Thursday, February 18, 2010

Deer Valley 2010

The other night, I dusted off my skis and cleaned the cobwebs out of my ski boots - I even stretched.

We were in SLC for the UNLV-Utah basketball game, followed by a day of skiing and an ultrasound of baby Earl.

I always love flying into Salt Lake. Not only is it pretty, the best part is that it's about an hour and 15 minutes flying time....versus a 6 hour car ride. I am all about efficiency. Plus, I hate that drive.

Nine of us met at Benihana for our pre-game meal. The kids brought friends and our lovely nieces had driven up from Provo to cheer on the Rebels. You gotta love the samuri chefs that work the grill, holler in Japanese, and cook everything right in front of you. I just nod a lot and eat what they put in front of me. We were ready for some basketball.

The game was interesting. Here's UNLV - one of the elite teams in the conference playing mid-level Utah. This is a game UNLV should win but the Utes are just a terrible matchup for the Rebels so they lost their 3rd game in a row. I did wear my Utah sweatshirt at the game while the rest of my clan all wore rebel gear. And when the rebels scored, their cheering was about the only noise in the Huntsman Center.

Thursday meant skiing for me and an ultrasound for Tiffany.

Deer Valley opened 30 years ago and is a place I wouldn't be caught dead at during my heyday of mogul skiing and other apres ski activity. The slopes were too groomed, tissue boxes in the lift lines, they sold wine by the know, it was sort of a hoighty toighty place for non-skiers.

Alas, I have become what I once despised.

Deer Valley is right up my alley now. Groomed runs, good food options, and no lines.

Still, this day was no walk in the park.

Walking in ski boots is never a chic thing and try as I must to maintain coolness, it's just not possible. The heel-toe rock in ski boots remains as dorky today as it was 20 years ago. I was tired by the time I got in line to buy my lift ticket. Worry lines had already deepened on my mug.

My ski buddy and longtime friend Mark is one of those uber healthy doctors. 6'1" maybe 180 pounds, plays a lot of tennis, does CARDIO and has a banana/yogurt/energy bar for breakfast. Me? I need a navy breakfast. Eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, toast, juice - the works.

The first run wasn't so bad - warming up the motor by avoiding kids snowplowing and old guys zig-zagging back and forth bent over like they are pulling weeds. Hysterical. Hopping one lift after another to the top of the mountain and by the 3rd or 4th run I was feeling a serious burn in my thighs. My lungs were doing so great either. Frankly, I couldn't wait until Mark wanted to stop for lunch and have his oatmeal or a fruitcup and I could wolf down some chili, and a baconcheeseburger with fries and onion rings.

The last few runs of the day were on the black diamond runs. At Deer Valley these expert runs aren't terribly difficult since there aren't any moguls to speak of. The runs are just steep and long. By this time, I needed to blow about every 300 yards. I could manage the legs, but the lungs were heaving. I realized that the effort getting into and out of a golf cart doesn't provide the cardio work necessary to ski at 10,000 feet as well as I would like to. As Mark said, "The mind is willing, but the body is unable." I hope you were just talking about skiing there Mark.

The soreness that is searing my body right now - even some 3 days later - is that good kind of soreness where you know you did somethign physical and pushed your limits. I was also proud of not falling. I did tip over at one point but since I wasn't skiing, that does not count - just like kills below the hard deck in Top Gun.

I had a wonderful time and look forward to skiing again soon in a few weeks. In the meantime, I have some serious work to do for my legs and lungs. This should be interesting.

The best part of the quick trip was seeing baby Earl's sonogram. I took one look at it and blurted, "It's a boy," and was quickly shut down by the girls, "Uhhhh....Those are his arms."


Jake and I just laughed.

Like we always do.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Olympic Thoughts

As always, the winter games conjur up images of athletes in colorful uniforms and and nations coming togther in peace to compete in sporting events that most of us have, at best, a general ideal of the rules. Sure the speed events are easy; he who goes fastest wins. Speed skating, alpine skiing, cross country....these events use timers. Picking the winner is easy.

