Tag Archives: skiing

Fred & John’s Trip to Washington

My brother and father were out visiting for a long weekend to hang out in the mountains and to spend some time with us in Seattle. They sure picked a great weekend to come skiing! In the four days they were here, Crystal Mountain received over 5.5 feet of snow!! Needless to say, we had an unlimited supply of powder waiting for us on Saturday.

View from the top of Crystal Mountain

View from the top of Crystal Mountain

The gang arrived on Friday night, which was Valentine’s Day. Knowing that we had to get up early the next morning we decided not to brave the crowds and go out for dinner. Instead, we all made a big Asian feast together. I made a stir fry while John took charge of fried rice and Alex and Fred conquered the wontons. After dinner we hit the hay to rest up for our big ski day.

Valentine cupcakes!

Valentine cupcakes!

For me, the highlight of the trip was Saturday, our only ski day, which my cousin Chris joined us for. We knew the forecast was predicting snow, snow and more snow, so we decided to do the First Tracks breakfast that Crystal Mountain offers. This is a little early morning event that allows you to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain at 7:30 a.m., eat a nice breakfast and hang out at the summit, then ski for an hour before the rest of the mountain opens. Certainly this isn’t something we’d need to do every weekend, but it was such a nice, relaxing way to start our epic ski day.

Fred, Chris and Alex ready for the powder day

Fred, Chris and Alex ready for the powder day

Once we were unleashed and allowed to go skiing, I bet we got a good 6 runs in before the crowds came in and the lines started to build. On a normal day, I don’t even think Alex and I get 6 runs in before lunch.

Fred & John

Fred & John

To say that the snow was amazing would be the understatement of the year. Alex and I both agreed that it was quite possibly our best ski day ever. The snow was light, soft, perfect powder. The best part was that it snowed all day long, providing “free refills” each run.

Ohhhh yeah!

Ohhhh yeah!

Once our legs were shot we rounded out the day with a drink {or a few} at the world-famous Snorting Elk Cellar before heading back to Seattle for a relaxing night at home. I made a quick batch of macaroni and cheese and we spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympics.

Riding the gondola

Riding the gondola

Everyone was too sore and tired to ski on Sunday so we decided to grab brunch at the Hi Spot Cafe in our neighborhood and head to Woodinville to do a beer tour at Redhook and taste wine at Mark Ryan Winery. John spent the time while we were at the winery in the car, and unfortunately for him, he missed an incredible wine tasting. We drove around Woodinville a bit to check out some different parts of the town before heading back to the Bottlehouse for an evening of wine drinking.

Drinking wine at Mark Ryan

Drinking wine at Mark Ryan

While Alex had to work on Monday, it was our plan to go to Snoqualmie Pass to ski for half a day. Unfortunately the pass was closed all morning so we couldn’t get up there. It snowed over 20 inches overnight so the DOT was having trouble dealing with the avalanche control work and clearing the roads. We had planned on meeting my aunt and uncle up at the pass, but since our plans changed, I ended up dropping my dad and John off at their house for a few hours instead. John and my uncle Michael went canoeing near their house while my dad and aunt Cathy took a walk together to catch up on family business.

John in the gondola

John in the gondola

That evening we met up as a family at Cactus, a Southwestern restaurant in the South Lake Union neighborhood, for happy hour. It was nice to have everyone together and have the chance to catch up!

I was able to get some work out of my brother! That doesn't happen too often...

I was able to get some work out of my brother! That doesn’t happen too often…

We ended the evening back at home by watching some more of the Olympics and having a light dinner. As always, it’s nice to get a chance to spend some extra time with family when they visit Seattle.

Powder, Wine and New Slippers

It’s been a slightly quieter week here in the Allen household. We have been busy planning and preparing for my dad and brother to come visit us this weekend and somehow it is Wednesday evening now. The snow forecast is shaping up quite nicely for their ski trip so we’re really looking forward to their arrival on Friday.

We're hoping for a snowy week at Crystal

We’re hoping for a snowy week at Crystal

Friday night we had our Valentine’s Day celebration a week early. We had a lovely evening out at Harvest Vine near our house.

