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snow more…

This past weekend I spent my last days riding with friends at Timberline Four Season Resort in West Virginia. Phil and Liza were the first to make it to our house, slope side, off Salamander (gotta love those ski in ski out places.) Shortly after they arrived we suited up to head out for some night skiing. We didn’t make it too far before Deanna, Dennis and Dave showed up. After getting caught up they made their way to opening beers and catching up while Phil, Liza and I were on the slopes. Conditions were good, zero wind (most excellent) and decent snow. Fortunately, the crews were not blowing any snow.. the forecast was that we would see high snowfall totals overnight.

Phil and Liza on lift at midway station

(Phil and Liza on lift at Mid-station)

When we finally returned home from night skiing, everyone made for the hot tub to continue to enjoy their tasty beverages. Also, we were met by CJ and Adam who’d also arrived while we were out. Half the group stayed up late into the morning before crashing/passing out. The rest was well deserved. Woke up to newly fallen snow.. not much, but it was snowing and would not stop until late Sunday night, only to pick back up early Monday morning… when we were leaving. I took my time getting ready to go out while Doug, CJ, Adam got an early start. Phil waxed his board and I, finally, changed out my bindings on my snowboard. The straps on my Drake bindings were starting to give me problems so during demo days (some months earlier) at Ski Chalet I purchased a new set of Ride bindings. They are this year’s model and they came highly recommended. Glad I took the advice.

Doug and CJ on Salamander

(Doug and CJ on Salamander)

Phil and Liza on top of mountain

(Phil and Liza on top of the mountain)

We skied a majority part of the day until I made a huge error in judgment. Because our house is below the trail, you have to climb down the snow bank to reach the ‘road’ to the house. Why step out (of your bindings) when you can ride down, no? Luckily I cleared two obstacles, however, I didn’t see the small limestone culvert covered in snow. My snowboard sustained a serious injury from this encounter. It would require about 1 hour of operation and 12 hours of recovery before we’d be able to play in the snow again. Hrmph. Snowboard injury

(my poor snowboard 🙁 )

Saturday night, the group of us hung out and watched a few movies.. some drank, some slept.. we were just exhausted from the great conditions we had all day long. All day Saturday, as well as all through the night, dumped more snow on the trail. I was eager to get going. Woke up Phil (he was already up, miracle) and made it out before 9am. Yea! The conditions were most excellent.. I believe that they were the best conditions since I’ve been going to Timberline. We skied all day long.. meeting up with different people from the house intermittently. Phil and I were playing the the terrain park. I’ve come the conclusion that, whoever is skiing, is not reading. Park etiquette is (usually) detrimental to the safety to all those who are going through. Unfortunately, most amateurs and most skiers do not recognize this. As I am sitting on the snow waiting to ‘drop in,’ people just go straight on the runs without calling or observing what’s going on. Very annoying. At one point, I was dropping in on a box and as I am approaching the box (20-30 feet), a patroller comes down, cuts in on me to drop in… I was on my approach!!! This is a very eff’d up move, without question. Patrollers are the people who are supposed to enforce these rules. Needless to say, I was pissed because one, that was a shit move and two, now I have to stop (because I wasn’t going to risk injury to myself or others) and I didn’t have enough room to get good speed to hit the jump correctly. As he cut me off I started in on him. I was yelling the whole time he was riding. No, it was not kid-friendly language either. Not that I am proud of it, but I wished him to wipe out on the jump, seconds before hitting the element. “Wipe out you stupid F*&K.” And he did. Luckily, he was not physically injured, but I know his pride was.. he sulked away very quickly. Hindsight, I should have gave chase and let him know that what he did was not appreciated, but I was just more dumbfounded at the retard than anything else. Liza went back to the house to get her and Phil packed up, they were leaving Sunday afternoon for NoVA. Phil and I made our last few runs, met up with Doug and then I dropped Phil off at the house before going back out and meeting up with Dennis and Dave. A couple hours later, we’d all be in the warm confines of our trail side house.
Ski conditions all day Sunday were spectacular. There were some places where riders and skiers had scraped away the snow.. but that made the going downhill so much faster… all the more better. Mostly, on the outside of the trail and through the trees were the best places to find good stashed of fluffy white powder… a snowboarders dream. Ahhhhh….

Woke up on Monday morning to not only additional snow… but it was still snowing! Worse yet.. there was practically NO ONE on the slopes… no lift lines, blasé new runs… awh man!! I really sucked leaving. Maybe it was that I knew it really was my last trip of the year… at least it was a good one with great friends!

Brandi Carlile plays Rams Head in Annapolis, MD

Brandi Carlile at Rams Head Tavern

The last time I saw Brandi was at Rams Head LIVE! in Baltimore, MD last on October 20th, 2005, it was great to see her play again. A couple smaller bands opened for her, the first being a 17 year old who seems to have a good idea of where he’s headed and then The Wood Brothers followed. They played a nice size set and jammed with power and soul. So much so, I purchased their live cd, “The Wood Brothers – Live at Tonic” for a paltry $10 bux. Nice.

