State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

moguls

by Natalia

This is not going to be about venture capitalists or media tycoons. My topic for the day are irritating obstacles created by skiers with explicit purpose of making snowboarders look ridiculous. Not that they have to try very hard. Avoiding bumpy slopes, while possible and in many cases even recommended, is not the way to enjoy snowboarding. Here in Keystone, giving up on bumps and trees means forgoing half of the terrain. The better half.

There are numerous techniques to conquer uneven slopes. The most spectacular one calls for using bumps to gain speed and height in order to finish with a back flip after the third jump. It's up to you but I suggest you try it first with no people, no moguls and possibly no snowboard.

Underrated ass slide requires no less of moral fortitude. Reinforced pants are not a bad idea if you have your heart (or this other part of your body) set on mastering it. When your behind gets tired, stand up, sideslip and push some of that snow down the slope flattening the bumps. That's how you get back at those pesky skiers for ruining a perfectly nice piste. Though they would never admit it, many will be grateful.

Of course you can just go back to basics: try falling leaf technique from your first snowboarding lesson and skid turn in between moguls. Your thighs will burn by the time you get to the bottom and your back leg will hurt, but it's all worth it. Ignore the contempt of your fellow snowboarders and congratulate yourself on conquering moguls. If using your back leg for steering is not enough exercise and your upper body feels left out try arm flapping for balance and theatrics. To increase your audience choose a trail located directly under the lift.

There are ways to negotiate a mogul field that are perhaps less entertaining to the bystanders but more enjoyable to the rider. If the bumps are sparse or the snowstorm just dropped a foot or two of snow and covered troughs just carve in between the moguls. Treat each one as any other obstacle to stay clear of.

In case you are ready to get serious and actually use the moguls for the exhilaration they can provide, ride up the high end of the bump with your board flat flexing your knees and hips to absorb the impact. This unweights the board and allows you to turn and wrap around the bump, sliding down its low end. Describing it is almost as difficult as actually performing the trick. You can add a bit of a jump with practice (and music). And in time you will be able to do a perfectly straight zipper line.

If you miss this sweet spot halfway up the mogul, don't worry: there is always the next one. Or you can turn on the top when your board is straddling the bump and you have an easy choice either way.

I hope you feel ready to don a snowboard and ride the moguls now. Don't forget to post a video on YouTube so that I can make fun of you in the follow up piece.

groomers

Try the groomers on North Peak the poster at the top of the Mozart trail cajoles challenging my grasp of the English language. Thankfully a photo of a skier turning on a perfectly crisp corduroy provides the necessary clue as to what a groomer is. A bit disappointing since I've already got my hopes up for a ride in one of those vehicles that groom trails. Try the groomers on North Peak if you want to compete for space with beginners who have fallen for this marketing ploy on one hand, and ambitious skiers who jump out of trees and take no prisoners on the other. Contrary to what the poster leads you to believe, North Peak is an advanced terrain chock-full of black trails with a few blues thrown in. There are no greens there, not even one. If groomers are your thing try Frenchman or Bachelor on the front side of the mountain where grooming is performed twice a day and there is ample opportunity to bail out if you find yourself on a run above your skill level.

bishop

Strange things can happen if you take my home is my castle saying to its logical conclusion. You may not end up living in a castle, but you can certainly spend a bigger part of your life building one. As far as living space goes, castles create more problems than they solve. Big, drafty, expensive and short on modern amenities, like multiple bathrooms and flat screen TVs, a castle is easily outclassed by a McMansion on the corner. As a statement of your independence though castles are in the league of their own.