Earthquake in Japan

japan-tsunamiEvery day, the news out of Japan becomes more tragic. Juliette and I both lived and worked in Japan and we have many friends there, so this disaster is particularly close to our hearts. Our thoughts are with all of our friends in Japan and we hope that their families and loved ones are safe.

Thoughts and wishes are not enough though, so I encourage you to join us in supporting the relief efforts. Even a small donation to the Red Cross or other organizations can help alleviate the suffering.

The extent of the damage and the suffering is hard to imagine. The New York Times just released a series of before and after photos that drive the amount of destruction home. I encourage you to take a look and try to imagine if they were your neighbours.

Mardi Gras Weekend

IMG_1694Spring skiing was supposed to start this weekend, but the snow gods have been playing with us. It was warm and raining for most of last week, but we were caught in a snow storm on the drive down to the chalet on Friday night.

Saturday we woke to bright sun and a few inches of fresh snow, so we dressed in our finest and headed out to partake in the annual Mardi Gras winter carnival at the Holiday Valley ski club. It is a weekend of costumes, parties, races, girls skiing in bikinis and general shenanigans. A huge mound of snow is built in front of Yodeler lodge and around it they build a snow bar where everyone gathers to drink and watch the fun.

Despite the crazy weather last week, the skiing was fantastic. If anything, it was a bit cold for the way we were dressed. Juliette wore a bright orange spring ski jacket over a short black dress and crazy stripey tights. I pulled out my kilt and my favourite hat and was loving the comments from all the women.

IMG_1698The skiing was so good Saturday, that we didn’t spend too much time at the bar, but instead exhausted ourselves racing down all the great runs. Except for around Yodeler lodge, the club wasn’t busy and we spent most of the day skiing straight onto the lifts.

We had planned on going out Saturday night to see the parade in town and have a few après ski drinks, but we were all exhausted from a great day and the snow had turned to light rain, so we bailed; curling up on the couch with movies and a few beer.

Unfortunately, the temperature dropped over the night and skiing this morning was terrible. The soft, fun snow from yesterday had turned to ice and it was desperate work to just hold an edge, so after four runs we packed up and called it a day. That is one nice thing about having seasons passes, you don’t feel like you have to stay out if you aren’t enjoying it.

We returned to Hamilton early today then met Dave and Mari at Earth to Table for dinner. Earth to Table is a great restaurant on Locke Street in Hamilton that serves local food. If you haven’t been, then I highly recommend it.

Telestock ‘11

I took last Friday off work to attend Telestock, an annual get together of telemark skiers at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville. As luck would have it, I woke Friday morning to a serious winter storm and a huge dump of fresh powder. The snow was so bad that I got stuck three times on my way to the ski club, but I wasn’t letting anything keep me away from a day like that. I think other people had trouble getting to the hills too, the crew from City Garage ski shop were setting up in the gazebo by Yodeler lodge, but it was pretty quiet for the morning, so I just wandered around the hill seeking out fresh lines and the deepest powder.

Everyone seemed to gather for the BBQ lunch where I met a few of the hard-core locals. After a couple of beer we all headed out to seek out the best powder in the steepest trees. Ashley, the local videographer joined us to shoot some footage of the great skiing to be found at Holiday Valley. I managed to avoid the camera all afternoon, but Ashley got some fantastic footage.

All in all, it was an amazing day. I met some great people and skied some great lines. Thanks to everyone involved, especially City Garage for hosting the event.

If they weren’t so cute…

Daisy and Roo

Tonight, I was working downstairs and began to wonder why Daisy and Roo were so quiet. When I checked on them, I found out – they had been busy with their project. They are both lucky that they are so damn cute!

In other news, despite the unseasonably warm weather last week, we had an amazing weekend skiing. Admittedly, Saturday was a right-off with 45km/h winds, but Sunday was one of those rare bluebird days, then Monday we woke to nearly a foot of fresh powder. Juliette and I were still teasing out fresh lines after lunch.

I’m going to take another long weekend this weekend. Friday is the Telestock telemark day at the ski club and Juliette and I are also taking Monday off for a full weekend of skiing. Can’t wait…

Bad Blogger–2011 Edition

Bad blogger, very bad blogger. One should update more than twice a year! Mea culpa and no excuses, so let’s get on with nearly a four months worth of updates. First, I do wonder sometimes if anyone is out there listening, so if you are, please leave a comment, if only to say hi.

Roo has settled in well and is now truly mommy’s dog. He is always happiest when Juliette is around and when she isn’t, he tends to wait where he feels closest to her, usually on her clothes. Daisy is still very much Daddy’s girl though, so we each have our favourite children. I know, we are sad, crazy dog people now, but we are making no apologies.

Juliette headed off to England for her birthday and an early Christmas with her family then returned to Canada to spend Christmas with me and my family. Unfortunately, it was an emotionally hard Christmas. My grandfather was in the hospital for Christmas and passed away a couple of days later. It made it a tough holiday full of mixed and conflicting emotions.

It has been a great year for skiing down at the chalet. We have had one of those perfect snow years with weekends of fresh powder, great skiing and great friends. If only we had a bit more sun! Jen and Franco came down for a weekend of skiing and I have since heard through the grapevine that they won’t be returning to Blue Mountain any time soon. I hope that means that we will see them more.

Dave and Mari have also tackled skiing. They are fully kitted out and have been out with us a couple of days now. They have taken a few days off and are heading down to the chalet for a week of skiing, hopefully the weather holds.

On the home front, Juliette is still working away at her MBA. She has been officially granted a sabbatical from work for the summer semester which will give her the chance to finish off her courses. It will be a welcome relief to her working full time during the day and doing courses during the night.

In April, we are both looking forward to a ski trip in Sweden with our friends Jen and Rich. We have some amazing backcountry skiing planned, it should be exciting!

I have uploaded a few random photos I have taken recently to the Winter 2011 photo album. Check it out.