Tag Archives: ski

Friday Linkage 1/3/2020

Welcome to 2020.  What will the New Year and new decade bring?  I have a list of things I hope will happen, but I do not want to jinx the possibility of actual progress by writing those things downs.

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday and is ready to make 2020 a great year for all people.

On to the links…

Trump Vs. Toilets (And Showers, Dishwashers And Lightbulbs)—This is like your drunk Uncle Carl from Thanksgiving getting to be President of the United States.  Just when you think the situation is at its nadir, Trump steps up to the podium and delivers a new stream of drivel.  What will the campaign bring out from this monster?

Rise Of The Wind Turbines – The Force Is With Them And They Are Great For America—Trump may not like wind turbines because a wind farm in Scotland “mars” his view from his golf course, but the verdict is that wind turbines are good for the economy and the environment.

Who’s Gonna Win The Race For Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, Maine Or California?—Whoever wins the race means that we all win as offshore wind comes online in the United States.  If you thought onshore wind was a good thing then you will love offshore wind.  Imagine wind turbines bobbing near markets along the eastern seaboard.

Fossil Fuels Fall to Record Low Proportion of UK Energy Mix—Almost 39% of electricity from renewables seems amazing for an entire country for an entire year.  We’re not talking about a day or a week or a month, but a year.

With Most Electricity From Renewables, South Australia Has Lowest Utility Cost—So, in South Australia you get more than 50% of your power from renewables and it has the lowest cost compared to others.  What am I missing?

California Will Require Solar Panels on All New Homes. That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing.—I am of the mind that this is a good thing.  Yes, California will overbuild solar capacity but this will lead to innovations in demand shifting and energy storage.  If the power is cheap or free, someone will figure out a way to use it at a different time when it would be expensive.

Coal-Killing Long-Duration Energy Storage For Vermont—We are already starting to see solutions for so-called long-duration energy storage.

3 Breakthroughs That Could Shake The Energy World In The Next Decade—I think that number three on this list could also be a big factor if the reverse is true.  Rising fossil fuel costs could accelerate the transition to renewables.  Nothing will make an EV looks more attractive than $4 a gallon gas in the United States.

Shipping Fuel Regulation to Cut Sulfur Levels Comes into Force—Maritime shipping emissions are a big deal because each of these ships is like an outdated power plant spewing pollution out its smokestacks.  Considering how much global trade is moved via ships this is one of those “boring, but important” changes.

10 Ways That Car Dealerships Can Step Up To Sell Electric Vehicles—The number one thing missing from this list is for most dealerships to stop being dicks to their customers.  If you want to understand why customers are willing to buy relatively expensive cars sight unseen from an app—yes, I am talking about Teslas—walk into the average new car dealer and tell me about the experience.

The Missing 99%: Why Can’t We Find the Vast Majority of Ocean Plastic?—Man, this is just depressing.  When future generations look back on our time period they will just shake their head at the sheer stupidity of people in general.

A Recycling Renegade Is Out of Prison—and Ready to Tackle the Electric Vehicle Battery Crisis—Eric Lundgren went to jail because of a quirk in digital copyright law, but now he is back with a plan to tackle the rising tide of battery refuse from the EV industry’s growth.  I wish him the best of luck.

Replanting Britain: ‘It’s About the Right Tree in the Right Place’—Reforestation is one of the best tools that we have to fight climate change, but the experience in Britain shows that it is not as simple as just planting a tree wherever.  However, it is instructive that we have the knowledge to actually do reforestation right.

Snow Machines and Fleece Blankets: Inside the Ski Industry’s Battle with Climate Change—The future does not look too good for those of us who enjoy winter sports.

Mystery Pork Will Soon Hit The Stores—This reminds me of the quintessential line from Fast Food Nation: There is shit in the meat.

Those ‘Flushable’ Bathroom Wipes May not be so Flushable After All—Can we just stop using these damn things?

