ExtraHyperActive: Skiing
Showing posts with label Skiing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skiing. Show all posts

Ski AND Surf Lake Tahoe

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Surfing Lake Tahoe

Recently, I read it somewhere that Lake Tahoe had been ranked the No. 1 ski destination for the 2010-2011 season. I can't comment on that since I've never been to Lake Tahoe, but can say one thing: if I ever make it there it's not going to be ( just ) skiing...

When The Ski Season Is Over : 8 Snow Activities To Do At Your Local Ski Area

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Just because the lifts stopped running, doesn't mean the snow season is over. Well into the spring, there is still plenty of snow in the mountains, crowds are gone, and the weather and the snow conditions are sometimes better than during the winter months.

Below are 8 snow activities that you can do at your local ski area :

Why You Shouldn't Teach Your Kids How To Ski/Snowboard

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In my previous post "Introduce Your Kids To The Joy Of Skiing",  I wrote how many parents turn their kids off from learning how to ski/snowboard by being too pushy or over-enthusiastic. I mentioned that sometimes they forget that while it is important to learn a skill, it's even more important to make it fun and enjoyable experience.

The point of being on the mountain at a young age is about being in an outdoor environment, wearing ski gear, and getting comfortable with sliding on snow.


While I want to make sure that whenever my son learns something new, he's having fun,  I also want to ensure he learns how to do it right from the start.

Learn Backcountry Basics At Alpental, WA For Free

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If you are an avid backcountry traveller, you know that you must have "the standard " avalanche gear: beacon, probe and a shovel. But unfortunately, there are lots of people who think that having the right gear is all they need to venture beyond ski area boundaries. But just like the great American writer Mark Twain once said, "Knowledge without experience is just information".

Why Spring Is The Best Time To Learn To Ski/Snowboard

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With warm sunny days and soft snow, spring is the best time of the year to learn how to ski or snowboard. Skiing in the springtime is an altered state. Down jackets and bulky bibs give way to vests, t-shirts and shorts. Ski areas get packed with more sun soakers that with actual skiers/boarders. Skiing becomes a pursuit of pleasure rather than a test of technique.

But it's not just the weather that makes this time of the year perfect for skiing/snowboarding. Here are a few reasons to consider spring the time to start a new hobby :

Snowbiking At Hoodoo Ski Resort In Oregon

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Move aside skiing and snowboarding, a new and exciting winter sport is coming to the ski slopes around the country  - snowbiking !

When I heard about snowbiking at Hoodoo Ski area in Oregon, I knew I'd have to give it a try ! It just looked so much fun ! It's like mountain biking in winter. And even though Hoodoo ski area is just a few hours away from Seattle, I just couldn't find time to make it down there. And my first introduction to snowbiking ( or ski-biking as it's sometimes called )  happend at Vail resort in Colorado.

KiteWing - An Awesome Toy For All Board Sports

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If you've been following this blog, you know that being ExtraHyperActive, I love all types of boards sports : snowboarding, surfing, longboarding, windsurfing, skimboarding... You also know that a few years ago I started doing kiteboarding and kite landboarding. All these boardsports are extremely fun, and offer something for everyone. But I never stop looking for more ways to challenge myself, have fun, and create unforgettable experiences !

Recently I came came across a pretty awesome toy that can be used with any board, and more !





Kitewing (aka Skimbat) is a wing shaped kite. Many people call it “the wing” for short, just because of its shape.

Snowskates vs. Snowdecks Videos

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"Discovering" snowskating for myself was the best part of this winter. Snowskating is about having fun, challenging yourself in a new way, being affordable, and getting away from the elitism of snowboarding.

Snowskating is growing in popularity, and it seems that more people are looking for new ways to goof around on snow.

But being a relativity "new snowsport", it's little known to general public. Even the leading snowskate manufacturing companies like Burton and Ambition don't seem to agree on the names for their inventions.

Her are two videos that will give you a better understanding the difference between snowdecks and bi-level  snowskates:

Introduce Your Kids To The Joy Of Skiing

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Who doesn't want to see his child happy ? We all want the same things for our kids. We want them to grow up to love and be loved, to follow their dreams, to find success. Mostly, though, we want them to be happy.

For me, there is no better reward than watching my kid's eyes shining from the joy of skiing ! Skiing is a great sport that requires confidence, skills, desire, lessons, practice and proper judgement.

We all know first impressions count and nowhere is that more important than on the snowfield. If your child's first memory of skiing is being wet, cold, lonely and miserable, it will leave an indelible impression and could turn them off the sport for life.

