24 December, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Whatever your beliefs, and whatever you celebrate -- seasons greetings to you and your family.

I hope the holidays afford you the opportunity to experience the outdoors in some way. For me, I hope to do a little skiing, some fly fishing for steelhead, break out my old cross-country skis, and perhaps spend a little quality time on the shooting range.

And, make plans for next year's outdoor antics!

Best wishes,


23 December, 2008

Another Great Quote

Read another great quote from Tera Ward - a pro downhill mountain bike racer, personal trainer, and mom - in this month's Bicycling magazine:

"Do what you can, when you can."

Perfect. I like to be active, but other commitments sometimes prevent it. But this quote speaks to me. Take advantage of the opportunities you have when you have them, don't beat yourself up when you don't. For me that sometimes means being creative, or doing household chores or work tasks in advance so I can take advantage of good weather -- but it's worth it.

Enjoy life. Snowing here now. Freezing rain, sleet, and a variety of other fun on the way.


22 December, 2008

Cold? Where?

Positively polar here in Michigan - but it's not stopping me. Went skiing at Caberfae on Saturday and doubt it topped the low teens. I had ideas of fly fishing for steelhead on the Pere Marquette in the afternoon, but about two runs down the ski slope cleared that up for me. Brrrrr!

Beautiful morning though. I got an early start, so I was on the slopes 15 minutes after opening. Got to see the slow arc of the morning winter sun across the Manistee River Valley. Really a pretty morning. Got to run the Line powder skis a little and really enjoyed that. And the South Peak area was open for the first time this season.
The peace that happens when it is really cold astounds me. The world gets just a little quieter. And the crunch in the snow that happens is just about my favorite sound.
But Sunday found me at the ski shop for some warmer gloves!!!!!
Been plotting to dust off my cross-country skis and finally did so on Sunday. Unfortunately, I think the day's high was 13 degrees (that's Fahrenheit...) and wind gusts up to 35mph made a trek ill-advised. I'll wait for a little warmer day.
Happy holidays to you and your family. Hope you're well, safe, and happy.

19 December, 2008

My Review of Line Prophet 100 Skis

Originally submitted at REI

The search ends here for the ultimate off-piste machine—Line Prophet 100 skis cruise fresh glades, tight trees and steep lines with authority.

Surprisingly Versatile

By Seanahee from Ann Arbor, MI on 12/19/2008


5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Good Carving Ability, Great Flotation

Cons: Some chatter on groomers

Best Uses: Downhill, Powder

Describe Yourself: Advanced Skier

An amazing ski - purchased it for the occasional Michigan powder day and for trips to Utah. Have been surprised how good it is even on groomers with some ice. For a big ski, turns over well.

Mine's an 07/08 model. Graphics rule. Skis get lots of comments. Bought this over K2 Seth and I think I'm glad I did.

Only complaint is that there's some definite chatter on really hard-packed groomers. But this ski really wasn't designer for them.



Big time snow in Michigan today - the first big one of the season. I cleared 5" off the drive at 7am and weatherman's calling for another 4-7" today. Needless to say, I am happy. I hate gray/brown Christmas.

One thing I'm certainly happy for is the Element. I was thinking as I drove out of my unplowed subdivision this morning that I was really glad to be rid of the Mustang. Snowy days always took too much creativity and effort. Element just chugged right through it all. I was surprised as I thought it a little low -- after owning several Jeeps -- but really no issues.
Still snowing as I write this. Nice swirling flakes. A friend is travelling on business in Miami and was just trying to make me jealous - no way, this is where I'd rather be. I think a little skiing tomorrow and perhaps a little time on the river with a fly rod, too.
Ahh, snowy winter in Michigan. Perfect!

15 December, 2008

Quotable Quote

“I’m not a perfectionist. I’m a serial obsessive... a seventy-five percenter. I get bored with doing the same thing. So, I isolate one thing, study and improve on it until I feel good about it, and then move on.”

Yvon Chouinard
Founder , Patagonia
January/February issue, Fly Rod & Reel

This quote spoke to me on an elemental level. It seems like I'm always moving from learning one thing to another. And once I get pretty good at it, I move on. Some things persist in my life, others don't.

