Search This Blog

Monday, March 19, 2018

XC Skiing at Girdwood

I tried to go XC skiing every morning while we were at Alyeska.  I'd set the kids up with their downhill ski lesson, and then off I went to get in my time on the XC ski trails in the valley.  The conditions were superb.  One morning there was 3 or 4 inches of such dry powder that it was fast enough that I could skate ski with my tips underneath the snow.  It made for completely silent skiing through the woods.

I also noticed that they seemed to groom the trails once a day, but perhaps this was because it was also snowing every day and they were just trying to keep up!  With all the snow on the trees it was a winter wonderland.  Patrick

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sun dogs

It was spring skiing conditions and warm corn snow today on Pyramid. The conditions were so perfect that I did 3 runs instead of my usual one and done.  At the bottom of the south bowl I took the picture below of my friend Dale.  But I could not get the sun to fit into the picture.  So I took the picture again (top) as a panoramic of 6 pictures that I had to stitch together at home.  I like the smile on the first picture best, but the second picture captured the sun and sundogs on either side of the sun.  The latter surprised me because I had not noticed them when I took the picture!


Snowy Girdwood

While on vacation we stayed at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood and the Embassy Suites in Anchorage.  Hard to say which hotel the kids and I preferred.  The Embassy Suites had a two room hotel room, a pool table (HUGE deal for Stuey), a 'free' awesome breakfast, and 2 'free' beers in the evening.  Whereas the Alyeska Hotel had Ambiance, a much better view from the room, fancy meals,  hallways to roam and explore, and a much better pool.  I did explain to Stuey that there is no such thing as a 'Free Lunch', and that the Embassy Suites simply added the costs of the beer and breakfast to our room costs.  But that said, the Embassy Suites clearly was the cheaper place to stay.  One pays a lot for ambiance!

I think Stuey preferred the Embassy Suites simply because of the pool table.  That is all he wanted to do - play pool and beat dad.  Nora liked the Alyeska Hotel.  She liked how there were benches in the halls and by the elevators and she would sit in the benches and read.  No doing that in the Embassy Suites - their halls are just halls.  She really liked the ambiance.  If it was up to me I'd probably choose the Embassy Suites simply because of the 'Free' beer and breakfast.

Comparing the two basically reduced down to Amenities versus Ambiance.  The Alyeska Hotel reminded me of the Hotel in those old books about the little girl Eloise.  She lived in a hotel with a nanny and her pug and was always up to mischief.  While at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwoood I sort of got the feeling that kids were expected to act somewhat like Eloise and do some exploring on their own; whereas at the Embassy Suites in Anchorage there was 'no running in the halls'.

Finally, I think the thing that impressed the kids the most about Girdwood was all the snow.  They were amazed by it, and kept on pointing out the huge piles of snow.  'look at all the snow', they repeated over and over.  I told Nora that it was sort of like Narnia in the opening scene of the 'lion the witch and the wardrobe', and daddy's idea of Heaven - always winter with no Christmas to mess it up!


Reading in the window of the Hotel Room at Alyeska

Alyeska Hotel

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ski lunch

One of my favorite Spring Break activities is lunch.  After a morning of skiing we have been meeting up every day for lunch at the Stitzmark Cafe.  Food, Sprite and beer for the adults.  And then, after the lunch break, more skiing.  I have been having a hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard and a pilsner beer.  The kids chicken strips and fries.  Food to fuel activity. 

I love how the sunshine fills the room and everybody's clothes and gear are wet with melting snow.  It is the same at any other ski resort that I have ever been to (click here for Taos trip).  Spring skiing.  Patrick

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Break

It's Spring Break and the kids and I are on a ski vacation in Anchorage, and at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.  We started the vacation in Anchorage and will spend another couple of days there at the end before we go back to Kodiak.  The purpose of the trip is, of course, to have fun, but also I want the kids to practice their skiing so that they can better enjoy skiing at home on Kodiak.  Nothing like lessons, groomed trails, and lifts for helping to get a lot of quality 'on snow' ski-time in.

We've split our time between Anchorage and Girdwood because while Girdwood and the Alyeska Resort may be a better place for downhill skiing - Anchorage clearly has the XC ski advantage.  And given my druthers I think I'd spend the entire time XC skiing in Anchorage!  However, there is another advantage to Alyeska - 'cousin time'.

Nora and Stuey's first cousins Leo and Zeke are also at Alyeska.  This of course makes it a lot MORE fun.  So far the pattern has been lessons in the morning, then a big lunch at the Stiztmark Restaurant at the base of the ski slopes, and then roaming the slopes in a 'cousin pack' for the afternoons.


The XC ski trails on the Hillside in Anchorage

Downhill skiing at Hilltop in Anchorage with their friends Lars and Ilsa

Big Hair at the Stitzmark Restaurant

On the slopes at Alyeska

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Blue, white and dark green

Some views from my skate ski in the alpine yesterday.  At the pass most of the snow from yesterday's storm seemed to have blown away and it looked a little 'crusty' for downhill skiing - so I went crust cruising!  It was perfect crust cruising.  And so sunny I did not even wear a jacket.  A beautiful day in the sunshine.  Patrick

Friday, March 9, 2018

No more training

The view on Buskin Lake and Pyramid during my XC ski on Tuesday

Now that the Tour of Anchorage is complete I have nothing to train for - there is no purpose to my exercise other than getting out and about.  I really enjoy my daily skis in the months following the big event.  I am in great shape and can really enjoy the outings.  I can skate ski up mountains and enjoy the climb.  And it is slightly ironic but I always feel my conditioning actually peaks a few weeks AFTER the tour.  Now is when I get to enjoy the fruits of getting in shape for a race.

And this brings up why I do big races.  It certainly is not because I enjoy getting nervous in the week before the race, or even the pain during the race!  It is because entering races force me to train for them.  And after training I am in really good shape - way better shape than I would ever be if I had not trained for a race.

And now in the coming months I get to reap the benefits


New snow yesterday afternoon on Pyramid

It was snowing hard when I was on my way down