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Favorites Skiing

Rendezvous With Regret

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., Feb. 3, 2018 — Wind swept across Jackson Hole’s Rendezvous Bowl and delivered a barrage of stinging snow crystals to my cheeks. Corbet’s Couloir—perhaps the most famous inbounds ski run in North America—fell away precipitously beneath the tips of my skis.

My skiing wanderlust had latched onto resort test pieces like Corbet’s Couloir early on. Dreams of one day skiing chutes like Corbet’s helped propel me from the drumlins of Western New York to the steep skiing in Utah’s Wasatch Range and now, finally, to Corbet’s Couloir.

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311 Personal Skiing

When the World Changed

On December 18, 2019, I interrupted a ski day with my friend Mark to order a concert ticket. My favorite band, 311, had scheduled a series of warm-up shows before their biennial 311 Day event and I wanted to get a good seat. The Saturday night show in Reno on March 7, 2020, looked like a perfect opportunity to attend my 36th 311 concert and squeeze in a day of skiing at a Lake Tahoe–area resort.

At the top of the Pioneer lift at Park City Mountain Resort, I left Mark and skied to the Summit House lodge to order my ticket as soon as they went on sale. I scored a front row seat to the show. Three days later I reserved a room at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, the venue for the concert.

My skiing and 311 weekend was booked.


On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) learned from media reports of a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Central China’s Hubei Province.

I had read news about the mystery illness. It caused a brief pang of concern, but I figured it wouldn’t become a problem. A co-worker who traveled to Asia in mid-January told us about the new safety measures at the airports there. All the other new viruses that emerged in my lifetime either fizzled out or we learned to mitigate the risks and live with them. Why worry?

On January 30, with about 8,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, a respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was well on its way to becoming a global pandemic.

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Favorites Skiing

Epic Midweek Powder Day

Day 24: March 21, 2006

Patience was not a virtue present in Snowbird’s tram line this morning. People were blatantly cutting in front of Brendan and me until I adopted a defensive stance using my poles. A gaggle of malcontents complained when the line didn’t start moving at the stroke of 9 a.m. (the tram’s opening time). A few minutes later, a veritable riot broke out when the tram line ticket checker let a group of instructors and their clients through the turnstiles instead of the public. They heckled her mercilessly until she started the public line moving again.

It has snowed for 11 straight days and 17 of the last 19. Approximately 100 inches of snow has fallen at Snowbird since March 3, including a foot last night. At less than 5 percent water content, the new snow was about as light as it gets.

Categories
Favorites Hiking Travel

The Honopu Ridge Trail

On September 11, 1992, a category 4 hurricane named Iniki struck the Hawaiian island of Kauai, killing six people and causing billions of dollars of damage. According to NOAA, the damage was so extensive that, after a month, power had been restored to only 20 percent of the island. Wind gusts as high as 175 miles per hour stripped the green from the Garden Isle’s lush vegetation. And the Honopu Ridge Trail hasn’t been officially maintained since that day.

Twenty-six years later, I hiked the remnants of the Honopu Ridge Trail to the most amazing view I’ve ever seen. Photos don’t do it justice.

Categories
Skiing

Powder Skiing at Snowbird and Alta

I arrived at Snowbird early enough to catch the first (public) tram to the top of Hidden Peak. Mineral Basin didn’t open yesterday, so I figured its south- and southeast-facing runs would be loaded with powder snow because of the storm’s strong west-northwest winds.

I was right. The 19 inches of fresh powder on White Diamonds was some of the deepest I’ve ever skied.

