Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Everyone's a Meterologists...

When you hear the saying "talk about the weather," you generally think of someone making small talk. right? Well, here in Jackson talking about the weather is a serious conversation. No one relies on a single weather source, many are armature meteorologists with barometers and tools to predict weather patterns on their own.

On my bookmarks bar, for instance, I have three different weather sights. The Weather Channel (is quite generic), the Jackson Hole Avalanche Sight and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association). the JH Avie sight updates twice a day with all kinds of numbers about pressure and jet streams etc etc. Everyone has their own take on the weather.

With the drought we've had here (and ONLY here it seems!) the weather has become one of those things that if you bring up, you may end up in an argument... Snow is something we, as a ski town, rely on! The conditions on the hill are sub-par and people (i.e. Josh) are starting to get very frustrated and antsy. Tourists have booked their condos/rooms and flights and are not getting the prime ski vacation they had hoped for. What little poweder we do get is skiied up quickly. Locals are getting frustrated because we've been having days with temps as low as 22 BELOW with no snow to insulate our pipes. I never thought a winter drought was that big of a deal, being from Alabama- but snow is how we fill our rivers in the spring and keep fresh water in our wells throughout the summer. This isn't the first time in Jackson Hole's history this has happened. In 1976-1977 only 128 inches fell at Rendezvous Bowl (summit) all season (jackson averages 450 inches annually). Right now we are recording 142 inches fallen, with a 32inch base at the summit. But only 79 inches total mid-mountain (where I'm skiing) and a 25 inch base, most of it man made. Because of the lack of snow, we only have 45 or 116 trails open!

Luckily, today, we have experienced a steady stream of light snow. Two to three inches expected to accumulate. Apparently there is another system on its way, hopefully blessing us with another four to six inches by 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in the Tetons!

Christmas is always hard when you're not around your family. We've been doing Christmas in a pretty certain way for a very long time. I got grumpy when I was a teenager and my first cousin got married, bringing in new folks was kinda strange... then babies then worst, meals started changing. We no longer did Christmas Eve dinner, we did lunch... I digress. This year was a WHOLE 'NOTHER world! It turned out to be fabulous!

Josh and I did our Christmas present-exchanging on C'mas Eve. In addition to the Wii Fit Plus (complete with Wii ski and the snowboarding game!), I received a stocking. My boyfriend knows me too well...

The big bottle is dark, but it's a "Howling Wolf" from Grand Teton Brewing Company.
SO... in addition to opening presents we "conference called" Josh's family, his mom read the Night Before Christmas- quite possibly the most epic reading of that story ever! We also watched my favorite Christmas movie of all time "Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas"

Christmas morning we slept in, then skiied (together!) for about an hour, then headed back tot he house to prepare for our Christmas FEAST!!! We had ten friends, two turkeys, plenty of booze, and a chocolate fountain (thanks Mom! Josh LOVES it!). Here's some shots of our fabulous party!

we started the day with a tribute to Choo-Choo and his famous milk punches!

Josh prepped the bird(s)...

Took a second to get a picture from our balcony

Played a rousing game of Wii Bowling

Enjoyed Appetizers

Then enjoyed a delicious meal...

the aftermath...

So in conclusion:
Christmas is never as good as it is when you are with your family. Luckily, friends are the family you choose- so none of us were without!
Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I look forward to Saturday all week long! Not only is it my day off, and my day to spend the whole day snowboarding, but also it's my day to shred with Christen!
Yesterday was the first Saturday that the Gondola was open (and the Tram... but I'm not ready for that just yet). So, I met Christen at 11 and we hit up the Gondi. We turned on my JHTapped App to log our runs for the day. We rode straight down from the Gondola Summit on Sundance first, then we hit up a second lap, this time going from the G.S. to the Casper lift via the Amphitheater Traverse (all the yellow lines on the trail map are traverses- "cat tracks" and they are a bitch!) We rode the Casper lift a few times, had a beer at the restaurant (okay, three) then rode down via the Southpass Traverse- where I was graciously helped along the flats by a skier's pole pull. Then down Werner and onto Teewinot.

My log said we did three runs totalling 2,074 vertical feet- but I don't think it logged all of it.

Apres at Nick Wilson's (where Josh bar-backs) was stellar! Santa dropped out of the bottom of the tram. I left my camera inside, but here's a pic from the web (last year)

We watched Santa, had some beers, had some shots and called it a night at 7 or 8. Josh came home several hours later... we were some of the more tame ones leaving so early.

