Saturday, December 19, 2009

Val D/Val G

I'm still wearing the two pairs of long underwear i put on yesterday. They never came off. After Kaylin landed 22nd in yesterday's super combined in Val d'Isere (which is in the French Alps). We jumped in the car and bolted for Pozza di Fassa (which is the Italian Dolomites). It was snowing. We got in at 3 a.m. i left my bags in the car.

I was supposed to crash in room 208 for a few hours. i couldn't find it, but 217 was open and i went for it. Up at six bells and over one of the most unbelievable mountain passes i've ever seen and i just had breakfast with Virgil, Christa and Mick at the Alpino Plan in Val G. They have some pretty good coffee here.

The Saslong Classic downhill starts in a few chace would i miss this. Here's the notes:

Val Gardena, Italy - The Saslong Classic downhill
- The Saslong, which is actually an enourmous rock, is one of the most incredible downhill tracks in all of ski racing. A rollercoaster from start to finish, there's over 20 spots where the boys get light. At one point for over the length of a football field - at 80 mph. Two years ago, i shot a vid of Mr. Nyman, who won the thing in '06. He definitely describes it best:

- It will be tough to match last years historic five Yanks in the top 10 and seven in the points. The guys are a little banged up - Bode's ankle, Mac's back is still a bit sore, Steven just got back on snow in Nov. BUT, it's possible. Bode has still been fast, this hill was built for Marco, Steven was 4th in the first training sesh and Fish made a name for himself on this hill last year with a Warhorse-esque run from 52 to 7. And speaking of Andrew, he's been in the top 15 of every speed race this season - including yesterday.

- Bibs: Fish 4, Sully 5, Bode 22, Esteban 24, Horse 29, Mac 32 and Worm 48. Thanks for the coffee Babs.

We're stacking them quick and hot and this baby doesn't start until 6:15 a.m. ET, so do what you need to do to get Universal Sports streaming through your plasma.

Val d'Isere, France - women's downhill
- Pretty sure i made this point yesterday, but it's worth a mention again. LV has won three consecutive DH runs on the OK piste. Four straight if you count her 2006 win. She took yesterday's speed portion of the super combi by 1.52 seconds for her 25th WC win. You get the picture. She has bib 19.

- Jules is downright angry and she should be. She knows she's fast on this hill. She's won on this hill and was third in the first DH trainer. She was nuking the top yesterday and went BIG off the first jump causing her to get way inside on the next turn and went out. That's not going to happen today. Watch No. 23.

- Now, here's were it's really going to get exciting. Last season i went to St. Moritz with this Team and the men dog piled the points in Val Gardena. I don't gamble - never bought a lotto ticket - but Cookie starts 2, Alice 7, Leanne 36, Chelsea 41 and Keely 44. All of these girls have been top 20. If they ski the way they all know we can, well, the story will tell itself and i'll be just fine with missing it.

A 10 piece brass band just fired it up outside the men's hotel, that's my cue. Women actually start earlier than the boys at 4:45 a.m. ET. Good thing for you, Universal Sports has on-demand streaming. Be resiliant, don't check the results first...just watch the race.

Whoa! The band just moved into the hotel to play a good luck song for Bode. Don't believe me? Check this out:



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adirondack Thanksgiving

OK, so it's not the full on Adirondack Thanksgiving, because we definitely had some important folks that couldn't make it. However, last week (while Doug was hard at work in Colorado) I started feeling sad that we would not be spending Thanksgiving together. Even more so I felt bad that he was going to be deprived of yet another turkey dinner. So in the short time that he was home this week, we threw together a Thanksgiving feast fit for a king... or a Dougie!

This was my first time ever cooking a full turkey and I have to admit I was little nervous about it. Not to mention the fact that you have to prepare side dishes as well. Any number of things can go wrong. God love my mom, she's made countless Thanksgiving dinners by herself and rarely messes anything up. But if there is one thing I learned this Thanksgiving it's that potlucks are the way to go. Each person can really concentrate on one dish and make it truly special. Thus, this was our menu:

Turkey w/ gravy
Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Dressing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cornbread Pudding (aka Swik Souffle)
Stuffed Mushrooms
Onion Pie
Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Honey Balsamic Glaze
Homemade Baguettes
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

And this was us enjoying all our hard work

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

The months of April and November in the Adirondacks are quite unique and often overlooked by many tourists, who view it as ugly mud seasons. While it is true that they lack the brilliant variety of colors that are present while in the peak of the seasons, they are the only months where you can enjoy recreational activities on both ends of the spectrum.

