Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ski numbers

The season is over, my skis are put away and I hear that the past winter season wasn't that great after all. In Utah, skier days were down 4.9% from the previous season at 3,946,762 million skier days. The record was in 2007–2008, an amazing snow year, at 4,249,190.

Nationally, skier days were down too, from 56.5 million to 53.6 million, a 5 percent decrease from the previous season because of severe drought on the Pacific Coast and part of the Rockies.

The national record is 60.6 million in 2010-2011. In Utah the annual snowfall was 41% of average, a record low only matched in 1976-1977!

In spite of these grim figures, I managed to ski a record number of 114 days (my personal best) and 2,014,976 vertical feet, my second biggest season (2,047,381 feet in 2009/2010) proving that snow cover has little to do with how much one skis!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to “buy” a US green card

While I had heard that permanent residency was possible in Canada to someone investing in real estate, I was, until now, totally ignorant that a foreigner could do the same in the United States. Starting with a $500,000 investment it's been possible since 1990 to apply for a fast-track green card, provided the real estate, or mixed used project can create at least 10 jobs.
Instead of waiting many years to get a green card doing it the hard way, one can be had in just two years. If this is not called “corruption” and don't know what is. Apparently, there's a 10,000 slot allotment per year for these special EB-5 visas that lead to that particular green card and there are rumors that the $500,000 threshold might go higher given the understandable high demand, mostly from Chinese.

While this “special sale” may sound repulsive to many, some just say that 10,000 green cards are just a “drop in the bucket” compared to 1 million such cards issued each year. So if a US “green card” is in the cards for you, don't delay, open up your wallet and you'll be on your way!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another weekend project...

Ever since we moved to our new home some 14 month ago, I wanted to have a shed to hide all of our garden tools and supplies. It's now done. After much research, I zeroed-in on Lifetime, a local manufacturer of steel reinforced blow molded outdoor storage sheds, right here in Utah.

That's right, not a Chinese but just a good, new American one; what a concept! I muddle through the arduous assembly process as some of the instructions were a bit sketchy. I even had to enlist my wife's help, but I eventually we got it up and thought it was good looking even though it took the best out what was left of me.

Now, I need a vacation!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Payback time!

So far, May weather has been downright awful, I mean unseasonably rainy, of course, with consistent snowfalls over the 8,000 feet level. We certainly are paying for the mild and dry winter we just had.
Too bad skiing is closed for the season. Deer Valley's Bald Mountain still looks perfect though, a great testimony to the resort's quality snow making... I still could take a few perfect runs if only they ran their lifts for a few hours...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The curse of a bruised femur

Just two weeks ago today, I took a bad fall from my mountain-bike and bruise my left femur. Bone bruises when they occur are breaking open capillaries, allowing blood to leave the circulatory system and showing up all over in colorful marks.

They can cause excruciating pain for quite a long time and these can be felt the more intensely at rest, especially in bed. The worst intensity of pain for me was day number 10 and it appears that finally the pain is slowly subsiding.

I know from experience how bad femur bruises can be and have found out that they take a very long time to heal. Excellent experiences for building up both tolerance to pain and patience!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Can great champions influence a team?

I just looked at the athletes named in the alpine US ski team for next season and could spot four remarkable skiers: Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller.
I then wondered if the US Ski Team had any strategy to somehow tap into these unique individuals' talent in order to build a formidable team. I'm afraid this is not the case and I'm probably right.

It seems to me that individuality trumps any team building and plan. Too bad!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The perversion of skiing...

I fell on this New York Times article that told the story of Laís Souza, a young ski aerialist from Brazil that was drafted while being just a top level, two-time Olympian gymnast. Even though she had never skied before, she was invited to become a member of the Brazillian Freestlyle team competing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

After taking what must have been a crash course to become “sort of a skier”, she was getting ready for the Games in Park City, when her coach took her to a fairly steep, but not forbidding mogul slope, where she fell, sustained a neck injury and became a paraplegic. This is terrible, sad and this made me wonder: “Why?”.

The poor Souza got there simply because Brazil felt compelled to become a serious player in winter sports even though there is no skiable place in that country and did everything possible to reverse-engineer a skier out of a gymnast.

With her and some other similar team members, the country would be represented, the officials would walk in the stadium during the opening and closing ceremonies and they'd think that they had become bona fide “mountain people” while the IOC and the International Ski Federation must have blessed this idiotic move.

Right, the more participants, the merrier! A sad story indeed that shows the perverse evolution of skiing which becomes a spectacle instead of real sport practiced by people who grow into it and most importantly, we are passionate about it! This is just one reason why I think aerials may be okay for the traveling circus, but have no place in the world of skiing and should be eliminated.

This said, I am very lone voice...