Chalk & Foose Gals Come to Vail

My sister, Logan, had not been to Colorado since Kristine & my wedding week in Telluride in early October 2009. A lot has happened for her since then as in two wonderful little daughters, Harper (5) & Wesley (2). Logan really wanted to come back to Colorado so Harper & Wesley could get a taste of our life out here and so Harper could ski for the first time. Not to mention to visit us and their cousin, Sawyer. My mom accompanied Logan and the gals and they all flew into Eagle for 4 days with us Chalks. It was an action-packed weekend of good ole family fun and quality time together. From Harper skiing all 3 days at Beaver Creek, Logan skiing, dancing to music at the Westin Friday night, playing at the park, taking Harper bouldering at the WECMRD facility, attending a kiddos sing-a-long at the library, to everyone swimming at the Avon rec center, we about did it all except taking the gals swissbobbing. We’ll have to leave that for next time.

Harper (right) and Wesley's first time on a gondola

Harper (right) and Wesley’s first time on a gondola

Logan & Harper happy to be in Colorado

Logan & Harper happy to be in Colorado

My mom & sis

My mom & sis

Harper climbing on Sawyer's climbing wall

Harper climbing on Sawyer’s climbing wall

Harper on the WECMRD bouldering wall in her UGGs!

Harper on the WECMRD bouldering wall in her UGGs!

Harper at the Eagle River with me taking Rainie for a swim

Harper at the Eagle River with me taking Rainie for a swim

Wesley, Sawyer, & mom at the Westin Hotel

Wesley, Sawyer, & mom at the Westin Hotel

Doing some "kid" partying in the lobby at the Westin all the while listening to some great music

Doing some “kid” partying in the lobby at the Westin all the while listening to some great music

Sawyer getting her groove on listening to the band

Sawyer getting her groove on listening to the band

Harper & Sawyer

Harper & Sawyer

Sawyer was rocking out all over the lobby :)

Sawyer was rocking out all over the lobby :)

The Chalk & Foose gals

The Chalk & Foose gals

Wesley is hilarious

Wesley is hilarious

Me, my sis, and my neices

Me, my sis, and my neices

Wesley loved ole Rainier

Wesley loved ole Rainier

I love this pic of Wesley & Sawyer

I love this pic of Wesley & Sawyer

Cousins

Cousins

At the Avon library music hour

At the Avon library music hour

Harper would always take Sawyer under her wing

Harper would always take Sawyer under her wing

Sawyer loved the balloons

Sawyer loved the balloons

Logan, Harper, Wesley, mom, and myself went to Beaver Creek’s magic carpet area the first day and I attempted to do my best showing Harper the ropes of skiing and the “pizza wedge”. Having never had a ski lesson myself, I didn’t think I did a great job with Harper. I always thought Kristine would do better. However, it was wonderful to see Harper on skis for the first time. Kristine went with Logan & Harper the second day and did a much better job than I did as Harper made significant progress on day 2 skiing down the magic carpet hills with no help at all.

Kristine showing Harper the art of the "pizza wedge"

Kristine showing Harper the art of the “pizza wedge”

The Harpinator!

The Harpinator!

Aunt Kiki & Harper

Aunt Kiki & Harper

Logan & Harper

Logan & Harper

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Harper's new hairdoo

Harper’s new hairdoo

Harper’s 3rd day of skiing was super fun. I feel like if she had a few more days, then she could ski green runs down the mountain.

Harper

Harper

Harper & Logan

Harper & Logan

A video of Harper skiing:

Logan and I went skiing at Arrowhead & Bachelor Gulch on Sunday afternoon and it was wonderful to be together – just us. Kristine skinned up the mountain and skied a run with us. Logan even went down a black bump run for our last run, despite having not skied in 7 years, and we had a beer for a little apres-ski at the base of the mountain like the good ole days in Telluride.

Logan, me, & Kristine at the top of Arrowhead

Logan, me, & Kristine at the top of Arrowhead

Me and my sis

Me and my sis

Logan skiing down the black diamond named Wapiti at Arrowhead

Logan skiing down the black diamond named Wapiti at Arrowhead

What a wonderful treat it was for Kristine, Sawyer, Rainie, Kona, & myself to host my mom, Logan, Harper, & Wesley. It was so special for everyone. Special special thanks to my mom for coming out with Logan and watching the babies so much over the weekend so the rest of us could get out with each other and enjoy a little time doing more “adult” activities such as skiing, skinning, & bouldering. I think everyone was exhausted after the weekend, but that’s a good sign to know that we all had a great weekend together.

