Working on my eighth week of pairs figure skating for “Skating with the Stars“. Last week was amazing and very tough all at the same time. We started off with a great trip to Squaw Valley where we skated on top of the mountain and then I took Brooke skiing for her first time. I knew she would be good, but not that good. By her fourth run she skied Siberia which is an advanced run. A ski instructor would get fired for bringing her up there and it was stupid on my part because if she would have gotten hurt we would have been done with the skating show. My plan was to bring her down the ridge while our buddy skied the face, but when I showed Brooke the run from the top she wanted it. She is a tough chick. The snow was great but there were small moguls and it was variable which is hard for beginners, not to mention steep. I tried to make her follow right behind me and cut deeply across the hill but she did not like my instruction and wanted to do it her own way. She ended up executing three perfect “yard sales” losing all equipment and goggles each time. Each time she got right back up and continued laughing and wanting more. Her final crash was the most spectacular. After pointing em straight down towards the bottom of the pitch and making three nice GS turns she was too far forward when the slope flattened out and she got snagged in some soft snow and did a nice headplant/yard sale completely filling her pants with snow.
It made me realize that skiing is a bit like surfing. The actual motion of turning a ski which Brooke could do very easily from her skating experience is only a small part of skiing. Managing conditions, steepness and other element is the harder part. Like surfing, standing and turning on the board is not the hardest part, it’s everything else that kills you.
When we got back to LA we had a lot of work to do and we had an increased level of stress and intensity because we had not been getting good artistic scores. This made us both focused on getting the details of the routine right. The emotion and artistry specifically. Plus, we were exhausted from both the skiing trip and just being on for so many days in a row. In addition the difficulty level of the routine increased because we were now skating in lock step as a pair telling a romantic story of forbidden love. On Sunday the day before the show we had never completed a routine yet we had to perform on the studio ice for the director. On our first attempt I swung too wide on a lunge and snagged the edge of the ice sending me into the lights then whipping Brooke over my head into the seats. Luckily, we were only bruised. We got up and tried it again, this time I caught an edge taking out Brooke who came inches from launching herself off the ice to a 5ft drop to concrete. Scary stuff.
So that did nothing for my confidence and went to bed that night thinking of how to change the routine which can be even harder. On show day Brooke and I finally got through the routine once but the directors wanted to see it again which was good for us. On the second time around I made a misstep and tripped Brooke who slashed her finger on my skate as she fell and had to go tot he hospital for stitches. Her finger would not numb so she was there forever. She finally told them to put the stitches anyway and she showed up just in time for the dress rehearsal. We ended up nailing our routine with the exception of my shaky jumps and we ended up on top. Of Course, Brandon did not compete because he was in the hospital with as stomach virus, but I’ll take it anyway.
This week I feel better physically although today I am very sore again in my hammies. My groin is at least doing well. I think my hammies are sore from doing overhead lifts with Brooke. We have had a pro skater named John Zimmerman here teaching me how to lift and throw Brooke which are required elements for this week. Our routine is going to be awesome 80′s music. I hope you will check it out and vote at ABC.com.
Had an awesome weekend opening up the new indoor trampoline park in the Presidio (House of Air). I was not going to bounce because I am coming off a badly sprained ankle but I could not resist. I bounced like a maniac. So much fun. Was sore in places I never knew. Been doing yoga nonstop ever since to get back in form. Here are pics of the place.
Check out this pic of a bench in front of “The Grove” cafe in SF Marina District. Billy Kidd still being represented with a pair of his signature Hart skis. Billy Kidd and Jimmie Huega (son of lift op in Squaw Valley) were the first American men to win medals in the Olympics in skiing (1964). Four years after the first televised games in Squaw Valley which celebrates the 50yr anniversary of those games this year. Ski history is cool. Read “Skiing Heritage” my favorite ski mag. You can check in out on Google books.
