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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

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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

VoiceOver: 100 percent biodegradable and wind-powered

Why go to Moab if Moab comes to you?

Good evening and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column that was thinking about going to Moab for spring break but decided not to after finding a nice thick layer of red desert dust in the local snowpack after our most recent storm.

Why bother going to Moab if Moab is willing to come here? Heck, that way, we can have the best of both worlds — red desert dirt and nice spring snow.

But really, this dust thing is pretty amazing. First thing in the morning, our trusty Subaru looked all pretty, covered with new snow to where you couldn’t see the winter’s worth of grime. But then when it all melted, there it was, a bright orange layer at the bottom of the snow …

And the thing is, it’s getting worse. The folks who track this stuff are pretty much convinced that the stuff can be traced to increased human activity in the Southwest, and it’s probably going to get worse if there are more droughts.

Scores of VoiceOver Readers: “Enough already with the global warming scare stories. We’re already all bummed out about this ski season, barely had a powder day all winter long. What do you want us to do?”

VoiceOver: We recommend an attitude adjustment involving renewable alternative energy sources, less consumption, more reflection and a general sense of humility and respect.

SOVOR: “That’s a lot to ask. We can barely remember what day of the week it is, and you’re asking us to get all Zen. Not sure we can handle that.” Continue reading

Back Roads: Spring, when the early worm gets the bird

Spring - a season of renewal and hope.

By Warren Bridges

I’m sure they called him Early Worm at some point in his past. It would just be too perfect – that kind of nickname that nails it. Unfortunately, the fellow across the way probably never got it.

We were discussing the coming of spring the other day when the old man offered up his pronouncement.

“You know, boy,” he said. “They say the early worm gets the bird.”

“They do?” I asked, astonished. “They really say that?”

“They do,” he said in that way that old people do when they hate being asked something twice.

He cleared his throat and continued. “It means that the first worm of the spring gets to give warning to all the other worms that birds are coming.”

The old man and I go back a long way, and just as a child will dutifully accept the pinching of the cheek from Aunt Rose or the fitting of the tie on Sunday mornings or the “pull my finger” joke from Grandpa, I have learned that the Old Man’s great statements  are not  to be trifled with. As far as I know, he’s never been wrong, and he has certainly never let a lack of information impede his pronouncements. Continue reading

VoiceOver: The quadrennial Olympic rant

Our new favorite Olympic sport ...

A grilled-cheese sandwich, some soft slippers and … Olympic curling!

Good evening and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column that’s still completely enthralled with the Olympics, even though we think Bob Costas is smarmy that that NBC’s TV coverage totally sucks.

We don’t have a problem with NBC per se. They’ve done a great job of delivering timely online content and it seems like they have enough cameras spread around the greater Vancouver area that a fella (or gal) couldn’t sneeze without being recorded. Our problem, like every Olympics, is the time-delay and packaging of events to be broadcast during primetime. And as we think about it, it’s not even so much the delay; it’s the fact that they like to PRETEND that it’s live and PRETEND that they don’t know that pretty much everybody in the world knows the results of the world several hours before they’re shown.

Or like when the local news comes on, and the sports dudes tell you (wink, wink) to turn off the volume of the TV if you don’t want to hear the results. Give us a break. Especially in the age of social media, it’s almost impossible to NOT know … Take this morning, for example (That would be Sunday). We knew about Bode’s gold medal before we even finished baking our blueberry muffins, but we didn’t see the race until right about the time we started writing this column, which would be about 6:45 p.m.

It’s the total manipulation of reality that we object to, and we just want everybody to understand what’s going on. See, it’s all about advertising. It’s convenient for the TV folks to be able schedule the exact times that ads will run, right down to the demographics of knowing that the ice dancing finals will be be broadcast at 7:10 p.m. so that women can be targeted with ads specific to their interests. Meanwhile, while they’re showing the mens Super-combined, we get ads for erectile dysfunction drugs …

Read the rest of our rant here …

Blog-o-rama: Dancing chimps, ninja wings and good tequila

Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, is getting some attention because there may be some water beneath the surface. PHOTO COURTESY NASA.

This week we feature a new Breck eatery, a local photoblog, dancing chimps and news from deep space. We are in the blogosphere!

Wings with a ninja kick
Every week we take a gander around the blogosphere to see what folks in Colorado have on their minds. We start in Breckenridge, where Ashley Dickson, who blogs as the Gypsy Journalist, checked out a new eatery recently and reported that Northside Pizza dishes up some tasty pies at reasonable prices, along with wings that pack a ninja kick.

Here’s an excerpt from her post, describing her boyfriend’s first encounter with the wicked wings:

“Jake had talked a lot of game before the wings arrived, and after he shoved one in his mouth, he went completely silent.

“This is just wrong,” he pleaded. “My whole body is sweating. I feel messed up. Look, I’m shaking. Who would do this to themselves?”

No amount of water or bread could cool the fire, and I watched the boys writhe in agony as they waited for the heat to subside. I admit, I was laughing at their pain, and I couldn’t help but think of the guy from Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. No wonder that show has garnered such a fan base. it’s kinda fun to see grown men cry over chicken wings.

The bartender wouldn’t reveal the secret mix of spices that gave the Double Black Diamond their ninja kick to the gut, but he admitted that the peppers registered into the hundred thousands on the Scoville heat scale. To put that in perspective, a jalapeno pepper comes out to 5,000 on the scale.” Read the rest of the blog about Northside Pizza here.

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