Free Skiing In The Urban Ruins Of Industrial Russia

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The concrete and steel scaffolding of cities has long provided a playground for skateboarders, parkourists, stunt cyclists, and now skiers.

The hardcore Finnish free-ski stylists of the group Nipwitz have stormed the urban landscapes of Northern and Eastern Europe and made them into an insane and fabulous laboratory for their particular brand of renegade sport.

Their most recent video shows a trip that they made to Russia’s Murmansk Oblast, a bizarre and contradictory universe of pristine mountains and industrial wasteland beyond the Arctic Circle.

“One of the first things we noticed here,” says one of the group in idiosyncratic English, “was the surreal contrast between the beautiful Arctic nature and the rottening cityscapes that have suffered from decades of neglection.” Some areas are so polluted that trees can no longer grow there.

In the remote city of Kandalaksha, the Nipwitz crew soars through windows of abandoned buildings, turns high concrete walls into half-pipes, slides down snow-packed staircases, survives an encounter with a knife-wielding man in an army uniform, and gives bored local teenagers something to talk about for many years to come.



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What Is Snowbiking ?

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I was checking out Hoodoo.com ( Oregon's ski resort ) to find some information about airboarding ( something that I'd like to try one day ), but instead, I came across another fun winter activity that they offer - snowbiking ( or as some call it ski-biking ).

Multisport Adventures : Ski-Raft-aineering

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I am a huge fan of multisport adventures, action packed weekends, and destinations that offer a variety of outdoor opportunities. Our state has an abundance of places where you can hike in the morning, climb in the afternoon , and finish your day with a relaxing sunset paddle.

Recently, I came across a post on "the Mountain Murmur " blog about Forrest McCarthy and his friends, who had been pioneering a " new outdoor sport ".

They combine paddling the lightweight rafts with multi-day climbing or hiking excursions for a rugged, hybrid adventure he and his mates call - “ski raft-aineering.”

Here is a video of them skiing into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness with their boats on their backs, and floating 75 miles down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River ( Idaho’s most famous rafting river) in seven days :

Tips On Climbing Mt Adams

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Mount Adams, situated in the eastern Cascade range, east of Mount St Helens and north of Mount Hood, is the second most massive and the third tallest volcano in the Cascade range. Popular among hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general, Mt Adams is accessible year round, and visited by folks from both states - Washington and Oregon.


During summer, Mt Adams becomes a huge attraction to many "wannabe" mountaineers and ski bums. There are several climbing routes on the mountain, ranging from the "non-technical" South Climb, to highly technical routes that require advance skill, experience, and special equipment.

Because  the South Spur Route (aka South Climb, South Side, or South Rib), which initially follows the South Climb Trail #183 is crevasse-free, it provides one of the easier climbing routes and nicest ski runs on any of the northern Cascade volcanoes.

Recently, I spent 3 gorgeous days exploring the mountain, and below I'd like to share a few tips that I couldn't find answers for when I was researching my trip :


-  Driving


12 mile dirt road to the trailhead is a killer. Though I managed to get there in my Geo Metro, I highly recommend to drive something more "outdoorsy" ( like Subaru or Jeep ). On the way up, the road gets pretty narrow and sketchy. Exposed slopes make it hard and dangerous for two vehicles to pass by.

- Summer Crowds

As mentioned above, Mt Adams is very popular among hikers/climbers/skiers. During the weekend I was there, a ranger told me there were close to 300 people at the trailhead. Though when I made it to the trailhead, I could easily find a spot right by the trail.
Which brings me to another tip - don't waste your time talking to the rangers at the station in Trout Lake. Instead, talk to people who just came down from the mountain. They will be able to provide the most updated information.

- Camping At The Trailhead

Just like at Mt St Helens, you can camp right by the trail. If it does get overcrowded, you can always find space/parking/camping at the bottom of the dirt road or at Morrison Creek trailhead.

- Navigation/Trail Finding


I don't provide the description of the trail ( cause you can easily find it online ), but can definitely say its easy to follow the trail all the way to the top. So you don't have to have any special navigation/backcountry skills to climb Mt Adams....

...BUT

- Be Prepared

Weather on Mt Adams can change rapidly. Sudden snowstorms can occur above 6,000 feet elevation at any month of the year. Climbers should always prepare for bad weather and an extended stay on the mountain. I was blessed with two gorgeous sunny days on the mountain, when on the morning of my departure I woke up in pouring rain and complete whiteout.


- Stay Hydrated

Though I was told about a creek at Lunch Counter, I couldn't find one. I was glad I had my trusted JetBoil, and the old school "snow melting" was a breeze. If you would have to melt snow for a bigger group, you'd probably need a water filter as well.