Go Slow to Help Slow the Climate Crisis—I think this is a solution to so much more than the climate crisis.  We are all stuck in a loop where we think going faster will help us accomplish more, but all it does is put pressure on us to do more faster.  It is a treadmill you cannot escape.

Wily Coyotes Take up Residence at Trump’s New York City Golf Course—I can already see the campaign rally rant about coyotes.  Trump will stand at the podium and riff about how it used to be glorious when you could just shoot animals onsite.  Donny Jr. will take the stage with his lame ass beard and pressed camouflage attire to rile up the crowd while asking daddy for permission to rid the golf course of this animal invasion.  It may sound like a fever dream, but it is oh so plausible.

Building Volume in the Shoulder Season

September is the beginning of the shoulder season.  That is to say, September represents the descent of days spent in the saddle and an increase in the number of workouts to get prepared for the upcoming ski season.  Snow may not have fallen on the slopes yet, but September is when a successful ski season begins.  It does help to have put on over 2,500 miles on my bike this summer so I am starting with an excellent aerobic base.

Switching from long rides on gravel to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) regime that emphasizes explosive movements requires some planning.  If one were to just jump right in you might find yourself spending the better part of a week walking around sore.  Never mind the chance of injury that comes from not properly executing lifts when fatigue sets in.

The key is to build volume over a period of time.  Most people like to focus on adding weight as a benchmark of progress, but if there is not a base of volume to work from injury will likely result.  Matt Owen, a St. Louis based trainer, was quoted in Outside Magazine:

We need to really build that base of general physical preparedness in order to build other stuff on top of it—strength, power, sport-specific movement. We’re going to value volume—one to two hours of work every day—over anything else at first. It’s a lot easier to get strong when you’re able to tolerate more work, more time lifting weights, and you’re able to recover faster than if we just pull you in and make you start lifting heavy.

I am not over fifty years old…yet.  Nonetheless, this advice is sound for anyone who values long term fitness across multiple physical disciplines without experiencing injury.  Once the base is set through a series of workouts a person can focus on the stuff that will really allow them to excel on the slopes.  The same thing can be said in the spring.  No one should jump on the bike and grind out a fifty mile day without first putting on some miles via series of shorter rides.

During the shoulder season, as I watch the early season snowfall reports with anticipation of deep powder days, I am working in three to four HIIT sessions a week while maintaining three or four long rides on my bicycle.  The difference from my HIIT sessions later in the year is that I have lessened the weight on most movements and focused on keeping the repetitions high.

By October I should be ready to transition into four or five longer HIIT sessions with heaver weights and more time on the rowing machine.  By December my body should be ready for the slopes.  Of course, I will be sore after my first day of bombing and ready to soak in the hot tub.  It’s tradition!

Friday Linkage 7/13/2018

Well that was an interesting week.  Scott Pruitt “resigned” amid corruption that had not been seen since the Warren G. Harding administration.  Donny Two Scoops got to nominate another justice to the Supreme Court and he promptly picked the most white toast candidate possible.  Another judge that comes from an Ivy League background, clerked for a Supreme Court justice, worked in Washington D.C. and so on.  For a guy who was going to “drain the swamp” he is operating pretty much like a dyed in the wool establishment Republican when it comes to the Supreme Court.

I guess we have to wonder if Steven Mnuchin or Ryan Zinke will be the next stooge on the corruption stage.  I am voting for Mnuchin only because his wife is just like a villain from a Disney movie.

This is the last very special Scott Pruitt section of links…

Read Scott Pruitt’s Bizarre Resignation Letter—Can we call for a moratorium on right wing a-holes praising God no matter how reprehensible their actions may have been?  Scott Pruitt is a horrible human being who was only looking out for himself.  God had nothing to do with anything that he did.

Scott Pruitt is Gone, but the Trump Administration’s Culture of Corruption Remains—The corruption is on display for everyone to see.  Republicans must be made to answer for why they have allowed a public looting of the American enterprise by Trump, his family, and his cohort of cartoon stooges.