This weekend one was of firsts and lasts. Light snow showers present during the end of the work week actually accumulated into something skiable. Saturday morning Doug, Jim, Jenny and I hit up the Toll Road for our first cross country ski of the season. While the cover was pretty thin and the snow texture quite sticky, the feeling of gliding over the snow for the first time in months made the excursion more than worth it!

Sunday, the sky was sunny and the temps were soaring into the upper 50s (heat wave!). Doug and I decided to take our canoe for one last spin before putting it to bed for the winter. We enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon paddle on Oseetah with Michael and Cindy before settling down next to the woodstove to warm our toes and enjoy a hot bowl of stew.

These tourists don't know what they're missing!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Hike

We've had some great early season snow lately. It hasn't amounted to much, but a fresh dusting of white each morning has been good on my half mast eyes. This morning I got out for a quick hike into Moose Pond with Leigh. It was one of those, "damn, wish I'd brought the camera moments. None-the-less, it's a great way to start a Friday.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Men's GS in Soelden

A few hours following the women's GS, Soelden's main street closes and becomes a sea of painted people, drums, horns, banners and rickety homemade wheel barrows stocked with dripping wooden kegs. It's a scene for sure. The first BIG party for the World Cup fan club circuit, which truly is a tour of its own right.

Pretty sure Tom Kelly was there and dropped a vid on YouTube. Hopefully Audi USA marketing chief Scott Keogh caught it too. He flew over the pond just to see our boys rip today. That's cool.

The fan club parade ends at the women's public awards and men's GS bib draw, but the party cranks on until, well, tomorrow.

Soelden, Austria - men's giant slalom - Rettenbach Glacier
The men's tech Team is a fun group to be around, easy going and constantly poking fun at each other. Ted is the ultimate offender, but the coaches are pretty solid themselves. It's like being in a high school locker room and really the only way this Team could work. European racers will go home for a couple of nights following a race, then move to the next training site. Ted won't be home until Christmas.

At the race eve Team meeting, they go through the normal next day logistics, hand out the appropriate credentials and spend at least five minutes or more talking about how to get lunch between runs. Most of the time this involves speculating on whether they can sneak into the VIP tent (the girls were successful yesterday). But it also involves a motivational video produced by Team PT Adam Perreault and coach Pete Korfiatis, AKA Happy 1-9 Productions. The films features fast runs from the race venue, solid training clips and in last nights case, about 30 seconds of dirt jumping a junker car named "Sweet Caroline" at the New Zealand training camp. It was Warner Nickerson's and he got it for free.

Today is Warner's first World Cup start since Dec. 12, 2006 and he earned his spot by winning a time trial last week. It's a first for Tommy Ford as well - his virgin World Cup start - there's a lot of excitement around this two-time Ski Racing Junior of the Year and to be honest, i'm pretty psyched to see him go today too. He's a mellow kid and probably only travels with two shirts (both plaid flannel), but he's been nipping Ted here and there in GS training.

While i'm on the list of first, let's go with Jake Zamansky. The Z-man is staring bib 30 - his lowest World Cup starting number ever. Tim Jitloff is No. 25, Warner 47 and T-Ford 52 with 74 racers on the board. Those are good numbers.

So is No. 3, drawn by Shred last night in front of about 2,000 screaming teenage girls. In three World Cup starts at Soelden, Teddy Ball Game has finished 8-2-3 in that order. It'd be cool to see a 1 added to that string and if it happens, i might buy the first lottery ticket of my life. Even more amazing is the start order for today's race of Swiss Didier Cuche, Austrian Benni Raich then Ligety. Last season's final giant slalom standings read the exact same way. Actually the first five starters mirror the '09 standings. The draw is random. Random.

Daylight savings hit Europe last night, so i banked a bonus hour and so do you early risers. First run start time is 4:45 a.m. ET with second run at 8:45. Get your stat sheets out and start scribbling blurry eyed while watching Live Timing. Light is looking a little flat right now, but that could easily change.



Saturday, October 24, 2009


While Doug is off on a new winter filled with adventures on the World Cup circuit, Kat is at home finding creative new ways to pass the time. Luckily, our wedding photographer was able to help out some with that. Just last week we received over 1500 photos (all edited) from Jon Zander! While I couldn't even come close to posting all my favorites on this blog, I am posting the link with all the images. Feel free to poke around. I believe you can order photos directly from this site. Enjoy reliving our special day.... we certainly have.

