Skiing Triple Digits: Days 83-88, All. Vail. Love.

On Days 83-88 of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest, I stayed close to the mountain I know and love: Vail. Even on Day 83, I began the day’s adventures with a few hours of skiing at Vail before skiing the Minturn Mile with a group of friends. Skiing the Minturn Mile is always special, and on this occasion, we celebrated Antony’s birthday après-ski at the Minturn Saloon. Vail, however, continued to be the beginning and end of my best skiing adventures on Days 83-88.

Day 83: Thursday, March 13
Vail and the Minturn Mile

A birthday hug on the top of Ptarmigan Ridge:

day 83-march 13

Day 84: Saturday, March 15

A common sight in an area called the Vail Shop Yard. I think it looks a lot like McMurdo Station, Antarctica…especially that area between MCM’s Heavy Shop and Waste Barn:

day 84-march 15

Day 85: Sunday, March 16

Taught a ski lesson on a demo pair of Nordica Wild Belles:

Day 85-march 16

Day 86: Tuesday, March 18

Worked in my home office in the morning…and then went out for a few hours of amazing afternoon pow followed by a playful walk with Kai:

day 86-march 18

Day 87: Thursday, March 20

Taught skiing and met up with Ant for an inspired end-of-day blue-uniform run together:

day 87-march 20

Day 88: Friday, March 21

Mesmerized by blue skies and Gore Range peaks:

Day 88

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 78-82, Janet’s Cabin and Vail Mountain

On Days 78-82 of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest, I had one adventurous day hiking/skiing up/down to/from Janet’s Cabin via Copper Mountain to visit a friend staying at the hut, and then I spent the other four days skiing on Vail Mountain.

Day 78: Tuesday, March 4
Janet’s Cabin

day 78-march 4

Day 79: Wednesday, March 5
Vail, Level II Training Day

day 79-march 5

Day 80: Friday, March 7

day 80-march 7

Day 81: Saturday, March 8

day 81-march 8

Day 82: Sunday, March 9

Day 82-march 9

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Hiking Cape Town: Table Mountain’s India Venster

1-signCape Town, South Africa is a great place for hiking because several classic peaks–such as Lions Head and Table Mountain–sit in close proximity to the city, so it’s possible to access them easily for quick day hikes. And the trails up these peaks also provide stunning views of the city and sea. I recently spent two weeks in Cape Town visiting family, and I got the chance to get out with Antony to hike the India Venster route up Table Mountain, which is one of the few trails he hadn’t taken to the summit.

For my first hike the summit of Table Mountain, India Venster provided some adventurous moments and challenges, for sure. The sign at the trailhead warns that ladders, chains, and stapels are a part of the route, and we also knew that the route requires some exposed scrambling with the potential for serious fall danger.


The route begins in a straightforward manner from the contour trail, but then it eventually winds up through a steep rocky section below the top of the cable car.


The rock scrambling began in this section, which required hand-and-foot climbing on mostly low-angle rock. Depending on experience and comfort level, some hikers might want to have a rope to help them through this section…or even a guide.

Traci J Macnamara India Venster 1

While the scrambling in some sections wasn’t very exposed…

Traci J Macnamara on India Venster

…other sections involved exposure and sharp drop-offs, and also jaw-dropping views of the city and sea.


The word “venster” means “window” in Afrikaans, and the route gets its name from a rock window along the route. We’re not sure if this window is THE window for which the route is named, but it offered a pretty cool portal for seeing the side of Table Mountain.


The view of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain was certainly worth the effort involved! The India Venster route, especially, and most other routes to the summit of Table Mountain should only be hiked in good weather, and hikers should carry emergency gear, as the weather rolls in quickly up here. We only had a short time to make this hike happen, so we opted to take the cable car down, but Platteklip Gorge offers a safer descent than the India Venster downclimb.

Want to know more about hiking in Cape Town?
Check out this Learnist board I created to profile six classic Cape Town hikes, including India Venster:

“Cape Town’s Classic Day Hikes”

Cape Town Day Hikes

And…if you want to explore more of my Learnist boards focused on adventure, outdoors, nature, and sports, click here.

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 73-77, The Logan Academy

On Days 73-77 of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest, I got in five more days of skiing at Vail. For three of these days, I skied with a team of superstar skiers as a part of Vail’s Logan Academy, which is a three-day clinic with a national team instructor, for which I was honored to be selected as a participant.