Scott Pruitt Investigations Aren’t Ending just Because he Resigned—He can always hope that he gets a pardon from the head cheese puff.

Scott Pruitt is Leaving Behind a Toxic Mess at the EPA—The EPA is a mess.  Environmental regulation and enforcement under Trump is a disaster.  Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s replacement, is like replacing Cruella De Ville with Mother Gothel.  One villain is a lot more showy than the other, but they are both horrible people.

Scott Pruitt Gave “Super Polluting” Trucks a Gift on his Last Day at the EPA—It’s one last middle finger to the majority of Americans as Scott Pruitt finds a way to reward a campaign donor yet again.

Scott Pruitt’s Resignation Is Just The Start—We can hope.  However, given how pervasive the corruption is at every level of this administration and given the complicit nature of Congressional Republicans the best chance to really turn up the heat will not come until a new Congress is sworn in this coming January.

Well, bye:

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On to the links…

Thanks to Natural Gas, US CO2 Emissions Lowest Since 1985—This is one of those good news, bad news kind of things.  Emitting less CO2 is good.  However, natural gas production may be emitting a lot of unaccounted for methane which is like a supercharged greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide.  It also begs the question about us making an actual transition to renewables.

China Is Swallowing A Bitter Pill And Trying To Cut Its Coal Use—China realizes that burning coal to power its economy is causing too much trouble.  When China decides to go coal free what hope does the old black rock have of being relevant as an energy source in the future?

One of the World’s Biggest Insurers Is Ditching Coal—Insurance is one of those boring but important facts of business.  If your project cannot get insured, you will be forced to offer investors a higher rate of return which will reduce your economic competitiveness.  In the case of coal, this will put the old dirty fuel another step behind cleaner alternatives.

New Utility Settlement Highlights how Ohio Utilities are Leaving FirstEnergy Behind on Clean Energy—FirstEnergy might have a better chance of bringing back Blockbuster than trying to revive the hopes for its fleet of coal burning power plants.

The First Fully Solar-Powered Ski Area: Wolf Creek, CO—If you ski you should care about renewable energy because it might be the only hope that we have of actually getting to ski on snow in the future.  Way to go Wolf Creek on going 100% solar.  Totally!

EPA Blocks Warnings on Cancer-Causing Chemical—This is the kind of government you get when you elect people who tell you that they hate government.

Why is the Trump Administration Putting a Tariff on Chinese LEDs?—My first inkling is to say that Donald Trump does not understand how international trade works, but the answer is probably that a lobbyist got to write down what products they wanted a tariff on in a book and our dear leader just copied the list down for action.  He is the muppet of presidents.  It looks like he is in charge, but somewhere hidden is someone with a hand up his ass telling him what to do on a minute by minute basis.

I Gave Up AC This Summer To Live Within My Means. America Should Try That—Maybe we should all try and give up a little something to live within our economic and environmental means.

One in Three Fish Caught Never Makes it to the Plate—We do not need to farm, raise, or fish for more food.  We need to waste less of what we already farm, raise, and fish.  If you could instantly take the wasted bycatch from the international fishing economy and bring that to market it would mean a more than 30% increase in available protein.

Stop Buying Tilapia! Here Are 5 Other Fish You Need to Try.—Seriously, stop buying tilapia.  It is like Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.  It is the dry white toast of fish.  It is what Becky would order for dinner after finishing her Frappuccino.

Friday Linkage 5/25/2018

Free your Sundays.  As well as your Monday and Thursday nights.  Free yourself from the craven piss babies who are NFL owners and NFL “leadership” who have caved to the base elements of their fan base and Donald Trump.  Nothing says conscience of America quite like a thrice divorced, porn star spanking, man baby who likes to wrap himself in the viscera of patriotism despite his well-documented history of being physically incapable of serving in the military during the Vietnam War.

The entire issue around the anthem protests has been a dog whistle for extreme white wing.  Well compensated, majority African American males making a statement about well document injustice at the hands of police is just too much.