In short: Saturdays are fun!

cannot wait to see what next Saturday will bring. Hopefully some POWDER and a full day of making turns! And, hopefully I'll remember to get some action shots! and some Board shots! Maybe I'll even get saucy before the season's over and get some video. Stay tuned...

Just a few shots of winter...

Sunday, December 13, 2009


snow snow snow snow snow!!!

I experienced my first *powder day of the season today. (For my southern readers that means the first day with lots of fresh snow on the hill.) And now I totally get it! The combo of my new snowboard (pictures to come very soon) soft, fluffy pow and a bit of a daredevil attitude got me up Apres Vous (a lift that only services blue trails).

I rode by myself with my iPod blaring K'naan (check him out!) and took it very easy, just cruising. There was so much soft snow that I wasn't as afraid to make turns. Being on my toe-side edge was not nearly as scary because when I fell it was like falling into a ton of pillows! I caught speed, I floated and I LOVED IT!

I rode until noon, ate some food, cleaned the house, then took Elu on a walk, then went climbing at the gym. I'm pooped, that's all I can give you for now. Pictures and more details to come.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dear Santa (love Elu)

My feet are cold. I am a pretty tuff little husky dog, but still, 8 Below (one of my favorite movies by the way) is pretty hard my tootsies. I think I need some booties like the dogs in the movie have. I saw all the sled dogs wearing them last year and they seemed pretty beneficial. I mean, those dogs run for days in sub-zero temperatures! Anyway... I think I need some of these:

I also really like food. Treats of any sort will gladly be accepted. I will make sure to leave the reindeer plenty of yummy goodies.

(I can't wait to go on-line shopping for Mommy! I'll let you know what I get for her!!)

Also, Santa, I just wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas! Mommy and I are both a little sad to not be with our family again this year, but we are also pretty excited to be together and maybe take a nice, long hike in the backcountry (with my new booties!?) and take pictures of the white Christmas. Hope your Season is great!

Lady Elu Ireland

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dear Santa:

In case you are low on ideas...

UGG Smithfield Boots: in black, size 6. They are a tad pricey, so I won't cry if you can't afford to get these beauties in the sleigh... But won't they look SO CUTE with stripped tights and a wool skirt?!?!
Speaking of wool skirts... I'm a size 2 and like the colors blue, green and black...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Happy List

I was not tagged, but it seemed like fun... so here goes!


1-Josh. It's pretty cheesy I know, but he does! I tell him daily. He does some of the funniest stuff. He would kill me if I outted him on the Internet, but sometimes I just sit back and watch him in his quirky, adorable ways.

2-Elu! She makes my life so much more interesting. I love spending my free time hiking in the woods or snuggling by the fire with her

3-Making jewelry- it's my favorite way of expressing myself... plus, I always have something to wear with every outfit!! Even if I have to throw it together at the last minute

4- Hansen's Soda- I LOVE soda, but do not really like High Fructose Corn Syrup or any of the other not-so-natural crap they put in Coke and other sodas. Hansen's is all natural, made with cane sugar. They have delicious flavors like Kiwi Strawberry and Mandarin Orange. so. very. delicious.

5- The Tetons, and the fact that I get to look at such a majestic mountain range every day!
*in the 1820's French Canadian Fur trappers came to Jackson Hole and named these mountains Let Tois Tetons, or the Three Breasts... I live amongst WAY prettier boobies than those in Miami or LA, that's for sure!!!

6- Music Festivals: There is nothing quite like sitting in a field with your friends, drinking a coldbeer, dancing when you feel like it and eating turkey sandwiches and quesadillas. I always have a giant grin on my face when I spend a weekend not dealing with the stress of work, home responsibilities and just hang out and listen to good music!

7- The Seasons! I wanted to put them all separately, but I would use up four whole things on my ten favorite... so I'm going to lump them into one, as no one outdoes the other.
7a- summer- come on, who doesn't love summer! swimming, boating, bare skin, bare FEET!, warm temperatures, camping, wildlife!

7b fall- the colors change, the weather cools, you get to wear scares again, Halloween, flannel pants..

7c-winter- snow, snow boots, fires, snowboarding, snow, cute hats, beards (on men), fleece pants and apple cider!

7d-spring- warming temperatures make it great for hiking, there's new life springing up and the rivers rage when the run offs hit...

to sum it up, I love the change of seasons and I love the things that come with each season. You've always got CHANGE. Life can't get too monotonous for very long. There's always a change of the seasons.