I missed you guys last week but I was slammed. We were filming in Tahoe for Warren Miller. Conditions were great. I had mentioned last week that we did some shooting in Squaw with Daron and Jamie but we got clouded over. The following days we hit Alpine meadows and did some early-ups on all parts of the mountain for a three days. We did some out of bounds stuff in Munchkins which was very cool. I had never been out there and was impresssed with terrain. A little sketchy but fun. When the snow socked in again we did a bunch of tight powder shots in the trees. It is really the only option when it socks in but some of the shots turned out great. Three or four pow turns here and there. When the weather cleared up we got Alpine really good. Cold powder out in Estelle bowl and we were able to ski some actual lines. After that we drove straight to Kirkwood to film in The Cirque, a rowdy part of the mountain that is permanently closed. The weather was clear and it was untracked but it was pretty boney. Lots of rocks just under the surface. I was pretty sketched out about but Daron Rahlves and Jamie sacked up and charged some big lines. As the day went on we skied more stuff around the cirque but Daron’s first line was definitely the highlight. He charged it through some sketchy sections and stuck it. I was really impressed. On the second day at the very end of the day we hike out to a place called emigrant aka California chutes. Emigrant is al arge face with probably about 1500 vertical and some good nasty features. We ran out there fast and Daron laid down another blaster. The only bummer was that about two minutes before Daron dropped in some other dude had hiked up from the other side and hit Daron’s line to a tee which sucked for filming purposes. He still diced it however and pretty much made one turn for every five of the other guy’s. D straightlined this chute that the other guy made ten turns in. I think it will still show well on camera. I skied another line but kind of slow and conservatively. The snow was money though. We did a ton of hiking over those five days and I was beat for three days. Every day I woke up fatigued. Slept well though. Rahlves has killer photos of the session on his site.
I took some days off and went back down to Marin. My son and I took our skiff out every morning and cruised around the bay. He is 18 months and he loves it. He goes into the closet in the morning and brings out the life jacket and starts thrusting it towards me as he says “boat, boat”. He likes to ride up on top of the center counsel like a dog. We stop and check out all the seals and birds. Usually there are a lot of seagulls and pelicans but right now there are also some Canadian geese. I did not know they hung out here by the water. The seals look cool right now as well. They are kind of white with spots. The bay is really calm this time of year even though it is a bit damp. Jack does not seem to care if it rains or not he is still game.
I hit up Aspen for a day. I Stayed at the St Regis which is always nice. I was there skiing with the top sales people from company called Galderma. They make Cetaphil etcetera, I guess they I have a great sunblock that I am going to try. We tore up Ajax mountain even though the weather was not great. It was sleeting and foggy and miserable but the skiers put in a strong performance, skiing until the buzzer even though we soaking wet.
I also hit Stratton, Vermont last weekend. When I got there it was raining and starting to freeze. The parking lot at the restaurant was a double black diamond. The to car I was in got stuck on the flat a couple times. Walking was dangerous. The following day I skied with some guys who bought a day of skiing with me through a company I work with called Sentient Jet. The guys were cool and great skiers. The mountain was a lot better than I though it would be however I experienced two firsts: I had never seen a mogul run closed down because it was too dangerous due to the ice. Secondly I have never ducked a roped to get first tracks on corduroy while the cat was still grooming. I had a really good time skiing very fast. We hit some bumps and the park a bit which I was very impressed with. I was sure the park landing would break my heels but the groomers have it down to a science out there. I though it was my first time to Stratton but it turns out that I had been there before when the weather was foggy and clearly I was too back in 1998 right after the Olympics.
It took me 14 hours to get home from Stratton to Tiburon and everything went smoothly. I could have gone Paris in less time. On both flights I sat in front of women that never shut up. The first flight I had t move, this woman was crazy. Even when the jet engine revved up she raised her voice to talk to the person across the aisle. I wanted to strangle her. She was in her fifties but she talked like a sixteen year old. In the second flight I had these two chicks behind me that chatted the whole time about he nothing but one of their friend’s husband and purple eyeliner. One kept giving the other one heat about how small her eyes were. I turned around to look at them and figured out that her eyes were small because her cheeks were like greatfruits due to the fact that she was carrying an extra 100 around. Travelling is a nightmare.
I appeared on a recent episode of Revision3′s Scam School with Brian Brushwood. Check it out above. Follow Revision3 and Brian on Twitter @revision3 and @shwood. Catch more episodes of Scam School and other Revision3 shows at http://www.revision3.com.
I went to a TGR show here last night in Marin, CA to support Demo Ski, our local shop. It brought back good memories from when I shot with them in 1999 for “The Realm”. We were were holed up in Girdwood for 3 weeks. It dumped for two straight days so Jeremy Jones, Micah Black and I skied blower pow off the chairlift every day and partied and ate caribou meat with locals at night. A couple of other guys came and went disappointed that there was no blue. After 2 weeks, the sun broke and we had 4 epic days of shooting in the Chugach from the heli. Here is my segment:
I hit the SF bay to check out the 289’ Maltese Falcon. Largest sailboat in the world. It was interesting to watch it move through the bay. I brought junior with me. Somebody hit it in a forty foot sailboat a couple of days later. Here is the link to that sequence.