HUEY LEWIS HOOKS ONE ~ The New Yorker

Fly-fishing in Great Kills Harbor, the Reagan-era hit machine talks about his childhood with the Beats in the Bay Area, and the challenge of making music while losing his hearing.

 

Huey Lewis
Huey LewisIllustration by João Fazenda

 

Midtown Manhattan, 5:30 a.m., Huey Lewis riding shotgun. Lewis may be many things—eighties hit machine, MTV eyeworm, entertainer for hire—but he’s nothing if not a fisherman. So when he passed through town in October, ahead of the release of a new album (his first in ten years, and likely his last, because, since recording it, with his band, the News, he has basically, as a result of a rare disease, lost his hearing, and therefore his ability to sing in key), he wanted to try to slay some stripers. He’d never fished New York City. So he signed on with Captain Frank Crescitelli, of Fin Chaser Charters. Meetup was a Staten Island marina, at first light.

Lewis had some urban angling experience. “When I was a kid, I had a little El Toro,” he said. “Like, an eight-foot sailboat. I lived in Strawberry Point, in Marin County. And I would sail around San Francisco Bay and take my spin rod along with a couple of Rapala lures and come back with three huge striped bass, no sweat.”

The ear affliction, called Ménière’s, comes and goes. Some weeks he’s O.K., some days he can hardly hear the phone ring. This was, so far, at least before sunup, a good day. “But I can’t book a show when I don’t know if I’ll be deaf.”

Now sixty-nine, Lewis lives on a ranch in Montana, with several trout streams nearby. You wouldn’t guess that he was born in New York City and spent his first years in Ohio. But he’s mostly a Bay Area kid. His father, a radiologist, and his mother, an artist who escaped Poland in 1939, divorced soon after they got to California, in 1955. His mother’s parents, who also fled Poland, had died by suicide together, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. “It was a ‘House of Sand and Fog’ thing,” Lewis said. “And so my mother became a hippie, basically. She started hanging out at the No Name Bar in Sausalito, which was affiliated with Ferlinghetti, Lenny Bruce, and the City Lights crowd. She took up with a Beat poet named Lew Welch. That was my living room when I was a teen-ager. Gregory Corso and Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg sitting around drinking wine and smoking dope and reading poems.” To get him clear of all this, Lewis’s father sent him to boarding school in New Jersey. “I hated it,” Lewis said. He bummed around Europe for a year, with a harmonica, then bailed on college, returned to the Bay, and, a dozen years and a bunch of bands later, emerged as a Reagan-era rock star. “It’s hip to be square,” he sang. And maybe it was.

In Great Kills Harbor, Captain Frank, a solidly built Staten Island lifer with a handlebar mustache and a lit cigar, was waiting aboard a spiffy outboard loaded with electronics. “What’s the difference between a fishing guide and a large pizza?” he said. “The pizza can feed a family of four.” The boat had a clear tank teeming with bunker—live bait—but Lewis is a fly fisherman, and before long he was standing in the bow, casting a shrimplike pattern on a sinking line to some weakfish that Crescitelli had espied on his fish-finder. “I’ve never fished for fish on a screen before,” Lewis said. He looked trim in fishing pants, a blue pullover, and black Allbirds. He kept his balance in the chop.

“There are more weakfishing world records within two miles of here than anywhere in the world,” Crescitelli said.

“So let me get this straight—we got a chance at a world record?” Lewis said.

Not today. The weakfishing was weak, and Crescitelli gunned it out into the bay. Sun rising, Verrazzano towers gleaming. Crescitelli pulled up in a roiling stretch of water, which, he explained, was the outflow from a sewage-treatment plant a mile away. “Smell that sweet smell?” he said. “This is where the bait’s at. Thing is, they changed the formula. It’s not fishing as good as it used to.”

“Fishing is never as good as it’s going to be or as it was,” Lewis said.

“There,” Crescitelli said, pointing at his screen. “That’s a shit ton of fish right there.” Lewis cast and stripped, cast and stripped: nothing. Crescitelli steered north to Hoffmann Island, where sick immigrants were quarantined a century ago. “A guy made three porno movies here in the seventies. Used to be buildings there.”

“Huh,” Lewis said, pitching his line toward some old pilings: no dice.

“That’s good casting, Huey. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

To the south was another island, with a smokestack and some ruins. “This was the crematorium,” Crescitelli said. He drifted the boat as close as he could, and Lewis worked the eddy line off the jetty. “Huey, you’re right in the spot. C’mon, just one striper!”