Race Day!

Finally Race Day!

Soelden, Austria - Women's giant slalom, Rettenbach Glacier
Julia Mancuso is sick of training. It's been seven months since World Cup Finals, three on-snow camps, multiple conditioning blocks, and countless hours in the gym without one singular opportunity to hold a measuring stick against the rest of the ski racing world.

Not easy for those with competitive personalities.

Welcome to Soelden. At 45 turning gates, the traditional giant slalom opener busts the timing wand onto a short steep pitch before mellowing out on a B line for the Rettenbachjoch midstation. At last night's Team meeting, Head Coach Jim Tracy said, "It's full-on hammer down from the start, send it down the hill or you don't get a second run."

At midstation, the course breaks on a hard left boot turn over a brink and down the glacier throat towards the finish stadium. It's loud down there, cold and petty dark through about 30 in the first run or until Ma Nature's fireball slivers over the peaks to heat things up.

Course crews are shoveling snow out of the finish corral right now, slipping the fresh wet off the slope and getting ready for athlete inspection. The slope is World Cup stone hard and looking perfect - hard to believe that around 10 days ago, the glacier was black, meaning it was a parking lot. Seriously, the last few gates and the finish arena are over a parking lot.

Double World Champ Lindsey Vonn lights it up for the U.S. Ski Team with bib 11, Mancuso is rocking No. 18, youngstar Megan McJames has 31, Resi "Le Tigre" Stiegler 37, racer mom Sarah Schleper 39 and Vermont's Jessica Kelley in 45.

Lindsey is looking for her first World Cup podium in GS, she has W's in every other discipline and titles in downhill and super G. Julia was second here to open the '08 season. Sarah has been crushing it in training the last two weeks. Resi want's to prove she's back - it's her first World Cup race since Dec. 28, 2007. McJ set her personal best here last year with 14th and Jess wants to hit the hill that slapped her with a ruptured disc last season.

Fog is burning off, ORF Hitradio has cranked the system and the line of cars is melting into the clouds down valley. I love race day, especially the first.

Click your cyber boots in at First run starts at 3:45 a.m. ET with No. 2 on at 7:45. Game on.



Nerd out!
The USOC has been doing vodcasts to intro top candidates for the Oh 10 Team, check out Lindsey's and here's Jules.

Oh, and I took some cool interview vids of Lindsey, Jules and Ted from Audi's opening press conference on Thursday, cue those suckers up on

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soelden, Austria

Guten Morgen family and friends. It's official, the World Cup season is underway. I arrived in Soelden yesterday for the annual opening to the Alpine season.

We have men's and women's giant slalom races on Saturday and Sunday, but really much of the action happens today and tomorrow with meetings, press conferences and all sorts of hoopla.

Soelden is a pretty cool town. My friend Hank McKee has a great story about it on, check it out. I took this photo there two years ago.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Moose River

It's been a great couple of weeks for Kat and I. The Adirondacks saw a few inches of snow and we've been lighting the woodstove pretty much on a daily basis. It always makes the house more comfortable.

There's also been a couple of apple pressing parties which has produces multiple gallons of cider for our refridgerator and five gallons of fermentation for our closet. We've never made hard cider before, but it should be good. Chack back with us in two weeks for a sampling.

Kat's been going bonkers baking and I've been able to get out for a couple of good trips in my whitewater boat, most recetnly a sunny run of the Moose River - here's a good shot from Agers Falls. It was a good day.

I'm off to Austria tomorrow for the Alpine World Cup opener...not long and it will be the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Tempus Fugit as they say...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September Harvests

This week the skeptic in me was proved wrong. For the past couple of years Doug has been itching to grow corn in our garden. Every other year space was a big issue. Now that we have our own "squat-stead" he finally got his wish. Now I've heard stories about organically grown corn and half expected ears measuring the size of my pinkey finger with dozens of worms holes. So when we picked our first ears for dinner this week I was absolutely amazed to see that it was perfect.

The proud gardener

While not as sweet as some corn we've eaten in the past, the whole "from garden to table in less than 20 minutes" thing was more than worth it.

