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Early season skiing, or adventures in wet butt.

wet-buttThis past weekend, jonesing for some powder, I followed the snow to Mount Baker ski area. It was a wise choice. Mount Baker, known widely for its world record snowfall of 1140 inches in one season, was covered. It was dumping when I arrived, but it was a soggy snow down low, as the temps were hanging around 32 degrees at the base. I have no problem with Cascade concrete (as it can be half-affectionately called). Having been raised in New England, I enjoy anything that isn’t ice.

I began my runs on the hill and immediately noticed the lift operators doing an admirable job of frantically trying to clear the chairs of the ever prevalent slosh. Their efforts, however, were futile. Wet butt was running rampant all over the mountain. The amount of soggy tushes was almost comedic. I wanted to take some pictures so I could show the world, but thought it might be a tad creepy. Instead, I will outline how to prevent the wet butt epidemic in your household.

manky-to-swanky_blogNote: Before doing anything, always check your garment’s care label!

Step 1.

Wash your ski pants! Dirt, oil, and other crud can all attribute to a sopping behind. They mask the DWR (durable water repellency), so by washing you remove that offending filth. Use a technical cleaner like Tech Wash, as household detergents can leave behind water-attracting residue, and that means, you guessed it, wet butt!

(Even if you’re a seasoned pro who never falls, your pants can get dirty. Getting those skis off your roof rack? Rubbing against a dirt and slush-covered car is a good way to get grubby.)

Step 2.

Throw your pants in the dryer- if your care labels allows! The factory applied DWR can sometimes be rejuvenated by heat.

Step 3.

If the following two steps did not resurrect the waterproofing on your pants, add more! Use a product like TX.Direct. After cleaning, run a separate load in your washer with TX.Direct. Then, simply hang to dry or put them in the dryer. Nikwax waterproofing does NOT need heat to activate, so no need to dry if you don’t want.

Step 4.

Go shred! Laugh at all those poor souls, doomed to saturated seats. Or, you could pass along your superior technical product care knowledge.


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A Happy Tale of Snowboard Theft

Yes that’s right. You read that correctly. This is my happy tale of how I got my snowboard stolen and what ensued.

It was during night snowboarding on a Tuesday that it happened. One minute I was inside enjoying a French dip and a frosty pint, the next I was outside staring at the empty spot where I had left my board. I frantically scurried all over the mountain. I canvassed the rapidly emptying parking lot, but to no avail. It was gone. My board had been taken from me.

Security at the mountain was very understanding and friendly; I tried to convince myself that maybe someone took it accidentally. My friends were all highly sympathetic and cursed the thieves with me. All these things helped me feel slightly better, but at the end of the day, my board was MIA.

I was pretty mopey the next day, but I tried to not let it effect me. Still, I stared at my snowboard online; I even searched Craigslist, hoping it would turn up. My husband told me I wasn’t allowed to buy a new board just yet. I held out hope that mine might return.

During all of this, I began to get messages from people on Facebook. They cursed the thieves, they consoled me; it was nice to know that people really cared! As the days progressed I got more and more messages. I had people wanting to sell/lend me their set-ups, I had two people offer to give me their Tele Skis! Now, I don’t Tele, but it’s the thought that counts!

My heart, which had been feeling a bit Grinch-like after the theft, started to warm back up. I may not have had a board, but I had so many great friends!

Thursday after work, my co-worker (and friend) asked me if I wanted to go to REI with her to deliver some items to the staff. I had a balance left on a gift certificate (and I wanted to look at boards) so I agreed. We headed down to REI flagship. On the way, my friend said she needed to make a pit-stop at the Snowboard Connection to check in with the manager. I thought, even better! I can really see what’s on the market now!

I was getting excited to look at all the cool toys when my husband popped out from around the corner of the store. Both he and my friend looked suspiciously delighted. He proceeded to start snapping pictures of me. What was going on? Then he handed me a piece of paper. I opened it up and it read:

“Hi Honey. This is a gift certificate from all the above people for you to buy a new board! Operation Facebook ‘Turn Heidi’s Frown Upside Down’ a success!”

My husband and all my friends had pooled together enough money for me to buy a whole new board and bindings! I couldn’t believe it, my jaw dropped. All these people came together and took something so negative, and turned it into a beautiful example of how wonderfully amazing friends can be. Even writing this, I’m feeling myself tear up a bit.
Needless to say I got a new snowboard and bindings. I ended up with an Arbor Cadence board and Burton Lexa bindings. This is no ordinary board, not only is it a beautiful piece of equipment, but more importantly, this board has all of those wonderful, warm fuzzy feelings wrapped around it. I will cherish it, like I cherish my husband and all of my friends. However, unlike my friends, I will be keeping this board locked down like Fort Knox!

Thank you to all who helped me “Turn my frown upside down”, I dedicate this story to my husband, the mastermind behind it all. And to all who read this, I hope you are lucky enough to realize how amazing the power of love and friendship can be!

Heidi hopes to see you all on the mountain! (Thoroughly Nikwaxed of course!)