8- Hot Showers- When I grow up, my number one priority in my home (besides that it sit on lots of land) will be by bathroom. I could live in a tent as long as my (indoor) bathroom is top-of-the-line. The center of a bathroom, for me, is the shower. I long to be able to sit down, maybe watch TV and just let the hot water fall on my back... but for now. I just take the computer speakers into the bathroom, plug in the iPod or the laptop and steam up our tiny bathroom. It's my favorite time of day. Pure muscle relaxation.

9- Water- I'm a water sign... whatever that means... I am in awe at the power of water. It has shaped and carved this Earth for hundreds of thousands of years and continues to do so on a regular basis. It creates rain, it carves canyons and rushes in rivers, dams up and makes lakes... not to mention the Ocean and it's vastness. Water is the force of life and is always in motion.

10- My whereabouts in life right now... the circumstances of events which lead me here were not ideal, things did not go as I had originally planned, But I'm here and I'm loving my life. I have a great condo in an awesome town with a cool roommate, and a sweet dog. I have a great job (where I got a promotion, by the way), a good group of friends, wonderful family and a man to share it all with.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Please let it snow soon.
I'm actually ready this year!!!

I have my snowboard set up almost dialed in. I'm looking at a new snowboard that my friend Whitney won in a raffle. It's too small for her, but a 148 is PERFECT for me, being more of a beginner.

It's a Roxy Team MTX Banana Board, retails for $510 just the board, but she's going to sell it to me for $375- with bindings!!! I haven't seen and touched the board itself yet- she gets back to Jackson tomorrow- but every snowboarder I've talked to says it's the BEST board I could possibly get. Luckily for me, it's really short so not too many gals are gonna be jumping all over this. My friend Evan said that if I don't buy this board, I'll be kicking myself all season! SO hopefully, by opening day I'll be riding this:

Other than the board, I'm ALL SET! Josh's discount at Sports Authority is quite helpful for both of us getting our gear dialed in...

All we need now is some SNOW!!!!!!

Dear Mother Nature,
We are REALLY REALLY sorry for all the pollution we have put into your lungs. We are sorry for stripping the world of it's natural resources. I promise to do all in MY power (and the rest of my household) to continue to be conscious about what we take and what we give back. I recycle, I compost, I don't run the water while brushing my teeth. I carpool to work. As soon as the mountain opens, I promise to ride the bus to and from town. I will do everything I can to make you happy again. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let it SNOW!!!!!!!!! I will continue to spread the word in the fight against the climate crisis. I will reduce, reuse and recycle MORE! Just a little snow!!!!
Thanks you very much!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is it off season or am I actually domesticating?

Yesterday I spent the whole day "nesting." It's the strangest thing to made. I'm not a nester. I'm NOT a house wife.

But Saturday, Josh and I woke up to SNOW! It was cold and overcast and snowing- but there was not enough yet to play in so the thought of being outside was less than appealing. We had a semi-productive morning: went to the ski swap and purchased $10 snow shoes! Then went to Nora's and had a delicious breakfast with Jeff. I took Josh to work and went to the Jackson Whole Grocer.

The Grocer is one of my favorite places to be. Which is funny, because I work there. I love the coffee, the soup and salad bar, the bakery section, the deli! But most of all, I just love the atmosphere. So I roll into the store, grab a basket and head for the Tonic Bar. I grab a cup of coffee and conclude that my day is going to be domestic! I ask Al, my favorite chef, what I should cook. I explain to him that I want to cook A LOT of something... THIS is preparing for the winter.

I leave the grocery store with $45 worth of groceries(before the employee discount), an Al original recipe for Chicken Pot Pie and my mom's recipe for "Husband's Delight" *which I changed to "Boyfriend's Delight... I'm not ready to go there yet!

Back at the homestead I unloaded groceries and started a fire. I started with the veggies for the Chicken Pot Pie, added some delicious chicken flavor better than bullion stuff to boiling water- thus creating the best chicken stock EVER.... added some roux (which I am proud to say I now know how to make!) added some pulled chicken and some thyme. Boiled. Simmered. Let sit. In the midst of this, I took all my veggie scraps from the c.p.p. and boiled them in water, resulting in vegetable stock for later. I also browned meat, boiled egg noodles, mixed cream cheese, sour cream and green onions together. layered with cheese in four single serving baking tins and the rest in one large tin. baked. While the casserole was cooking I separated the c.p.p. into six single-serving baking tins and wrapped to freeze. I put the rest of the pie filling into a pre-made pie shell.