We loved this wine from the Priorat region in Spain

We loved this wine from the Priorat region in Spain

Because of the forecast and our plans on Friday and Saturday nights we opted to stay home on Saturday and go skiing on Sunday instead. We carried our Valentine’s Day celebration into Saturday morning by starting the day with coffee and watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. We had memosas and a wonderful breakfast, then took Jackson out for a long walk.

Saturday Brunch!

Saturday Brunch!

We had a pretty relaxing remainder of the day at home on Saturday and then hosted Italian Wine Club at our house that night. We were pleasantly surprised when it started to snow on Saturday evening! It rarely snows in Seattle but it seems like everyone in the city turns into a kid again when the ground turns white.

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We expected that Sunday would bring us some fresh snow to ski so we got up earlier than we had ever gotten up for a ski day and headed to Crystal. The reason we got up so early was so that we could get to Crystal and walk Jackson and be at he lift line when the chair lift opens. Lately we have been arriving around 30 minutes prior to the lifts opening, so we have been having more leisurely days.

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Our expectations were fulfilled and we were greeted with about 8-10 inches of light and fluffy powder! A normal “powder day” for us is a day with a lot of fresh, heavy, wet snow. We in Washington call it Cascade Concrete because it’s like skiing concrete instead of nice fluffy powder.

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While we had a great day with Jackson on Sunday, his behavior for the rest of the weekend wasn’t necessarily pleasant the whole time. He decided that my slippers would become his newest chew toy. Unfortunately for me he finally destroyed them to the point of being unwearable. We have been working on new strategies for keeping him off the couch and our bed and while we were using Alex’s strategy of ignoring him he destroyed one of the pillows on our sofa. We are taking applications for puppy trainers and looking for jobs for Jackson so he can earn his keep and buy me new slippers.

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Our week has been pretty low-key, yet busy during the day for me. We have been enjoying watching the Olympics, which has been great, but I am really excited to not be sitting on the sofa all evening when they’re over. It has been fun and life is good ūüôā

Here’s What’s Happening in our House this Week

It’s a busy week in the Allen household! We’ve got a lot going on during the days and evenings this week. I am in the process of coordinating our dog sitter for Europe and hiring an Italian tutor, as well as booking some lodging for our Europe trip and two summer trips in Eastern Washington. Other than the travel planning this week we’re hoping to go night skiing one day, both of us have some social obligations and I have a work function. Last week we started our Monday, Wednesday and Friday runs and so far they are going really well. I’m keeping up with Pilates and Alex has gotten back to the gym after kicking his flu bug into the past.

Photo from our ski day on Saturday!

Photo from our ski day on Saturday!

We had an awesome weekend! We started the weekend off with a ski day on Saturday. Jackson got to rage in the snow for about an hour before he went to take a nap in the car while Alex and I made a few runs.

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Jackson sure loves to run around in the snow! It’s so fun to watch him just bolt back and forth with the biggest smile we’ve ever seen plastered across his face.

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It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! We explored new territory, got to see Mount Rainier and enjoyed each other’s company.

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On Sunday we had plans to go to the Millers to watch the Super Bowl so we got some errands out of the way in the morning. We had a great time cheering on our home team on Sunday with the Millers and the Buffingtons. It has been a lot of fun to see how spirited Seattle is with a winning team.

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This gigantic furry ball of energy has a big, big change coming up. He has no idea. After discussing his frequent bursts of energy that are so wild they make him vomit, our veterinarian advised us that it’s time to get Jackson neutered. We had held off on neutering him because we keep hearing that new research is showing that by waiting until a large breed male is fully-grown it can reduce the risk of some cancers. Our breeder recommended neutering him at 18 months and we were going to compromise on a year, but it looks like it’ll be just a few days shy of 11 months for Jackson.

Vet visit!

Vet visit!

Since last week’s vet visit we have been really working with him on calming down and encouraging calm behavior. We’ve brought out his special mat which seems to really help him mellow out. We have also been confining him to the bathroom again for the last week or so. He just has too much destructive energy and testosterone raging through his body right now to really know what to do with himself! We know he’s a good dog, but we’re both excited for him to be able to take it easy once he gets neutered.

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Back Country Adventures

For a few years now Alex has wanted to explore a part of Crystal Mountain called “Southback” that we had never ventured out to. Southback {aka “South Back Country”} is an out of bounds, but avalanche controlled, part of the ski resort we call our home mountain. The area is massive, large enough to be its own small ski resort. There isn’t a chair lift to get you to the top, so you have to hike! That right there is why we’ve never been there before.

