2018 in Review

I was getting sentimental on New Years Eve this year – thinking back to NYEs of past, way back, 20 years ago, and I realized that I couldn’t remember who I was with or what I did for a few of them and I am someone who has always had a pretty good memory! Specifically, I remember 1997 (Phish at MSG, waiting in line that fall over night in NYC to get tickets as an 18 year old freshman at Cornell) and I remember 1999 (black tie private party at the Rockefeller Center in NYC on Y2K!), but I can’t remember 1998. Just think, kids today will not have this luxury – everything is documented here, on the internet! But anyway, because my brain is starting to selectively remember things, I wanted to look back on 2018 while I still could!

January 2018 – The boys officially started preschool at Roots and Wings, rotating and having an individual day. Our au pair of 2 years, Megan from Australia, had to go back home and we all felt a void immediately. We filled it with dog walks, strider biking, and when it finally snowed, skiing. The boys skied at Heavenly and Sierra with a host of helpers including the Gardners, and Kyle and Jenna. Our friends from Oakland visited and we had fun playing in the snow at Kahle Park and skiing at Sierra. I skinned up to watch the lunar eclipse over Lake Tahoe early one morning and it was an amazing site.

Preschool, here we come!

Feb 2018 – We continued progress toddler skiing with the hockey stick method. We got some snow in Lake Tahoe and had some great powder turns. I went to Revelstoke after 5 years away and got to catch up with some great Canadian friends and ski more powder than my legs could handle. My legs got tired and I missed my kids – they cried every time I video called, so I flew home a day early. I crashed in a hotel with some cool folks from Jackson, including Lynsey Dyer’s cousin AJ. I forgot my keys in Canada and had to use AAA to get a ride to the dealership and get a key made. Looking back, wow it was ridiculous!

Stoked to be in Revelstoke with friends


March 2018 – Returned from Canada to three cuddle machines and a full on Miracle March in Tahoe – lots of great skiing, runs to the valley floor from Heavenly, storm days, great backcountry days – best of the year in Emerald Bay chutes with boot top powder and no other people in site. Superhero birthday party at Kahle Community Center for the now 3 year old triplets went off and was super fun!

When you feel like you found your church.

So much fun at the triplet’s third birthday party!

April 2018 – 2 awesome Alpine Meadows powder days with friends, more toddler skiing, a visit to Oakland to hang with our friends, a visit to St. Louis with family to see my youngest cousin get married, the boys started soccer and it brought back a flood of memories, but they were not quite ready. Lots of work to finish up a fast track project that was on track to be one of the fastest publicly-funded projects ever completed in Tahoe!

Soccer mom so hard!

May 2018: Spring trips to Mammoth to ski with the Mountain Collective followed by some great skiing on Tioga Pass in Unknown Couloir and a steep icy run down “Meghan says it goes” or Chute out with Greg. A great day trip with PK down to Mammoth and another great day trip down by the Saddlebag Lake area that was almost too pretty to make our minds up about what to ski! Then we visited my sister and her family and my mom in Denver and the boys loved it. We had a blast at the zoo, various splash parks, and the children’s museum. After that trip, I came back and met up with friends from Bozeman to ski Shasta the day after my birthday… we climbed and skied the last day of May and it was in a total cloud and we couldn’t see anything, but we summitted anyway!

Greg about to drop into Unknown Couloir off Dana

Sometimes this is the view from 11,000 feet

Sometimes this is the view from 14,000 feet

Boys loving life at the Denver Childrens Museum

June 2018 – got to play tour guide to friends from Bozeman and Jackson in Lake Tahoe and did a lot of biking and boating. Went up to Shasta for round 2 since I hadn’t skied with Will this season and the forecast looked favorable – skied a new line off the Hotlum route. Lots of great waterskiing and beach time with the boys.

Sometimes this is the view from 14,000 ft

Lake time with out of town friends is so fun

July 2018 – kept turns all year going with a trip up Freel Peak to ski a pretty nice patch of snow. Biked around on 4th of July and other busy weekends with the triplets in the chariot. Some great day dates flyfishing and paddleboarding with PK – celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary 1 day late by flyfishing in Markleeville. My best friend Lauren visited and we had too much fun going on hikes, fishing, boating, playing with the boys and seeing Phish in Tahoe. Camped at Silver Lake with some friends and visited the potholes for the first time. The boys got so dirty but it was somehow fun.

Inflatable SUP made trips to Angora Lake super fun!

