Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicagoland, Y U NO SNOW?

City of the Big Shoulders?
More like, "City of the Big Talk-About-Snow-But-Never-Get-Any-ers".

Where is all the snow that you Chicagolanders told me about before I moved here?
According to the Chicago Tribune, today's un-snowy forecast sets a new record for snowlessness here.

The Obsessive Skier is experiencing serious snow withdrawal symptoms and he's not happy about it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mount Trashmore, You Will Be Mine.

The "Big Hill" at Evanston's Mount Trashmore.
Oh yes, you will be mine.

The lid to the recycle bin was frozen shut this morning and that means only one thing. Ski season in Evanston is right around the corner. Soon, I'll be taking the first turns of my new life in Illinois on the biggest hill in our new town: Mount Trashmore.

Evidently, Evanston's Mount Trashmore is known around these parts as "THE BIG HILL".

What's THE BIG HILL? Here's what says:  "If you're uninitiated, it's the nirvana of sledding/snowboarding/tubing and tobogganing.  It's a steep, icy slope, full of moguls -- a straight shot down – notwithstanding the other sledders/snowboarders/tubers and tobogganists.

If you've done THE BIG HILL before, you know it's also refered to as the "E.R. trip waiting to happen."  Or the Nightmare on Oakton Street."  Or the "I-can't-believe-I'm-letting-my-kids-go-down-this-deathtrap."  Or, for the more adventurous of us, the "I-can't-believe-my-kids-talked-me-into-going-down-this-lawsuit-of-a-hill-but-I'll-be-damned-if-I-let-them-go-down-it-alone" hill."

Oh yeah. Bring it on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There in Spirit...

The Obsessive Skier no longer has Colorado plates, because he no longer lives in Colorado.

Thus the Obsessive Skier is not in line with all of the other obsessive skiers this morning at Arapahoe Basin.

But he is there in spirit...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cougars in Chicagoland: Feeling at Home

A cougar has been sighted multiple times in Chicago's North Shore neighborhoods.

No, not Courteney Cox, but the fourth-largest cat on earth (8 feet long, 200 lbs), also known as a mountain lion, puma, or catamount.

Two months ago, I left Boulder, Colorado with my wife and kids. We moved to the Windy City (Chi-Town, Chicagoland, that "toddling town" Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett were singing know the place). Needless to say, when we left Boulder and moved here we weren't thinking that we'd need to keep our eyes open for cougars in our new neighborhood in Evanston near the North Shore.

But they are here. First there was a sighting in Schaumburg. Then, two more sightings in Glencoe and Northfield. And don't forget, Chicago Police shot a cougar they had cornered in an alley of the Roscoe Village neighborhood back in 2008. That's enough evidence for me. Those sneaky devils are here.

Bad things can happen when cougars and people are living near one another. Just ask the boy who was walking with his family on Boulder's Flagstaff Mountain in 2006 when he was attacked by a mean, hungry cougar that dragged him away by the head as his family fought back for the boy's life. (True story: Click here to read The Denver Post's article on this happy-hike-turned-nightmare.)

The past two months have not been easy for me and my family. Moving from Boulder to Evanston has forced each one of us to accept many changes. We are adjusting to our new life in this city. Some days are harder than others. But at least one thing has stayed the same: We must still keep our eyes open for mountain lions. And in a strange way, that is helping me feel "at home" here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I can do this. I CAN do this. I can DO this!

Within weeks, the Obsessive Skier will move from Boulder County, Colorado to Chicagoland (Evanston, Illinois to be precise). Sigh.

Yes, I've already scheduled my first trip back to Colorado for some real skiing. But December is a long way away. And so, planning for an emergency Chicagoland ski escape has begun. Truly, there are emotional, meteorological, and geographical disappointments to be faced, but the Obsessive Skier will not be dismayed. In fact, there are a number of places near Chicago that provide lift-service to devoted skiers. I can do this. I CAN do this. I can DO this!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ski Dubai Cap = Best. Gift. Ever.