This is a photo of "The King" that I took while we were traversing towards it.

This is a photo of “The King” that I took while we were traversing towards it.

I am a lover of skiing and a lover of chair lifts. I don’t want to work¬†that hard for my turns. From time to time I can be a bit whiny and demanding, so I had previously put the kibosh on hiking to go check out Southback. I’m not sure why, but this past weekend I became more open minded and decided to go for it with Alex.

It's not often that I strap my skis to my back and hike up a mountain.

It’s not often that I strap my skis to my back and hike up a mountain.

Even though the sun was out, the ski day started off a little rocky for me. It just wasn’t my day. I got caught on a tree root, made some terrible turns, the lift lines were endless and I just was not feeling like I was very well put together. I needed to re-set so we decided to go in early for lunch before heading out on our adventure. I had packed some chili in our awesome Thermos, so we had a hot, “free” lunch to enjoy! After our bellies were full we set out to explore new territory.

A beautiful day to be on the mountain!

A beautiful day to be on the mountain!

Our excursion took us about an hour and a half from the time we left the lodge to the time we got down to the main lodge again. We rode up a chair lift then traversed across to the ski area boundary where we had to take off our skis and begin hiking. We probably only hiked for 10-15 minutes before we were able to put our skis back on and do some more extreme traversing. Once we finished our traverse we came out from the woods into an expansive wide open powder field. It was amazing!

A terrible photo, but here is a picture of Silver Basin, which is where we skied.

A terrible photo, but here is a picture of Silver Basin, which is where we skied.

At the same time as we arrived, the fog rolled in. We didn’t get the full extent of what we skied because the fog limited our visibility, but as far as we could tell, it was amazing! Both of us had a great run and made some awesome powder turns before we met up at the bottom of Silver Basin.¬†All in all it was a fun change of pace, but I’m not expecting to do that every weekend!

We did it!

We did it!

This Week’s Happenings

It hasn’t felt like a particularly busy last few weeks but I guess things are happening and making time fly by, as per usual. Here are the happenings around the Allen household this week:

View from Alex's ski tour.

View from Alex’s ski tour.

Alex enjoyed a ski tour with Carrie and Patrick last weekend. They skinned up a trail somewhere near Stevens Pass, took a break at the top and then skied down. Carrie and Patrick are some of our favorite people to ski with and now Alex is elated that they’re getting into back country skiing, too.

Kicking his feet up after a long hike up the mountain!

Kicking his feet up after a long hike up the mountain!

We have got ourselves a VERY naughty puppy. Month 9 has been one of the most difficult months so far. I think it’s been so tough in part because Jackson hasn’t been neutered yet, but also because we have been having a really inconsistent schedule and routine the last few weeks. It’s also hard because we know how darn good he can be and when he behaves like a jerk we know that it’s not his true colors, so that makes it all the more frustrating.

This is one thing that our lovely dog destroyed this week.... Naughty dog!

This is one thing that our lovely dog destroyed this week…. Naughty dog!

In other Jackson news, our pup had his first grooming appointment earlier this week. We had taken him to the groomer a few times a while back to get used to her and to get a bath, but this week was the first time he got a haircut and all that good stuff. He came back looking even more handsome than usual! Now if only she could groom some good manners and behavior into him, it would be even more worth the $70 price tag.

Well-groomed young man.

Well-groomed young man.

Henry has found a new spot to sleep recently. He’s been curled up next to the pillows on our bed and couldn’t look sweeter if he tried.

Henry cat!

Henry cat!

We made it a year without having cable TV! I really shouldn’t brag about that because it certainly doesn’t mean we didn’t watch TV over the last year. We canceled our cable package and relied on Hulu Plus and Netflix for our TV fix. With the X Games this weekend and the Olympics in a few weeks, alongside my love of watching the Food Network, we decided to get a cable TV package again. It’s literally $13 more each month {why did we cancel in the first place!?} than our current Internet package, plus $10 for an HD DVR, and we’ll be canceling our $15 Hulu Plus account, so it’s basically a wash. I am looking forward to having cable again!

Carrie on the ski tour.