- Gear

Crampons Or Micro-Spikes ? Ice axe Or Ski poles ? Rope ?

It was my second time trying out my basic ski mountaineering/ randonee gear ( skis with special bindings and skins ). I was concerned about the steep slopes, and wasn't sure I'd be able to skin up all the way to the top.
I ended up walking the majority of the route in my ski boots. But in reality, while crampons are highly recommended, you can use micro-spikes or a nice pair of hiking/mountaineering boots with aggressive treads.
You will need ice axe if you're planning chute glissading.
A rope can be very handy for a big group in case of a whiteout.

- To Ski Or Not To Ski


I was told Mt Adams was a great place for skiing in the summer. Honestly, it wasn't exactly what I experienced.
Late in the season ( I did it in late July ), a huge part of the mountain is snow free. And the portion from Lunch Counter to false summit ( (Piker's Peak) holds a consistent 25-30 degree pitch for over 2500 vertical ft. Which makes "skinning up" hard to impossible. So a big portion of the climb I did in my ski boots.

All in all, it was a great adventure ! Climbing/skiing Mt Adams has been on my Bucket List for a few years now. This post is another proof that goal setting is the way to make your dreams come true !

Ski-diving in Andorra.

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Andorra is an anomaly in Europe, a small independent state of little more than thirty villages and a capital, tucked away in the Pyrenees. Winter tourism is big business for this principality. As you drive north south or east west through Andorra during the months of December, January, February, March and April it is obvious this whole country is one big ski resort with two main ski areas – Grandvalira and Vallnord.



This year, scuba diving at more than 2000 metres altitude is the latest trend in Vallnord. The activity combines skiing down to a frozen lake or pool then scuba diving under the ice.

There are two options: a "baptism" for beginners and technical diving for qualified divers. Once the dive has finished, the descent continues through the mountains of Arcalis.



The diving baptisms are a 12-metre dive in La Canaleta pool (2060m) which is complete with an artificial dam to produce snow and ice. This dive is aimed at beginners over the age of 14 and lasts for 15 to 20 minutes and costs €75 per person.

This beginners' dive consists of a descent via a blue slope, wearing the special equipment provided by the organisation, and a submersion under the waters with the supervision of an instructor.




So, next time you are in southwestern Europe ( that's where the Principality of Andorra ( the official name) is located (bordered by Spain and France )), stop by for a quick deep under the ice, followed by skiing in one of Europe's most picturesque places.

Hive Snowshoes Combine Snowshoeing And Skiing

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If you're new to snowshoeing and are ready to buy your first pair, you might get overwhelmed by all the brands, types, and styles. When I got introduced to this popular winter activity 4 years ago, and figured out what had worked for me, I tried to make it easier for my readers to make a choice by writing a short post on how to chose your snowshoes.

During my last snowshoe outing with EverGreen Escapes I used a pair of MSR Evo Snowshoes

Light, durable, and unisex,they also have good cleats that are equally suited to backcountry travel and groomed trails. Climbing the somewhat steep slopes of the Paradise Valley was easy and enjoyable. But on the way down I really envied skiers and snowboarders blasting past us on their split boards and BC skis.

Recently, I read about one German company that had designed a unique pair of snowshoes that double as a sort of short ski or glider.
This product is a new type of winter sports products - a reinterpretation and development of the traditional snowshoe.It combines hiking on a mountain with the subsequent “drive-down” in one product. Link
While this snowshoes won't exactly tackle the same range of terrain that a pair of big mountain skis would, they will allow you to hike uphill and then glide back down rather than stumbling your way down step by step.




Are You Proud Of Your Job?

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It's Monday morning... time to go to work...

Are you proud of the job you do ? Does it make you happy ?

"It pays the bills" - is it the only reason you do your job ?

I take a lot of pride in my weekend job... It's not much, it doesn't pay much, but it makes me extremely happy...


Sometimes I wish I Was A Ski Bum

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For the past 4 years I've been reading and following many people who decided to dedicate their lives to pursue their dreams. Their stories are a true inspiration for me. Every time I read or watch such a story, I wish I could find that courage, passion, and dedication in me.

 Recently, I came across a beautiful video about a group of friends traveling in tiny RV-style hand built home visiting the great ski areas across North America. They took the house all over the western United States and into Canada, over 9000 miles. Below is an amazing video that shows how the project started and how the timy house was built.



Last year, on my Bucket List I added " Buy a trailer and live for at least 2 months as a "digital nomad". This video inspired me to start a new category "Trailer/Campers/Simple Living" where I will post stories and pictures of people who decided to challenge norms, do what they love in the outdoors, and enjoy life !

