Tag Archives: skiing

Bluebird Days, Cirque & Chocolate Cookies

We have been loving the spring-like weather that mother nature has thrown at us here in Seattle. The perennials are starting to sprout up, trees are starting to bud, and by golly, we’ve even seen sunshine! I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I am always in favor of seeing the sun.

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Last week I got out on a few mid-week walks and Alex had a couple of great bike rides. It’s so nice to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it’s here. We just decided to cancel our gym membership for a number of reasons. We just got some home workout equipment, so we’ve been doing weights and strength-training at home. Alex is training for his 202 mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland that takes place mid-July, so he has been riding his bike a lot more anyway, and I have commissioned myself to start running again. We’ll see how that goes. When we get our new puppy (late spring??) we know that will wreak havoc on our schedule, plus when the pup starts going for longer walks and eventually runs we are anticipating walking or running at least 3-5 miles daily, as was the case with Aspen. We never went to the gym when we had Aspen because we went on three walks with her each day.

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Last week we had a lot going on. Wednesday evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our friends Ali and Tyler and their sweet baby, Vivian. I made some crazy chocolate brownie cookies with salted caramel filling, as well as white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. We have loved spending more time with the Furtwanglers and it’s been so fun watching Vivi grow and develop into such a darling 12 week old bundle of adorableness. Alex spent the evening at Quinn’s in Capitol Hill on Thursday to celebrate his friend Jamie’s new job.

Friday night Alex and I had our weekly date night. We went to dinner at Redmond’s Bar & Grill then saw Cirque du Soleil.

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The show was incredible. Neither of us had ever seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, but had a good understanding of what the show would entail. It was really fun to watch the acrobatics.

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Alex and I enjoyed yet another beautiful day on the mountain yesterday. The conditions weren’t great, but the crowds were few and far between now that the ski lesson programs have wrapped up for the year, so we got an unbelievable number of runs in before we called it a day after lunch. This ski season has blessed us with more sunny days than I can ever remember getting in seasons past! While we love the bluebird days, it would be okay if we got a powder day or two before spring comes…

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It had been nearly a month since we’d been up to Crystal Mountain with our trips to Whistler and Portland and last weekend’s visitor, so we were itching to get up into the mountains again. For Alex and me, being in the mountains is rejuvenating and almost detoxifying. No matter what the ski conditions are like we thrive so much on the fresh mountain air, the spirit and mood of everyone around us and simply being in nature with no cell service. We are so lucky to live so close to the mountains!

Party Weekend in Whistler

Whistler is one of Alex and my favorite places to vacation, so we were more than happy to attend our good friends’ Carrie and Patrick’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party in Whistler this past weekend. Their wedding isn’t until September but they share a love of skiing and actually got engaged just over a year ago at Whistler, so a bachelor/ette party up there was a perfect idea for them. The weekend was mostly spent as one big group of around 25 people, but Saturday night after dinner the girls split off and did their own thing while the guys gave Patrick a bachelor night on the town. Patrick had strict instructions that all of the guys should arrive with a mustache and that the game of gnar would be played on the mountain. We all knew it would be a fun weekend with those prerequisites!

The boys sporting their 'staches

The boys sporting their ‘staches

We made awesome time on our drive up to Whistler (4 hours!!), checked into our hotel and somehow managed to score a free upgrade to a one bedroom suite. Alex credits “the power of the ‘stache” for our win. There were five couples that were able to arrive on Thursday and make it a long weekend, so we met up with the other four couples in Carrie and Patrick’s hotel room for some drinks before going out to Black’s Pub for dinner.

Friday morning we woke up to a beautiful blanket of fresh snow. We knew that the Cascade mountains were expecting a massive snowstorm, but Whistler was only expecting a couple inches. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves with around 8 inches of light and fresh powder when we got off the gondola.

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The upper mountain never opened on Friday, due to high winds, so Saturday was epic. Our first run of the day was off of Spanky’s Ladder on Blackcomb Mountain and it was one of the best lines I have ever skied. It was worth the gnarly hike up the ladder to get there! We continued to lap the Glacier Chair all morning before taking the Peak 2 Peak gondola from Blackcomb to Whistler Mountain to join the rest of the group for lunch. After lunch, the fog rolled in and my legs called it quits pretty quickly so Alex and I headed down to our hotel room for a quick dip in the hot tub and a power nap before the bachelor/ette festivities began.

