Jan 9/10 Mt. Catherine

Hillary and Kelly on the summit of Mt. Catherine

 Made it home from work in time to get a lap up Mt. Catherine.  Snow was surprisingly good.  Good enough that I gave Kelly a call and I skied Catherine with Kelly and Hillary the next day.

Dec. 27, Snoqualmie Mt.


Aaron looks into the Slot Couloir

Hooked up with Seth and Aaron to do lap in their backyard.  Our 7am start was just late enough that a group of four had already broken trail up Snoqualmie Mountain.   We caught them as they prepared to drop into the slot couloir.   While waiting for our turn at the slot, we went ahead and tagged the summit of Snoqualmie.    Our lap into the slot was slightly frightful as the rain crust was quite strong.  One might even call it ice.  We scratched our turns into the couloir with great care to maintain good edge control with our skis.   It was about this time I noticed my new volkl blaze skis have quite a bit of sidecut.  Anyhow we survived the firm top and enjoyed a little bit better turns on the apron.   After climbing back to the frontside,  we headed up valley looking for alternative descents.   Luckily, Seth was the only one that got stuck in a ravine and had to boot his way up and out.  




December 22, Pineapple Basin

Rocks are a little bigger this time of year.  Our destination, up to the left.   Photo by GL

I have been lazy the last couple weeks.   Now that the lifts are turning, it usually takes a little more motivation to self propel myself up the mountains.    I had been waiting for a break in the weather, and today was the day.   Despite a short warmup the evening before, we got blessed with fresh powder.   After a brief evening rain, the temperature dropped rapidly.  It even sprinkled snow on Seattle.  Up here we had between five and ten inches.   Lower slopes had a thin crust layer below the fresh snow.  The higher slopes had enough snow to keep ski turns above the crust layer.   Hooked up with Greg for our first real tour together this year.  We were both shocked that, although we started at 10:45, the upper basin had zero tracks.   Makes the uphill that much better when you get to set the perfect skin track.   Turns were good.  

Climbing up No Fog




Getting lower, 

Dec 1 and 2. Alpy

 Top of Alpental skied great the last couple of days.   

November 9-19, La Ventana, Mexico. Windsurfing/Kiting Mecca


Sometimes you just need to get a little sunshine.   We  flew direct to Cabo then rented a car from Cactus car rental for $35 bucks a day.   The drive north on highway 1 was quite scenic as it wound over a couple of mountain passes and across some large dry river deltas.  After about two hours we made it to the quaint town of La Ventana. 

  It is small town centered on the one paved road that runs through town.   All the other roads in town were dirt, and the pavement ended before the little village of El Sargento.   Our turnoff was on the south end of La Ventana.   Wyatt Miller, the owner of Pro-Windsports,  had sent us several pictures so we could find his unmarked compound.   You know, turn right just past the desalination plant,  drive down dirt road to end of  a wall,turn right,  look for yellow gate.   Apparently being discreet has some advantages.   Wyatt tends to a small complex of casitas, that on a busy winter season could hold up to twenty people.   We were some of the first people to arrive for the start of the season.  The windy season is typically from mid November through April.  Being some of the first guests of the season, we got to enjoy a very quiet beach and town.   While we were at Pro-windsurf, we met George and Judy from Hood River,  Susan from Santa Cruz, another couple for a couple of nights, and Dave on our last day.  That was it.  Pretty quiet.   The staff made up for the lack of guests as they hauled more and more gear to the beach to prepare for the season.   Staff was a fun crew, Phillipe from British Columbia, Andre from Quebec, Kale an 18 year old from Michigan, who talked Wyatt into taking him on as an intern, since college was pretty much on hold with coronavirus.  Then lastly Juliano and his 12 year old son Julianocito.   Juliano had apparently learned how to windsurf from Wyatt when he was 14 as part of a local windsurfing program.   He kept sailing and now he and his son work for Wyatt, work for a couple hours, do some windsurfing or windfoiling then time for a few beers.  Not too bad a job.

When we arrived, we promptly ran into Wyatt and his girlfriend Zyra who were chatting to the only other guests, George and Judy.   Wyatt quickly offered fresh margaritas made with El Corazon tequila,  Cointreau, and two fresh squeezed limes served over ice.  He showed off the common open air building with kitchen, bar, dining, and hangout area.  Apparently any alcohol was free and the fridge was well stocked with Pacifico beer and bags of limes.   This seemed to be a perk the staff enjoyed as well.   We quickly became aqquainted with the staff favorite "Baja Fog".    Apparently when doing trips down the baja peninsula it is hard to bring enough beer.  The solution is float a shot of tequila with fresh squeezed lime on top of the beer in the neck of the beer bottle.  Got to say the margaritas and beers were quite tasty.

We started off the vacation by renting two full suspension mountain bikes for five days.  The wind does not typically start until noon or one, so mountain biking was the morning activity followed by an afternoon of windsurfing or windfoiling.   Since Francine doesn't sail she enjoyed sitting on the beach with a good book.   After four days of biking and sailing, I called uncle and just sailed, while Francine did one last ride.   The place also had a fleet of quads (atvs) , paddle boards, and 3 Nissan Suvs to get around.  We got the quads out one morning, and the paddleboards another.   The mountain biking was split into two areas.  One was just out our back door to the South with minimal elevation gain, but fun ups and downs winding through the cactus.  The other area was about ten minutes north above El Sargento.  This area had quite a bit of climbing, with some rides gaining over 1,800 feet.  Really fun riding tended to to by a Vancover BC transplant, Warren.   We ran into Warren digging trail and chatted with him for a bit.  Apparently he takes donations and hires local mexicans to do trail work.   He said he can usually do four hours of work before running out of water.   Thanks Warren, your trail network is pretty amazing.  Anyhow this was a pretty amazing vacation, and a great place to be with all this coronavirus crap going on.

Francine enjoys the beach

Kites up the beach by Baja Joes

Random kiter 

Kevin heads out with foil board

Trying out the latest windsport, winging.

Wyatt, our host and Slingshot wind and wingfoil manager,
 tries out the latest designs.
Kevin keeps it on the surface as the kiters go big

Francine picks up her beach chair at the gear shed.

No shortage of foil gear
Just a small selection of available boards 

Kale, the intern, picks out a board. 

The staff foils along, working hard.
Juliancito, age 12, makes his foil jibe

George calls it a day
Kale switching sails


Biking Photos

So what else?   Pesos were 20 - 1, so a good steak was like 14 bucks.  We had dinner at Marlin Azul several times.  This place was pretty darn good.   Did Los Playas for steaks just once.  Supposedly their filet mignon is off the hook, but we ordered ribeye that was tough and heavily charred.     Dinner for two drinks and appeteizers and tip about 600 pesos or $30.   We did barbeque a couple nights at our house, and then did the cheap taco stand that Pro-Windsurf liked Taquria "dona Paty".   The kind of place we would not normally stop at.  Super friendly family run with good food.  We did take out both times.  Tacos were 30 peso which would be a 1.50.   Also tried their enchiladas.   Definitely recommend for a quick cheap option.  Probaly should have checked out Marisco's for seafood.

Oh Yeah, went to the Bay of Dreams for snorkeling.   Bit of a drive and fairly rocky.  Restaurant looked super nice, but we drove home and had peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   

That's it.  Best ever warm weather destination vacation.