Bang. Lewis’s rod tip bent. A striper? No. A flounder. A flounder! On a fly?

“Never seen that, I gotta say,” Crescitelli said.

“It’s better than not fishing,” Lewis said.

He held up the flounder, grinning, secure in the knowledge that a photo of him with such a meagre specimen would not in any way diminish his standing in the world. ♦

A conversation with Peter Lev on today’s walk brought us to old friend Harry Frishman which led to his son Jackson. Salud! and now a few more stories added into the mix from other places …

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Harry and Libby Frishman

FALL ON ICE, CLIMBING UNROPED

Publication Year: 1982.


FALL ON ICE, CLIMBING UNROPED

Wyoming, Tetons

On January 18, 1981, Harry Frishman (38) and Mark Whitten signed out at the Moose Visitor Center for a climb of the Black Ice Gully on the Middle Teton. They hiked to the Lower Saddle and spent the night inside the Exum Guide’s hut.

On January 19, they decided to climb the Northwest Couloir route on the Middle Teton. This route is described in Leigh Ortenburger’s A Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range as “a difficult high-angle snow and ice climb.” It is rated at Grade II, F6. Both Frishman and Whitten had extensive mountaineering experience. Frishman worked as a guide for the Exum Mountain Guide Service. That morning they left the Lower Saddle and began ascending the Northwest Couloir. They decided to climb unroped, although they carried a rope with them. They also had crampons and ice-climbing tools but no hard hats.

Around 11:15 a.m., Whitten successfully reached the top of the couloir, with Frishman

close behind. A few feet from the top, Frishman slipped. He was unable to self-arrest on the steep ice and fell approximately 2,000 feet to his death. Whitten was unable to reach Frishman, so he ran out to the Moose Visitor Center for help. (Source: Craig Patterson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

Analysis

At 3:08 p.m. on January 19, Whitten arrived at Moose Visitor Center to report a climbing accident on the Middle Teton. Rangers Dabney and Patterson interviewed Whitten and then prepared for a rescue.

At 4:00 p.m. Dabney and Patterson left Beaver Creek in a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter piloted by Roger Kjerstad. They located Frishman’s body from the air and landed nearby. The body was at the 10,700-foot level on the snowfield northwest of the Middle Teton. A line of bloodspots and scuffmarks in the snow indicated the path of the body as it descended the righthand (south) fork of the Northwest Couloir and came to its present position. There were no life signs. Frishman was wearing a sit harness. His Lowe Hummingbird Hammer and Chouinard Alpine Hammer were in good condition. The Hummingbird hammer was attached by a sling to his sit harness; the Alpine hammer was attached to a sling around his neck and shoulder. One Chouinard crampon was loose but attached to his right ankle by its strap; the other crampon was missing. The tines on the right crampon were all in good condition. There were no obvious injuries besides the massive trauma to his head.

At 3:10 p.m. on January 19, Patterson interviewed Whitten at the Moose Visitor Center.

Whitten stated in essence that he and Frishman had bivouacked at the Exum Guide’s hut on the lower saddle the previous night and began climbing the Northwest Couloir of the Middle Teton in the morning. They were climbing unroped with crampons and ice tools. At 11:15 a.m. Whitten reached the top of the couloir, with Frishman close behind. Whitten began taking pictures of Frishman ascending the couloir below him. When Frishman was only a “few” feet away, he slipped, possibly because a piece of brittle ice broke away around his crampon. Frishman slid and tried to self-arrest, but the ice was too hard and steep. Frishman flipped over backwards and slid out of sight down the couloir, banging his head on some rocks.

Whitten downclimbed several gullies, following a trail of hair and blood. He recovered a crampon and a glove. He got to within about “300 feet above” Frishman but was blocked from further descent by cliffs. He could see Frishman, and he “hollered,” but saw no movement and heard no response.

