Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wine Time

The rolling hills of vines of Four Vines, a winery in Paso Robles

A few days ago I headed down to San Luis Obispo with Cody to see our CPA and finally get our taxes done. Yeah, it's 4 months past the deadline but considering it happens during the busiest part of the ski season the task is unfathomable. Rightly so, the ability to file an extension is every professional skier's best friend. Who wants to deal with taxes when they can choose to head to the office and rip some powder?

On my way to taste some wine, niccce.

After a relatively painless appointment of realizing we owe the government nothing short of our blood, we wanted to take advantage of being in the heart of Cali's Central Coast wine region and visit one of our best friends, George Hjelte, who works at Four Vines in Paso Robles. There are some truly killer wines coming from this region. The central coast is like every other region that is not Napa: it is generally cheaper, less pretentious, and overlooked by the average joe because it is simply not Napa. The warmer temperatures that the central valley receives allows for wineries to experiment with all kinds of grape varietals akin to France's Rhone Valley and Spain's Rioja Valley. Not to say that a great Cab is short of praise, it is nice to be exposed to grape varietals that can be appreciated for their own unique and exceptional qualities.

Cody and George working hard

Once we got to Four Vines we didn't beat around the bush, we immediately headed to the cave to barrel taste with George. We tried several Zinfandels, Mourvedre, Grenache, Malbec, Tinto Cao, Syrah, a few blends... We were putting our noses to work to say the least (75% of what we perceive to taste is actually smell, that's a fact you can look up). Anyway, I got to try some noteworthy wine, get a little buzz (I'm not a spitter), see a great friend and ultimately end the day on a good note.

George monkeying around to get to the goods

Why not?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Day of Beauty

Oh the water was really cold...

There are lots of perks to living in Squaw Valley besides being located at the bottom of a super sick ski resort and not having to deal with the crappy California traffic to get first tracks. For example, there is the typical perk of being able to stumble home from the Village after a night of partying and not having to deal with the cops that post up on Squaw Valley Road. Or the entertaining perk of living across the street from J.T. Holmes and watching the hilariously stupid shouting match across decks between Cody and J.T. debating who is smarter, better looking, a better skier or who has the highest Wurdle score. Boys. But the perk that I want to talk about is the one where it's always nice to step out of your house and not have to drive anywhere to be active. Even though Cody and I base ourselves in Santa Cruz during the off-season, we definitely make it a point to spend time in Tahoe during the summer as well. During this particular day in early June, we went for a sweet hike up Shirley Canyon. Heaps of sunshine and beautiful views, what more can you ask for?

Kind of felt like an elf at this moment hiding next to my treasure. Yeah, silly

Posing away... I think Cody has got me on this one

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Freeride Competition Down Under

Earlier this week the Freeride World Tour had its first ever southern hemisphere ski qualifier event (FWQ) in New Zealand. The comp saw more than just its local talent as skiers from around the world showed up to gain some points for the 2009/2010 Tour. A good friend of mine who is a ripping skier with a firecracker personality, Janina Kuzma, won the ladies event handily. Way to go Janina!

Janina kickin' it atop the podium

Here is the link to check out the top runs:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Always Winter Somewhere...

Skiing Volcan Villarica
*All photos courtesy of Dom Daher, please be respectful and do not use these photos without his consent, thank you

Usually at this time of year I find myself either preparing to pack my bags to head to the Southern Hemisphere in search of snow or already down there ripping the pow. Unfortunately this year it's not in the cards, so instead I find myself longing for the cold air to shock my senses and feel the white fluff under my skis. I heart skiing...
I'm posting a few pictures from a trip I took a few summers ago in Chile with Cody, Phil Meier, and photographer Dom Daher. We stayed in the charming town Pucon, which is nestled in the heart of Chile's "Lakes District" and skied the active volcano, Volcan Villarica.

The sight of Vulcan Villarica from Pucon


Cody taking in some fumes from the mouth of the volcano

The views were as amazing as the skiing

Cody still feeling a little light from the fumes

Volcan Villarica at night

What isn't there to get excited about when you get to travel the world to ski..?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alaska Summer Part IV


The pictures are still amazing, even with the sun glaring right into the camera making for what a professional photographer would consider "absolutely horrendous lighting"

The weather stayed beautiful for our entire trip so we could only do what any sensible person would do and that was to lock ourselves inside. Haha J/K! Sleeping in a tent even seemed to take away from the must-be-outdoors addiction that one catches when in AK.
Lucky for me I grew up in the quaint little ski resort town called Girdwood, an epicenter for sports and adventure. It sits right on the tip of Cook Inlet, also known as the Pacific Ocean. This particular day Cody and I hiked Alyeska Resort, a very rewarding trek for the amazing views when you reach the top. I heart Alaska...

Can't help but feeling "buff" after a good hike up a mountain

A view of the Seven Glaciers Valley

Paragliders enjoying the evening sun

Monday, August 10, 2009

Alaska Summer Part III

Jonathan and Cody hard at work

As the postings before have indicated, Cody and I are really into fishing and getting the chance to do it as much as possible while visiting Alaska is our ultimate goal. On another fine AK afternoon we headed to the Kenai River with two buddies, Jonathan and Will, to do a float/fish trip. The great thing about AK is that there is not much time restriction on when you can and can't do outdoor activities. So at about 4pm we shoved off and were excited to spend the evening fishing, swilling, nature scouting and talking a bunch of trash. We definitely caught some fish, and as stated previously the only thing to really catch at this time of year were reds. There are plenty of gigantic rainbow trout to be caught and released, and Will did just that accidentally. He was rigged up to catch a red but ended up bycatching a trout.

There were plenty of salmon taken down in that fishing hole directly behind us

Fishing at 10 pm, yes please!

As the sun got lazier and started its close descent towards the mountains, the brown bears started to show their presence. In all we saw 6 brownies. Even though I may have seen tons of Alaskan bears during my life they will forever remain jaw-dropping beautiful in size and character. I will say, however, that the fear still brews when seeing one of these gigantic forces of nature, especially when you have fish in your backpack. Once it hit 11:30pm, we decided we had seen enough bears and needed to get off the river stat, our security was dropping rapidly as nightfall ensued. Life is quite an adventure in Alaska, and I will never get enough of it!


Jonathan showing his fine filleting skills

Will and his accidental rainbow

Across the river this brown bear snagged someone's bag like a swift bandit making out with a stagecoach full of cash

Things you see in nature

Ahh, I'm not so sure we really had that much fun rafting, don't be dissuaded by the expressions on our faces...

Uh yeah, it's kind of pretty