GoPro Helmet Cam: Eldora Salto Glades

Took out a GoPro cam for the first time at Eldora and was impressed. Pretty harsh environment and it performed well. Went down hard a couple of times and never popped off. The wide angle distorts a bit making the steeps flatter etc but gets in a big picture with is more than worth the trade off in distortion. Sound record quality is hampered by the waterproof case but the sounds can take a back seat to the video. Smaller and lighter than my waterproof digital still cam, I’m sure I will be bringing this along on many missions…

It’s North Pole Season!

Enroute to the North Pole at ABasin

Enroute to the North Pole at ABasin

Spring is showing in Boulder, daffodils in bloom and sandals and shorts all over the Perl Street Mall. Every ski resort in Colorado is closed, save one. And with the holiday season mostly past and snow starting to fade, children no longer dream of visiting the North Pole.
Oh but how I do dream of it, and here’s how it goes:
You see a landscape completely blanketed in snow, the air as well is full of white. The only dark shapes are the cliff bands and rock exposures that are too steep and sheer for the snow to stick. There is almost no-one else around, most would cringe at the idea of being out in weather like this. Then you hear the words uttered with reverence, “The North Pole is Open”.
Its usually closed most of the year. Conditions have to be just right, and at this time of year, that happens and hopefully happens often!
Ahhhh yes, thankfully this is not a dream, its ABasin, which has the peculiar aspect of being open longer and later than any other resort in CO with some of the steepest gnarliest runs being open only in late spring. The weather patterns change this time of year and upslope or North-East fronts run through and can leave massive amounts of snow on the East Face of ABasin where the North Pole can be found. Just the hike up is amazing. For those who know, its that time of year!

Colorado Upslope, Or “When it Smells Like Snow”.

Living near Boulder Colorado I’ve gotten used to hearing the expression “It sure Smells Like Snow” from the fall through the winter and into the spring.
The reason why is called “Upslope” and when we have upslope conditions we often get pounded with new snow along the front range. The reason people say “It Smells Like Snow” is that there are huge Pig Farms east of Boulder towards Greely and eastern parts of Colorado, and during real upslope conditions the air starts to stink a little bit! Upslope conditions exist when surface air flow forces a given parcel of air uphill in our case from the East toward the West. When this air parcel travels back uphill, the ambient pressure decreases, because pressure always decreases with altitude in any fluid. Look up your Gas Laws. In a hurry, you’ll see that if the ambient pressure is lower than that of the parcel’s, the volume of the parcel must increase, and then the temperature must decrease so the parcel can assume the same pressure as its environment. The parcel is introduced into a new lower pressure. It wants to be at that pressure too, but in order to that, it must cool down. In nerd-ease, this is called adiabatic expansion. In the winter this equals a Big Powder Day.
In the Animation above you can see what a winter upslope condition looks like on radar. Notice how you can see the pattern of the weather moving counter clockwise backing into the Rockies. Time to get the board out!

Wonder of the Waters

Giant Wrasse
It was my extreme pleasure to get to visit the Great Barrier Reef this summer with my lovely wife and daughter. I can not craft the words to describe the beauty of this place or the intensity of this experience. We stayed right on the reef at Green Island Resort which was fantastic. I am hesitant to commit to go somewhere for several days where there is only one resort and you have no alternatives if things don’t work out, but at Green Island every expectation was exceeded. This meant we could fully take in and enjoy our visit to the Reef.
I am truly glad that my sweet daughter was able to see this Greatest of All Reefs while it still… exists. Pictured above, a giant wrasse seen just inside the outer reef. Truly deserving of the title as one of the “Wonders of the World”.

Powder Days and Like-Minds

THIS must be the SPOT
Spent a great day a Keystone snowboarding through some fresh powder. My friend said he had found “this awesome shelter in the unpatrolled tress of North Mountain, we should try to find it again”. Seemed like a good idea, see if he could replay his inner GPS. I brought a Garmin GPS to get the position if we found it for real.
The first run we missed it by a mere 50 yards, it took a few tries but we were in fact able to locate this lean-to. We broke out our foods and stuff inside around mid-day. It was hilarious the two groups who came by, obviously knew of the spot, obviously of-the-same-mind. It should not be surprising to meet folks like yourself when you share likes, dislikes, personality disorders, or whatever. Check out the spot in Google Earth here.