Happy Beacan at the beach in July


Peaceful times on the river

August 2018 – I was training to ride Rose to Toads and so I was fitting in a few long bike rides a week… but then I broke my thumb on an early morning ride out to Scott’s lake/Dardenelles – just broke the tip off on a rock garden. It’s still healing as of Jan 2019, but not affecting me. So we spent a lot of time at the beach and I kept my turns all year streak going (month 23) at the patch out near Roundtop. The boys used a kids waterski trainer for the first time and Declan and Beacan loved it!. Started construction on the Kahle Basin just 9 months after getting funding.

Future water skiers

September 2018 – was able to waterski again and enjoy locals summer in Lake Tahoe. It was a pretty cold September though and I was working at lot with 2 construction projects going! The boys started preschool 5 mornings a week and every day they were so excited! Our backyard fence was finished and our backyard was transformed into an awesome play area – it changed the whole feel of our house! We took an awesome evening end of September boat ride to Emerald Bay with Kelly and hiked to the tea house with the boys on Fanette Island. And the boys all did awesome on a kids waterski. And we ended the month with a great fall camping trip to the Eastern Sierra with friends – our last trip before getting a truck camper!

Last camping trip in a 4 person tent! Major upgrade coming!

Hotspringing on the eastside!

Local’s summer… finally may be getting this waterskiing thing!

October 2018 – we bought our very own truck camper – a used Lance 865 out of Colorado. The day it showed up, we took it camping in Coloma for a kids camping weekend. I was able to kayak the upper run of the South Fork American and had a great time and then the triplets had a fun time rafting and camping. I knew I had a hernia surgery scheduled for mid-month, so since my thumb was mostly healed, I started biking as much as possible and conditions were great – some fabulous fall rides on the flume, chimney beach, and toads. Surgery was uneventful and I recovered well so we set off on our first long trip of 2018 – 5 days camping on the California Coast! Our first nanny Lina came to visit and we had such a good time that the boys wanted to camp forever! Then we capped off the month with Halloween dressed as dragons and somehow squeezing in month 25 of turns all year on manmade snow on Mt. Rose. Looking back, despite surgery, this was a great month!

Major upgrade! 5 day trip to the coast in a truck camper!

Fun times in the ocean!

November 2018 – I’m a November hater – I just don’t like the darkness… but I need to change my attitude! I was still healing up and there was no sign of snow. With a nice weekend forecasted, we took one more trip in the camper and the boys loved camping again. We had smoke in a lot of California and the Camp Fire was raging as well as others – things seemed bad. But at the end of the month, right on time, the snow came and I had a fabulous powder day skiing at Kirkwood with friends on the final day of November. The boys rekindled their love for skiing and we found out that Cormac had really caught the skiing bug.

November was kind of blah and then the skiing got GOOD!

December 2018 – Was it that deep day at the local backcountry spot or the 16 days that month that Cormac skied? The kid became a skier this month. He went from skiing holding mom’s hands to skiing all by himself of any blue run, even dipping in for some powder turns. Yeah, that is my highlight of the year. Now just hoping that Beacan and Declan find the same passion!

It’s a lot of work to ski with toddlers, but when it works, it works!

The family out skiing at Kirkwood!

I feel like there is something I didn’t do in 2018 and that is travel to a new place so that is a goal for me in 2019. I did have quite a few micro-adventures closer to home though and honestly, that may be the best thing about having kids – that everything becomes new and exciting again. So, I’m looking forward to loading up the family and getting out there with the new truck camper – both near and far. And I’m hoping to connect with many of my friends again – in person, not on social media. I’m also hoping to bring my energy – the energy I get when I’m living my best life – to the world. And I want to write some of this down, so I remember it! Happy new year!

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Motivation Bank

I think I’ve always been a fairly motivated person – at least when it comes to pursuing my passions – but I’m starting to think I have a threshold of motivation available. I think the threshold can fluctuate up or down, but if I exceed the threshold, it could result in a full on breakdown of all motivation until I’ve laid in bed staring at my phone for an hour before calling it a day and thinking I’ll just start over tomorrow.

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Still got it… sometimes. (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

In 2012 I was at the inaugural SheJumps Alpine Finishing School. I met a professional skier named Sandra Lahnsteiner out of Austria. Like me, she was in her 30s and in a long stable relationship. We talked about being skiers and having kids and she expressed that she is a passionate person and knows that her passion would move from skiing to being a mom as soon as she had kids. I agreed that the scenario was likely and we both held off on having kids for years to keep skiing until in 2015, I had the triplets. Now I had 3 babies to test the theory with – would I be able to balance 2 passions?

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Some pretty cute guys to be passionate about! 

My kids are 3 now and they are as fun as ever and this is the first time I’m finding my passions collide. I love spring skiing and adventuring but as a working mom, I already have a limited time with my kids… and there are 3 of them! They are already a bit shortchanged in the individual attention department. I recently read this article by John John Florence and felt very inspired to keep my passion for skiing strong in hopes they may find the same passion for the outdoors.