First of all, it was all delicious! And now we have TEN in the freezer, for times when we are poor/snowed in/just plain lazy. And, the ENTIRE thing only cost $45... and that wasn't even buying thrifty! I went all out on some nice ingredients, as well as god staples like milk, 1/2 & 1/2 and PBR...

While food was in the oven, and before Josh got home from work I did all the dishes, four loads of laundry, vacuumed, showered and even shaved my legs!

I randomly have stints of domesticity... but there seems to be more of them and they are occurring more often. It's alarming. I think it may just be the off season... there's not a whole lot else to do. Maybe it's the condo... it's really nice, don't wanna mess it up. I fear, though, it may be the last option: I'm just getting old! I must, however, make sure that I maintain more hours outside than I do in my kitchen- we will be juuuust fine.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Outdoorsy VS girly?

Why does a girl have to choose?
Why can't a girl have it all?!?

Why do you have to sacrifice looking sexy while having drinks apres-ski just because you rode hard that day?
Why not spend the day on the hill looking like this:

and transform yourself into something more like this before hitting the bar?

The reason most girls don't bother, is they are under the assumption that it takes a lot (of work and product) to look beautiful and fresh, especially after a day of skiing. Well, I have discovered the secret. And I'm going to share it with you. The best part: all you need can fit into your jacket pockets (or your climbing bag, a dry box in your kayak, whatever your outdoor poison.)

All you need are four simple things:

you would be surprised how a simple application of facial lotion can give a refreshed glow to your face.
I use Weleda Almond Moisture Cream (sometimes I use Rose)

If you're concerned with blemishes or redness (I know my cheeks are always very rosy after a day in the snow) you can try a tinted moisturizer.

ORGANIC WEAR (found at Target)

I know that I can't be outdoors for any length of time without having chapstick with me. Nothing is sexier than smooth lips and you're much more likely to smile and allow your personality to shine through when your lips feel healthy and not chapped!
I have so many brands I cannot point you in a direction. I honestly buy whatever is organic and on sale.
I stick to non-tinted. But for a little extra "umph" you could go with tinted- Burt's Bees has some nice tinted chapsticks.

3. FOLDING COMB(optional)
I rarely actually use one, but when I need one, it's quite nice to have. If you find yourself without a comb it is just as easy to wet your hands slightly in the sink and run your fingers through your hair several times.

I prefer Khuumba Made "Water Goddess"
(no pictures of the flavor, but all Khumba Made roll-ons are in the same packaging- the Amber is nice too)

Now there is something to be said for planning ahead. If you're planning on having drinks after a day of skiing, wear your brightly colored thermal underwear.

I prefer Capilene 2 zip-necks. Not only does it keep you warm and dry as a while on the hill, but when stripped down to the base layer, you do not appear to be wearing your grandmother's thermals.
Base layers look super sexy paired with a vest. I have a Marmot Power Stretch vest. It's fleece lined so it's practical and it's fitted so it's fashionable.

Top it all off with a bandanna or scarf that matches!

The execution is crucial and luckily, quite simple! When you enter the warm, toasty bar after a long day of skiing, you simply tell your hottie ski-bum boyfriend/date that you would like a PBR (no need to be too fancy) and to please excuse you while you duck into the ladies' room. (sans date this is even easier, just got straight to restroom)...

Step 1: remove crucial items from pockets of your ski jacket and place them on the counter.
Step 2: remove outer wear
step 3: brush hair, WET hair with hands to maximize the removal of ponytail bump.
step 4: rub moisturizer on face, apply chapstick, pinch cheeks just a tad and apply roll on oils if desired
step 5: use whatever accessories you may have on your person (scarf for example) to ad a little something extra to your "outfit"

That's it! You now look fresh and hot!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ode to the Subbie

**this was written while still on the road, so the timeline is off**

As I lay here in a pool of gear in the back of my Subaru Outback waiting on Josh to get a few runs in on Loveland Pass, I must reflect on my vehicle's performance over the last week.

This is the first true road trip I've been on in my wagon. She's been to a couple of festivals, plenty of car camping trips and 100+ mile trips, but not until this week has she provided transportation, shelter, gear tote and overall comfort for an entire week.

