Skiing using a carved turn
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Monday February 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm)

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Tristan Hechtel carving turns in Vail’s China Bowl

I often teach carving turns in my ski lessons. In this post,  I want to summarize some basic steps to making a carved turn.

1. The skis should be about hip width apart.

2. Keep the hands forward.
3. Roll the skis onto their inside (uphill) edge by tilting both knees (legs) and hip slightly uphill  (angulation).

4. After the modern shaped ski is tilted on edge and weighted, once it’s moving downhill the ski automatically turns.

I found a video on UTube of a carving lesson by an Austrian skier, Klaus Mair. I’m posting this link until I get a video camera and can shoot my own!

Note in the photo of Tristan:

His hands are forward.

His skis are more than hip width apart. When skiing very fast, or on steeper terrain, the skis move further apart.

His lower legs are parallel, resulting in the same edge angle for both skis.

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Tristan carving turns at Vail

When I saw the Austrian ski video for the first time today, I was happy that he said the same thing I’ve been telling my students:  One must start with the correct stance (body position), keep the upper body quiet, and have a slightly countered stance.

I hope this helps you understand what I’ve been saying while on the slopes!

Blue Bird ski days at A-Basin
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Saturday January 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm)

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Looking at the East Wall from top of Palavacchini

Sun and perfect weather made for great skiing the last few days at Arapahoe Basin. We skied the Montezuma Bowl, which opened the earliest ever, and the East Wall.
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View toward East Wall

The avalanches in the photo  were triggered by ski patrol “bombs” shot by a large grenade launcher near the base of the ski lift. Patrol bombs the slopes after each large storm to trigger avalanches before the skiers trigger them.

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Top of Montezuma Bowl

It had been cold overnight, so we skied the sunnier, south-facing Montezuma Bowl in the morning. Montezuma Bowl can now be entered from two places - the top of the Lenawee Mountain lift, by heading left and hiking slightly uphill to the Montezuma Bowl ‘Zuma’ lift, which is the main access to the blue runs, Larkspur and Columbine.

Alternatively, from the top of the Norway lift, traverse right past the ski patrol cabin to an entrance that leads along the Zuma cornice to various double black runs down the chutes. We skied ‘Schauffler’, the fourth chute we reached. After a steep, tricky entrance, the chute is fairly easy skiing - easier than many of the alleys on the front side and much, much easier than the North Pole chutes.

I think A-Basin needs to improve their rating system at the high end, because if someone, after skiing the Zuma cornice gulleys then heads off to ski the front side alleys (like Waterfall, not on the map, but I’ve skied it), they could get into trouble.

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Schauffler  - quite wide, and not too steep

North Pole hiking terrain remains closed, until more snow fills in the rocks. I skied two of the chutes a few years ago, and found them much steeper, narrower, and scarier than anything I’ve yet skied in the Montezuma Bowl, though I haven’t yet skied the tree runs at the far end (Winning Card, etc.).

International Snow Sculpture Championships, Breckenridge
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado, Canada and PNW (Thursday January 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm)


2009 1st place  by Team Canada, Yukon

“Family Reunion”  - elders dance and swirl

This week, teams from all over the world are carving large blocks of ice into fabulous shapes this week as part of the 21st annual Budweiser Snow Sculpture Championships.

Judging will take place on Saturday, January 29, and the snow sculptures will remian until February 6.


2010 winner by Team Lithuania


2008 winner by Team China

“Hunting in Winter”

For more images see:

2009 sculptures

2010 sculptures

Blizzard dumps snow in Summit county, vail
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Tuesday January 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm)

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Tenmile Range in clouds

Breckenridge and Vail scored in the latest storm to hit Colorado.
New snow:

Breckenridge           26″ last 24 hours

Copper Mountain     17 “  last 24 hours

Loveland                 16 ” last 24 hours

Vail                         16″ last 24 hours

With all this abundant snow centered on Breckenridge, you’d think nearby resorts would get a reasonable amount of snowfall.

But Beaver Creek reports only 4″; Steamboat 3″; and Wolf Creek, usually the epicenter of big snow, received no snow at all from this storm.

You know where to head now!

Cold winter- Lake Dillon freezes over
Posted by sibylle in skiing, ice, Colorado (Thursday January 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm)

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Dec. 24 -Steam still rising from Lake Dillon

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sunrise Dec. 30 - Lake Dillon is partly frozen

Lake Dillon generally freezes over between Christmas and New Years, and is a few days behind schedule this year.  Apparently, this is the latest freeze in 10 years.
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Jan. 5 - Lake frozen and ice covered with snow

However, the arctic temperatures we endured the end of December made quick work of any remaining water, and by early January a coat of ice fully covered the the lake.

It’ll be a few more days before it’s safe for ice boating, ice fishing, and other recreation on the lake’s surface.

However, the lake in Georgetown freezes earlier (it’s smaller and not as deep), and is open not only to ice fishing, but to ice racing – that’s racing jeeps and other vehicles — on the lake ice.

The next races will take place in Georgetown on January 15th & 16th.

skiing Vail and Keystone
Posted by sibylle in Colorado (Tuesday January 4, 2011 at 10:50 am)

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Sunrise over Buffalo and the Gore Range

Snow has been falling steadily this winter, resulting in well above average snowpack and increased lodging reservations for January 2011.

We went KAT skiing (or CAT skiing) in Independence Bowl with  knee to thigh-deep powder before Christmas. A snowcat takes a number of skiers to the top of the bowls, at 12,000 feet. My trip was amazing -  on a “work” day as part of my job! We had training for ski instructors, and one of our runs was in  the back bowls.

Days like this I think I’ve got one of the best jobs around — I guess heli-ski guides could offer competition.