Carrie on the ski tour.

The weather has been sooooo nice this week! It almost feels like spring {sorry Minnesota friends/family!}. We have sunny skies and flowers and trees starting to bud and flower here in Seattle. This nice weather in Seattle does not make for great ski conditions, though, so I’m going to be okay when the rain and cooler temperatures come back so that we can get some snow in the mountains.

Patrick skinning up the mountain.

Patrick skinning up the mountain.

Alex stayed home from work two days this week because he got the nasty bug that’s going around. He is on the mend and back at work now but still isn’t 100%. Finally after 18 days my cough turned a corner and has now almost subsided; however, my abs feel like I’ve been doing nothing but sit-ups for those 18 days and I can’t hardly use my upper ab muscles. Oh the joys of being sick!

Our well-stocked "pharmacy"

Our well-stocked “pharmacy”

This week was my second Pilates session with Mary, my friend and new Pilates instructor. I am so happy that I’m able to take some time out of my week for a Pilates lesson. I am loving it!

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We’ve got some good food on the menu this week. I am excited to take some chili with us to the mountains this weekend. It’s such a great lunch on a ski day!

Bryan & Sarah’s Trip to Seattle

Alex’s cousin Bryan and his bride to-be, Sarah, just came out to Seattle for a long weekend visit us. Alex and I went to college with Bryan at Iowa State, so I know him quite well. It was a treat to get a chance to spend some time with Sarah since the two of them started dating after Alex and I left Iowa State and we haven’t had many opportunities to get to know her. Bryan and Sarah arrived on Thursday from Chicago and brought some terrible weather with them. Thankfully we didn’t let a monsoon ruin our fun weekend.

Bryan and Sarah

Bryan and Sarah

Once they arrived, Alex took them downtown to do some tourist things, like see Pike’s Place Market and walk around, but the weather was so bad that they came back to our house pretty quickly. Later that evening we went up to the Bottlehouse to show Bryan and Sarah our neighborhood. They all split a bottle of wine while I had some hot tea since I was under the weather from earlier in the week.

On Friday the crew headed out for Crystal Mountain to get a day of skiing in. There was a bit of fresh snow on the ground and no crowds, so it was a day full of great skiing. I wish I could have joined them on the mountain but I still wasn’t feeling well enough.

Skiing at Crystal

Skiing at Crystal

No different from college, we spent all day Saturday drinking. We started the day off on Saturday with brunch at home. I made ham and egg cups, along with muffins, fruit and coffee and we lingered for a while before driving out to Woodinville. Our first stop was at Red Hook Brewery. We grabbed a table and had some lunch while watching the beginning of the Seahawks game. After our meal we took a tour of the brewery. The brewery tour comes with a beer tasting portion and everyone was feeling pretty good after that!

Brewery Tour

Brewery Tour

Now that everyone’s bellies were full of beer and bar food, we ventured up the road to a winery that we had never been to. Our first winery was Gorman Cellars, right in the heart of the tourist district. I was still not feeling 100% so I didn’t taste any wines, but it sounded like everyone really enjoyed the wine. Once the tasting was over we went next door to Patterson Cellars to do another tasting. I really like Patterson and was disappointed that I wasn’t able to try the new wines on their tasting menu. Safe to say, we’ll be back!

Wine tasting at Gorman Cellars

Wine tasting at Gorman Cellars

After a full day of drinking, we decided to cap it off by going to a cocktail bar. Why not!? We went home for a quick siesta and then grabbed an Uber {taxi service} and headed for Capitol Hill. Our first stop was at Le Zinc, a French restaurant with a swanky cocktail bar. The bartender there also works at Bottlehouse, so it’s fun to visit him in a different element. I had Chris make me a hot toddy, which was fabulous, and Alex and Bryan had a spin-off of an old fashioned, while Sarah had a whiskey ginger, but with ginger liquor instead of ginger ale.

My hot toddy!

My hot toddy!

We moseyed a few blocks away to Quinn’s for a late dinner. Alex and I love Quinn’s. It’s a restaurant that has some “normal” food like a burger and chicken, but then they have more “foodie” options like wild boar sloppy joe or bone marrow. Everything we’ve had there has been fantastic. It’s a fun place to take out of town guests who are up for trying something funky.