My friend Maria went to Dubai recently, and she brought me back the best gift ever: a cap from Ski Dubai! Thanks so much, Maria!

Why yes, that is the flag of the United Arab Emirates on the side of the cap.

Don't believe that there is such a thing as Ski Dubai? Visit


Monday, May 21, 2012

Which Chicago ball club should be my #2?

The Obsessive Skier grew up in the STL watching Lou Brock and Al Hrabosky play at the old Busch Stadium, so he'll always be a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Brock-a-brellas and Stink-eyed Fu Manchus are hard to forget.

But it looks like the Obsessive Skier will be moving to the Chicago area in August. (Yes, he knows that there's not much good skiing in that area. You don't need to bring that up again. Thanks.)

So, which Chicago ball club should be his #2? I'm thinking the Cubs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's over.

I knew it was bad, but I wasn't prepared for yesterday's news that this year's ski season is...over.
There, I said it. It's over.

My plans for Memorial Day had been to ski with my family at Arapahoe Basin. But the snow has been melting too fast and skier visits to the resorts are way down, so the resort managers announced yesterday that it's all over this weekend.

Click here for a report from with video.

Stupid global warming.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Guy on a Buffalo" is my new favorite series.

I will be forever in the debt of Mr. Travis Blevins who introduced me to the "Guy on a Buffalo" series today. All I can say is, "Wow!" You must at least watch the first episode. Once you do, you'll understand why I've reposted 3 episodes. It's like those potato chips in that old ad. "You can't watch just one..."

It appears that "Guy on a Buffalo" finds it's inspiration from the 1978 film "Buffalo Rider", which you can learn more about by clicking here.

My apologies to all of the animal rights activists out there in web-land. I just couldn't resist...

Monday, April 23, 2012

There will be skiing at A-Basin on Memorial Day, but... looks like we'll have to upload and download from the Black Mountain Express lift to reach the snow. It's melting fast at the bottom of the hill.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I wish it was January 2009.

I'm in Oklahoma tonight, for my day-job.

And I'm thinking about how bad the 2011-2012 ski season turned out. No March or April snow to speak of in Colorado. Big bummer.

After I found the following video on YouTube, I wish it was January 2009.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sarah Hendrickson is awesome.

Congratulations to Sarah Hendrickson from Park City, Utah on her 2012 World Cup win in ladies ski jumping.

Click here for the whole story.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Colorado = Ski Country USA

Thanks to @ColoradoSkiUSA for this photo of an old-school poster hanging up somewhere in Silverton. Just another way to obsess about how I would rather be skiing...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beware a false sense of security.

The Ski Channel featured an article today about the ABS Avalanche Airbag System, and how it helped Elyse Saugstad survive a recent avalanche in the Tunnel Creek area near Stevens Pass, Washington.

This is very exciting technology, but we must not forget the recent death of Nathanael Soules who was also wearing the ABS Avalanche Airbag System.

Beware a false sense of security, backcountry/sidecountry skiers...

Friday, February 17, 2012

98 years old!?! That's obsessive.

Wolf Creek is a ski area in southwest Colorado. It often gets a crazy amount of snow. One of the first people ever to ski there-- more than 75 years ago-- was Charles Elliot. He’s hardly missed a winter since. Today, Elliot is 98. He’s still a regular on the lifts and he was recently inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.Click here to listen to a recent interview of Charles Elliot by Ryan Warner on Colorado Matters at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't be a gaper.

Gaper (n.) -
A gaper is a skier or snowboarder who is completely clueless. Usually distinguished by their bright colored clothes and a gaper gap, the gap between goggles and a helmet/hat. Gapers also do the "Gaper Tuck" which is an attempt at being a ski racer by tucking, however, it is done incorrectly with the poles sticking straight up like thunderbolts and lighting. Gapers also sit at the bottom of jumps and try and go big off table tops in the park.
1. My eyes are burning from that gapers bright colored clothes.
2. I fell off the chair laughing at that gaper tuck.
3. Did you just see that gaper get landed on because he was sitting underneath that jump?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is an idea whose time has come.