Categories
Hiking

Backpacking PocketMod

I designed a backpacking PocketMod with useful information for hikers and backpackers, including:

  • Compass instructions
  • How to start a fire without matches
  • How to “make” water
  • Lists of the ten essentials (both the classic and updated versions)
  • A two-inch ruler
  • Graph paper with 0.125″ × 0.125″ squares to help with measurements
  • Length, area, capacity, weight, and temperature conversions
  • Room to specify emergency contact information and emergency medical details (allergies, medications, etc.)
  • A magnetic declination map (on the back of the page)
  • A table of USGS map scale conversions (on the back of the page)
Categories
Sports

Become a Baseball Fan

In today’s fast-paced world full of attention-grabbing diversions, baseball has often been criticized for being too boring. I don’t buy it. Baseball has endured for so long precisely because so many still find following the game a worthwhile pastime.

I will admit, however, that following baseball is more challenging than following some other sports because of its slower pace, its frequency (almost daily), and some of the game’s almost imperceptible nuances. But with a little bit of effort, you, too, can learn to appreciate the game and become a baseball fan.

Without further ado, here are some humble suggestions for how to become a baseball fan.

Categories
Travel

Death Valley National Park

Last weekend, I visited Death Valley National Park for the first time. We were in Las Vegas for the weekend, but we wanted to get out of the city, so we took a trip to Death Valley for the day.

Categories
Personal Travel

Ragnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Last weekend (April 21–22, 2017), I participated in a Ragnar Trail race on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The setting on the North Shore near Turtle Bay was very nice. The weather, however, was not nice. It rained off and on during the entire time event. Sections of the trails were covered with puddles and ankle-deep mud, especially the yellow trail. Although the conditions weren’t at all what I was expecting when I signed up, the event was awesome.

Categories
Personal

Ragnar Trail Training

For the past 12 weeks, I’ve been training for a Ragnar Trail race. I’ve never run a trail race, and the only road races I’ve run were Thanksgiving Day 5K races where I walked 85% of the course. My commitment to do this race was significant for me because I did so when I was literally in the worst shape of my life.

Categories
Photography

Time-Lapse Photography

I became interested in time-lapse photography a few years ago when I discovered the CHDK hack software for Canon point-and-shoot cameras. The CHDK software included an intervalometer script, which made time-lapse photography possible for the first time. I’ve enjoyed the process, and I have surprised myself with the results. Here are a few of my favorite time lapses:

Categories
311

Four 311 Shows in Five Days

There’s nothing particularly superlative about seeing four 311 shows in five days. There are fans that follow bands to every tour stop. And I know of one 311 fan who has been to hundreds of shows. I’ve been to a lot of 311 shows over the years, but seeing them four times in five days is noteworthy for me.

Categories
Sports

Utah Jazz VIP for a Day

I received an early Christmas gift tonight: a row one ticket to tonight’s New York Knicks versus Utah Jazz NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’ve had a close seat to an NBA game one other time, but this seat was three rows closer. And those three rows make a big difference. In my opinion, watching an NBA game from close seats is the premier sports fan experience.

Categories
Travel

Oahu 2014

Last Thursday (October 30, 2014), I returned from a vacation to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The trip was fun, but I wouldn’t call Oahu an island paradise. No paradise should be as crowded as Oahu, despite the more laid-back North Shore. Oahu is more like an island playground, which is not a bad thing.

Categories
Hiking

The Narrows 2014

On May 17, 2014, I hiked a portion of the The Narrows in Zion National Park. The Narrows is a deep, narrow canyon carved by the Virgin River. Although prone to flash floods and significant flows from spring runoff, the river is shallow and most often flows at a rate safe for hiking in the river. The experience of hiking in the river surrounded by steep sandstone walls might be one of the most unique available in the National Park system.

Categories
Favorites Hiking Travel

Kauai 2013

Last Sunday (November 3, 2013), I returned from a nine-day trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The trip was awesome. Kauai is an amazing place with ideal weather, awe-inspiring scenery, chirping endemic birds, and impossibly lush foliage. The island offers endless recreational opportunities and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

And then there are the smells. Kauai smells! Sometimes it’s the pungent odor of fermenting fruit off to the side of a trail, but mostly it’s the sweet aroma of whatever tropical foliage happens to be prevalent where you are. I’ll never forget all of Kauai’s smells.