Fate can be fun!

I’m a bit different when I do things… due to my schedule, I was not certain if I was going to be able to even go. Fortunately, one of my clients rescheduled a meeting and I found myself with the evening to go out. I zipped off to Annapolis to the show. Upon arriving I was shocked to see that the show was sold out! Not that I don’t doubt Brandi’s selling ability, but how fast it sold out. Hrmph. So, I stood around like a chump, chatting with people and hitting on chicks to get a ticket (no ticket, but I got a photo gig with a Baltimore band, bonus!) As I was standing and chatting with people, a guy came up and told me that he had a ticket available… seems as though his female companion was not going to be able to attend the show.. damn! So, I slapped down a Hamilton and I was in the show! Even better… the seats were in the second ‘row’ of tables. Double bonus. See? Fate can be fun.

Brandi came out minutes before 10pm and played like a banshee on crack being run through a diesel powered wood chipper.. the house was on their feet!! IT WAS ON!!

WHAT??? You were believing that crap? Sheesh.

If you know anything about Folksey Jazzy Blues.. that was not how it went. The crowd was definitely anticipating her and she did not disappoint. There was a certain chill with the crowd having been woo’d by the previous artists that amped everyone, including Brandi. I don’t remember the set list but it was largely composed of songs from her self-titled album. Halfway through the show, she told a story of how she had met/played with Patty Reece who had a friend of hers on tenor, Ron Holloway. Anyway, she brought him up and he played for a couple songs, jamming with the band. He added a wonderful dimension of what Brandi Carlile is and at the same time, could be. Good stuff. He would later rejoin Brandi for her solo encore.

Brandi sings

After the show, I reacquainted myself with Brandi. She remembered that I was photographer and that my name was Steve. One out of two ain’t bad. I told her that I wanted to shoot her on Feb 14th at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. She said no problem, called over her manager and I was on the list. Sweet. We’ll see what happens next.

not California Dreamin’

.. and so it has begun.

On Tuesday morning, I had my first dream about the AT (Appalachian Trail). Now, I’m not one who likes to just to rationalize or interpret dreams, but I think that my subconscious is really trying to get a message to me. Here’s why.

My dream begins with me sitting inside a lodge in Amicalola Falls State Park in GA, with numerous people sitting about a long table eating breakfast. Seemingly the same breakfast that everyone will be eating for months to come. While sitting there, I noticed a guy at my 2 o’clock that looked rather familiar. It took a second and I finally realized that he was one of the hikers in the AT movie, TREK. I asked if he was the guy and he said ‘yes.’

What impressed me in this dream, was that I was able to age him appropriately.. interesting.. story continues.

I pointed him out to my family and said that he was the guy from the third AT movie. They disappeared as fast as they appeared. Everyone was beginning to mosey out to make their way up Springer Mountain to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, some eight miles from where we stood.

As I was grabbing my bag, which is my LowePro Camera Backpack (don’t ask, that’s what I was thru-hiking with) and was about to step outside, I saw it was raining. It occurred to me at this moment that, i didn’t have any rain gear what-so-ever!! As I sat there and contemplated whether I could continue on, I decided that I would wait the rain out. Some time later (who knows, it was sandman time) I looked out the window and saw a clearing with a creek and the sun just lighting up the darkest shadows along the banks. As I was heading out once again, I realized that I didn’t have a sleeping bag… that’s okay because… oh shit, I don’t have a tent either! I look around in the the ‘lobby’ like area and find an old tent that I used as a boy scout. These are the heavy, long, and awkward. I also had no where to put it, so I had to carry it in my hand because, apparently, I didn’t bring my Lekis either!! I knew that without a sleeping bag, it would be a very uncomfortable trekking experience, so, I thought that my best option would be to hike directly to Neels Gap and the Walasi-Yi Center to purchase what i didn’t have. As this dilemma played out, my brother, Jeremiah, who was filming the beginning part of my hike was talking to people all around saying, ‘I was betting that he would go the whole way.’ While reflecting back to my x-hike this summer (24 hr continuous hike) and whether or not I could make it, without knowing he terrain…..

I woke up.

I actually woke up in a panic! This rarely happens to me. How weird.

This is a wake up call to me to get my act together, to be sure. There is exactly 45 days until I will be happily unemployed, sorta, and I have a ton of loose ends to wrap up. Only those who are trying to hide from the government or those who are going to let everything go before hiking the AT, know what needs to be done. This is a completely insane undertaking. I’ll post more about this process later. Lucky you.

There is so much that I want to do, but I have to do this one thing first,


Welcome back Danny!!

After having left the great Commonwealth of Virginia on November 29th, 2001 heading to Washington State (and eventually moving to Utah) Danny arrives at Union Station in Washington DC.

Danny calling my cell from Union Station

What the hell did they feed you in Utah???