Whitten climbed back up and descended the north ridge, reaching the Exum hut at approximately 1:00 p.m. He then ran out and drove to the Moose Visitor Center. (Source: Craig Patterson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

 

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Harry’s surfboard residing at Rancho Desperado

 

 

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The Big Empty Is Anything But

PHOTOGRAPHER JACKSON FRISHMAN IS CONNECTED TO THE GIANTS OF AMERICAN MOUNTAINEERING. HE ALSO UNDERSTANDS THE PAIN AND EUPHORIA OF THE WEST

Badlands, western Nevada. Observes Frishman, "This is straight-up BLM land with no protected status whatsoever." Photo by Jackson Frishman
Badlands, western Nevada. Observes Frishman, “This is straight-up BLM land with no protected status whatsoever.” Photo by Jackson Frishman
~~
EDITOR’S NOTE: Meet Jackson Frishman. He’s a young man you ought to know, and in the months ahead you will come to understand how he thinks by how he interprets the landscape around him as a photographer.  His roots run strong through the Jackson Hole climbing community where his last name is connected to lore. With his column, “Rambling the Big Empty,” he will be sharing visual dispatches from remote corners of the West. The purpose: to continually remind us that all landscapes are interconnected and none exist as total islands. To appreciate the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Jackson will keep asking us to view the Big Empty not as a void but the center of a lot of things worth saving. Enjoy the interview below. We know you will find it fascinating.  —Todd Wilkinson, Editor
MOUNTAIN JOURNAL: Your first name is “Jackson”? How did you come by your name and what does it mean to you?
JACKSON FRISHMAN: I spent my formative years in Jackson Hole (Wilson, actually), so people naturally assume my name is a tribute to the place. But in fact, I’m A. Jackson Frishman the Third, named after my uncle and my grandfather. Perhaps there was some destiny at work, though: we moved to Wilson from Santa Fe when I was about a year old. My father, Harry Frishman, guided in the Tetons and accompanied Yvon Chouinard, Kim Schmitz and Rick Ridgeway on their ill-fated Minya Konka expedition in 1980, which ended with an avalanche fatality.
Harry himself was killed the following winter on the Middle Teton. So my name brings to mind a family history of outdoorsmanship—my maternal grandfather Kenneth Adam was also an early Sierra climber, complete with a Yosemite first ascent (the Royal Arches), and my mother Libby was an Outward Bound guide for many years. But my name also evokes a lot of early memories of walking in lodgepole forests, playing by the Snake, cold winters, being a child who took things like bison and geysers completely for granted, and generally growing up with wilderness and mountains as a major part of my life.
Chaka River Canyon Wilderness, New Mexico. Photo by Jackson Frishman
Chaka River Canyon Wilderness, New Mexico. Photo by Jackson Frishman
MOJO: What has your Mom shared with you about that fateful day involving your Dad, Harry in terms of details?  It was a shocking event in the history of Jackson Hole mountaineering. How have you tried to make sense of it?
FRISHMAN: I was barely three years old, so my memories of that time are few and vague. Of course I wish I’d gotten to know my father better, I hear so many stories about him to this day. It’s interesting to speculate how my life would be different if he’d lived, but I also think a lot about what I might have missed out on after my life shifted to a different script.

 

 

I’ve definitely grown up deeply aware that no single experience is worth losing all your future experiences, particularly when those future experiences also belong to other people like my wife and child. Outdoor pursuits always involve some tolerance for risk, of course— I spend lots of time rockhopping alone in remote deserts, an activity no one would call perfectly safe. But for me, pushing myself in the backcountry really means learning, understanding landscapes more deeply and broadly, noticing places no one else notices, and finding ways to evoke and share those experiences with others.

MOJO: You had another influential male figure in your life, this one an outdoor sporting writer of the highest order. He is a favorite of ours. His books on falconry and guns are legendary and his memoir, Querencia, is a classic. In fact, we encourage MoJo readers to follow his work.
FRISHMAN: My stepfather, the nature writer Stephen Bodio who was based in Bozeman for years, taught me to see beauty in less obviously spectacular landscapes, to look beyond superlatives like highest and deepest and steepest, and focus instead on a place’s ecology, seasonal rhythms, historical connections. Over the years, I’ve gravitated towards contemplative wilderness activities: backpacking, rafting, natural history and of course, photography.

