Steep Shots: The family that skis together …

Bonding with the bro

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By Emily Palm

When fresh tracks beckon, I usually encourage interpersonal allegiances to fall by the wayside.

Wait for others when there are freshies to be found? No way José. “No family on a powder day,” however, sounds a bit harsh, even when said in Spanglish.

So it went last weekend with my brother, Garrett, visiting from Brooklyn. He caught the schussing bug last year when he came out to experience a slice of the skiing life. The rest of my family knows what a major role skiing holds for my husband and I, but Garrett is the only one who has actually seen it.

While my siblings and I excelled in the newspaper, choir and theater rooms, no one ever marveled at the grace and athleticism of the Palm kids. Hailing from Oregon and California, we went on a handful of trips to Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor over the years. None of us ever graduated beyond the green slopes, except for me when I went to college and skiing changed my life. Continue reading

Steep shots: Skiing confidence helps in other parts of life

Emily Palm is back in the saddle with a new column about on-mountain confidence.

By Emily Palm

Last Sunday after the coldest (and first) chairlift ride of the day  at Arapahoe Basin, I caught an edge and found myself skidding down the icy top of Pallavicini’s cornice. I’d never slid so far before self-arresting, catching myself just before the drop into The Spine.

Despite intellectually knowing that falling is an integral part of trying and that my tumble was low-consequence (had I not caught myself, I most likely would have slid to a non-icy spot to more easily stop), it certainly shook my confidence first thing. Rebuilding the assurance necessary to charge down the hill, drop that knee, and have fun playing with the mountain got me thinking about the vital role confidence holds in skiing.

To clarify, confidence is not recklessness. Sometimes the latter mingles with bravado and muddies our perceptions of what it means to extend beyond our comfort zones. Rather, self-assurance in our abilities — and taking calculated risks that lead toward growth — is what I’m talking about here. In this regard, skiing changed my life, as lessons learned on the slopes can’t help but transfer to daily existence. Continue reading

Essay: Memory lane is littered with splintered boards

Old school! PHOTO COURTESY THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

Every pair of skis has a story …

By Bob Berwyn

Thinking back over more than 40 seasons of downhill sliding, I sometimes wonder what ever happened to all the different skis I used over the years. After all, nearly every pair has a story. I know that some of them were handed down to my brother, two-and-a-half years younger, who has had a complex ever since. Others ended up in sacrificial bonfires.

But what about that set of red wood boards I used when we skied the Taunus Mountains, just outside Frankfurt, back in the 1960s? I was about six or seven, and our skis had front-throw cable bindings. They came in handy, since the lift was about a mile from the parking lot. To ski along the forest road to the base, we freed the cable from the rear guides, creating a touring setup. I don’t remember the make or model, but I know that the metal edges were screwed into the bottom. On warm spring days, I hand-rubbed soft silver wax into the grainy base, smoothing the finish with my gloves. Those skis contributed to an early sense of independence on the mountain, as my parents encouraged me to hike up past the top of the lift to explore the forests and meadows beyond. Continue reading

Backroads: Who needs a motor, anyway?

Waves lapping at the side of a canoe signal a new season for Warren Bridges.

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By Warren Bridges

“Put a motor on that damned thing so you can get where you’re going,” the fellow across the way said as I hoisted the canoe onto the roof of my Jeep.

“Thanks for the input,” I said, struggling a bit to keep it aligned between the racks. Frankly, I had heard it all before and wanted to avoid the inevitable debate.

The old man, though, would have none of the avoidance tactic. Even from his comfortable perch in the lounge chair, Hamm’s Light in hand, the old man seemed a bit put off – like he was being ignored. How you can be put off on a 70-degree Colorado afternoon, lounge chair under your butt and Hamm’s Light in your fist is beyond me. But not beyond the old man, apparently.

“I said,” he began again, his voice rising a bit in pitch, “you should put a motor on that thing so you can get around better.”

It was a topic that dated back many years – 25 or so, in fact. As a fresh college grad, I had landed in a small town in southeast Kansas – a quiet and friendly area that boasted some of the best fishing and hunting grounds in the country. Deer, bass and quail flourished, and it was hard to not drive past ponds, lakes and streams.

For a kid who was adamant about becoming the next Sigurd Olson, Ernest Hemingway and Harold Ensley, it was Paradise. And I was determined to run my lures past every set of fish lips in the six-county area.

Of course, not all fish resided within 15 feet of the shore, which at the time, was a solid cast for me and my Zebco 202. What I needed was a boat. What I needed first was money to buy a boat. Damned details. Continue reading

Steep shots: Spring skiing tactics

Emily A. Palm Mulica

Editor’s note: Today we’re introducing guest columnist Emily A.P. Mulica, who writes on skiing and the outdoors for the Fort Collins Coloradoan in her Steep Shots column. We’re hoping Emily will be a semi-regular contributor, sharing her Front Range perspective on Colorado mountain sports with Summit Voice. Here’s her take on spring skiing.

By Emily A.P. Mulica

The past couple weeks have brought daylight savings, the official entrance of spring and 70-degree temperatures in Golden, leading many a Front Ranger to begin thinking more about boat trips, hiking and other favorite summertime ventures as skiing slips to the back burner.