After a good night’s sleep we woke up and had our final stop on the tourist train. We took Bryan and Sarah to the Hi Spot Cafe, our neighborhood brunch spot, this morning. It’s always a favorite of our guests.

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It was a great weekend with Bryan and Sarah! We had a great time showing them our city and neighborhood and look forward to seeing them in August at their wedding.

Start of the Washington Ski Season

The weather in Washington has been awfully dry this winter which means it hasn’t snowed much in our Cascade mountains. This is quite disappointing for the skiers here! Our ski season started with two days in Breckenridge over Thanksgiving, and thankfully yesterday marked the end of our dry streak.

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Usually our ski season starts in mid-November with decent coverage. Our first ski day is always about getting back in a rhythm and working out the kinks, and yesterday was no different.

Pumped to get back to the snow!

Pumped to get back to the snow!

We packed up our ski gear and loaded up the car the night before so that on Saturday morning all we had to do was roll out of bed, get dressed, put the skis on the car and get our food ready to go. We’ve got a pretty good system down for food on ski days. Both of us really enjoy having a hot breakfast and a hot lunch when we’re spending the day on the mountain. Alex whipped up some breakfast burritos for us to wrap in foil and take in the car with us to have on the way to Crystal while I heated up some carrot ginger soup that I had made previously.¬†We have a big thermos that works really well for soup or chili that we use most ski weekends, in addition to a smaller thermos that we bring coffee in. It works out really well for us to bring our own food – it’s healthier and much less expensive.

Eating soup and a roll in the car after skiing.

Eating soup and a roll in the car after skiing.

Yesterday we left our house just before 7:00, which put us at the base of Crystal at 8:45. We left about 15 minutes later than we had hoped to, so we’ll have to be a little speedier next time. Jackson came along with us so before we went skiing we took him on a little mountain adventure of his own.

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There is a groomed path through the woods that we let him run off leash on. Usually there’s a lot more snow, but since it’s been so dry there was just enough snow for Jackson to run around in.

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By the end of our walk Jackson was good and tired. We left him in the car for a bit while we skied a few runs. He has toys and a comfy spot to lay in the back of our SUV, plus his fur coat keeps him nice and warm.

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On our first ride up the chairlift we were greeted by Mount Rainier!

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It was such a beautiful day to kick off the start of 2014 and our ski season in Washington. The views from Crystal Mountain on a clear day are unbeatable.

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We didn’t ski a ton yesterday, mostly because the conditions yesterday were less than desirable. The snow pack was probably lower than I had ever seen it and it was incredibly icy across the mountain. We did get a few awesome runs up in Powder Bowl, so that made it more worth our while.

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We ended our day by doing some avalanche beacon practice drills. There is a spot near one of the lodges where they have transceivers buried in the snow for you to practice finding with your beacon and probe. I got an avalanche beacon for Christmas from my dad, so it was a great opportunity to get out and practice using it. I sure hope I am never in a position to have to use it for real, but it’s nice to know how it works!

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Jackson, Alex and I had a great first day at Crystal this year and we all hope it’s the start of many more to come.

First Wedding Anniversary

It is hard to believe it has already been a year since our wedding! Alex and I talk often of the memories we have from the wedding and our whole celebration. What we remember most of all is how much fun we had.

So excited for the sudden snowfall. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphoto.com

So excited for the sudden snowfall. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphoto.com

 

It has been really fun to look back through photos from the occasion and remember some of the exciting things that happened, like our pit stop in Snowbird to ski for a day where we both got more sunburned than ever before {less than a week before our wedding!}, the jam packed car after our trip to Costco with my mom and brother, both of us forgetting how much the altitude affects your alcohol intake, learning that our dear friends Ali & Tyler were pregnant, the best mother/son dance in the history of weddings, almost hitting a buffalo on our drive back through Yellowstone, getting a speeding ticket in Wyoming {ok, not so exciting!} and making lasting memories in the process.

Snowy photo session. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Snowy photo session. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

The time we spent with our family and friends together was something we will probably never get to experience again, so we are thankful for the photos and the memories we have. The best part about a destination wedding is the amount of time you can spend with your family and friends and that the festivities can linger on for a couple of days.