And a little more history added

photo & revisionist history from the old days ~ Matt Wells
EPSON scanner imageJR, those present in the photo taken at the Climax
High Altitude Observatory
( The Third Pole ) mid 70’s –Bernie Arndt – Billy Roos, orange bb cap, Paul Sibley, lurking, below and between Sib and Franny Butt is Burt Redmayne, between Franny and Hogini is, Chris Burns.
You may have mistaken him for Jeff Lowe. Below D Hogan you see, Libby and Harry Frishman, tribal chief and Queen from Wilson Wyo. below DH and beside Harry is Jean Hornbrook, the ayatollah’s old girlfriend. I stand in Raybans, with scalp foliage, between Andy Wilson and Captain Redmayne. Harry holds Libby’s ever present dog, Murphy. Just outside the circle of trust is Komander Krolak. This was taken at a time when the snow was deep and our lives less complicated.
Do what you will with the photo but do not use it with reference to (insert outdoor school of choice), we were constantly doing battle with the organization. We were employed by them but garnered little support from the office,

 

~~~

Another story or two from Jimbo Buickerood

Hi Jerry,
Somewhere I have the glossy original of this photo, much finer than this paper version tacked above my desk that I see daily.  The photo is a great encapsulation of Harry’s spirit as he holds out his “Lhasa” hitchhiking sign to a passing military truck during their Minya Konka trip, the journey on which we lost the fine Natl Geo photographer and Aspen-area resident Jonathan Wright.  Note Harry’s mischievous smile that was only visible due to this being one of those gaps in his adult life that Harry was without a full beard.  Note that he died the day before Reagan’s inauguration, Harry evidently wasn’t interested in living with that clown running the show.  Still miss him dearly my pal, Harry Dean Frishman.  BTW, his grave is in the Wilson cemetery, just up the hill from the Stagecoach Bar with it’s legion of tales – it’s somewhat overgrown, but looks up the hill towards Teton Pass where Harry skied a time or two.
Oh, and a bit more for the history buff you are.  I did have it tucked away for many years until I gave it to Randy Udall’s daughter Tarn and her husband Alex who is also very fond the expression – it was my wedding present to them. The t-shirt is a drawing/profile of Chief Washakie with a “Goddamn a Potato” in text  below.  Harry loved the Chief’s response to the US Government agent who told them that they should basically ditch their ponies and start farming – yeah, right!!  We had always joked, including Harry and Libby, that Goddman a Potato should be the enscription on his tombstone, and Libby held true to scheme as you can see.
jimbo
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Dems, You Can Defeat Trump in a Landslide

 

You can promise voters something our narrow-minded president won’t.

By

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Travis Dove for The New York Times

If this election turns out to be just between a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath, we will be in a terrible, terrible place as a country. How do we prevent that?

That’s all I am thinking about right now. My short answer is that the Democrats have to do something extraordinary — forge a national unity ticket the likes of which they have never forged before. And that’s true even if Democrats nominate someone other than Bernie Sanders.

What would this super ticket look like? Well, I suggest Sanders — and Michael Bloomberg, who seems to be his most viable long-term challenger — lay it out this way:

“I want people to know that if I am the Democratic nominee these will be my cabinet choices — my team of rivals. I want Amy Klobuchar as my vice president. Her decency, experience and moderation will be greatly appreciated across America and particularly in the Midwest. I want Mike Bloomberg (or Bernie Sanders) as my secretary of the Treasury. Our plans for addressing income inequality are actually not that far apart, and if we can blend them together it will be great for the country and reassure markets. I want Joe Biden as my secretary of state. No one in our party knows the world better or has more credibility with our allies than Joe. I will ask Elizabeth Warren to serve as health and human services secretary. No one could bring more energy and intellect to the task of expanding health care for more Americans than Senator Warren.

“I want Kamala Harris for attorney general. She has the toughness and integrity needed to clean up the corrupt mess Donald Trump has created in our Justice Department. I would like Mayor Pete as homeland security secretary; his intelligence and military background would make him a quick study in that job. I would like Tom Steyer to head a new cabinet position: secretary of national infrastructure. We’re going to rebuild America, not just build a wall on the border with Mexico. And I am asking Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, to become secretary of housing and urban development. Who would bring more passion to the task of revitalizing our inner cities than Cory?

“I am asking Mitt Romney to be my commerce secretary. He is the best person to promote American business and technology abroad — and it is vital that the public understands that my government will be representing all Americans, including Republicans. I would like Andrew Yang to be energy secretary, overseeing our nuclear stockpile and renewable energy innovation. He’d be awesome.