Well, this kowtowing to the Fox News and Alex Jones contingent of our society is too much.  I am done with the NFL.  Forever.

On to the links…

The Efficiency Myth—Along with trickle down economics I would love to forever banish the conservative edict that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector.  It is not true.

EPA Bans CNN, AP from Covering Summit on Chemicals, ‘Forcibly’ Removes Reporter—This is what transparency and “draining the swamp” looks like under Donald Trump.  It is a government run with the singular goal of enriching the plutocrats and screwing over anyone else.

Park Service Releases Complete Climate Change Report—Climate change is real.  Human beings are the primary driver.  It is going to mess up a lot of stuff.  Despite what Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt want you to believe this is the reality.

Recreation is Redefining the Value of Western Public Lands—The value of the lands of the United States are not just measured in the amount of oil, gas, and minerals that can be extracted.  This runs counter to the narrative of clowns like Ryan Zinke, but the facts—oh those pesky facts—show a reality that people do enjoy these lands for the recreational value is available.

This Could Be A Clever Fix For The Biggest Climate Problem—Refrigeration and the energy use it requires is a big problem in any climate change mitigation scenario.  To combat climate change we need to reduce the energy needed to cool ourselves and our food.

Northeastern States Band Together, Develop a Unified EV Charge Network—Take a densely populated area, add an EV charging network that uses the same technology across the geographic area, and…BAM!…you have the recipe for increasing the adoption rate of EVs in the Northeastern United States.

A 100% Renewable Grid Isn’t Just Feasible, It’s Already Happening—At first they said that the grid could not handle 5% renewables and then it became 10%.  Every year that number has to get revised upward because the grid can handle it.

The Netherlands Announces Ban On Coal, Plans To Close 2 Power Plants By 2024—Every day there is at least some good news.

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster—If there was one thing that I wish we would do en masse in the United States it would be to rip out the acres and acres of lawn that cover our landscape.  This is a landscape that provides little to no visual interest.  It provides little to no habitat for wildlife.  It is a suck for time, energy, and chemicals.  Most people do not actually like mowing the lawn.  Remind me again why we have lawns?

Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders—This is what a $1.4 TRILLION tax cut gets you.  Harley Davidson may be in a lot of trouble as its core customers begin to age out of pretending to be bad ass biker guys.  That has not stopped the company from increasing its dividend and buying back stock.  It’s all about maximizing shareholder value and screwing over anyone who gets in the way of profiteering.

How Much Will West Coast Snowfall Decrease In The Next 80 Years?—If you love snow you are screwed:

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Friday Linkage 11/17/2017

It somehow ended up being more than halfway through November before I even realized that the time had passed.  Maybe I was spending too much time looking at opening dates for ski hills and poring over the long range snow forecasts.

On to the links…

100% Global Renewable Electricity No Longer Flight Of Fancy, More Cost-Effective Than Current System—The economics have turned.  Now all that remains to construct an energy system for the future is to amass the political will.  Obviously that is something that is easier said than done.

Richest 1% Now Owns Half the World’s Wealth—Well, that is depressing.  If you want to understand why politicians could care less about your desires as a voter or those of your community it is encapsulated in this statistic.  You do not grease the wheels of power because you do not have nearly the money that the 1% possesses.

One of the World’s Largest Mining Companies is Ditching Coal—These mines will probably be sold and will probably still be operational for a time.  The key fact to remember is that a giant, international company has decided that coal mines have no future and may become stranded assets sometime in the near future.

Subsidizing Coal, Nuclear Could Drive Customers Off-Grid—From the pages of the book of unintended consequences comes this little gem.  By making grid power more expensive in order to subsidize dying power regimes the genius of Rick Perry’s Department of Energy could hasten the death spiral of the centralized grid.

New Study Shows What Would Happen If the US Went Vegan—It’s just a model, but it is interesting to see what the ramifications would be of such a conversion.  I tend to think the more sustainable model would be a pseudo-vegetarian model with a focus on improved rangeland management, elimination of high fructose corn syrup production, and an emphasis on reduced food waste.