Vail Covered Bridge. Photo Credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Vail Covered Bridge. Photo Credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Our wedding was perfect for us in every imaginable way. The venue {Donovan Pavilion in Vail, CO} couldn’t have been better for us, the food was incredible, we had a great DJ who made sure we all had a great time, and the mini-blizzard that came right on cue as the ceremony began couldn’t have been timed better if it was planned. The mountain setting was¬†idyllic; it captured our lifestyle and hopes for the future. If we could go back and do it again there truly isn’t a thing we would change.

The blizzard started just as we were about to walk around the building to the front door to make our entrance. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

The blizzard started just as we were about to walk around the building to the front door to make our entrance. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

We are so thankful for all of our family and friends who were able to come to Vail to celebrate our wedding. It was so special to have so many close friends and dear family members in attendance. Our officiant, Alex’s Uncle Dave, personalized the ceremony and was able to convey our love for each other so eloquently. We had two of our best friends from college, Rachel and Sammy,¬†share a story about us, in addition to my Spain travel partner and senior year roommate, Julie, who did a beautiful reading for us.

The Donovan Pavilion in Vail, Colorado. Picture credit: www.mattalbertsphoto.com

The Donovan Pavilion in Vail, Colorado. Picture credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

This past year has been full of ups and downs. Of course our wedding was the greatest highlight of the year, and perhaps our lives, but we were also blessed with a puppy, two fantastic ski trips to Whistler, a memorable August spent traveling the state and having fun, and me recently getting a new job. We also said goodbye to three members of our family, Alex’s beloved grandpa “Papa,” our sweet puppy Aspen, and my adorable grandma Mor Mor, all passed away within the last year; I lost my job; and the trials and tribulations of having a puppy put a lot of strain on us. All of the ups and downs helped to solidify our marriage and really made it stronger. We’re looking forward to another great year together.

Pictures in Vail Village - before the snow came in! Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Pictures in Vail Village – before the snow came in! Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Walking down the aisle. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Walking down the aisle. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

The groomsmen hanging out. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

The groomsmen hanging out. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Bridesmaids. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Bridesmaids. Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Stan the man! Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Stan the man! Photo credit: www.mattalbertsphotography.com

Thank you to our friends and family for your support of us and the situations that presented themselves to us over the last year. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends and a very supportive family. And for those who made the trip to Vail to celebrate with us, I want to thank you again. It was so memorable having each and every one of you there. Finally, thanks to our wonderful wedding photographer Matt Alberts {www.mattalbertsphotography.com} for getting some fantastic shots that allow us to remember the day for all it was, as well as my maid of honor Sarah Tracy for capturing our “Apres Ski Party” on film and helping us to remember that event too.

Here’s to another great year, kicked off by our upcoming trip to Hawaii!

Fred’s Trip to Seattle

For several years now, Alex and I have been trying to convince my dad to come out and ski with us. We really wanted to show him around Crystal Mountain, where we do most of our skiing, and prove that it stacks up quite well against his favorite place, Jackson Hole. So finally my dad found a killer deal on airfare and came out for a weekend of powder, feasting, spring sunshine and family time.

I picked my dad up from the airport on Thursday morning, skis in tow, and we headed down to ski some powder! The conditions were great and we managed to get quite a few powder runs in.

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Thursday evening we treated ourselves to dinner at Restaurant Bea, one of Alex’s and my absolute favorite Seattle restaurants, conveniently located in our neighborhood. We celebrated my birthday a week early and realized that the owner of Bea’s birthday is the same day as mine! I think we’ll go back and have a glass of champagne with her on Sunday.

Friday started off surprisingly sunny, so we got some great views on the drive and the gondola ride up the mountain. Just before lunchtime, another small storm came in and brought us a bit more snow.

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We introduced my dad to the world-famous Snorting Elk, voted one of the best apres ski bars in the country! It was so busy inside from all the powder fiends that we sat outside beneath the falling snow.

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The evening was spent at our neighborhood haunt, Bottlehouse, where we enjoyed a bottle of Lemburger, a wine we had never tried before. The wine was paired with a divine charcuterie plate. Everything was wonderful, as always.

After our trip to BH, we headed home to make homemade mac & cheese and watch one of our favorite ski movies, The Game of Gnar. Safe to say my father thoroughly enjoyed it!