After Christmas, I took private clients to Vail’s Back Bowls. We skied freshly-groomed runs on China Bowl and every lift in Blue Sky Basin.

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The photo above shows China Bowl - right after Christmas - with great snow, and amazingly empty.

We were speculating why it was so uncrowded, and concluded that perhaps the storms in the east prevented people from flying to Colorado.

Today is another gorgeous bluebird day  - sunny, in the 20s.

Happy 2011!
Posted by sibylle in utah, skiing, Colorado, Idaho, Canada and PNW (Saturday January 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm)

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I hope you all had a great 2010, and wish you an even better 2011  



In March, Tristan and I drove to Moab to climb. It rained when we arrived, but the next day dawned sunny, so we headed for the Fisher Tower area, where we climbed  small towers (it was still quite cold, with snow on the ground).


Next we headed to Indian Creek and climbed Sunflower Tower in the Bridger Jack Mesa – a gorgeous day and wonderful climb.


In April, I headed to Indian Creek and met Andrew from South Africa. Andrew and I headed off to climb more towers. First, we had a perfect day on Thumbelina. Sunny, blue sky, warm, great views, good climbing and loads of fun.  Next, we headed for North Sixshooter. It was colder, and very windy, but still a great climb.


In May, Andrew, Niko, and Olek and I hiked in to Dark Angel in Arches, where a huge lightning storm engulfed us as we were near the top. When Andrew started rappelling, a blast of lightning “splash” slammed me on the helmet. Olek and Niko wisely rappelled from the top of the first pitch, foregoing the summit! Olek and I next climbed the Nuns in Castle Valley, while Niko and Andrew climbed a route on the Priest.


We squeezed in a short trip to City of Rocks, Idaho with Andrew and Lauren.

In July, I hooked up in the Sawtooths with Ryan. We hiked in to the Elephant’s Perch and climbed two excellent routes.


From Idaho, I drove to Squamish Chief, one of my favorite places in the world. Jon and I climbed a few short routes; June and I climbed on the Apron; and Ian and I climbed Angel’s Crest.


Andy Cairns from N. Vancouver and I climbed a different short routes and hiked, with June, the most beautiful trail in to Elfin Lakes.


On the way return home I squeezed in a few days at City of Rocks; then flew to San Francisco to help my mother. In October I enjoyed a quick trip to Indian Creek.

 Meanwhile, Tristan decided to take a leave of absence from college in order to ski race with Team Summit.

In Moab, I got a message from Tristan’s ski race coach that he’d broken his leg and was in the hospital.

I drove really fast and arrived as he was waking after surgery to place a titanium rod in his tibia, from the knee to the ankle. Sadly, his ski-racing career is done for the season.


He’s now walking – slowly, and not far. The surgeon says he will recover completely. We’re waiting to hear whether or not he can race next year.


I’m planning to meet June in April and we’ll go on a climbing trip to Moab, Red Rocks, and more. I’m meeting Andy in late July, and we plan to climb on the Elephant’s Perch.


Enjoy your 2011 as much as I know we will!




Top Extreme Sports: Climbing Blog





Colorado snowpack 135% of average … and growing
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Thursday December 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm)

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Sunrise, Lake Dillon and Tenmile Range

As I write, the blizzard outside is heaping snow up on my windows. The radio announced the recent snowpack levels - over 130% of average. Southern Colorado is enjoying even more of our white gold -

The Gunnison River basin ranges between 140 - 150%.

Larammie and North Platte river basins from 150 - 160%

Yampa and white River basins  - from 146 to 151%

Skiing has been good, and will undoubtedly get better.

German Christmas books again
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Germany, Europe, Colorado (Tuesday December 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm)

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In Germany, instead of reindeer pulling  the sled in which Santa rides, he walks through the night, an angel by his side. He carries the toys in a patched sack, while hiking through deep snow.

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On Christmas eve, December 24, the Christ child (Christkind, or Christkindl in Bavarian) brings presents for the children.

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The day after Christmas, the children  play outside, skating, sledding and trying their new skis.

I’ve definitely played outside most days on, and  after Christmas, on nordic or alpine skis!

When Tristan was growing up, I took Christmas day off work (teaching ski lessons) to ski with the family at Vail or Beaver Creek.

This year, Tristan has a broken leg, but we hope that he can try double-poling on the nordic track in Frisco on New Year’s Day.

Our German Christmas books
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography, skiing, Germany, Colorado (Sunday December 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm)

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Der Kinder Weihnachtszeit

translates, roughly, as “the Children’s Christmas”

I grew up (near Stuttgart) with this book, and have read it to my son, now 20, since he was one year old.

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In Germany, Sankt Nikolaus (Santa Claus) comes on December 6 (Nikolaustag - Santa’s day) to bring children treats and goodies. Above, he first visits the animals of the forest to bring them their Christmas treats.

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Above, the children are making Christmas presents for their parents and siblings. Fritz is painting a picture for them; Grete knits a present. As a child in Germany, I learned to knit - we had handicrafts in school starting in 1st grade, and I started with making potholders. Soon, we advanced to socks, and when I was in my teens, I knitted sweaters for myself and friends.

That was the Germany of my childhood. I’ve lived in the US for a long time now, and don’t know if today children in Germany still make things for their family, or if that is a thing of the past.

When we immigrated to the United States, my Grandmother still kitted sweaters for me, and socks for my father. She baked our bread, and I learned to sew my own clothes.

Christmas makes me nostalgic for this simple childhood time, and I read my German children’s books aloud with my son. I’ll have to ask my cousins what Christmas is like in Germany today. One cousin still knits socks - she’s given several pair to my mother!

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