A sample from that day's harvest

On a separate note I tried a new bread recipe yesterday. You make a large batch of it and store the remaining dough in the fridge for up to two weeks. At any point, cut off a piece and bake it for some of the most amazing bread ever. I used half unbleached all-purpose flour and half bread flour. Made it a bit chewier which I love! Here's the link:

Also made a spectaculor beet and spinach salad with feta:

4 large beets

6 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove

2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 small red onion, diced small

Fresh salad greens, enough to make a nice bed on a large platter

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (cow's milk feta is milder than sheep's milk)

1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the tops off the beets, leaving 2 inches of the stems. Wrap beets in foil. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool, peel and slice the beets. (Ormicrowave without foil).

While beets are roasting, you can roast the walnuts and make up the salad dressing. I put the walnuts in a toaster oven, at around 250 degrees for about 10-15 minutes (if you do it in too hot an oven, the walnuts can burn). To prepare the dressing, blend oil, honey, vinegar, garlic, oregano and mustard in blender until thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Wash and dry salad greens, and keep them fresh in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the salad. Arrange the greens on a serving platter. Top with sliced beets, feta, walnuts and red onion. Spoon dressing over.

Even Althea can't resist fresh baked bread. This was how she sat all during dinner.

Friday, August 28, 2009

BLTs are A-OK!

We've all had that craving. You know.... the one that occurs in about mid-March when the only thing you want is a BLT with crunchy lettuce and juicy red tomatoes? Sometimes, in a fit of desperation we may have even gone to the store to get the ingredients to make one, only to find a pile of wilted greens and a bin of pinkish-orange monstrosities labeled "fresh tomatoes". I decided to hold off on this summer treat until it that season actually arrived.

Last night we indulged. With our own home-grown lettuce and the very first full size tomato from the garden as the star ingredients, this sandwich was worth the wait!

Despite the fact that my plants look like crap they have still managed to produce a decent amount of smaller tomatoes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August is the Healthiest Month....

I love this time of year. Aside from the fact that it aligns with school, there are just so many things that excite me about late August. For starters we are now in the height of Adirondack gardening season (which pretty much means we are finally getting everything that all other zones were havesting a month ago). This week's accomplishments have included:

-making pickles (both zucchini and bread and butter)
-freezing lots of beans
-discovering a superb patch of raspberries and freezing a few quarts
-planting fall crops of spinach, turnips, and radishes
-Making 3 batches of pesto and freezing it in ice cube trays

Other than that I'm simply cooking most of our meals from the garden, which is just such a great feeling.

My other major accomplishment of the week has been getting back onto my running schedule. I was doing really great until right before the wedding. I think it was because Doug was training for the half marathon and I just kind of tagged along. But after the wedding we both kind of took a break. Now I'm right back on track doing about 3 short runs a week (2.5 or 3 mi.) and one long (4+). This week's long run was the Trudeau Rd. loop which for those of you not from the area is a 5 mile course consisting of roughly a 1.5 mile gradual incline right in the middle of the run. I was definitely feeling the burn by the end of the run.

This week will be dedicated to getting my library ready for the start of school and enjoying every last minute of the nice weather. I'm sure we'll be back to the cold before we know it.

Recipes used:

Basil Pesto

2 c. basil
1/4 c. pine nuts (walnuts are good too)
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Food process into a thick, smooth paste

Bread and Butter Pickles

1 1/2 lb. pickling cucumbers
1 lb. onions (sliced 1/4 in. thick)
3/4 lb. red or yellow peppers (sliced 1/4 in. thick)
3 tbsp. salt
4 c. cider vinegar
2 c. light brown sugar (or white)
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. dill seed

Put cucumbers in bowl and pour boiling water over them. Drain and refresh under cold water. Slice 1/2 in. thick. Place all veggies into a glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Mix well, cover and let stand overnight.

Drain off veggies and rinse with cold water.

Put vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed, and dill in a non corrosive saucepan. Boil rapidly for 10 min. Add vegetables and bring back to boil. Remove from heat.

Pack into sterilized jars and seal. Process for 5-10 min.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New computer!

So my first official business as proud owner of a new computer is posting a blog entry, of course. I am very excited about this new purchase as the last computer I bought was a Dell (ugh!) back in 2003. Said computer currently runs for about 15 minutes at tortoise speed, while burning your lap, before promptly overheating. Oh and not to mention, the 30 GB of memory (which I was assured by the sales person was more than most people would never need) is full.

So an upgrade has come at last. I am now sporting a Sony VAIO (in my signature color- brown) which with any luck will last me another 6 years.

Hey a person can dream can't they?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beans, blueberries and the sad state of our tomatoes...

