Friday, February 25, 2011

Shimano Ultegra Crank Failure

I was a very lucky guy today.

I am constantly amused when the guys on my bike team brag about their latest carbon doo-dad which is 120 grams lighter then their old doo-dad.

I don't want something lighter. I want something stronger.

And here's why:

This happened with no warning today as I was climbing Hill 19 out in Kahikinui, a long slow uphill slog out in the middle of Maui's Northern Desert. Kahikinui is a spot from which you can see (when the weather is clear) the twin 15,000-foot peaks of Mauna Loa and Manua Kea on The Big Island (across the Alenuihaha Channel) and the island of Kaho'olawe. There are no homes, no cars, no cellular coverage, no police patrols, and pretty much just a whole lot of nothing out there. Great for peaceful and relatively safe riding, but no so good when a part on your bike shatters.

Fortunately, when it happened I had a good solid hold on the bars, and I didn't go down.

I did have to hitchhike 20 miles back to Kula, but I was picked up by a very nice fellow named Sid in a pickup truck. Sid also rides, so he knew the drill.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alpentouring At Roger's Pass, Glacier National Park, British Columbia

Looking at the Mt McDonald Chutes across the Trans-Canada Highway, from high atop the Cheops Chutes.

You know you're in the right place when the roads up to the ski area have snow stacked 45 feet high on the sides.

Roger's Pass is a touring-only backcountry ski area about an hour from Revelstoke. There are no lifts, you must earn your turns.

The area is partially avalanche-controlled, but it is, admittedly, a bit dangerous. Cliffs, ice falls, and avalanches can ruin the fuck out of one's day.

The park has an interesting permit system in place whereby its 12 (or so) mountain peaks are divided up into approximately 4-square-mile chunks, and you must take out a permit for the area you intend to tour / climb / ski. Attached to the permit is a numbered tag which you must leave on the dashboard of your car in the only parking lot. If darkness is approaching and there are any cars left in the parking lot, the Park Rangers will know who you are, when you departed on your tour, approximately where you are climbing / skiing, and that you're overdue.

Dudley Doo-Right patrols the high peaks sporadically in helicopters, on snowmobiles, on skis, and via snowshoe, checking permits. The permits are not expensive ($7 day, unlimited number of tours), but Dudley REALLY REALLY wants you to utilize the permit system properly, because dead skiers do not make for good public relations.

First we climbed and skied the Cheops Chutes, which rise up about 2000 vertical feet from the shoulder of the Trans Canada Highway. We climbed up in dense trees (virtually avalanche-proof) and popped out into a chute with perfect untracked powder. Absolutely unreal tree skiing, not another skier's track in sight, and judging by the depth of the tree wells, snow about 25 feet deep. We then took a break, fueled up, took out another permit for another area, and climbed and skied the Grizzly Shoulder. Grizzly drops about 2500 feet down into a drainage creek. It was getting late so we only climbed / skied about halfway.

We started our day about 10 AM and finished up around 3:30.

Jane, jumping for joy.

Jane gets it on, in the Cheops Chute.

Yours truly scoring face shots at the Grizzly Shoulder.

The Moment Of Truth. This is exactly what I came to British Columbia to do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Revelstoke, British Columbia

Believe the hype.

Revelstoke opened only in 2008, but already it has gained a reputation as the skier's resort.

After my first day skiing here, I can report . . . the hype is mostly true. Simply put, you will not find better skiing anywhere. I would say Nevados de Chillan in Chile and Powder Mountain and Snowbasin in Utah are in the same league, but not better. If you are into backcountry, powder, and face shots, this is the place. If you ski with a shovel and an avalanche probe in your pack, this is the place. Revelstoke is an infinite orgasm loop for the hard core skier.

Steep? Check.

Deep? Check.

Uncrowded? Check.

It snows about 600 inches a year here, and nobody can get here to ski. There is no airport, it's a 9 hour drive from Vancouver, a 6 hour drive from Banff, and the roads leading here are closed for days - sometime weeks - at a time, due to avalanches.

A note to my friends Dingo and Trampass:

Forget about Switzerland.

FUCK Switzerland.

Guys. If you want to ski for real, strap on a pair of extra-wide powder boards and a large set of gonads, and go to Revelstoke. Period. Full stop.

Compared to Revelstoke, Switzerland is for pussies.

Today I was skiing with a friend who, as a teenager, raced World Cup downhill and has skied the steepest and deepest all over the world. She also was stunned by Revelstoke. I was on my K2 Coombas, a backcountry ski packing 102 underfoot, and they were skinnier than 99% of the skis I saw in the lift line.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Skiing With The Cousins

My little cousins, Jessica and Matthew, age 11 and 7. Their mother, Sarah, is my first cousin (my father's brother's daughter).

Apex Mountain, British Columbia

Monday, February 07, 2011

Hot Shot

Lowers, Kanaha today.

I love my new Olympus camera with 30x zoom. The reef is almost a half mile from shore, and I was standing on the beach when I snapped this.