“I am asking Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to serve as our U.N. ambassador. Can you imagine how our international standing would improve with youth worldwide with her representing next-gen America? And I want Senator Michael Bennet, the former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, to be my secretary of education. No one understands education reform better than he does. Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna would be an ideal secretary of labor, balancing robots and workers to create “new collar” jobs.

“Finally, I am asking William H. McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who commanded the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014 and oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, to be my defense secretary. Admiral McRaven, more than any other retired military officer, has had the courage and integrity to speak out against the way President Trump has politicized our intelligence agencies.

Only last week, McRaven wrote an essay in The Washington Postdecrying Trump’s firing of Joe Maguire as acting director of national intelligence — the nation’s top intelligence officer — for doing his job when he had an aide brief a bipartisan committee of Congress on Russia’s renewed efforts to tilt our election toward Trump.

“Edmund Burke,” wrote McRaven, “the Irish statesman and philosopher, once said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’”

If Bernie or Bloomberg or whoever emerges to head the Democratic ticket brings together such a team of rivals, I am confident it will defeat Trump in a landslide. But if progressives think they can win without the moderates — or the moderates without the progressives — they are crazy. And they’d be taking a huge risk with the future of the country by trying.

And I mean a huge risk. Back in May 2018, the former House speaker John Boehner declared: “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”

It’s actually not napping anymore. It’s dead.

And I will tell you the day it died. It was just last week, when Trump sacked Maguire for advancing the truth and replaced him with a loyalist, an incompetent political hack, Richard Grenell. Grenell is the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Germany, a post for which he is also unfit. Grenell is now purging the intelligence service of Trump critics. How are we going to get unvarnished, nonpolitical intelligence analysis when the message goes out that if your expert conclusions disagree with Trump’s wishes, you’re gone?

I don’t accept, but can vaguely understand, Republicans’ rallying around Trump on impeachment. But when Republicans, the self-proclaimed national security party — folks like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton — don’t lift a finger to stop Trump’s politicization of our first line of defense — the national intelligence directorate set up after 9/11 — then the Republican Party is not asleep. It’s dead and buried.

And that is why a respected, nonpartisan military intelligence professional like Bill McRaven felt compelled to warn what happens when good people are silent in the face of evil. Our retired generals don’t go public like that very often. But he was practically screaming, “This is a four-alarm fire, a category 5 hurricane.” And the G.O.P. response? Silence.

Veteran political analyst E.J. Dionne, in his valuable new book, “Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country,” got this exactly right: We have no responsible Republican Party anymore. It is a deformed Trump personality cult. If the country is going to be governed responsibly, that leadership can come only from Democrats and disaffected Republicans courageous enough to stand up to Trump. It is crucial, therefore, argues Dionne, that moderate and progressive Democrats find a way to build a governing coalition together.

Neither can defeat the other. Neither can win without the other. Neither can govern without the other.

If they don’t join together — if the Democrats opt for a circular firing squad — you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.

 

Alta Stories, steeped in tradition

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photo of Peter Lev in front of his old LCC Highway avalanche map

STEEPED IN TRADITION EPISODE 6 – PATROL

The National Ski Patrol was formed in 1938, the same year Alta Ski Area was founded. While the National Ski Patrol was formed in Stowe, Vermont as a way to care for injured skiers, Alta Ski Patrol formed in 1941 to assist skiers, but quickly became known as the birthplace of avalanche research in North America and home to one of the most respected snow safety departments in the industry.

Alta’s Ski Patrol consists of over 80 men and women, with 20-30 working on most days. On mornings with significant overnight snowfall, that number can double.

Ski Patrolling is serious work, starting as early as 3am, long before the most die-hard skiers start lining up for first chair. The job is both physically and mentally demanding. Members of the Alta Ski Patrol deal with some of the gnarliest weather imaginable while putting themselves in the most challenging and dangerous terrain on the mountain.

Once the ski area opens, they spend the ski day providing medical care and transportation to injured skiers. It’s a selfless, often, thankless job. One that doesn’t end until long after the last skier has made their way down the hill.