We're officially up to our ears in blueberries and green beans (two of my personal favorites). Today I spent the morning making a blueberry tart and canning dilly beans. I've never had them before, but here is the recipe I used.

4 lbs green beans
7 garlic cloves
7 heads of dill
5 c. of vinegar
5 c. water
2 tsp. of crushed red pepper

Put garlic, dill and beans in pint jars. Bring other ingredients to a boil. Pour in pints, leaving 1/4 in. head space. Process 10 min.
Yields: 7 pints

My blueberry creation in the works.

Freshly picked summer squash
I wish I could say my tomatoes were doing as well as everything else seems to be. Many of you living in the Northeast are well aware of the massive case of late blight that has been killing potato and tomato crops. My tomatoes are still alive, but not looking so great. Not sure if they in fact have late blight, but I'm open to suggestions as to what is causing the leaves to turn yellow with brown spots. Any solutions?

Friday, August 7, 2009

We Own a Wenonah!

Last week Doug and I picked up our new super fast, ultra light, totally fun kevlar canoe. For those of you who know canoes it's an Escape (a 17 1/2 ft canoe). We registered for this canoe for our wedding and are just so grateful to all those people who helped contribute to this fabulous boat. We've already taken it for a couple of spins on Lower Saranac, but tonight we get to use it for a camping trip we've been wanting to do for years. We're heading out to Lake Lila in a few hours!

Here's our sleek new ride!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Route 3 Session

One of the perks of traveling to Michigan for family visits is that Watertown, NY - more specifically the Black River is on the way. Last Thursday, Kat and I hit up the Route 3 wave for an early morning session before making the rest of the nine hour drive to Jason's house in Clarkston.

My college buddys always know I'm in town when there's a Subaru in the driveway with smelly paddling gear draped all over it.

I ended up bringing my longer playboat because I thought the wave would be a little flat. Thankfully it wasn't. The longer boat doesn't have as much bounce as my new playboat, but she can still throw down.

Here's a quick vid from the session. Kat is always so cool about hanging out with the camera while I surf my brains out.

Dougie rocking the old school Dagger Id

Garden Update

So another reason for starting this blog is to inform others and keep personal records of my #1 passion... gardening and food preservation. I started my first vegetable garden about 2 years ago and have kept increasing the size of it each summer. I now grow over 30 different kinds of vegetables and berries. I've been wanting to blog on this all summer but have just not had the time (that wedding planning thing is a real time consumer). So here's a quick recap of our major harvests thus far.

4 varieties of leaf lettuce (red mascara and black seeded simpson shown)

Red Rhubarb Swiss Chard

Just one small handful of the unbelievable harvest of sugar snap peas.

This is a photo of our garlic while it was growing... visitors to our house commonly mistook it for corn and bamboo it was so huge.

And hanging to cure in the garage.
Additional harvests also included a great crop of spinach and radishes. Since we live in such a cold climate we've been pretty limited in our early harvests. Stay tuned for an update though as the arrival of August also brings the arrival of green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, and TOMATOES!!!

Berry picking this year was definitely hit or miss. Doug and I picked strawberries the last weekend in June and felt like we struck gold when we brought home 20 quarts. But as excited as we were about strawberries we suffered an equal amount of dissappointment in the lone quart of raspberries that followed. However, blueberry season? The best I've ever seen! Still picking those....

The lineup of jams in our basement (current varieties include strawberry, raspberry rhubarb, apricot, and blueberry).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wedding Recap

Well it's official. We're married.

Our wedding week started with the arrival of Doug's family from Michigan (and Maryland). Throughout the week we went hiking, took a spin on the Saranac Lake Chain on a massive pontoon boat, hosted a BBQ, and had many laughs.

Kalib taking Isaac for a ride in my garden wagon

Mom Haney and Addison

Who says 2 year olds can't drive? (Fear not, the boat was parked)

The actual wedding day was amazing. Even the unexpected torrential downpour during our ceremony seemed to only add to the perfection of the day. Both the ceremony and reception were held at South Meadow Farm in Lake Placid, NY. The plan was to get married in the field which overlooks Pitchoff Mountain (where Doug and I had our first date and also got engaged). About 30 minutes before the ceremony the sky opened up and it just poured. While my immediate reaction was one of pure dissapointment, I soon realized that the weather made no difference. We were going to get married and it was going to be perfect, rain or shine. Here are a couple of shots from the day. (Photos taken by Jon Zander)