It's the events that are judged that tend to fuel controvery. Events like ice skating, ice dancing, ski jumping, and so forth are all judged by nations that have political axes to grind against one another so this throws a loop in the entire process.

Here's some of the more interesting events at the winter games: Biathalon - this is where guys on cross country skis are carrying a rifle. They have to ski on a set course, and stop at specific intervals to shoot targets - this can go on for hours. Who thinks up this stuff up? Where is the snowshoe race? How about Skeeball every 100 yards?

Another interesting event is short track speed skating. This is where a dozen guys are crammed onto the rink the size of a basketball court and go like hell from the gun. The scary part about all this is the size of the blades on the skates - they are like two feet long and are razor sharp - odds of someone getting a nasty slice: 50/ you have to watch that. It's sort of like watching auto racing - you just wait for the crash.

The snowboarders always provide great theater. They're like surfers only in winter gear....laid back, unruly hair, and stoned, but in a cute way.

I don't get the difference between pairs ice skating and pairs ice dancing. Little help on that one. Aren't they pretty much the same? I mean, I saw Blades of Glory.

The luge/skeleton/bobsled events all use the same track. Here's the difference in the disciplines; bobsleds are large roller coaster-like carts designed by NASA or Ferrari engineers to provide perfect aerodynamics. Sleds have either 2 or 4 man teams. The luge is where guys go feet first on a sled; one or two man events are held - the sled can be steered and has brakes. Sadly, a European luger was killed yesterday when we flew off the track during a training run and hit a metal pole at 90MPH. The skeleton riders are like the guys from JackAss....they go face first and their sleds have no steering or brakes. I'm sure we get a lot of skeleton riders from our fraternity brothers across the country.

Skiing is my favorite - the alpine events require speed; that's an easy way to pick a winner. Freestyle is always exciting but judges have a vote that can easily create controversy. Moguls require speed but jumps and technique are judged. Aerials are judged 100%....and are the most spectator friendly of all the events. Guys doing triple twising quadruple flips? I'm dizzy just writing that trick down.

Hockey? We get enough hockey already.

Curling? Sorry, should not count.

The next two weeks will mean national bragging rights are on the line for probably 10 of the 90 countries at the games. Realisticaly, any team from Africa, Central or South America doesnt' have a snowballs chance in Vancouver of getting a medal.

But you never know.....and that's why we watch.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Dead Zone

Now that football is over with we are entering the dead zone.

Sure there is March Madness to look forward to and then a few months later the NBA playoffs, some hockey games, a few golf tournaments, the start and end of baseball, a little tennis. some bowling and I almost forgot, the Winter Olympic Games.....code for snooze fest.

Curling? Really? This is an Olympic sport? This is the equivalent of shuffleboard on a cruise ship and people my age and older compete. This event should be held on a frozen lake in Minnesota and ribbons given out not medals.

How about the two man luge? I crack up at this one. This is where one guy in spandex lays down on top of another guy dressed in spandex and they speed down a steep bobsled-like run.....must be a european thing.

The Super Bowl was great - three thrillers in a row now. The NFL has this thing rigged better than any NBA game don't you think? Our house was divided on Super Sunday; 1/2 of the group was for the Colts and the other half was for the Saints and half of those pulling for the Saints actually thought the Colts would win. I was outnumbered like 11-1. In the end, the Saints were victorious - what a great win for the good folks of N'Awlins. I'm sure the party is just getting started.

Jake spent the weekend down here which was great. We went to the Rebel game to see them blow out a good BYU team. Next up New Mexico. All three teams are tied for first place in tne conference.

Training camp for the NFL is 5 months away - in between we've got the combine, the draft and the usual free agent carousel. These little tidbits will keep the flame alive until late summer. Let's hope the Eagles upgrade their defense this off-season.

Shot a 36 on the front nine the other day. It's funny, the more time I spend away from the course, the better I shoot. If I played every day I would be in the 40's.

Valentines Day on the horizon.....skiing right after that.