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Saturday was the big party night. We started our evening as a co-ed group at 21 Steps, a restaurant that Alex and I enjoyed with his parents during our Christmas trip to Whistler. I think everyone agreed it was as awesome as we had originally thought. From there, the boys split off and went to smoke some cigars and drink whiskey, or whatever it is boys do at a bachelor party. The girls went back to Carrie’s room and had junk food, Skittles shots and played some girlie bachelorette games together. It wouldn’t have been a bachelorette party without going dancing, though, so we hit up some live music at Dubh Linn Gate before meeting up with the boys around midnight.

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The bachelorette!

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Before heading back to reality, the group got together for one final event on Sunday morning. We met at the Fairmont for their world-class brunch. We were seated in their private dining room and feasted on an incredible assortment of everything you could imagine. The prime rib and Yorkshire pudding were my favorite “lunch” items and surprisingly, the pork sausage was my favorite “breakfast” item, along with roasted tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Who knew.

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Alex and I are always sad to leave Whistler. It is truly one of our favorite places we have ever been. It feels like home to us. We hope to someday be able to live somewhere comparable, but for now, Whistler is only a 4-5 hour drive away….

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Steep and Deep

After much talk about taking some kind of a ski lesson or camp, Alex and I finally took the plunge and signed up for a “Steep and Deep Ski Clinic” at our home resort, Crystal Mountain. We took the clinic last week and came away with some great tips to work on to improve our skiing technique.

Our instructor, Doug, has over 30 years of ski instructing experience under his belt and let me tell you, he is a phenomenal skier. It was so helpful to have someone with that experience be able to critique our style and tell us what we need to work on to accomplish some of the goals we have to take our skiing ability to the next level. Both of us had similar goals going into the clinic; we mainly wanted to be more fluid skiers on steeper terrain.

Doug’s suggestions for us included changing our hand position and pole plants, keeping our body position not so perpendicular to the fall line and to change our stance/weight placement and to do more carving instead of sliding. It’s a lot to work on and a lot of new styles and techniques to put together all at once, so we set out to practice putting the pieces together yesterday. We lapped one of our favorite steepish runs, Bear Pits, several times, and skied the bumpy blue bowl and a few runs in Green Valley to test our skills. We’re both to the point now that we can tell when we are reverting back into our old ways, so I’m hopeful that these new techniques will soon feel more natural.

Weekly Recap

With heavy hearts full of memories, Alex and I laid our sweet Aspen to rest yesterday. One of our favorite things to do with Aspen was to take her up to the mountain where we ski and go for hikes in the snow with her. I never saw her happier than she was when she was bounding through fresh powder, catching snowballs in her mouth or just prancing along on the snowy path. We thought it would be a perfect place to spread her ashes. We walked up the trail where we usually took her on a little hike and we found a beautiful clearing where she now rests in peace. Now, every time we go up to Crystal Mountain, Aspen will be there with us, watching over us.

Crystal Mountain

 

We made the most of the rest of the day yesterday and had a great time skiing with Carrie and Patrick. There was a bizarre temperature inversion and it was foggy and 35 degrees in Seattle, but it was sunny and 45 degrees at the top of the mountain. It was such a treat to have a spring ski day in the middle of January! The snow was fun to ski in and we came across some new runs and new areas that we had never skied before. It always amazes us how much Crystal Mountain has to offer!

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Our week was much less exciting than the last one, which, given the circumstances, I am a-okay with. The main highlight is that we are doing a bit of decorating in our house. We have purchased/ordered several things for the walls to jazz up the rooms a bit, so once everything arrives and is hung, I will post some pictures now that we will finally have some completed spaces in our house. After this week, hopefully our music-themed media room will be decorated and done. Then… onto the dining room. Maybe by the time we sell our house it will be completed!

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Weekend Fun, Sun, Laughs

We’ve had a great weekend filled with fun, sun and lots of laughs. We kicked off the weekend by seeing Book of Moron, a Broadway musical by the writers of South Park. It was well-done and kept us laughing the whole time!

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Saturday we relaxed at home in the morning and headed up to Alpental for some mid-day skiing. We met up with Patrick, Carrie and Emily and enjoyed a bluebird day. Alex brought his Contour camera (it’s a small, portable video camera that mounts to his helmet so he can record his ski day), so we’ll plug it in today and see if we got any good footage. The video always looks better when the skies are clear, which is a rarity for us here in Washington. Alex is becoming quite the speed demon on the mountain – Patrick better watch out!!

WP_20130112_005Today we’ll just get some stuff done around the house. With all that has happened in the last week or so we have put our to do list to the back burner, so we’ll just do some catching up today. It’s been a VERY chilly week here in Seattle – normally the temperature is 45 +/- about 3 degrees, but it’s gotten below freezing here most days in the last week. We aren’t used to scraping our cars, straying away from the usual fleece jacket, or cranking up the heat so much!

Check out the mountain reflection in Carrie’s goggles:

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