As more people throw their bikes on the car and leave the planks at home, the road to ski hills gets less congested this time of year. Add in the glorious spring snowstorm and you have arguably the best time of year to hit the slopes. A few tactical changes in the skiing routine can help optimize the spring skiing experience.

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
Last Sunday I must have reapplied sunscreen three or four times throughout the day, and people are still commenting on how tan my face is. In addition to the sunscreen lotion, a tin of Dermatone balm is handy, fits easily in the pocket and also offers wind protection. The sun protection factor is just as important as all of your other ski gear, especially when you consider the glare from the snow and the higher altitude. Continue reading

VoiceOver: Home of plutonium gum

… Where the Gruffalo roams

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column that just can’t get over how the world of chewing gum has changed in our lifetime. Used to be that there was Wrigley’s gum: Yellow (with a slightly fruity flavor), minty green and white, which, as far as we were concerned, was the bland flavor for old people. Plus, there was Bazooka bubblegum if blowing bubbles was your thing.

Oh yeah — and Chiclets, which we never really got, because they were so small you needed to chew about 16 of ‘em to get a good wad going. Turns out Chiclets were at the center of some early candy cartel skullduggery, as outlined on this fascinating web page.

These days, there are so many brands and flavors that gum pretty much needs its own aisle in the grocery/convenience/drugstore. We can’t even begin to keep track any more and we really get overwhelmed when it’s time to make a choice. Should we go with the Black Jack licorice-flavor? And the flavors keep changing, seemingly from week to week. We know it sounds fogey-ish, but we yearn for a simpler time, when three main flavors was more than enough.

We’re pretty sure this profusion of variety in the world of gum has some deep cultural significance, although we couldn’t begin to tell you what that might be. We’ll wait until some grad student publishes a thesis on it.

Heck, 5 Gum, a newish Wrigley’s brand, even has its own Facebook page.

Scores of VoiceOver Readers: “Get out! A chewing gum with a Facebook page? How many fans does it have? Can we win prizes, like a lifetime supply of gum?”

VoiceOver: Uh, we don’t know. Out of principle, we refuse to visit a chewing gum fan page, but you’re welcome to click on over there yourself and check it out. Let us know if it’s worthwhile. Here’s the link: 5 Gum. Looks like they’re offering a “personalized sensory experience.”

Read the rest of VoiceOver here.

VoiceOver: Bring back tug-of-war (and bowling)

A tug-of-war match at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. Photo from the IOC archives.

Early Olympics featured live pigon shooting and Basque Peolota

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column that’s having Olympics withdrawals after turning on the TV and (gasp!) not finding any curling, hockey, biathlon … What are we gonna do the next four years?

Oh well, this too shall pass, and before long things will be back to normal, the gold medals will be in the trophy cases, Apolo will shave off his soul patch, Lindsey will get her guest appearance on Law and Order and we’ll have to start thinking about those little mundane, routine things that keep us going. Hmmm, maybe we’ll start by painting our toenails and trimming our ear and nose hair. That’s always a good way to kick things up to the next level.

But before we tuck this year’s Olympic memories away for good, we’d just like to say that we think the IOC should bring back the winter pentathlon for the next games in Sochi.

Scores of VoiceOver Readers: “Winter pentathlon? What the heck is that? And, by the way, we don’t think Apolo will ever shave off his soul patch. That’s his trademark. He wouldn’t be Apolo without it.”

VoiceOver: You’ve never heard of winter pentathlon? Let us tell you, this sounds like it could potentially be the most exciting Winter Olympic sports event yet, combining XC skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, fencing and horse riding.

Read the rest of VoiceOver here.

VoiceOver: Half-baked from scratch!

What's up with flour packaging? Why haven't these people figured out the re-sealable thing, like the salami people?

We’re Celebrating Bob Marley’s birthday with blackberry muffins

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only weekly column that had reggae on the brain all day yesterday, seeing as how it was Bob Marley’s birthday. That’s right, the godfather of reggae would have been 65, and we’re sure he still would be singing “Three Little Birds” if he was around. We’re not all that big into Rastafarianism or anything, but we do appreciate that a musician can make people smile, sing and dance, convey a serious message and effect social change, all at the same time.

We’re all about bringing people other than lawyers into positions of leadership and power. As far as we can tell, from the way things work — or don’t work — in Washington, D.C., there are waaaaay too many lawyers gumming up the works. Nothing against lawyers per se, by the way. We don’t tell lawyer jokes and we understand that they’re a necessary component of our civil society. It’s just that we reckon too many of ‘em end up in Congress.

We think a variety of people would be good, and we love the idea of rock musicians, artists and poets getting into politics, just to bring some fresh perspective to the table. Like Peter Garrett, the former lead singer for Midnight Oil, who, we’re pretty sure, became head of the Australian environment ministry at some point. We understand that Garrett also has a law degree, but for us, he’s always been a rocker, ever since we saw Midnight Oil play a Greenpeace fundraiser at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, way back in the day.

Then there’s Vaclav Havel, a poet, playwright and moral pillar if there ever was one. He helped guide the Czech Republic out from behind the Iron Curtain, in case you don’t remember.

So without further ado, here’s our pick for a rock and roll cabinet: Dave Matthews for president, Tom Petty for VP, Bob Dylan for Secretary of State, Neil Young for Secretary of Defense. We think Bruce Springsteen needs to be in there as well, along with BB King and Aretha Franklin.

Read the rest of VoiceOver here …

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