Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lutsen Weekend

Another great weekend. Melissa and I made another pilgrimage up to Lutsen this past weekend for another weekend of skiing. And of course like always we had weather issues. We can never quite get it right weather wise up there. 3 days before we got there they had 6" of snow, about 2 hours before we got there the wind picked up and the temperature started to drop. When we picked up our lift tickets, the wind chills were -30 and were suppose to be about the same on Saturday which was suppose to be our first day of skiing. We also found out that the runs on the north face of Eagle mountain were going to be closed that weekend for construction of the new lift. So far our weekend wasn't turning out so well. Those runs are really some of our favorites, but oh well there is a lot of other good terrain. Anyway, we went and checked into our hotel room, which was great we got our favorite room at Lutsen Lodge, so that was good. We relaxed for a few minutes and then went and tried a new restaurant up there. A place call Mogul's which is at the Caribou Highlands resort. The place was really nice and the food was excellent. So we were happy that we gave it a shot. Now we have another option for food up there. After dinner we went back to our hotel and hung out. We relaxed and listened to the live music in the lobby. A solo guitar player, he was excellent and there was a huge fire in the fireplace so it was a great evening.

Saturday morning we got up to -15 degrees and -40 degree wind chills. We quickly called it on skiing and decided to get a rain check for the day. Way to cold. When it is that cold skiing just isn't any fun. We were bummed but made the best of the day. We went up and browsed around in our favorite shops up in Grand Marais and had pizza and Swen and Oles. After a fun day in Grand Marais we headed back to the hotel and relaxed and I did some watercolor work down in the lobby over looking the lake, it was great. We finished the evening with a nice dinner in the lodge's restaurant.

Sunday we got up, and it was cold but not as bad as Saturday so we decided to hit the slopes. We were glad that we did. The place was basically empty. No lines anywhere, Melissa and I agreed that we had never seen Lutsen so quiet. The morning was a little tough skiing wise. We would ski a couple runs and then head in to warm up. But it was OK. We skied mostly on Moose mountain but we did manage a run on Experts Cutoff which is a great run on the southwest face of Eagle mountain. After lunch the weather was nice, wind died and the sun felt a little warmer so the afternoon skiing was excellent. The slopes were still empty and we made good use of the slopes. We found new terrain that we hadn't skied before, mostly because the areas have not been open lately due to lack of good snow. The double black diamond tree runs on Moose were just a blast. Steep, narrow and lots of trees which forced you to think about your line and make your turns and the best part was, there was good snow in there. The runs were, Red Fox, Bears Den, Cedar Ridge, Moose Maze and Bears Claw. We linked lots of great turns and had to plan lines, it was great. I love that kind of skiing were you have to think and plan your route while you are on the run. I guess someone died on Moose Maze last winter. I could see how, if you weren't in control back there it would not be hard to hit a tree or go off a boulder weird and hit a tree or something like that. But I don't ski very fast anyway, I enjoy making turns more then bombing down the hill so I didn't have any trouble in those tight trees. It reminded me a lot of some of the tree skiing that Melissa and I did at Whitefish Montana last winter so that was great. We are hoping to get up to Lutsen at least 2 more times this winter. And I am really hoping for more snow so those runs will stay good. Because I would love to ski them again.

After skiing we packed up and headed home. What started as a little bit of a downer turned into an amazing weekend. We basically had the whole resort to ourselves and found some great and really fun lines that we hadn't skied before. Win win...

This is my prep week for Big Sky. They are getting snow again out there, so that is great, I have our fat skis down and am going to wax them up on Saturday so they will be ready to roll. I am almost packed and have all of my stuff together. So Friday Feb 6th cannot get here fast enough...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a weekend.

I had the best weekend. It was a long weekend which made it even better since I had an extra day to do fun stuff.

This weekend was filled with lots of outdoors activities and music. It started Friday night with a very tired wife. Melissa had a bad week at work so instead of doing something out and about on Friday night we decided to have a nice easy dinner at home and watch a movie. It was great. We relaxed and just hung out at home. Perfect evening.

Saturday we decided to head out and do some cross-country skiing. The weather was good, low teens for highs and the sun was sort of out, so we packed up the car and headed over to Lebanon Hills park and skied a short loop. It took a little practice to get our cross country rhythm back, to be honest I am not sure that I really ever had a cross country rhythm but it was fun to cross country ski again. We haven't done that for a couple of years since there has been a lack of snow. But anyway the skiing was fun. After skiing we went over to Ho Ting for lunch. Arguably the best Chinese restaurant in the Twin Cities. We have been going there every Saturday for the past few weeks. Lots of fun and really good food. Then Saturday night we went down to Dulono's Pizza in Mineapolis for a little pizza a couple beers and some bluegrass music. The band playing was a local bluegrass band The High 48s. They were really good. And I kept looking at the banjo player thinking, "I know him." Well it turned out that I did indeed know him. He was an old friend that I used to skateboard with growing up. It was great to see him. I spoke with him for about 25 minutes during their set break. Awesome time. The food was good, but the music was excellent. What a fun place.