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Pretty easy to be passionate about places like this! (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

The ski season started slow this year, but it was great for toddler skiing. Consequentially, I skied about 2/3rds as much as usual. I barely skied any backcountry, but I did have a few high quality days. I recently went to the Eastern Sierra which is skiing really well about 9000 feet – I’d love to get a few more days down there, but missing full days and nights with my kids not only takes a toll on them and my husband, it takes a toll on me!

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Steep, aesthetic lines call me every spring in the Eastern Sierra – definitely harder to get away! (photo by Greg Marsden)

I also have had the goal of skiing Mt. Rainier for a while now and just haven’t been able to make it happen. I thought it might line up this year, but the partners I had lined up had to change plans and admittedly, with other adulting to do and not wanting to leave my kids again, I happily accepted the delay. Maybe next year.

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Nothing new here, just fun spring skiing at Mammoth.

I have a tendency to think even if I do one new thing a year, it’s been a successful year. I don’t feel I have anything to hang my hat on yet this year, but I did manage to ski a few new lines – unknown couloir on Mt. Dana, a few lines on Emerald Bay I had yet to ski, and a lot of new things at Revelstoke – which should be a whole other blog post.

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Backcountry pond skim telemark turn on glacial blue water – also new! (photo by First Tracks Productions)

Maybe 3 toddlers and working full time is my motivation threshold. Maybe it’s enough to just be in a holding pattern for these next few years. And then, I have a good day, where I still have motivation left in the bank at the end of the day… and that is where the plotting and planning begins. With some good parenting and a lot of luck, maybe 3 planning partners will be in my future.

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BCD, get out the map, let’s plan an adventure! 

 

 

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About last season…

It was a good one! I was able to ski a lot… it felt like this magic window of time where Mother Nature delivered an epic winter and my kids weren’t quite old enough to want to hit the magic carpet every day. Here’s a quick edit I put together with some of the highlights!

 

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Turns all Year 2017?

Did you know it snowed a lot in 2017? Records were broken and the snowpack loomed into July. Mammoth had one of their latest closing dates ever, closing August 6th. Back in 2010-2011, I completed 12 months of skiing at least one time per month – referred to as “turns all year” in the ski community. However, I don’t think these 12 months fell in 1 calendar year… well, because humans are obsessed with numbers, I thought I might try to go for a calendar year. It just seemed too easy!

June 20, 2017 – Skied Shasta, Hotlum ridge from the summit, see previous post.

July 12, 2017 – visited Mammoth Mountain with my husband for our 9 year anniversary day date. Skied 8-noon, followed by some food and beers at the June Lake Brewery and adjacent Ohanas 395 Food Truck (best place ever). And some fly fishing. Possibly my favorite anniversary trip ever. I hope it keeps getting better!

August 21, 2017 – hiked and skied Lassen Peak during the solar eclipse. The sun was only about 90% obscured, but the there was a fun crew up there, a nip in the air when it happened and about 3,000 vert of decent summer skiing with a good crew!

September 9, 2017 – My new ski buddy from the Lassen adventure and I headed out to Ebbett’s Pass and shralped some turns and even fit in a pond skim knocking off the usually difficult month of September.

It’s October 1 and I just have to find a few turns and then I’m in the clear to get 2017 with turns all year. What a silly, meaningless exercise, but it’s great to have goals and nearly impossible to not have fun while doing something you love.

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Big Winter, Long Season, Still Going!

It’s been 80 degrees and sunny for what seems like months in Tahoe. Hard to believe we had a massive winter and are having an equally massive summer – if you can quantify summer by number of sunny 80 degree days in a row. If you haven’t been up here, come and jump in the lake, because despite runoff still cranking, it’s surprisingly temperate!

Lake is nice! Air is nice! Water ski season is in full swing!

Anyway, I really can’t let a ski season go by without skiing Shasta. I don’t know what it is about that mountain, but I love it! So, when a young friend of mine with only a bit of backcountry skiing experience called me up and asked me to take her up Shasta, I jumped at the opportunity!

We rallied up from Tahoe on a Thursday afternoon after borrowing everything we needed for her and arrived about 1 mile from the Brewer Creek Trailhead at 9 PM. We had to pop by Burney Falls because it is amazing! Worth the $8 entrance, don’t drive by this California State Park again!

Burney falls will blow your mind! The water is so cold, the air temperature drops 10 degrees when you approach it!

We woke up around 3 AM and starting hiking around 3:30 – a bit of a rough start in the dark… always surreal and dreamlike, but soon enough, we were on snow and Michael was skinning for the first time! 10 hours later, we were at the summit of Mt. Shasta! It was a long, hard, and hot hike, but Michael impressed the hell out of me!