Categories
311

311 Day Weekend 2012

Last weekend, I attended 311’s biennial concert/convention that occurs on March 11. This year, for the first time, they decided to hold two concerts instead of one. I welcomed that decision because the 60-song 311 Day show in 2010 had too many intermissions, and I could tell the band (and much of the crowd) were exhausted by the end. Two shorter shows with more total songs sounded perfect to me.

Categories
Hiking Skiing

Skiing in August

ALTA, Utah — My friend Steve plans to ski in every calendar month this year. With that goal in mind, and a sliver of snow still left on Gunsight at Alta Ski Area, he invited me to join him for another summer ski day.

Categories
Favorites Hiking Skiing

Skiing in July

ALTA, Utah — On Monday, July 7, my friend Steve sent me a photo from his cell phone of the snow still left on Gunsight at Alta. I asked if he would be up for skiing it that weekend. He replied that he and his friend Jorden had already planned to ski the chute on Sunday, and that I could join them. And so a plan was born.

Categories
Favorites Finance

TIPS Revisited

One year ago, I wrote an article that discussed Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). TIPS are important because they provide the best protection against inflation among the universe of fixed-income securities.

TIPS, however, are not perfect. In fact, several prominent investment professionals have publicly addressed TIPS-related issues over the past year. In this article, I’ll discuss some of these issues and relate them to the concerns of sensible long-term investors.

Categories
Finance

Credit Spread Risk and Your Portfolio

There are several risks universally associated with investments in fixed-income securities. Some of these risks include default risk, liquidity risk, reinvestment risk and interest rate risk. For United States Treasury securities; however, the market considers these fixed-income securities to be free of default risk.

Investors, therefore, require that bonds issued by entities other than the federal government carry a premium yield-to-maturity so they can be compensated for the added default risk. This premium, called the credit spread, is the extra yield investors require for taking on the added default risk associated with investing in corporate bonds.

Categories
Finance

Looking Ahead to 2005

There are a few conflicting historical stock market phenomena pertinent to 2005, which is a post-election year and the fifth year of this decade. The S&P 500 index has performed remarkably well in the fifth year of decades since 1881. The index, however, has performed below average in years following an election, except when the incumbent president stays in power or when the post-election year is the fifth year of a decade.

Categories
Finance

Pay to Play

There is an inherent conflict of interest when a person giving investment advice also works for a sell-side investment company (i.e., a brokerage) that manages mutual funds. Often, their advice will include their company’s own mutual fund offerings regardless of the funds’ merits (or lack thereof). This biased advice can diminish investors’ portfolio returns.

Categories
Finance

Learning From Prior Equity Market Patterns

In the world of investments, historical data often help investment managers predict the future performance of the markets. My colleagues and I searched for periods with similar characteristics to today to help guide our investment decision-making during this period of almost inexplicably weak equity markets (although the high price of oil seems to have been taxing the markets recently). We found an eerily similar period with many significantly similar characteristics.

Categories
Finance

TIPS, Inflation, and Your Portfolio

Inflation is a fixed-income portfolio’s silent enemy. Someone who invests $10,000 in 10-year treasury bonds with a five percent coupon per year receives two payments of $250 per year until the bond matures. Unfortunately, inflation can quietly erode the real value of those fixed interest payments.

What if there was a way to make fixed income less fixed? Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) do just that: they adjust an investor’s principal to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index, a common inflation indicator, and investors earn interest on that inflation-adjusted principal.

Categories
Essays Personal

Reactions to the Attacks on September 11, 2001

The tragedy of Tuesday cast a glaze over me. Immediately following the tragedy, I tried to assess the effects of the tragedy on every scale—the economic implications, the historical implications, and the political implications—but my dominating thoughts were on the now-proven fragile impermanence of our way of life.