Category Archives: Outdoors

Skiing Triple Digits: The Quest

I’m on a quest to do something I’ve never done before. The quest? To ski triple digits: to ski more than 100 days this season.

ski vailThe Backstory:
When I lived in the Front Range from 1998 to 2003, I thought that skiing more than 30 days in a season was a proud accomplishment. I snowboarded then, actually, and I lived a two-hour drive from Breckenridge. I worked full time, too, so it took a lot of dedication to drive up on the weekends, and even if I drove up every weekend for the entire season, I found that being on the mountain for more than 30 days in a season required serious dedication, effort, time, and money.

The Possibility:
I moved to Vail in the winter of 2007-2008, which is when I first wrapped my head around the idea that it was even possible to ski more than 100 days in a season. I lived in Town of Vail housing, and one of my neighbors, Sam, was a bus driver. But he was really a snowboarder. He snowboarded every day, and he found a way to adjust his work schedule so that he could either snowboard for a few hours in the morning before work or a few hours in the afternoon after work. He snowboarded all day on his days off.

west vail move

One April, I was skiing with Sam, and he told me while we were riding that lift that he’d had a great season.

“Yeah, today’s the day I break triple digits!” he said with a huge grin, his cute raccoon eyes sparkling.

“What? Triple digits?” I asked, confused.

“Yeah, today’s my 101st day on my board.” Holy hell, I thought, feeling lame for my personal best: breaking the 50-day limit that season. But he’d put the idea in my head. One day before I died, I’d ski triple digits.

skiing w sam

Triple Digits: The Time is Now.
So I’m still here in Vail, seven seasons later. And I’ve not yet skied triple digits, so I decided that this season is the one. I recently quit a full-time teaching job, and for work, I’m freelance writing and teaching part-time ski school. Like Sam, I’ll be able to work my work schedule so that I can ski. Maybe not every day. But hopefully more than 100 days this season.

Gore Range

Triple Digits: What Counts?
I don’t want to get too restrictive and obsessive about skiing triple digits this season. But my husband asked me a logical question: What counts? Could I just get on a ski lift and do one run and count that as a ski day? Legit question. Here’s what I decided:

1. Downhill skiing, on skis for 2 hours or more
2. Nordic skiing, on skis for 1.5 hours or more
3. Backcountry skiing, climbing more than 1000 feet, skiing down

As of today, I’ll be skiing Day 12. So read on to see where this quest has taken me so far, and thanks for sharing in the Triple Digits adventure!

Photo captions:
Ski lift in Vail | Moving into my shoebox apartment in West Vail | Skiing the aspens home with Sam | The Gore Range

Family Fun: East Vail Ice Climbing

My sister and I get up to some pretty good adventures, including ice climbing in East Vail, near where I live. Once when she was out visiting from New York, we got all geared up and headed out for some sisterly fun.

Traci J Macnamara ice climbing

I stomped up a snow-filled gully to set up a top rope on an established anchor…

east vail ice climbing

…and then I rappelled down so that we could take turns belaying each other on the climb.

east vail top top ice climbing

Meanwhile, my sister was freezing her butt off while waiting because, well, ice climbing is a cold activity. But she looks cute, huh, like an ice princess here?

shawna macnamara ice princess

However, she was no princess on the climb. This girl can pull serious mental mojo out of that same freezing butt when necessary, and she picked her way to the top with relative ease:

shawna macnamara ice climbing

If you haven’t tried ice climbing, it’s cold (obviously), challenging, and ultimately fun. But it’s the sort of thing you want to try for the first time with an experienced mentor or guide.

Thinking about giving ice climbing a try?
Check out these Learnist boards I created to learn more about ice climbing and required gear:

“Ice Climbing 101: A Beginner’s Guide”

“Essential Ice Climbing Equipment”

Vail 2013-2014 Ski Season Events: Are You Ready?

Vail opens up for skiing (officially, with ski lifts running and everything!) on November 22, 2013. Are you ready? Skis tuned? Gloves and hats and goggles located? You’ve got 11 days from today to get organized.

Get ready to enjoy Vail’s blue-bird days with your ski pals this winter:

Vail-Traci Macnamara and Tarrie Burnett

From the beginning of the season, until the last day…

Val Season End

…Vail has something going on.

Mark your calendar with Vail’s 2013-2014 ski season highlights, all gathered here on this board I created for Learnist (click the link to go to the board):

“Vail, Colorado: 2013-2014 Ski Season Events Preview”

Vail 2013-2014 Season Events Preview

Monday Madness: Flyboarding and Wingsuit Flying

By now, you’ve probably seen people jumping off of cliffs and flying down batman-style while wearing wingsuits. But have you heard about flyboarding, the latest craze in watersports?

Flyboarding is being called the “hottest new extreme watersport,” and a flyboard is basically a device that you can attach to a personal watercraft (such as a Jet Ski) which allows the user (imagine: you) to fly under water and in the air, sort of like a dolphin. Check out the links below to the flyboarding and wingsuit flying Learnist boards I created to learn more about these sports and to watch the viral YouTube videos they’ve inspired:

“Wingsuit Flying: The Thrills, Dangers, and Deaths”

Wingsuit flying Learnist image

“Flyboarding: The Coolest…or the Wackiest New Watersport?”

Flyboarding Learnist