and were on the lift at about 6pm. We have a night season pass which I think is going to turn out to be pretty sweet. Anyway, the snow was really good down there, they had gotten a little more snow then we did at home. The best part was, there was hardly anyone there. Maybe 50 people! Melissa and I had sections completely to ourselves which was very cool. We found good untracked snow all over the hill. The snow was soft and very creamy, it was really nice to ski in. We ended up skiing for about 2.5 hours and it was worth it. We were both really glad that we braved the slippery roads. I am hoping for many more powder days this year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Skiing Again

Well the first ski day of the year has been completed. It was a great day yesterday at Welch Village. A good portion of my favorite runs were open and they were actually in great shape. The snow was good and there was little to no ice at all. Melissa and I both were testing new skis. I loved my new skis, they performed great. Nice easy turns, did what I wanted them to do when I wanted them to do it. They seemed fast and were easy to handle. So far I am very happy. Melissa also was please with her new boards. So all in all it was a great day on the slopes. We skied for a few hours and then headed home made dinner and finished decorating our Christmas tree. We finished it last night and it looks great. I am looking forward to Christmas. I love this time of year when everyone seems happy and everything is decorated. We are getting snow this winter which is nice. There is about 10" or so on the ground at our house and I guess there is about 6-8" more coming today. Sweet! Other then that I am going to book our lodging for Big Sky today. More on that later. We also have our first trip to Lutsen booked, we are headed up December 26th for the weekend. I can't wait. Life is good. Winter is here, I still remember how to ski and Christmas is a couple weeks away. More later.