Silverton Powder Days 2015

Well, its a month belated, but since its the only weekend this winter that I was able to ski some really deep and awesome powder, I figure I would post some fun powder pictures from our late March weekend down in Silverton. Our good buddy Gavin Chapman hosted us engineers on the always eagerly anticipated annual Silverton trip and this year definitely didn’t disappoint. This year was the 4th  year in doing this trip (my 3rd year) and somehow the stars align such that we honestly hit Silverton on their best powder weekend of the season year after year. I don’t understand it, but am certainly happy about it. We all packed into in the ever cozy Animas River House, had some great meals, rum drinks at Montanya’s, and of course plenty of laughs into the wee ours of the night. Yep, there was rarely any sun all weekend, and not a whole lot of visibility nor views, but we’ll take it when there is feet of new powder to ski. A huge thank you to Gavin for putting this on every year for all of us. A few pics:

Left to right: Jake, Billy, Gavin, Shawn, Nick

Left to right: Jake, Billy, Gavin, Shawn, Nick

Jake starting down one of the Tiger gullies

Jake starting down one of the Tiger gullies

I cannot recognize who this skier is, but he is part of our group

I cannot recognize who this skier is, but he is part of our group

Gavin dropping into Dolores

Gavin dropping into Dolores

Shawn on Dolores

Shawn on Dolores

Knuckledragger Billy on Dolores

Knuckledragger Billy on Dolores

Nick Timbie skiing Dolores with the Silverton Mtn valley below. This was one of our favorite runs.

Nick Timbie skiing Dolores with the Silverton Mtn valley below. This was one of our favorite runs.

Zac showboating on Twig Snapper

Zac showboating on Twig Snapper

Gavin in deep on Twig Snapper

Gavin in deep on Twig Snapper

Shawn in deep on one of the Tiger gullies

Shawn in deep on one of the Tiger gullies

Billy on Tiger Main

Billy on Tiger Main

Goodbye, Billy

Goodbye, Billy

Jake in the white room on Concussion

Jake in the white room on Concussion

Jake Blevins

Jake Blevins

Shockley spraying big with his monster fat skis

Shockley spraying big with his monster fat skis. Photo by Shawn Wright

And, one of me coming down Concussion

And, one of me coming down Concussion. Photo by Shawn Wright

Billy took this fun little video of me skiing the lower gully of Dolores:

We skied some good runs all weekend including a few of the Tiger gullies, Tiger Main, Cabin, Bowling Alley, Twig Snapper, Concussion, and our favorite Dolores. My quads were toast after this weekend as I had really not been telemarking all that much this winter. Trevor, Billy, Shawn, & myself topped off the weekend with a good soak in the Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgeway and then made the journey home. Until next year where we hope our luck in Silverton continues.

Silverton Powder Days

It sure is tough to come back to work and sit at a desk after the best powder days I believe I have ever had in my life. Now I’m no hard core ski fanatic, but I’ve done my fair share of powder skiing and this past weekend at Silverton Mountain was at the top of the list for myself as well as for about everyone in our Silverton crew. The guides down in Silverton even said it was the best weekend at Silverton Mountain in 3 years. I know the previous two years definitely were not high snow years, but still 3 years is 3 years. We just hit it right. Our good friend Gavin Chapman who works for Rocky Mountain Trane company in Denver takes a crew of our small engineering office every year to Silverton for some great camaraderie and good skiing. We even planned this weekend months in advance and boy did we luck out with the conditions. I believe the mountain got somewhere between 3 feet of snow between Thursday night and Sunday morning. At least it felt like that much! It was an extremely solid crew and Gavin is a true superstar for loving backcountry skiing and powder skiing as much as we all do (and skiing it better than most of us) and for treating us to an awesome weekend in Silverton. All of our thanks, Gavin! It sure would be tough to top this past weekend, but I know we are all so looking forward to next year! Also, thanks to Shockley, our guide, for an outstanding 2 days of guided skiing and good laughs. Shockley also understood my desire to photo document our crew in these powder conditions and he really helped me out in advising me on good positions for photo opportunities. Instead of trying to be so specific in labeling all of the Silverton Mountain runs we skied (I have no idea what runs are what), Im just going to post a photo report of our weekend in Silverton. Hope you enjoy the pics!