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After two full days of skiing we decided we could use a day off, so Saturday was spent in Seattle. We grabbed breakfast at another neighborhood favorite, the Hi Spot, before Fred set off for an afternoon adventure with my aunt Cathy and cousin Chris and his wife Heidi. They enjoyed spending some time together in the sun while Alex and I got a few things done around the house. Saturday night we gave my dad a taste of Capitol Hill and had a drink at Poquitos, followed by dinner at Quinn’s. Alex had a wild boar sloppy joe, I had a Scotch egg and pretzel with rarebit sauce, and Fred had a Painted Hills burger. Quinn’s is a favorite of ours and is a good introduction to Seattle fare.

By Sunday our legs were feeling rested, so we got in the car and headed straight east to Alpental. We got several runs in on the groomers, in addition to a very icy run in Eidelweiss Bowl and a bumped out run in International. I called it quits a little early because my knee was bothering me {three days of skiing + starting to run again = an angry, overused knee} and got in some good people watching while sitting in front of the fire at the base.

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The Summit at Snoqualmie was celebrating its 75th anniversary the day we were out there and in order to commemorate the occasion, they hosted a pond skimming event. It was an absolute hoot to watch! There were about 50 competitors, ages 5-old, and most of them actually made it across the make-shift pond that was created for the competition. The best skimmers were in full-costume and did some type of trick once they made it across. We are hoping this will become an annual event because Alex wants to enter next year!

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Once we got cleaned up from our ski day, we grabbed a quick drink at Bottlehouse before meeting Cathy, Chris and Heidi for a family dinner at Naam Thai, our neighborhood Thai restaurant. We enjoyed our meal and had enjoyed sharing some memories of my late grandmother – we hadn’t all been together since her funeral service in January.

Monday was my dad’s last day in Seattle, and true to form, he spent it working on our house.

As a recap, I’ve put together a list of things Fred learned skiing the Cascades:

  • A “Death Cookie” looks like it will just be a soft poof of snow, when in reality it is a hard chunk of ice. Death Cookies the size of boulders should be avoided!
  • “Thin Cover” means there’s rocks under there.
  • “Cascade Concrete” is the snow we get here in the Cascades. It’s warm and there’s a lot of moisture, so our snow is heavy. Basically the opposite of Utah. BUT it means that it sticks to steeper surfaces, so our terrain is much gnarlier.

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March {Powder} Madness

March is notorious for being the month with the highest chances of skiing powder. At least that’s the case here in the Cascade Mountains. We were starting to think that it wouldn’t happen, but March 2013 sure has lived up to our expectations.

St. Patrick's Powder!

St. Patrick’s Powder and frosty hair!

St. Patrick’s day brought us an unexpected powder day – the best of the season, in fact. We skied deep, light powder all day long. Since we weren’t expecting powder, neither Alex or I brought our powder skis out for the occasion. For the last several winters I watched Alex continuously having so much fun on his S7 powder skis, so I couldn’t resist and got some for myself. St. Patty’s Day would have been the perfect opportunity to try them out for the first time, but my everyday skis {Line Celebrity 90s} rocked the conditions just as well.

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…And I got another opportunity to bring out the big girls!

 

Rocking the Rossi's

Rocking the Rossi’s

Thursday morning I swung through SeaTac Airport to get my dad, then we headed out to Crystal for Powder Day Numero Dos… complete with my S7s.

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Thursday and Friday were both great days on the mountain, delivering soft, fresh turns and free refills wherever we skied. Everything got tracked out really quickly, but we found some deep, un-touched snow hiding out in Northway.

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Sunday was not a powder or a bluebird day Рjust typical conditions for the Cascades. We got up to Alpental expecting the sun to be shining in full force and were disappointed that it came out only as we left. It was a great day on the groomers and we even had some soft snow {and a whole lot of bumps} on International.

IMG_5251I ended up having to call it quits earlier than I had hoped, due to a sore knee, but I was just as happy to sit by the fire and watch all of the gapers {people who don’t know what they’re doing but try to pretend they do} and little rippers come down the mountain. Afterwards, we drove over to Summit West to watch their first-ever pond skimming event. We are hoping that they’ll bring this event back next year so Alex can participate.

Pond Skimming @ Summit West

Pond Skimming @ Summit West