Josh and I set off for an intented loop from Jackson, to Moab to Loveland Pass to Boulder and back home. We left Sunday (19th) evening with bikes, climbing gear, backpacking gear, skis, snowboard, boots, camping chairs, a cooler, clothes and a crash pad. We had the seats down and put as much gear as we could fit into the Sky Box. We left Jackson after dark and drove as far as we could. We eventually found some BLM land in Southern Wyoming and found an out-of the way spot to camp- in the car. See, as much as we love camping: setting up a tent just to sleep in, then take it down, repack it into it's tiny little bag and stuffing it back into the car can be a pain. SO, instead we just took the Backpacks and cooler out of the car, and set up camp in the back of the Subbie. With two inflated Thermarests and sleeping bags that zip together and a couple of fluffy pillows, the back is rather comfortable. Josh and I have it dialed in. In the morning, at the crack of dawn, we were semi-ready to get on the road. I had a lot more motivation to get to Salt Lake City than Josh did, so I drove while he slept in the back. After lunch in SLC, I was pooped, so Josh drove and I took a nap in the back. I woke up just as we were getting into the interesting part of Utah.

The landscape went from flat and vast to spiny, rocky and ancient. It looked like we were driving into the Jurassic period. Southern Utah is beautiful. Unfortunately we were pulling into the desert as the sun was setting, so we pulled off the Interstate on exit 131 and drove through the San Rafael Swell towards Goblin Valley. We were deep in BLM land, so it was quite simple for us to find a nice camp site and catch some shut eye. We were able to find an actual camp site with a fire pit and what seemed to be a pretty nice view, but it was dark, and we were lazy, so car camping won out again. This time around, we discovered that if we set the cooler just outside the door, we could use it as a "bedside table" and enjoy a coldbeer before going to sleep.

We woke up early the next morning, to realize that we were about to get rained on. Quicky-packed the Subaru and headed out just before the rain hit. We high-tailed it to Moab, with the Subaru all disheveled and starting to smell a little like feet. The rain slacked off when we got to Moab, so we decided to put my All-parks pass to work (For $80 a year, you can visit every National Park in the Country- a Teton-Yellowstone is $50, so it's a pretty good deal) and go to Arches. The rain held off long enough for us to see one "gaper" set of arches and explore two off the beaten path.

The bottom dropped off on us so we raced to the Subaru for shelter. Once in the haven of our campsite on wheels, we were able to dry off a tad before heading into Moab. We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant, where the power went out on us. (Apparently Moab is not built for rain.)

While in Moab, we went to a gear shop to find out some insider information about the area. We bought a harness for Josh and a book on slot canyon exploration. We headed back up the interstate towards Robber's Roost. Just outside of Moab, but before you get into the cast Robber's Roost area, there is a little town called Green River. Green River had quite a selection of hotels, and although the Subbie has proven herself comfy and functional, the idea of being able to spread out a bit and dip in a hot tub was awfully appealing. So we stayed at the best Best Western I've ever stayed in!

After an overnight re-coop Josh and I headed out for the desert! Robber's Roost is an area located between the Colorado River, Green River and the Dirty Devil River about an hour north-west of Moab, Utah. We turned off I-80 onto Hwy 24 and drove about 20 miles west. We turned off on a ranch road and headed 55 miles back into the plateau. As we were driving, we consulted the map over and over again because it just didn't seem that there would be any kind of canyons in this vast open space. Finally, the guide book lead us to a spring, and we were supposed to look for some signatures on a wall, then we would find the mouth of the canyon.

Our first Canyoneering experience was a good one.

We got back to the car with plenty of time to travel 70 miles to the San Rafael Swell before we slept. Again, we slept in the car and woke up to a beautiful day in the desert...

We set off for Music Canyon. After traveling about two miles down Music Canyon, we realized that this canyon was not nearly as interesting as the one we had found the day before, so we turned around and headed for another spot just a few miles away. We still never found the one in the book, but we did stumble across a pretty cool drainage that we followed for about three miles before we had to turn around at 5:30 (did NOT want to get stuck in the desert away from the car after dark).

Josh was pretty upset when I made him turn around...

But when we got back to the car just in time to crack a PBR at sunset, he was pretty happy

From the San Rafael Swell we headed back to civilization. I drove well into the night while Josh slept. I pulled over at a rest stop in Rifle, CO around midnight, slept for a few hours then got up and drove to Loveland Pass.

All-in-All the Subaru has been WONDERFUL to us! She never complained when we drove her through treacherous terrain, she sipped gas when we needed her to conserve and kept up when we needed to trek on! She deserves a bath and a good detailing after her trip to the dessert!!