Sunday, January 24, 2010

Three Types of Skiing - Two Days

On Saturday January 9th, state parks and other locations throughout the country hosted Winter Trails Day. We headed up towards Hatcher Pass (new item #98) where they had groomed cross country skiing and sledding tails, and with help from sponsorship by REI were able to provide free equipment and instruction. We went to learn how to Cross Country Ski.

There are many differences between downhill skiing and cross country skiing. The skis are longer and thinner. The poles are taller. The boots only lock in at the front to allow the heels of your feet to come up off the skis. You not only go down hills, but you cover flat services and uphills as well. It is a lot more work and much more difficult.

We started by learning the Classic technique. In this technique there are pre-groomed "tracks" for your skis to slide in. You move by using your arms and sliding your feet almost like you are walking or running. This technique is the most common and easy to learn, and besides a big transition to the skis (thinner and only your toes are connected) is not that difficult. We fell a few times, but with a little practice we could probably pick it up pretty easily.

Later in the afternoon we went farther up Hatcher Pass to learn Ski Skating. With Ski Skating there are different skis (smoother) different poles (different grips) and the motion is completely different. It seems like it would be more fun once you learn how to do it, but it is more difficult to learn. You use a skating type motion, but gain momentum by angling your skis and pushing them in an outward direction. We struggled a little bit more with this technique, but still had fun.

(Rebekah in the red)

On Sunday we drove down to Alyeska (#26 on the list) for some alpine skiing. We rode immediately to the top to ski down some blues. Alyeska is different than other places I have skied. There are downhill areas followed by slight short uphills. This makes for a strange sensation of not being able to see the slope in front of you until you are starting to descend the next downhill portion (like how all you can see behind Rebekah is the valley below). Alyeska is a much better ski area than Hilltop, with many more lifts and hills. However, starting on the blues was a little too much for Rebekah. She was still trying to use the pizza or snowplow technique, and it took her a while to get down the mountain. We will definitely be back, but first Rebekah needs to learn proper alpine skiing technique. I did pretty well, but fell a few times and could use some more experience as well.

Last weekend we went back to Hilltop to get that much needed practice. It was a gorgeous day and you can see Anchorage and the ocean in the distance. That day of practice led to much improvement and after a couple more times we will be ready to ski Alyeska like pros!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Who doesn't love homemade cinnamon rolls straight from the oven on a cold winter's day? I made these for a potluck brunch at work before Christmas. YUM! I use this recipe from the most popular of bloggers, Pioneer Woman. If you have some time on your hands, read her story. She used to live in L.A. and now she is married to a rancher and lives on a working cattle ranch! She is also hilarious!

P.S: This is not an everyday breakfast food. As Cookie Monster now says (to be more PC), "Cookies are a sometimes food".

P.P.S They look even yummier when they are on a hand painted platter!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Pictures from Alyeska

Hope you had a wonderful MLK Day. Someone told me today that MLK was an alcoholic...hmmmm, never heard anything about that one. Anyway, maybe you were able to spend your day off giving back to someone less fortunate than yourself.

Here are some pictures from last weekend, when we went skiing at Alyeska. Steven did pretty well with his skiing. On the other hand, my skiing skills need some practice. But, hey, what more can you expect from a Georgia girl?!

This first picture was taken from the top of the mountain. When you ride the lift all the way to the top, you are above the clouds. We couldn't even see the bottom! The ride up was easy, although a little windy. However, the trip down was steep and filled with lots of falls. Even though it was a "blue" run, it was icy due to a lack of recent snowfall. Now I understand the term "powder snob"used to describe those Alaskans that only go skiing after a large snowfall.

Look at the ski lift going way up above the clouds!! This picture was taken later in the day as the sun is lower and almost hidden behind the mountains!

Steven and I are looking forward to having some visitors this summer! Steven is enjoying making the itinerary for when all of his family is here. Now, what I want to know is who is going to be sleeping in the tent in our backyard?!?!?!?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Years Eve and Turducken

It has been a while since our last post! We have had such a busy start to the New Year! We had a great New Years Eve with some our our close friends at their new house out in Eagle River, Alaska. It is a smaller town right outside of Anchorage. It is nestled right in the mountains and is such a cute little town. We played some Catchphrase, which the girls team dominated in (even in the sports category, which the boys were confident they would be able to beat us in). Then we all went out to the Homestead, which is a very Alaskan-style bar next to the bowling alley in Eagle River. There was a huge dance floor and Steven showed off his great dance moves! The boys had a great time playing ping-pong as well!

The boys also had fun trying to climb to the very top of this huge snow mound. The plow always pushes the snow into the middle of the cul-de-sac and some one made a slide down on side! Super fun! There is Steven on the top of the mountain of snow!!!

After New Years, we came home and watched some football on TV (the Rose Bowl, sad that Oregon couldn't fight to a win). Then, we went over to another friends house for some Turducken. Turducken is a chicken inside a duck inside of a turkey. You can buy them already stuffed at the store and all you have to do is pop it in the oven and cook it. YUM!
I really liked the turkey and the chicken, but the duck had a different sort of taste and I was not a fan of it!

In other news, please stay tuned for pictures of our trip to Alyeska to go was much more steep than Hilltop...and it was very icy, no powder at all!!! Here is a picture of me, sitting on the snow...where I spent much time that day!!