Monday, February 15, 2010


Day two of a hut trip always starts off slow but the goal of the mornings efforts is to get outside on the snow. We first trek up the ridge line above the hut and then descend knee deep powder covered slopes into a snow filled meadow, skiing as far as we can go before entering the trees. We skin up and ascend back up the slope to a saddle on the ridge where we repeat the process a few more times. Skiing the fresh snow was heavenly. Down through the trees and back to the hut for lunch, after climbing the steep slope to reach the ridge on which it sat. The drinking and dancing late into the previous night caught up to me and I felt drained on the climb up. Lunch was followed by a snooze in an effort to regain some energy.

I went out later in the afternoon to ski the powder just outside the hut door on the south facing slope. By then the sky clouded over and the snow began coming down again. The snow was perfect, the wooping and hollering being simple expressions of the joy making smooth turns amidst the trees. Two runs and the sky was beginning to darken as evening approached. We could have done another 10 runs without exhausting the untracked powder available to us on that slope alone. Another night of fine food and conversation. Most people managed to stay up until 10 PM before going to bed. A decision was made that evening to try and get this same hut next year because of the quality of the snow and extraordinary skiing around the hut.

Friday morning after breakfast was spent preparing for the return trip to the Vail valley and our parked vehicles. Gear was stuffed back into the packs and the hut cleaned in preparation for the next group of lucky people to stay for the weekend. Down we went through the forest, carving turns in the powder as we descended to the floor of the Middle Creek valley below. The fearsome "Wall" was just another slope that we carved new turns in, this time wishing it went on for a bit longer. The lower elevation slopes had less new snow and were crusted from the freeze/thaw due to the slightly warmer temps found below. Skiing down the trail was fun and fast, leg muscles burning from having to maintain control. In less than 3 hours we were back at the vehicles, goodbyes exchanged with promises to do it again and we were back on the road. I was back home by mid afternoon.

Saturday was spent making five copies of my new block print. After several hours and more than halfway through the process, I was dissatisfied with one of the colors used and junked the work I had already completed. Sunday was spent trying again and I was very satisfied with the result. Monday, a holiday was also spent printing, but using a different shade of blue as the primary color, also yielding a very satisfying result. More prints will be run next weekend after which it's time to begin designing and preparing for the next block print.

The winter Olympics are happening and so the TV is glued to the channel broadcasting the event. Watching the athletes perform is a necessity while inking and hand printing the carved blocks, the entire process being mind numbingly boring but which still requires that I pay attention to what and how its done.

Since I was pleased with the results of the block print Sunday night, I decided I had to celebrate with some music outside on the truck stereo. With the truck door wide open and stereo cranked up, I chose to first play Van Halen's May 18, 1978 live show at the Apollo Theater in Glasgow, Scotland. A good audience recording of a classic 1978 set list. Although I had a little difficulty understanding Dave rapping with the audience, I could easily guess what it was he said since it varied little from show to show. In the beginning of the show, Michael's bass was not working and the band had to stall until the problem was fixed. It definitely got me rocking, stamping out a patch of ground in the fresh snow that had fallen earlier in the day.

Train for a lifetime
Lure of the Olympians
Just for a moment

Measured in minutes
The pinnacle of their lives
Lasting disappointment

Download it here:

Next up on the truck stereo was Echo & The Bunnymen and their live performance at the Hall Des Foires in Liege, Belgium on August 12, 1984 during the Inside Festival. Another good audience recording, although the people standing around the taper were talking loudly throughout the entire show. Wish I could have understood what they said. By the time I popped in the CD, the cigar/tequila combination had me drifting through space, to be led by Bunnymen to that special place their music always sends me. Even though they sky had cleared and it was frigid outside, I took no notice and continued dancing into the night to a set list of their best and most enduring songs, many of which continue to be played by the band during live shows they perform today.

Back inside the house after midnight, finding myself turning on the TV to watch figure skaters perform in Vancouver. I must have fallen asleep because Mira woke me up and I knew it was time to make it upstairs to bed. Thank goodness the next day was a holiday so that I could sleep late into the morning.

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