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Skiing the Hurricane Ridge: Part III

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After spending a glorious morning surfing at Hobuck Beach I headed out to the Hurricane Ridge ski area. Though I visited Hurricane Ridge a couple years ago, I didn't have a chance to do anything other than just taking a few pictures. And that's what most people would do - drive for 17 miles from Port Angeles just to take a few pics, go for a short stroll in the snow, have lunch, and head back out.


If you're visiting the area, and all you have is just a few hours, I highly recommend to make a trip to the Hurricane Ridge ! It's so beautiful there !

Skiing at every ski area in Washington state has been on my Bucket List for the past couple years, and I really hoped to add Hurricane Ridge to my list this year. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions ( the road had been closed for a couple weeks ) and my schedule I was a week late.

Instead, I went "ski/alpine touring".


I haven't had a chance to write about my new "hobby" yet, but in short - for alpine touring you use your "regular" downhill skis with specially designed binding set-up ( AT/randonee bindings ) that allows the heel to free up for climbing and accessing backcountry. Then, the heel can "lock in", and the skis can be skied as normal alpine gear. To "walk uphill" on your skis, you use skins - removable pieces of nylon fabric whose nap runs at an oblique angle, allowing the ski to glide forward, but not back.

Avalanche danger was very high at the time of my visit, and I didn't want just "to wonder into backcountry".

As my trusted and favorite source I used " Snowshoe Routes Washington " , a great book for all skill levels, from beginner to experienced mountaineer.

I chose a relatively easy, yet very rewarding " Hurricane Hill " hike. It starts right behind the lodge, the trail is very used and thus easy to follow. I have to mention that for some ( inexperienced ) snowshoers the trail might get a bit tricky. Exposed ridgeline, two avalanche chutes, and knife-edged ridge crest might be more than you bargained for.

Even if the top isn't reached, the views are spectacular all along the trail. At the top you're rewarded with 360 degree spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Canada's Vancouver Island, upper Puget Sound, with Mount Baker rearing its icy head beyond, Olympus and Mt Angeles.

The way down was a breeze, and I was back to my car before closing time.

I wish I could just pass out in my car, but one thing that sucks about the Hurricane Ridge is that they close at dusk ( also, keep in mind that they open the gate at 8 am, and the lodge at 9 am, so it doesn't make sense to go there very early in the morning ).




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Ski and Surf the Olympic Peninsula: Part I

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How many places in the WORLD do you know where you can surf and ski in the same day ?

Skiing magazine knows 6. I can add 2 more : Iceland and ....Washington !

I've always thought of our state as one of the world's premier adventure travel destinations, and if you've been following my blog, you know we have it all : from world class mountaineering to the best cold water scuba diving, easily accessible hiking trails to one of the finest mountain biking playgrounds in the world. 

So when Ski Magazine failed to mention Washington state as one of the world's best places to ski and surf in the same day, I decided to go on an adventure of my own. 

The Spectacular Olympic Peninsula is known as one of the most photographed, and one of the most desired places to visit in our state. People from all across the globe come to experience the thrill of this Natures' Paradise.

This wasn't my first time visiting this corner of our state, but this time I had more time to actually do something fun !

I've already surfed at one of the popular spots on the Olympic Peninsula - La Push.

This time, I decided to explore another popular surf location and surf at  Hobuck Beach at the Makah Indian Reservation.

After spending half of the day surfing, I headed back towards Port Angeles to ski at the Hurricane Ridge.

What was suppose to be a day trip of surfing and skiing, turned into a weekend of unforgettable fun !

....to be continued...


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Epic Skiing Mt Baker

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As you might know, one of my Bucket List goals is skiing/riding at every ski area in Washington state. Christmas trip to Mission Ridge in 2011 was my 7th ski area, and this weekend I managed to sneak away for a day of epic skiing at Mt Baker.


I'm not a stranger to Whatcom County. After two Ski To Sea Races and climbing Mt Shuksan , I fell in love with this beautiful area, and, at some point, was even considering moving here.

But it wasn't just skiing that brought me here this time. This winter has been characterized a little bit by extremes, and the dumping snow has created prime conditions for skiers and boarders.

According to the Mt. Baker snow report, the area has received 110 inches of snowfall in the last six days, and snowfall this month has surpassed the entire month of March in the record year of 1998-1999.


I was on the fence about this trip, especially when they closed the mountain on Thursday 16th, but having heard so much about epic skiing at Baker, I took my chance...

...and it was totally worth it !





Having missed almost every single day we had pow this winter, I took full advantage of this epic spring snowfall at Mt Baker.