“Nobody’s getting rich doing this job. They’re getting paid in powder.” – Dave “Grom” Richards, Alta Ski Area Avalanche Department Director

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Alta Ski Patrol is also a founding member of Wasatch Backcountry Rescue (WBR), an organization that provides “rapid response for avalanche rescue, winter-related mountain rescue, and medical evacuation incidents using trained professionals and search and rescue dogs. WBR personnel are full-time avalanche professionals from member organizations who are familiar with local terrain, snowpack, and current conditions. This makes WBR the resource of choice for initial response to winter accidents in the Wasatch range’s vast and heavily used backcountry.“

Alta Ski Patrol also works very closely with the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC), providing myriad snow science and avalanche data toward the creation of daily avalanche forecasts. Alta Ski Patrollers also assist in public avalanche awareness and education courses. These forecasts and classes are an invaluable resource in the skiing community.

HISTORY OF AVALANCHE RESEARCH AT ALTA

The first ski lift in Utah carried skiers up Collins Gulch on January 15th, 1939. Less than a month later, the first use of explosives in avalanche control took place on Mt. Superior. Alta’s first Snow Ranger, C.D. Wadsworth, and ski school director Karl Fahrner used explosives attempting to produce a slide across the road from Alta Ski Area. The very first attempt failed to produce an avalanche, However, the following morning, an avalanche occurred on a continuous fracture line that stretched from Mount Superior to Patsey Marley— burying 2,000 feet of road under 14 feet of snow.

In 1938, Sverre Engen—brother of Alta’s founding father, Alf Engen—was appointed the second Snow Ranger of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Sverre and his wife Louis develop ski cutting and snow pit analysis, techniques still used in avalanche mitigation and research to this day.

Alta Ski Patrol was officially founded in 1941, a team consisting of Jim Shane, Harold Goodro, Dave Shelton, Tom Foley and Gordy Allcott. Monty Atwater took over for Sverre Engen in 1946 and began using explosives in avalanche control work. Two years later, Atwater started using hand charges to trigger avalanches in and around Alta Ski Area. In 1952, Following the first successful use of artillery in avalanche mitigation in 1949, Atwater received permission to fire a World War I-era 75mm French Howitzer for avalanche control work.

Monty Atwater was later joined by snow ranger Edward LaChapelle who had studied at the Avalanche Institute in Davos, Switzerland. LaChapelle studied snowpits and set up a European-style snow study plot at Alta. He also employed a German Shephard named Cola with the job of locating avalanche victims, becoming the first avalanche dog in the United States.

In 1969, Snow Ranger Bengts Sandahl installed the first remote weather station on top of Cardiff Peak, across the street from Alta Ski Area. Weather and snowfall have become an obsession ever since. The Alta Avalanche Office maintains the most historic records of any mountain in North America. The Alta Guard House study plot has snowfall records dating back to 1945. The recording of accurate snow data is one of the most important duties of the Alta Avalanche Center.

“We stand on the shoulders of the people that came before us.” – Titus Case, Former Avalanche Director

With the introduction of computers, the internet, and other technological advances, snow study data has been expanded. The Collins study plot has tracked snowfall, water, wind, temperatures and base depth for the past forty years.

Today’s Alta Ski Patrol carries on the tradition of keeping meticulous snow study data, some of the most reliable snow data in the world. Each day, thousands of skiers rely on Alta’s study plots for hourly weather and snow information.

ALTA’S AVALANCHE DOGS

Following the lead of Snow Ranger Ed LaChappelle and Cola, Alta Ski Area created one of the first avalanche dog programs in the country. The Patrol’s first dog, Hey You, joined the team in 1980. In the words of WBR, “Alta recognized early on that avalanche dogs would be an integral part of the ski area’s Avalanche Rescue Plan. As a result, Alta was one of the first areas to own dogs and provide full support to the ski patrollers who train them. Alta was also an early convert to the multi-handler system; each dog has several handlers who can work with the dog in emergency situations, allowing for the rapid deployment necessary to potentially save a life.”

For only $50 you can skin uphill …

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In the 84 years since the first mechanical ski lift opened in Sun Valley, Idaho, the U.S. has never seen a ski resort with no form of motorized transport. On February 15, that will change with the opening of Bluebird Backcountry, a “human-powered” resort 20 miles north of Kremmling, Colorado, with 300 acres of avalanche-evaluated inbound territory, another 1,200 acres of true backcountry terrain, and exactly zero chairlifts. The new business model arrives at a moment when alpine touring is gaining more attention among casual skiers who are fed up with long lift lines, exorbitant resort prices, and overcrowded slopes. Bluebird’s model will require all visitors to use backcountry skins to access its runs—with lessons and rentals provided for newcomers unfamiliar with uphill skiing.