Peak 2 Peak Mountain Academy.

A not for profit mountain academy for youth and family outdoor education.
The Obsessive Skier is looking forward to getting to know these guys.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive I-70

Well, at least they don't on the last Sunday afternoon of January.

The regular heavy Sunday afternoon skier traffic from Summit County to the Denver area combined with extra traffic from the XGames in Aspen yesterday to create a parking lot on the two lanes of Eastbound I-70. The @ColoradoDOT twitter feed was buzzing yesterday afternoon as traffic pacing operations failed due to excessive traffic volume and traffic metering was required at the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels.

If you were stuck in that traffic yesterday, I feel your pain. Been there. Done that.

I spent the afternoon at Eldora Mountain Resort instead. Good times skiing with my 3-year-old boy and my 69-year-old dad (yesterday was his birthday...Happy Birthday Dad!).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Your Life is More Important than Skiing.

After numerous deaths this season, Rocky Mountain Ski Culture needs a reality check.


  1. On November 18th, 20-year-old Evan Massini died after hitting a tree on the edge of the Northstar trail at Breckenridge.
  2. On January 15th, 25-year-old Sydney Elizabeth Owens died after falling and sliding about 1500 feet on Silverton Mountain.
  3. On January 18th, a skier was killed in a sidecountry avalanche near Snowmass Village.
  4. On January 19th, Canadian Freestyle Skier & Olympic Medalist Sarah Burke died after she hit her head on the icy sidewall of a half-pipe on a training run.
  5. And there are numerous others...
Too many of us in Rocky Mountain Ski Culture take way too much risk in this sport we love. We justify our self-destructive and often-deadly behavior by lying to ourselves in countless ways:
  • "I feel more alive when skiing like this."
  • "This kind of skiing is what life is all about."
  • "I know what I'm doing and I've accurately assessed the risk in this situation."
  • "I need this run/this trick/this shot/this footage so that I can get the approval I need from others in order to feel good about myself."
  • And there are numerous others...

So, my ski-loving friend, start repeating this mantra: "My life IS more important than skiing."

Repeat this mantra because this mantra is true. Your life is more important than skiing. Regardless of how you might feel at the top, in the middle or at the end of a run, your life is more important than skiing. You are more than your experiences. Your life has meaning and purpose apart from skiing. There are other things worth living for.

Sure, people are saying nice things about Sarah Burke all over the internet this week. But not everything being said is true. Her death is a tragedy. She did not have to die the way that she died. Neither did any of the other skiers we've lost this year.

I may be obsessive about skiing, but more importantly, I am alive. I want you to be alive too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 should see this.

The Obsessive Skier is extremely near-sighted. So, he can see small things very easily. For instance, he can see the details of one flake of snow that falls on the sleeve of his jacket. (Cool, huh?)

He is also obsessive. Particularly about skiing. And thus-ly, the snow conditions at any given time. Here is a helpful graphic for analyzing the wide variety of snow a skier might experience in Colorado:

As Mark Williams of INSTAAR at The University of Colorado at Boulder writes: "Snow on the ground is a dynamic medium. The properties and characteristics of fallen snow change constantly as a function of energy fluxes, wind, moisture, water vapor, and pressure. For example, the time window for good skiing in mid-winter may last several days after a fresh snowfall in cold continental climates. During spring conditions the time window may be only an hour or two as rock-hard boilerplate turns to ideal corn conditions before additional energy inputs turns the snowpack to unskiable slush. Physical properties of snow change over time. Furthermore, snow properties can vary widely over small distances, both vertically within a snowpack and horizontally over space."

For obvious reasons, therefore, you should see this. And study it. The quality of your next ski run is determined by what you see going on with snow crystals like these.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Where are you, la nina?

Yesterday was my second day of skiing this season.

This photo of Peaks 7 & 8 at Breckenridge shows how little snow has fallen so far this year.

If you like cruising on the blues (intermediate runs), conditions are fine. But if you like the high alpine terrain (like me), conditions stink.

Where are you, la nina?