Sun is rising, a ways to go!

Standing at 14,179′! First time on the summit since becoming a mom to triplets!

Michael slashing a turn on some grade A California corn!

Despite skiing about 2 hours later than I had planned, the snow was great as we chose a slightly more North facing line on the Hotlum ridge! Having skied Shasta about 10 times, it was a new line for me and that was really cool! It was also the first time I summitted Shasta since having the triplets. Last year we had to turn around due to hellacious head winds and post-holing 12″ at 13,300′. It was an amazing ski down though!

A great day on Shasta should always end with a jump in the McCloud River – turns out you can jump right into the Lower Falls!

All in all, I skied 3 x 14ers during the winter of 2016-2017. I had set out to ski 4 news ones, but only got 2. Shasta rounded it out so I skied 1 for each boy and I can’t be dissapointed with that! Next year I’ll try to get Williamson and Tyndall, but for now, back to summer!

The boys are such a fun age right now! Here is Beacan enjoying a surf with me!

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Tahoe Problems

Wow, what a season in the Sierra Nevada – it started snowing in January and really didn’t stop until March 6th. I skied my first groomer of 2017 in mid-March, that tells you something! A season like this has left me conflicted so many times. Ski powder or hang out with the triplets, ski powder or work, ski powder at the resort or in the backcountry… as a friend put it… Tahoe people problems.

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We got a lot of snow this year! 

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The triplets love playing in the snow too, but I wonder if they think this winter is normal

Yesterday I skied “the Cross” on Mt. Tallac – the South Shore’s gem of a mountain. There are so many lines on the Cross right now. I had gone in with the idea of skiing “the elevator” but seeing a few tracks in it, led me to a line that looked just as steep instead that was untracked. It didn’t go that well for me and I started a reasonable amount of slough and took me down for a few seconds. I was able to ski out of it, but I was shaken up a bit. It made me question my decision making ability and whether or not I should be in the mountains in precarious situations or home with my little guys. The answer is probably both, but I need to be happy with the decisions I make and also try to learn from them. I read this quote today, which made me feel a bit better:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

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When the mountain kicks your ass, it’s best to laugh it off. Exiting “the Cross” (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

I’ve had some victories and I need to remember those. I skied Halls of the Gods for the first time a line that’s been on my list forever and the conditions were pretty great. I skied Mt. Tom, hiking over 7,000 vertical in under 7 hours and skiing great snow all the way down. I skied the Eagle chute above Emerald Bay in powder. And I finally skied the Bear Scratch. In between some of these tick list lines, I had a lot of fun days skiing powder at the resorts and a lot of great backcountry runs with friends. There is still many days left in the season and if I keep putting this type of pressure on myself, I’m going to get burned out. I’m already starting to feel it. I love skiing and I can’t stop thinking about it. I was the same way with soccer and I’m the same way with triplets. In an ideal world, I’d be paid to ski until 2pm every day and then hang out with the triplets the rest of the day, but I’m not sure what kind of person that would make me. Would I then be immune to the struggles of all people, certainly. Let’s be honest, I have it pretty good!

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I got an AT set up this year which I’ve skied a handful of times, here I am skiing out of Halls of the Gods for the first time ever. Good to add a line to the tick list. 

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The summit of Mount Tom – skied from 12,800 down the Elderberry headwall to car at 5,600. Good to know I still had it in me. I missed my boys being gone just 2 days though.

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Luckily the skiing has been good close to home. Here my buddy Domi drops into one of the Emerald Bay chutes

After my little scare yesterday and my continued perception that I’m under performing in the mountains, I’m excited to spend a few weeks focusing on skiing with the triplets, skiing at the resort while it’s open, not comparing myself to some of the slayers on Instagram, and maybe getting out of the Tahoe bubble for a bit. I can always get back to objective skiing in late April or May – or in years to come. In saying this, I cringed a bit, knowing this is a once in 25 year season, but I need to accept that I am enough, I’ve done enough, and my decisions may not always be right, but they are better than making no decision at all.

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Skiing with Declan a few weeks ago! The boys have been skiing about 5 times each and last time was the best time yet! 

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Taking advantage of a warm week in March to hit the beach with my 4 favorite guys. 

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Season Recap via Video

 

About half way through the season, I had the goal of documenting my first real ski season as a triplet mom. I had an old GoPro that had likely crashed one too many times, so by the time I acquired a new one, it was late March. I still was able to collect a bit of footage and compile it into this Triplet Skier Mom Edit! I hope you enjoy it!

Kt Miller interviewed me for this story on Teton Gravity Research. It has more updates than I’m providing here!

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