Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

(For some technical reason that I'm sure I should understand, the photo above is being cropped in my browser. The entire photo can be seen by clicking on it, as if anyone wants a full-size shot of my smiling mug.)

Sunday afternoon, while my ski group was having a hot chocolate break, I took a quick trip to the men's room. When I returned, my ski helmet had been sabotaged by the girls in my group. The motto of the Professional Ski Instructors of America is "Safety, Fun, Learning". I try to remember this every day that I teach, and after making sure that everyone is as safe as possible, I work very hard to ensure that the students have fun. As ridiculous as it looked, the helmet modification didn't violate any safety considerations, and the girls desperately wanted me to wear it. So I did. We skied under a lift on our last run and people on the chairlift were hooting and yelling at me the entire way down. The girls loved it. My boss loved it and snapped the photo above.

Last night, I did the last squat workout in my current lifting cycle. My primary goal was a squat of 265 pounds, which I nailed pretty easily. I decided to try 275 and that didn't go so well. Let's just say that there's a reason people do squats inside a device called a squat rack. For the first time ever, I completely failed on a squat, and I had to let the safety bars catch the weight and then I wriggled out from underneath the bar. Without the safety bars, I could have been hurt very badly, which is why I use the rack. If I'm doing bench presses in an empty gym, I'll do them inside a squat rack as well, so I avoid earning a posthumous Darwin Award for being suffocated by a barbell that's crushing my neck.

This morning, I headed out for a pre-dawn snowshoe run. I quickly discovered that the groomers hadn't groomed very many of the trails I normally use and wind had filled some of the groomed trails with snow. My 4 mile loop, which is very hilly, normally takes me 60 minutes when the trails are in good shape. This morning, it took 83 minutes. Late in the "run", I discovered that a key trail to get back home hadn't been groomed at all. I had the choice of adding a couple miles on groomed trails or breaking untouched snow. I knew I'd be late for work if I added the miles, so I took the ungroomed trails instead. I had to go uphill for almost a mile in snow that went above my knees. If I hadn't been wearing snowshoes, I might have been sinking waist deep at spots. It was a hard effort, but a lot of fun. I was late for work anyway, so neither option was a good one.

Right now, it's snowing lightly outside, but that snow will change to rain later today. After midnight, it will get cold again and the rain will change back to snow. So, we're going to have a layer of new snow, topped by rain which will freeze solid late tonight, topped by more snow. I'm planning another snowshoe outing tomorrow, but the trails might be in even worse shape than today.

Tonight, when I get home from work, I'm going to spend some time raking the snow off my roof. A snow rake isn't something many people own, but here in VT, they are important to prevent roof collapses. Right now, I have about 2 feet of fluffy snow on my roof, but once it starts raining, that snow will absorb the rain and the total weight of snow and ice on the roof will increase quickly. A roof rake will let me remove snow from the roof to reduce the risk of a very dangerous roof collapse. Every winter in Vermont, some barns collapse and cattle are killed when this happens. It's rarer that a home roof collapses, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there.


David Ray said...

That, sir, is an excellent photo.

Good luck with that whole snow rake thing. I can't even imagine.

and Merry Christmas!

Tania said...

I LOVE the picture. I bet those girls are having a ball with you.

Hope you had a great Christmas.

Damon said...

I was "forced" to wear the bunny ears again this weekend. I got one e-mail from a parent that said her daughter was "so happy" in my group. The girst are really coming together socially, which is sometimes the toughest part.

Yesterday, a new girl wanted to ski with my group for the day and I agreed to give it a try. Near the end of the day, she asked me point blank if she could stay in the group because it's a more fun group than her other group. I feel bad for the other instructor, who is new to the environment, but I agreed to bring this girl into my group.

If only I'd been 10% as popular with girls as a teenager as I am now...

And, yes, it's a lot of fun. Right now, I'd say I'm having as much fun as I've ever had with a ski group.

Speed Racer said...

I LOVE the picture!!!

I always wondered what would happen if you couldn't get back up from a squat. Now I know. Glad you're okay!