Friday, December 31, 2010

Good bye to a rig

Yesterday I sold my light wind speed machine. Thinking about this rig brings memories of the places I visited, and the people I met through windsurfing. Fogland, RI; Cape Cod, MA; Cape Hatteras, NC; South Haven, MI just to mention a few. My brother Carly sailed this board on Lake Michigan, and I will never forget his face when he came back to shore, only to tell me that he was going out again "for a little more". I remember sunny and warm summer days in Fogland, sailing until late, and then coming back to shore to have some jalapeno burgers and enjoy the sunset.
My life is about people and places, and this rig has taken me to both.
Farewell my friend, it is time for you to make someone else as happy as you made me.

Afternoon in Fogland
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Aging well

We had a sunny and warm day here in the Midwest. Alpine Valley was packed, which I didn't mind at all. After sailing solo for years, and rigging in desolated beaches covered by snow, a little company is always welcome. There were two more ramps set at the terrain park, both around 12 feet tall, and I spent all my day hitting them with everything I had.
Some people stay young by doing yoga, some others meditate, there is another group of people who stay young by getting airborne once in a while. Air time, even a split second, is my recipe for aging well.

This dude, for instance, is 64

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowkiting day 2. Real kites

As my search for the ultimate wind powered snow rig continues, today I had my first encounter with real kites. The wind must have been 8-10 mph, WSW. "There is no way we'll be able to do anything with this wind", I thought to myself as I pulled over at Montrose. I was wrong. We put up two kites, a 6 m foil, and a 10 m inflatable. The little foil kite kicked butt, staying up in the air and pulling me pretty hard. The other kite did not get a chance to shine, but showed its potential in the short time it was in the air.
Now all i need is a board on my feet, I already have a helmet...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowkiting day 1. Trainer kite

Today I went out with my trainer folil kite, which must be around 1.5 meter square. The wind was 8-12 mph, side shore, and gusty. The kite is very sensitive to the gusts, at times dropping from the sky like a rag, which is a little concerning. I hope bigger kites can handle gusts better... It's good to learn how to fly these small kites, also because you encounter all the other issues related to kitesurfing in general, i.e. dealing with strings, tangles, etc.
The search for the most efficient snow rig is on!!!

Next chapter: snowkiting lesson... Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alpine Valley

Second snowboarding session of the season! I'm warming up before going to Utah in January... I better get my turns tighter before hitting a real mountain.
This time it was a place called Alpine Valley, in Wisconsin. In most places, when the GPS says you are 10 minutes away from the ski resort, you can at least begin to see signs of it: maybe the slopes, maybe a hill, maybe snow... Not in the Midwest. Here you have no idea of where the mountain is until you pull on the parking lot. Then you go: "ah... THAT is the mountain"... Yes, many people would laugh at our icy, short, shallow and overcrowded mountains, but the burgers here are world class, and only cost 3.50 (cash only)... Beat that Lake Tahoe! Anyway, I had a great time, because as with wind, I am not a snow snob...

Alpine Valley Notes: This place is, in my opinion, better than Wilmot. It's bigger, it actually has a terrain park with some rails and a 10 foot ramp. The runs are about 1 minute long, there are plenty of lift chairs, an the lodge is OK. It's 1:45 hours from Chicago, and the price is the average for these places...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow time!!!

Chicago is known for many things: culture, music, architecture, food, sports, and so on. However, if there is one thing this city is not known for, that is skiing. But we are windsurfers, and for us (and many other zen monks) the obstacle is the path. So today I headed to Wisconsin looking for some slopes, road trip! I found Wilmot Mountain, and I spent 4 hours going up and down in 800 feet of ice, and I was loving it until I discovered... hold on... is that a ramp?
By the end of the day I was landing my jumps, and that was fun...
One time, Jim Ballantyne from Sail World Cape Cod told me: windsurfing is the best sport, you have the water, the chop, and if you add to that even a little wave, then that's all you need...
That little slope, that little ramp was all I needed today.