“Nothing about Bluebird Backcountry is new,” Erik Lambert, one of the resort’s co-founders, told SNEWS. “People are doing amazing things to push uphill skiing forward and to improve the learning process, but we haven’t encountered anyone who’s putting all of those pieces into one place to make it comfortable and easy to get started.”

Three skiers standing on top of a mountain looking out at a blue sky.

Bluebird Backcountry will offer 1,500 acres of formerly private, never-before-skied terrain.

Photo by Doug McLennan

The idea for Bluebird was born in 2016, when Lambert’s co-founder, Jeff Woodward, took his brother, a backcountry novice, out for a day of touring.

“Jeff started thinking about how unnecessarily difficult it is to learn how to backcountry ski,” said Lambert. “He knew there had to be a better way.”

Lambert and Woodward went back and forth about how a backcountry resort would operate, and ultimately decided that it would be most beneficial to gear a large part of the business toward newcomers—those who had never toured before and who wanted an easy, affordable, safe way to enter the sport. When they started asking around, they discovered that demand for this type of service was even higher than anticipated.

Two backcountry skiers smile at the camera on a slope in the middle of aspen trees.

Skiers and snowboarders can hone their backcountry skills with lessons, rental gear, and an affordable $50 resort entry fee.

Photo by Erik Lambert

“The best analogy we have is climbing. In the past, climbing required a mentorship model in order to learn. The advent of the climbing gym changed a lot about how people began to enter the sport. It made it more accessible, easier to get basic education, and more comfortable. That’s where we’re going with backcountry skiing. There’s a demand, but there’s no good outlet to give people a chance to get going. I personally believe that backcountry skiing is about 30 years behind climbing in this sense,” Lambert said.

Visitors will be able to access Bluebird’s terrain for a flat fee of $50. Two-hour introductory lessons, also $50, will teach backcountry safety, etiquette, and the basics of touring. Onsite rental gear will include a brand-new fleet of Black Diamondskis, Weston splitboards, Dynafit boots and ski bindings, and Spark splitboard bindings, with beacons, probes, and other avalanche equipment also available.

A backcountry skier turns through deep powder with trees and mountains in the background.

Bluebird Backcountry will open to the public on February 15, 2020.

Photo by Doug McLennan

SNEWS is the first to report that the resort will also offer a passport booklet that visitors can fill out as they tour the resort.

Says Lambert, “There will be stamps hidden around the mountain. Some of them will be roving. You’ll have to find certain places or people in order to get a stamp. If you get enough, we’ll give you a prize.”

While this might seem trivial or gimmicky, it actually fits well with Bluebird’s commitment to welcoming newcomers.

“Backcountry skiing is physically demanding. For people just getting started, they might need some incentive to stick with it,” says Lambert. “We can’t physically change the reality of what you need to skin, but we can mentally change how people approach it. For instance, during our prototype days last year, we set up a bacon station. One of our volunteers dressed up in a hula skirt, and halfway up the skin track she was waiting with a Coleman stove, cooking bacon for people as a surprise. Everyone loved it.”

 

Mardi Gras New Orleans ~ The Washington Post

 

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NEW ORLEANS — Music blared from speakers set up under an ornate cast-iron gallery overlooking the heart of New Orleans’s tourist epicenter, Bourbon Street. The fact that it was 10 a.m. did not stop costumed spectators from bouncing in and out of bars with bloody marys and hurricanes.

But the crowd was not Bourbon Street’s usual tourist set. Most were locals, there to see a 50-year-old Mardi Gras tradition: the Greasing of the Poles. Once done as a precaution to keep drunken visitors from destroying the balconies that define the French Quarter, the Greasing of the Poles is now a party in itself.

While the cliche of the holiday still exists on Bourbon Street, it’s a tiny fraction of a much larger Mardi Gras ecosystem — one that’s rooted in tradition and is mostly family-friendly.

“It’s just a time when people come together and enjoy life,” says Arthur Hardy, the “Mardi Gras Guide” publisher whose family has been in New Orleans since 1830. “We like to say in New Orleans: If you die of old age, it’s your own fault, because we like to party. And Mardi Gras is our biggest party, and it’s our gift to the world.”

To compare a tourist’s experience with a local’s, I joined the visitors who flocked to the city and then spent time with New Orleans natives to see Mardi Gras through the lens of their neighborhoods, parades and parties.

A marching band plays in the Krewe of Endymion’s parade as attendees shout for beads and “throws” (doubloons, cups and other trinkets) in New Orleans on Feb. 22. The city’s world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations started with parades on Jan. 4 this year. (William Widmer for The Washington Post)

