Feb 28, 2008

Powder Fest 2008

Powder Fest, Nelson BC

I had a fabulous weekend in Nelson at powder Fest. What made it even more wonderful is that three days before the weekend I couldn’t imagine how I could pull it off..getting there, staying there, racing, partying etc without a vehicle and completely on my own…here is my story:

Sunday: I decided I wanted to go after seeing a poster at the Edge Climbing Gym….
Tuesday: I emailed as many people and related organizations as I could in order to find a ride…
Wednesday Morning: I got one response….I got a ride…
Wednesday Afternoon: I sent out another email to my friends to see if anyone knew anyone in Nelson as I totally forgot about accommodations and the little town was booked solid. My buddy Colin set me up with his friend Mike from Nelson…I got accommodations. Thank you Mike and housemates.
Friday 6am: Tired and a little nervous about heading out to a new town, with strangers, on my own I squeezed into the truck that had just rolled into the driveway. I am off to Nelson on a 9 hour drive with a relative stranger but soon to be new buddy…Derek.

Nelson is a small town tucked away in the mountains…the people are ultra kind, healthy, active and friendly (easy to notice when traveling on your own). Upon our arrival we headed straight for an outdoor shop called ROAM…they were sponsoring the race….we headed for lunch at a cute café with lots of organic and veggie options (actually most of the food in Nelson is organic and veggie….pretty neat). Friday night they had a film fest going on at the Rod and Gun club…This was a unique venue….one would figure a Rod and Gun club would be your typical all boys club but this was not so… the ceiling was painted baby blue with white fluffy clouds dispersed all over???…Anyways, they showed some great films about snow and skiing and got us all pumped up for shreddin the pow….I was lucky enough to win a draw prize (which never happens to me by the way)…and met some friendly folk to sit with and chat…

The race
Nelson was experiencing a dry spell with 5 or so days of sunshine and so in many cases the powder skiing was close to non existent…this proved to add a little difficulty during our race…the steep ups were icy and finding an edge was tough and the steep down was one of the toughest things I’ve had to ski down to date…it was chopped up hard ice with rubbles….nasty stuff…I managed to get down but there was definitely some snowplow, side slipping, praying action going on….the last up was up a blue run and there were some pretty steep sections where people were sliding down the up….trouble.. but I managed to pull it off and reeled in for a 3rd place finish…not bad for being a newbie to skiing, and racing with a fat heavy powder set up…..

Following the race I got to try out some Dynafit skies, bindings and boots and go hit the slopes with my new buddy Derek.

I truly believe in the little saying “work hard play hard!” …so it’s a must to après after a day on the hill…Yay for Happy Hour and friends with VIP cards. I also scored some shwag from a podium finish which is always a nice bonus…thanks to the sponsors!

Saturnight Night they held a buffet dinner and photo slideshow contest. The food was fantastic, the photos were inspiring and the local band kept the party going. As I returned back to Mike’s place I met one of his housemates…we sat around the kitchen table, ate some Mexican and talked about life, dreams, and stain glass…my specialties (except for the stain glass part…)

Telemark Skiing
Sunday I was lucky enough to get into a telemark clinic and use some of the demo skis that were around…It was great fun to learn something new and have a knowledge instructor doing it….

We (by we I mean Derek) had a long all night drive back to the city.

Monday 5am: snuggling into bed
Monday 8am: the alarm goes off…arg… I was back at work for my 9am meeting
…PHEW…an unbelievable weekend…

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!

Feb 17, 2008

my extended backyard

For the last couple of weekends,...weather, rides, friends, timing..different things have altered my plans and it seems that getting out in the far backcountry just hasn't been working out...at first I get disappointed but then end up finding some neat things to do locally.. today made me realize that my backyard is pretty amazing....I seem to always want to escape somewhere far from the city as thats where I seem to find peace of mind, a sense of freedom and happiness...its where I am able to best connect with my emotions...Skinning up Mt Seymour I realized that there is such escape right behind my back door...I don't need to rely on anyone nor do I need a lift to the mountain. Its a good feeling to be self sufficient.

I woke up early, strapped by skis to my pack and walked (approx 30 min) to the shuttle pick up...because I am staff at Mt Seymour I get to ride the shuttle for free so up I went on the first morning shuttle..I managed to get to the base of the trail for about 9am and the sun was already shining down. I didn't have much of a plan, as I was alone and had never been past the first peak at Seymour. I scooted past some folk and then just kept going...I know I shouldn't go into the backcountry alone but it needed to be done today...I needed to know that I can rely on myself...it was beautiful and noone was up there yet...(by 11am the crowds started to form and I was happy to skip out and ride the lifts for a bit before heading back down on the noon shuttle)...so I was back home for 1pm with a good morning tour behind me....

the sun just kept shining so I was ready to get on the move again. I headed out for a trail run...just the perfect day...the sun was able to sneak through the trees and most of the snow has melted from the trails...I managed to find a new trail (that Kim told me about) hung out by the river and then made my way home....a solid 2.5hr run...it felt great. I am beat now though...A good day for someone who isn't feeling too motivated...I'm trying...The mountains are magical to me...I am able to release my mind and take in the beauty of it all.

Live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

some pics from an awesome sunset at Ambleside park

Feb 16, 2008

the mind is a powerful machine...

So I've been feeling a little uninspired and unmotivated lately so minimal pics for this post....mostly some words and thoughts.
Something I learnt today.