Friends who know me well would say this quote seems to embody me. Always picking up something new. Looking to get out of my comfort zone and when I find something that connects becoming a bit obsessive about learning it.


10 December, 2008

Joys of the Season

I love ski season - especially in great snow and conditions. The season in Northern Michigan has sure been off to a nice start, though I hear rumors of temps in the 50s arriving next week. Not a fan of that.

Had an epic ski day Saturday at Caberfae. Drove up through some nice little squalls on and off. Upon arrival in the parking lot it was coming down nicely. The mood was interrupted when I realized I'd left my outer shell jacket on the table in the basement - but no matter, I'm pretty cold-tolerant.

Being a Midwesterner, we don't get a lot of powder days. Especially those of us who don't live up near the northern ski resorts. Why I felt compelled to by my big fat Line Prophet 100's is a bit of a mystery, but I tell myself it's for Utah ski trips. But they got a workout on Saturday -- snow just kept coming down. Really picked up around 3pm. And not just the usual powder on the treeline, but all over. I do love those skis. Every time I get to use them in their element, I'm just floored. And I'm really surprised by how well they handle groomed snow.

Those who know me are aware that while I like to buy toys, I have a love of a deal that pervades. Ski area food is one of my sore spots. It's expensive, usually REALLY unhealthy, and sometimes downright questionable. Last year I started on a more aggressive BYO approach. This year's big addition? A THERMOS -- ah, now it's more than just a cold sandwich. That hot chili tasted GOOD on a cold day! I've also become an afficianado of the convenience store sandwich. It's no worse than anything you'd get at the ski area (and many are quite good) and it's half the price. My favorite is the 7-11 at the entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon (home to Solitude and Brighton ski areas). Great sandwiches, I can stock up on Diet Dew, and they actually have really nice souvenirs - I got my Solitude t-shirt there for 7 bucks!!!

Unfortunately, around 4pm the 30+ mph winds rolled in. About this time that earlier issue of forgetting my jacket becomes more of a problem. Top of the hill was like being sandblasted. Great fun skiing the bumps that have formed from the traffic and the heavy snows. I had my fly rod and gear for steelhead fishing (yes, I forgot THAT jacket, too...) in the truck. But with that kind of wind, time to scurry back downstate.


04 December, 2008

Flakes & Flies

Saturday may have been the best possible combo for winter fun. My main ski area Caberfae opened the Friday after Thanksgiving. I was suspect of the snow and crowds, but wanted to check out my new boots after some custom fitting work.

Friday night, I decide to pack up the trusty Element with ski gear, and fly fishing gear. Caberfae is only about 25 miles from some great steelheading on the Pere Marquette river -- one I'd never fished before.

Turns out Saturday is BEAUTIFUL skiing -- blue skies, few traces of those nice fluffy clouds you see in ski area brochures, and surprisingly good snow. Didn't see a single rock or stump. Just a great morning.


I now had visions of those cartwheeling chrome beauties on my mind. And fishing a river that's legendary, but that I've never tried. That's when the lift lines suddenly got REALLY long. Even skiing as a single, it was crowded. My cue to exit to the parking lot and trade ski boots for waders!

A short drive, with a stop at Baldwin Bait & Tackle for some suggestions, and I'm at the Green Cabin access point on the PM. Still sunny skies and almost 40 degrees. What a stunningly beautiful and peaceful place. I can see now the appeal of that river. Nice gravel flats, sandy tailouts, and lots of nice holes. Relatively easy wading, and great access. I hiked a mile or so upstream and waded back down to my starting point.

Saw a few jumps and splashes, but didn't hook up with anything. Well, except a few logs and snags. Lesson learned for the day -- I need to brush up on my knot and rigging skills if I'm going to do this. I ended up with some sort of half-ass rig after making do with what was in my vest, and in my memory from a quick demo at the local fly shop.

Fished until the sun hit the horizon and saw only one other soul -- a guide who floated past me in a drift boat with a client and some sort of cockapoo kinda' dog. Odd sight. But you see all manner of stuff when you get out...

This weekend, they're calling for snow in that area and I don't have commitments on Saturday, so I think I'll repeat! Flakes and flies seems the perfect wintertime combo - at least for me.

Tight lines!