Bourbon Street is packed with a sea of revelers on Feb. 22, the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. (William Widmer for The Washington Post)

Attendees shout for beads and throws during the Krewe of Muses parade on St. Charles Avenue on Feb. 21. The all-female Mardi Gras krewe celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. (Will Widmer for The Washington Post)

PARADES

The Krewe of Endymion rolls on Feb. 22. (William Widmer for The Washington Post)

TOURIST

For the uninitiated, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a marquee day of the Carnival holiday leading up to Ash Wednesday. Cultures around the world celebrate Carnival differently, but New Orleans stays particularly festive for about two weeks before Lent. Its Mardi Gras parades start even earlier. This year, they kicked off Jan. 4.

After putting my luggage down at the hotel, I wandered around downtown, following crowds and the sounds of drums and trumpets until I found the parade route. I could have also taken a look at the WDSU Parade Tracker app on my phone, or looked online, to keep track of the city’s many parades whenever they were rolling, but it was easy enough to find the floats by winging it.

From an outsider’s perspective, that parade on my first day seemed like many I’d been to, with a sea of happy spectators waving and smiling on both sides of the street. But what it turned out I was missing was the nuance of parade culture.

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Bowden Spacelander’ ~ 1946

 

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Benjamin Bowden created the prototype of the ‘Bowden Spacelander’ back in 1946. But strangely, it didn’t go into production until 1960. Only 522 of these two-wheeled-beauties were manufactured. It sold for a retail price of  $89.50 – in 1960 dollars. Today, a Bowden Spacelander in mint condition would cost you somewhere around the range of $15,000.

According to the Brooklyn Museum website:

“The Spacelander is a marvel of postwar biomorphic design. Its curving lines and amoeba-like voids represent the mutation of the prewar streamlined style into a new expression based on organic, rather than machine-made, forms.”

Everyone needed an air conditioned lawn mower

Why did this never catch on? The 1950s was a time for an optimistic view of a better tomorrow. And what could make suburban life better than a futuristic air conditioned lawn mower. On Oct. 14, 1957, the future of lawn mowing took a new turn with the addition of a beautiful air conditioned bubble; the rider could cut the lawn while looking like a creature in some sort of futuristic zoo while riding in a clear five foot sphere. Not only was this appliance air conditioned, but it also had an electrical generator that powered such life necessities as a radio telephone and a chilled drink dispenser.0e75358c1fcc907b98d4d8b91b349da0.jpg

A Shot Before Last Call ~ NYT

 

 

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NEW ORLEANS — Victor Dawkins’s routine has varied little in 40-plus years of owning The Other Place, a brick two-story that is one of the last black-owned bars on St. Bernard Avenue.

But outside, much has changed. Four of the six nearby bars — all of which were once owned and operated by black people and served black customers — now have white owners and cater to a primarily white crowd.

Close to the French Quarter, this stretch of the avenue has long been a hub for residents of the Seventh Ward and the Treme, two historically black neighborhoods.

 

I was born and raised in New Orleans. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, I began documenting what remained after the floods.

Two years ago, I turned my camera to the disappearing black bars and lounges on St. Bernard Avenue, as their ownership began to change. The trend is not limited to this avenue, though. Central City, a neighborhood in Uptown New Orleans that was once a bevy of black spaces, is experiencing a similar shift.

Tradition is paramount — and I fear what will become of my city if these traditions are lost.

Throughout Africa and the African diaspora, black bars tend to serve as more than hangouts, be they the shebeens of South Africa or the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. They can be safe spaces, cultural institutions, even cultural catalysts.

 

Second-lines can last for four hours. Every social aid and pleasure club has a route in their neighborhood that includes stops for food, drinks and rest for their feet.

Some black-owned New Orleans bars are live music venues. Others serve as the official or unofficial headquarters for social aid and pleasure clubs —  black organizations whose members have for generations banded together to cover members’ burial costs, support charities and put on the city’s famous second-line parades.

Some Mardi Gras Indians — black Carnival groups famous for their intricate suits of feathers and beadwork — use black-owned bars for practice sessions in the months before Carnival. For other tribes, black-owned bars may be the place on Mardi Gras morning to put their suits together before going out into the streets, or a stop during the day or on St. Joseph’s Night for respite from their processions around their neighborhoods.

The walls of many black-owned bars are filled with photos of patrons through the years — bold and intimate statements that simply declare, “I was here.”

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