Saturday late afternoon tele crew. Left to right: Shockley, Gavin, Jake, Zac, & myself

Saturday late afternoon tele crew. Left to right: Shockley, Gavin, Jake, Zac, & myself

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Zac on his teles

Zac on his teles

Gavin dropping the knee

Gavin dropping the knee

Jake in the trenches

Jake in the trenches

Sunday morning. Left to right: Jake, Mike, Eric, & Nick

Sunday morning. Left to right: Jake, Mike, Eric, & Nick

Shockley explaining the route

Shockley explaining the route

Nick

Nick

Eric

Eric

"Zac attack!"

“Zac attack!”

Mikey

Mikey

Gavin

Gavin

Jake

Jake

Jake

Jake

Jake & Zac brawl waiting for the bus back to the lift

Jake & Zac brawl waiting for the bus back to the lift

Eric cruising

Eric cruising

Nick in good form

Nick in good form

Jake

Jake

Nick and clearing skies

Nick and clearing skies

The lone boarder, Mikey

The lone boarder, Mikey

Taylor

Taylor

Gorgeous terrain

Gorgeous terrain

Strapping in for run #3 on Sunday, I believe

Strapping in for run #3 on Sunday, I believe

Mikey walking the ridge

Mikey walking the ridge

Shockley laying down tracks

Shockley laying down tracks

Shockley

Shockley

Gavin

Gavin

Zac

Zac

Zac and a view

Zac and a view

Nick

Nick

Taylor

Taylor

Mike

Mike

Mike with a heck of a spray

Mike with a heck of a spray

Mikey

Mikey

Jake can telemark

Jake can telemark

Zac

Zac

Zac coming out of his spray

Zac coming out of his spray

Eric

Eric

Jake in deep

Jake in deep

Hiking to run #5 on Sunday

Hiking to run #5 on Sunday

Looking down run #5

Looking down run #5

Zac targeting the cliff

Zac targeting the cliff

He launched it, didn't land it, and Gavin was $20 richer

He launched it, didn’t land it, and Gavin was $20 richer

Shockley

Shockley

Gavin

Gavin

Jake

Jake

Jake harvesting his turns

Jake harvesting his turns

Jake is a tele machine

Jake is a tele machine

Views

Views

Finally, some pics of me on run #6 on Sunday courtesy of Zac

Finally, some pics of me on run #6 on Sunday courtesy of Zac

Just the best snow

Just the best snow

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I love my jump turns on the teles

I love my jump turns on the teles

And out...

And out…

The last men standing (& Bella) before the long drive home

The last men standing (& Bella) before the long drive home

Silverton Mountain & the Ouray Ice Park

This past weekend just reminded me yet again for the thousandth time how much I love the San Juans. I had never skied the infamous Silverton Mountain before and when an invitation from our friend Gavin Chapman who works at the Trane Company in Denver asked a few of us engineers if we wanted to go this year, I, of course, had to go. I feel like we’re a pretty fun group of engineers and not your stereotypical, unpersonable engineer types. I think Gavin seems to think so and feel lucky that he invited us for a pretty cheap weekend as most everything was comped by the Trane Company. Silverton Mountain is my kind of ski mountain. One lift, no crowds, hike-to terrain, and steep powder runs in a backcountry ski setting. There are a few times during the season when you are allowed to go unguided, but for the most part everyone must go with a guide, which is absolutely fine as they really know the mountain like the back of their hand are are great folks. Fellow friends & engineers Jake Blevins, Zac Wurth, Mike Santoro, and our CAD wizard, Trevor Cochran, all joined in on the great weekend. Trevor doesn’t ski so he provided great moral support and drank enough beer for us while we were skiing on the mountain. Kristine also went as well after we all pitched in for her lift ticket on Saturday (Kristine & I have a hard time paying for lift serviced terrain, but this was a worthwhile exception). Gavin’s fiance, Kelly, also came with their lab puppy Bela and it was so awesome hanging out and skiing with such great people. Gavin really was the man of the weekend in hooking us all up with the lodging at the White Wolf Haus, the meals, and the lift tickets. Our guide was Josh “Bruce” Lee and a nice fellow named Yon from Ward, CO, rounded out our crew. I even ran into a fellow classmate of mine at W&L, Brannon Cook, at the Silverton Mountain warming tent whom I have not seen since our 10th year reunion in 2010 back in Lexington, VA. It was great to see him and hear that he and his wife are living it up as much as possible with trips to the Himalaya, a successful Kilimanjaro trek, and ski trips all over the country like this one to Silverton. We had a great time at Silverton Mountain and I cannot wait to go back someday when we have clearer weather for better views. Some pics of the day are as follows:

Left to right: Kelly, Jake, Kristine, & Gavin

Left to right: Kelly, Jake, Kristine, & Gavin

Left to right: Mike, Yon, Zac, & Bruce Lee about to drop in

Left to right: Mike, Yon, Zac, & Bruce Lee about to drop in

Bruce Lee heading out on our second run

Bruce Lee heading out on our second run

Gavin about to drop in on our second run

Gavin about to drop in on our second run

Mikey loving life

Mikey loving life

Jake dropping the knee

Jake dropping the knee

Kelly in good tele form in the trees

Kelly in good tele form in the trees

The crew hiking in not so ideal conditions for our third run

The crew hiking in not so ideal conditions for our third run

Zac loving the alpine

Zac loving the alpine

Left to right: Gavin, Kelly, Zac, Kristine, & Jake on our third run

Left to right: Gavin, Kelly, Zac, Kristine, & Jake on our third run

Jake getting low

Jake getting low

Mikey effortlessley sliding downhill on our third run

Mikey effortlessley sliding downhill on our third run

Kristine, Gavin, Kelly, & I took the run directly below Mikey in this picture and enjoyed steep untracked powder for about 1,200'

Kristine, Gavin, Kelly, & I took the run directly below Mikey in this picture and enjoyed steep untracked powder for about 1,200′

Mikey in the white room on our fourth run

Mikey in the white room on our fourth run

Mikey laying back

Mikey laying back

Sometimes I do wish I snowboarded for days like this as it is just a tad less work than telemarking in deep powder. Can you smell the sarcasm there?

Sometimes I do wish I snowboarded for days like this as it is just a tad less work than telemarking in deep powder. Can you smell the sarcasm there?

Jake on our fourth run

Jake on our fourth run

Mikey's snowboard wake

Mikey’s snowboard wake

Kelly making some nice turns

Kelly making some nice turns

Magnificient terrain

Magnificient terrain

Kristine & I at the White Wolf Haus in Silverton, our awesome lodging for the weekend

Kristine & I at the White Wolf Haus in Silverton, our awesome lodging for the weekend

After some eggs, biscuits & gravy, coffee, and NCAA Tournament basketball at the White Wolf Haus on Sunday morning, Mike, Kristine, Trevor, & I headed to the Ouray Ice Park for a little ice climbing while Gavin, Kelly, Jake, & Zac skied a second day at Silverton. I honestly was a bit envious of the ski crew as it was a bluebird day, but didn’t have the urge to pay $140 to ski the mountain again (we had one day of comped lift tickets) and we had planned on doing a little ice climbing and hitting up the Orvis Hot Springs anyway. Mike had never ice climbed before so this was a special day for him. I had yet to climb at the Ouray Ice Park this year, so it was great to get back on that awesome ice. Unfortunately, we forgot Kristine’s boot liners so she basked in the sun with Trevor and took some great pics of us. And, there isn’t much better than an hour dip at the Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgeway after some cold ice climbing to top off a great weekend. A few Ouray Ice pics are below (thanks to Trevor & Kristine):

Me starting up the fun ice climb I set up for myself & Mike

Me starting up the fun ice climb I set up for myself & Mike

Me topping out

Me topping out

Mike on his first ice climb ever!

Mike on his first ice climb ever!

Mike belaying me up a a more vertical ice section for my second lap

Mike belaying me up a a more vertical ice section for my second lap

I just love the Ouray ice

I just love the Ouray ice

Me traversing to the more vertical ice pillar

Me traversing to the more vertical ice pillar

Me topping out again

Me topping out again

Me belaying Mike from above and talking to Trevor

Me belaying Mike from above and talking to Trevor

A good few hours at the Ouray Ice Park followed by a good hippy dippin' hour at the Orvis Hot Springs

A good few hours at the Ouray Ice Park followed by a good hippy dippin’ hour at the Orvis Hot Springs