MidAmerican will Spend $1 billion ‘Repowering’ Oldest Wind Turbines—This seems like an amazing opportunity to take wind turbines that are already sited and have the infrastructure in place in an effort to get more power generated.  How many fifteen to twenty year old wind farms are out there that could use a “repowering?”

Tesla Powers Up Nantucket With Grid Storage Installation—Tesla may be a Ponzi scheme masquerading as a next-generation solutions type of company but damn if these guys aren’t out there pushing boundaries.  These are not PowerPoint presentations.  These are on the ground solutions that are operational.

California may Use 50 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2020, a Decade Ahead of Schedule—I am really amazed by this development.

4 Ways Cities can Become Climate Heroes—Cities and other municipalities can become the agents of change in the era when leadership at the state and federal level is in the hands of climate deniers more inclined to line the pockets of coal barons and oil companies than worry about the health and safety of millions of people.

Denver Votes to Require Environment-Friendly ‘Green’ Roofs—Amidst all of the election analysis there was no coverage of this little gem unless you were reading the Denver Post or other regional newspapers.  Now, “green roof” can mean plants but it can also mean solar energy.  Given 300 days of sunshine per year why isn’t every roof on the Front Range a green roof?

One Bitcoin Transaction Takes More Energy than a Household uses in a Week—We tend to think of virtual anything as “free.”  However, all of those cat videos, Jerry of the Day posts, and Bitcoins add up to some serious computer time that uses a lot of electricity.

Millennials Lose Taste for Dining Out, Get Blamed for Puzzling Restaurant Trend—We can blame millennials for a lot of things.  Especially avocado toast and everything else they feel compelled to put avocados on.  Avocados are not that great, so stop putting that vegetable snot in my sushi.  However, can we lay the blame for this trend on crap chain restaurants.  Does anyone really need to go to the Olive Garden or Chili’s?

Vail postpones Opening Day due to lack of snow—Well, fuck.  Even the 1% who frequent this mountain are going to be impacted by climate change.  It’s not too late to join Protect Our Winters kids.

Behold the Wonders of Rep. Louie Gohmert’s Conspiracy Chart—Louie Gohmert is one of the biggest no talent ass clowns in the history of American politics.  This is peak Louie Gohmert:

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Did he just sit back listening to Alex Jones on an endless loop and create a flowchart based on that stream of consciousness verbal vomit?  This is what passes for representation in America in 2017.

Some Thoughts on Pocket Beers

Pocket beers are just one of the lower key aspects of skiing.  For all the people who spend near $10 for a draft at the top of the lifts there are a smaller number of hardy souls who take the route less traveled.   During the few minutes of isolation on a lift the pocket beer is produced.  It is consumed before unloading, sometimes shared, and the can is either stowed away or deposited discretely in a receptacle at the top.  Do not be the guy who tosses an empty somewhere on the mountain.

Over Spring Break I discovered that the pocket beer is looked down upon at Beaver Creek.  A fellow lift traveler looked at me as if I had told him that I was going to make America great again with my consumption of beer.  Perhaps it would have been more appropriate if I had broken out a single serve can of chardonnay.  Properly chilled of course.  Just kidding.  I would never drink chardonnay on a lift unless it was goon.  It’s an Australian thing.  Check it out.

Over the course of the week I thought about the nature of the pocket beer because I did not spend any time looking at the news, watching Netflix, or working.  It is amazing what you think about when left with your thoughts on a sunny Colorado afternoon in the spring.  Here are my conclusions:

  1. Pocket beers must be in cans. Like the beach, including the one at A Basin, and the pool glass should be a non-starter.  Bottles can break, the tops are another item to deal with, and it is harder to conceal a bottle in a gloved hand.  Oh sure, you could get by with an aluminum bottle but those are generally only purchased by people who are captive audiences at sporting events.  Don’t be that guy.
  2. Pocket beers should be shared. If you have more than one, offer a beer to a fellow lift rider.  If you only have one, offer a drink to a fellow lift rider if you know the person well.  Strangers might have a fear of your distinct brand of cooties.
  3. Pocket beers should not be craft beers. Yes, craft beer is ascendant and craft beer is a big deal in mountain communities.  However, with most high speed lifts only taking a few minutes to complete their runs there is no time to savor.  Reserve the craft beer for the après pint.
  4. Acceptable pocket beers:
    1. Rainier: Where do people find this stuff? I had not seen anyone drink Rainier since a childhood trip to the Pacific Northwest with my parents in the 1980s.  Sure enough it made an appearance this season on a lift at Keystone.
    2. Yuengling: I cannot stand this beer, but legions of East Coast ice skiers will scream if I do not include their favorite swill.
    3. Natural Light: The Natty is a legend among the hardy souls who ski the Midwest’s small hills. Purchased in containers with no fewer than 24 cans and usually 30 cans the Natty is the common currency of tailgates, impromptu backyard parties in your twenties, and pocket beers at Afton Alps.  Yes, it is swill but when the mercury is dropping below the 0 mark you do not have time to taste.
    4. Coors: Not that Coors Light garbage. When you are in Colorado and producing a pocket beer it should be the Banquet Beer.  The muted yellow can is iconic even if the beer inside is fairly mediocre.  It’s only brewed in Golden, which is off I-70 on the way into the mountains.  If you are chilling on the Peru Express lift, whip out a Banquet Beer, and enjoy your moment of perfection.

Embrace the pocket beer and the grungy soul of skiing before we are all left at mega-resorts staring at a menu of eye watering prices.  The pocket beer is the resistance.

Spring Suffering

Suffering comes in two flavors during the spring: end of season suffering for skiers and beginning of season suffering for cyclists.  Unfortunately, I find myself suffering on both ends of those seasons.  Damn.

Spring skiing sounds like fun, right?  Warmer temperatures, laid back crowds, decent base…blah, blah, blah.  For the first couple of hours everything holds true.  The runs are great and the kids are happy.  Sometime around noon as the sun bakes off any cloud cover you slowly descend into a slushy hell known as the last run of the day.

The crowds wake up from their jaeger bomb comas for the two runs they will do for the day before going back to an après scene focused on even more jaeger bombs, but not before completely chewing up all of the decent runs and clogging the lift lines.  Seriously bro, do you even lift?  Sorry, I could not help myself.

Spring skiing starts off with so much potential and ends up being a sufferfest of slogging through snow more reminiscent of mashed potatoes than anything else.  At least my kids do not complain about cold fingers and toes.  So I have that going for me.

Spring biking is never meant to be fun and no one is really going to try and convince you otherwise.  The weather is usually leaning toward cold and wet.  The wind is never blowing less than ten to fifteen miles an hour with gusts of double those numbers.  And your legs are somehow not prepared for even a light day despite a winter of working out and skiing.

You spend the first few rides wiping snot every five minutes, huffing cold air like an asthmatic weed smoker, and generally struggling to push a gear that would be light in the middle of July.  What the hell spring?  At some point during every early spring ride you ask yourself why you do this and why aren’t you inside watching Netflix?

Why?  Because we are masochists who need to suffer in order to feel alive.  None of this activity is necessary to our living yet it is essential to our happiness.  We are smug in looking across the bar at a fellow skier with sun burnt cheeks and a wiped out thousand yard stare at the end of a long day plowing through snow cone conditions.  We are a member of that tribe.  We wave stealthily to the other hardy cyclists out in these early days of spring knowing that their lungs are struggling to suck down air just like us.  We are bonded in our suffering.

It is easy to go out when the skies are clear, the temps are in the teens, and there is an inch of fresh snow on the front side of the mountain.   It is easy to get in the saddle when the sun is out, the wind is mild, and your neighbors are out mowing their lawns.  What defines us as members of a different tribe is when we commit to the suffering willingly.