Today I participated at the Yeti Snowshoe race on Grouse...it was a tough course with a large, very large, never ending (so it felt) uphill....needless to say it wasn't one of my best performances. There are a couple of things I can think of that played a part in my poor performance...I would like to expand on one of them right now....So for the last couple of days events in my daily life have caused me to be emotionally down, stressed and in full, not motivated about anything. I felt that I took these emotions and stresses with me to the race this morning...It's an interesting correlation between how my daily life is going and my race results...at least for me it is. Its funny, having a masters degree in sport psychology one would assume that I should be able to separate the two... I was in part curious if today I would have a good performance or not..., I would either have energy to burn off and push hard .. or the stresses of the week would weigh me down and essentially slow me down....the second is what occurred....

I find myself in an interesting situation...I am usually an extremely motivated, happy, energetic, excited individual and in the past going for runs, bike runs, essentially hard long work outs would help ease my worries and stresses but it seems that this time the opposite effect is occurring...I'm going to experiment and see what different strategies might work to help me get through my down time...

despite my current situation I am still enjoying my life on the west coast and trying to take in every opportunity that comes my way.

You might be wondering what I do with my time during the week...I play outdoors.....

Monday nights I teach downhill skiing on Mt Seymour. It is a great program they have created called Ladies Night...Ladies get to ski on the hill for free and may also take lessons in an all female group. The dynamics are great and the ladies are lovely. I really enjoy teaching so it feels great to help others learn a new exciting sport and help them play outside!

Tuesday nights I've been trying to head up to Cypress Nordic for some skate skiing. Thanks to Johnny and Mark (my rides) I am able to enjoy a damn tough work out on the skis...Its a great little area with tons of hills...

Wednesday nights I get to be an adventure guide on Grouse Mountain. I get the opportunity to take people (lots of people) night snowshoeing...there are different levels from beginners to walkers, walk-runners and your hard core runners. Its a great way to meet new people and enjoy what one of the local mountains have to offer. On a clear night it feels magical...

Thursday nights I am lucky enough to go night kayaking...I've been heading out with a good group of solid kayakers all winter long and its been incredible. We've had some cold and wet nights but we've also had some pretty spectacular evenings as well...

So as you can see there is lots to do right here in my backyard in north vancouver....

looking forward to enjoying some more local fun....

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Feb 11, 2008

Something Different...

Poor weather and Sickness: I still managed to go play outside…

I am getting excited about rock climbing again. It’s nice to be back in the rock gym figuring out problems and pumping the ‘ol forearms…It’s also nice to see familiar faces in a new gym.

We had plans for the weekend, they were good but the weather decided to be difficult and so our plans got scratched…

Saturday I was fighting a cold so decided it was best not to turn my alarm on and sleep in until my body wanted to get up… and that happened to be 10:30am. I won’t lie, it felt good. I headed out for a trail run with my handy yak traks.

They came in good use for about half the run; with the rain and the hard pack snow, the surface was fairly icy at times (especially heading downhill!!). It felt good to be running in the trails again (its been awhile since I had been out skiing all weekend most weekends). I managed to run for 1.5 hrs which was good since I was still trying to fight off my cold. After a break doing some arts and crafts I decided to head out to Mt Seymour and do a couple laps of skinning up on the local trails beside the hill.

I managed to squeeze one in but decided that skinning up in the dark, dense fog and by myself wasn’t the brightest of ideas… so I stuck to the hill for the rest of the evening. It was sort of eerie all night, the mountain seemed deserted and the fog was so heavy….kind of fun too…

Mark and I headed up to the Callaghan on Sunday to check out the x country ski trails. It was my first visit on skis so I was pretty excited. The weather wasn’t the greatest but they do a wonderful job at grooming the trails. We had a blast. Its amazing how much better I feel skiing with fresh legs compared to my Tuesday evening skies after a day of work and a bunch of training.

We arrived back in the city to some sunshine and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run outside in the sun… so although tired, I strapped on my runners and headed for the trails again. I found some trails without snow (but lots and lots of mud….) and went for a good run until the sun went down. Running on the mountains in the trails seems to be the place where I feel most at home, at peace and content. I love it.

All in all, a good weekend, for not being in the backcountry and feeling sick. I think the fresh air saved me ...go play outside!!!

Live, Love, Laugh,….DREAM!

Feb 4, 2008

Local Fun!

Stayin’ Local

This weekend was fairly different than my typical weekends out in the backcountry. It started off with a YETI Snowshoe Race up on Mt Seymour. The morning was looking rough but as the race proceeded the weather took a turn for the better. The course was quite good but tough with so much fresh powder. It made it difficult to pass on the single track sections which called for some more strategizing throughout the race. These shorter races are typically a little harder for me as I tend to race with a certain speed which I am able to maintain over a long distance rather than go out fast for a short period. So in a 10km race it isn’t until the last ¾ of the race where I actually feel good and instead of slowing down I am able to maintain my same speed. I did manage to beat the girl who won at Mt Washington but there were some quick females out there and not sure of my exact placing as I had other engagements to attend to after the race. I think maybe 4th female.

Lina just chillin…

Saturday afternoon was gorgeous. I had a lunch date with a good fried of mine, Nicole. I decided to grab the bike and meet her down at the Quay. We had a fabulous lunch and then chatted and relaxed by the water, in the sun on the Quay. It was fantastic.

Grouse Mountain

Sunday, my plans of backcountry fell apart…sometimes these things happen. I was upset for a while but pulled myself together and figured there was no reason to be upset when I still found myself on a ski mountain, in the sun and skiing with fantastic company. Looking back, it was a good exercise in self control, self awareness and making the best of the situation. I had a great time, thanks DAVE!

I managed to squeeze in a trail run as the sun was setting. It was a great way to finish off the weekend.

Live, Love, Laugh,…DREAM!