Day 73: Saturday, February 22

On this day, I taught a ski lesson to a four-year-old, and as I’m not used to teaching such young people, I think it was so traumatic that I forgot to take a photograph! If I had taken a photo, you would have seen me doing some extreme pizza wedging with a screaming child between my legs…

Day 74: Tuesday, February 25
Vail, Logan Academy

Herb, of the most excellent mustache:

day 74-feb 25

Day 75: Wednesday, February 26
Vail, Logan Academy

Taking the T-bar, Outer Mongolia:

day 75-feb 26

Day 76: Thursday, February 27
Vail, Logan Academy

Logan Academy crew under overcast skies:

day 76-feb 27

Day 77: Saturday, March 1

Yours truly, in blue:

day 77-march 1

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:

Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Badass Polar Adventures and Explorations

As you know, I love some of the world’s coolest places, Antarctica among them. I made my first trip to McMurdo Station in Antarctica to work in 2003, and then over the next few years, I spent 25 months there living and working for four summers and one winter season. While at McMurdo, I learned a lot about the history of exploration in Antarctica, and…of course…I read books, too, like Shackleton’s Endurance.

This week, I created two Learnist boards that compile and curate resources related to both North and South Pole exploration. First, if you want to know about Borge Ousland’s historic solo, unsupported expedition to the North Pole, then click the link to do your own virtual exploration:

Borge Ousland’s First Solo Trek to the North Pole


But if you’re more interested in exploring South Pole historic firsts, then check out this board:

South Pole Exploration: Historic Firsts

south pole

I’ve been curating a lot of content for Learnist, primarily on the topics of nature, adventure, and the outdoors. Check it all out here, on my Learnist page, and leave a comment if you’d like to request that I create a board on a specific topic you don’t (yet) see there!

Thanks for your support!

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 67-72, Family Fun

On Days 67-72 of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest, I taught skiing six days in a row on a private lesson with an eight-year-old from New Jersey and his family. Despite a few falls and meltdowns, we had a blast, and it was fun for me to watch Leo’s progress throughout the week. We started out like this…ME: Do you remember how to turn? HIM: No. ME: Do you remember how to stop? HIM: No.

Yikes! So we started with stopping and turning, and by the end of the week, we were out skiing with poles and exploring Vail’s Porcupine Alley and Magic Forest. We survived full-on blizzard conditions at Beaver Creek, told each other corny jokes, and worked up to carving turns on blue groomers. Happy, happy times and lots of family fun!

Day 67: Sunday, February 16

Frozen condiments at Buffalo’s:

day 67-feb 16

Day 68: Monday, February 17

Marshmallows, Eagle’s Nest hot chocolate break:

day 68-feb 17

Day 69: Tuesday, February 18

Wildwood, of course:

day 69-feb 18

Day 70: Wednesday, February 19

Whipped cream makes me smile:

day 70-feb 19

Day 71: Thursday, February 20
Beaver Creek

Saved by another hot chocolate break:

day 71-feb 20

Day 72: Friday, February 21
Beaver Creek

Crazy body tricks and jokes from kids keep me laughing all day long:

day 72-feb 21

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:

Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 62-66, Backyard | Slackcountry | Mountain

On Days 62-66 of the Triple Digits Quest, I flirted with the idea of getting in backcountry skiing shape, which meant that I skinned up Meadow Mountain with my dog Kai and realized that it’s been a while since I’ve been in that kind of shape. And then I just retreated back to a mountain with ski lifts and trails groomed for downhill skiing…

Day 62: Sunday, February 9
Vail, and the Minturn Mile

Skied with Antony at Vail and then skied the Minturn Mile to the saloon.

day 62-feb 9

Day 63: Monday, February 10
Meadow Mountain

Skinned up Meadow Mountain and skied down with Kai.

day 63-feb 10

Day 64: Wednesday, February 12
Vail, Level II Training Day

Worked on teaching progressions with amazing trainer Greg Kelly.

day 64-feb 12

Day 65: Friday, February 14

Taught skiing at Vail.

day 65-feb 14

Day 66: Saturday, February 15

Taught skiing at Vail.

day 66-feb 15

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:
Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

Skiing Triple Digits: Days 56-61, All About Vail

As January turned into February, I continued to enjoy the process of my Skiing Triple Digits Quest. Even though I’d passed the halfway point, I wasn’t feeling bored or tired with skiing, or with Vail. On these six days, I skied at Vail…some days, I taught skiing; other days, I attended training sessions, and on others, I just skied for the fun of it all!

Day 56: Friday, January 31

Crowds rushing the Lionshead gondola:

day 56-jan 31

Day 57: Saturday, February 1

Northwoods trees:

day 57-feb 1

Day 58: Sunday, February 2

Cruising along Eagle’s Nest Ridge:

day 58-feb 2

Day 59: Wednesday, February 5
Vail, Level II Training Day

Who’s skiing the fatties (as if 102 underfoot is fat…)?

day 59-feb 5

Day 60: Friday, February 7

Still torturing myself into becoming a moguls skier:

day 60-feb 7

Day 61: Saturday, February 8

I love skiing with little rippers!

day 61-feb 8

Want more backstory?
Read about the quest here:

Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

The Vail Summer Love Weekend Getaway!