Sunday we slept in a bit and when we got up it was snowing like crazy outside, big giant fluffy flakes. So we decided to take the cross country skis out again and try a different part of Lebanon Hills park. We decided to go over and ski the trail by the horse trail at Jensen Lake. Turned out to be a great choice. We did about a 4 mile loop which runs in some pretty heavy woods. It was really beautiful out there, snowing and really quiet. It was great. Melissa was like a machine though and skied like a mad woman. I had a lot of trouble keeping up with her. It was pretty funny. I kept saying, "Hey lets stop and enjoy the outside and the pretty snow falling." And she would have now of that. Gotta keep skiing!!! UGH I hurt pretty bad when we were done! But what a great time.

Monday I had the day off with it being MLK day. Melissa surprised me by taking the day off as well. It was a great surprise. I had plans to meet my friend Chris (aka Berry) down at Welch to ski, so Melissa joined us. We had a great time skiing. The snow that fell on Saturday soften everything up down there and there was good snow to be found everywhere, not very much ice which makes it so much better. We also got our first crack at the new back bowl. New terrain, all black runs. They were really fun. Narrow, steep and tight, you really had to make your turns or you would end up in the woods. My new favorite run out there is Adams Abyss, a nice little double diamond which is very narrow and has a couple of really good drops. It was really fun. We skied mostly in the new back bowl, finding our way around and creating new and fun lines. It isn't completely done back there, but the it should be pretty sweet when it is done. We skied for about 5 hours and then came home. Melissa and I ran a couple of quick errands and had some dinner at Old Chicago...

It was an excellent weekend. We had fun doing everything that we did. We are headed up to Lutsen this weekend. That will be really fun. Melissa and I decided to head up kind of last minute just to get away together. So I am really looking forward to that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It is really cold outside tonight. Like what -10 and a -30 windchill. Good stuff. It is a bummer, yesterday we got about 7 inches of snow down south here and Welch where I ski got at least that so it would have been just an epic night, but it was really cold and very windy. It would have been a horrid night skiing. I love to ski don't get me wrong but sitting on chairlift really sucks when it is so damn cold. Oh well... Melissa and I have a trip planned to Lutsen one more time before we head to Big Sky in early Feb. I am looking forward to getting up there with her. We always have the best time. We are staying at the Lutsen Resort in the main lodge which is so nice. I am hoping for 2 great days of skiing. Hopefully we will get some snow while we are up there. We seem to always strike out while we are up there with the fresh snow. Hopefully we will get some while we are there.

In other news, I am loving the HAM radio gig, I am making some friends on the 2M and 70cm bands. It is really fun. People are really friendly and helpful so it has been a great experience so far. I am hoping to learn all I can and make this a life long hobby, there is a lot to it and it is a great thing for a techie guy. Lots of cool gear to get.

Things are good otherwise, we are really starting to get excited for our ski trip. They are getting so much snow out west that it should be just awesome when we arrive. Not much is going on just trying to stay warm. I hope you are as well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another Fine Day

Friday was another really fun ski day at Welch village. On the way down I made my first official HAM contact which was really fun. Spoke with K0JTA for about 20 minutes on the Hampton repeater which I guess is in this guys backyard. So that was pretty cool, really nice guy. Check it out if you are ever in the south metro he is on 147.360 Mhz. So that was really fun. Skiing was great as well. It was a guys night on the slopes, I met my friends Steve and Chris(berry) for a fun night. The snow wasn't very good. Icy in a lot of spots but we looked around and found some good spots so it was all good. We got lots of runs in, had burgers at Madd Jaxx and I talked Steve into racing in the NASTAR open ski race they had there that night. He did great and it was fun to watch him. It was great because most people were all dressed in their racing clothes and there's Steve with twin tip skis and a big old jacket. It was a fun night.

This weekend was fun as well. Saturday Melissa and I hung out and did some stuff around the house which was good. Then we had a very nice dinner and hung out. It was really nice. Sunday I got together with my friend Chris(berry) and we had lunch and went to a few home improvment stores. I am on the quest to build a small antenna for my home HAM radio so I/we were out looking for parts. It was a fun day.

More good news. I just got the Big Sky snow report email and they as of today are 100% open... YEAH!!! All 3,812 acres of glorious powder are ready and waiting for me. We are heading out in early February and I cannot wait!

Well back to work. Cheers for now.