Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A quick jaunt to PA for the weekend

Last weekend I headed home to PA to spend some time with my parents and my friend, Karen, and her family. After some hiccups with the flights into Allentown, I made my way to Philly Thursday night and had my parents pick me up there at 11:00 at night. Fortunately, they were more than willing to make the drive down, and they even brought me warm turkey dinner, as I hadn't eaten since 11am.

Friday morning came quickly and it was time to prep for the event of the day... a magic show for two 7 year old birthdays. Karson and Ky turned 7 last week, so as a present to them (and 60 of their classmates) I did a magic show at their school. Now, what you must remember is that I haven't done a magic show in about 6 years... maybe more... probably more. Though I never got nervous, there were definitely some parts of the show that I had to review and practice prior to the 1pm start time. Thanks to our friend, Jud, we were able to acquire a rabbit, as ours are no longer with us. Let me tell you, these kids were great. I like I mentioned before, there were about 60 kids (all first grade or kindergarten) and they were so excited. I really think I could have just stood up there and done nothing and they would have been thrilled. Karson and Ky enjoyed coming on stage to help, although Karson was really shy. Both girls did a great job. If you want to see more of the pictures from the show, check out the Magic set on my flickr page HERE.

On Saturday morning, Dad and I got up real early and headed to the local ski slope. One thing to know, is that you've gotta get to Blue Mountain early on the weekends, because by about 11am the crowds are so bad that it takes like 20 minutes to wait in a lift line... or longer. The skiing was actually pretty decent especially on the "older" trails, where no one likes to hang out anymore, and the weather was just perfect. They're really doing a lot with that mountain, always adding new trails (2 new ones since last year). This year they've gone and taken it one step further... an airbag! So the deal is this, you ski (or hike) to the top of a small hill, point your skis straight, go down the hill, up the jump and fly off into an airbag. Well let me tell you, it was AWESOME!

Of course you have to pay extra to use this thing, so I went and got myself a pass for 3 jumps. You can buy a day pass, but I knew we weren't gonna stay long, and quite frankly, I was pretty nervous. Mainly, I just didn't want to break a leg or something. After borrowing a helmet from the staff there (and getting reassurance that I would not break my leg), I hiked myself to the top of this little hill and summoned my courage. Here's a video of my first jump.

video

As you can tell, I was just doing whatever I could to a) not stop or slow down, and b) land on the airbag some distance away from the jump. After landing, I think I had the biggest smile on my face. It was awesome! In fact I was so excited that I decided to just go right into trying some helicopters (360's). Keeping in mind that I've never successfully done one of these on the ground, I figured this was the best place to try it out.

My next two jumps went well, but I only managed to get myself around to about 90 deg on the first try and 180 deg on the second try. After this some guy watching told me that the key to twisting is to turn your head first. So stupid, of course! Why had I not thought of that. It was at this point that I was done with my 3 jumps and it was time to go. But as I turned to my father, I could see that look in his eyes. He was too scared to try the jumps at first, but after seeing me do it, I could tell he longed to try. So I asked him. "Would you like to do it, I can go in and get two more passes for 3 jumps each." (still total less than a day pass cost) To which he responded "noooooo, it's okay." Which really meant "yes, I want to try it, but no, i don't want to make you walk back into the lodge to get a pass." Well before I could hear any more, I had my skis off and was making my way down the hill into the lodge. (btw - all this hiking in my ski boots really killed my calves. I was so sore for the next three days, I thought I wan't gonna be able to walk). So I acquired two more passes and we took off up the hill. Here's the video of my dad doing his first jump. This is the perspective from the start and it gives you an idea how you land into the airbag.

video

After his first jump, he too started playing around doing daffy's and having fun. Finally on my last jump I managed to get around 360 deg, and although the landing wasn't pretty (that is, if I were on snow, I would have probably face planted), I was proud of myself. I'm so excited that I got a chance to do this. I really wish they had something like that down here in TX, because I know I'd be doing it all the time. And if I still lived in PA, I would totally buy a season pass for this thing. (oh yea, there's only two rules... you must have a helmet, and you can't do any inverted flips. So don't be like "why didn't you try flipping"... I wasn't allowed). Here's a video of my final jump.

video

For some other pictures check out my ski set on flickr HERE.

Oh and don't forget. Please help me raise money for the MS150 this year! I'm already at $950 and I'm trying to get over $1500. You can follow the link HERE to donate to this great cause!

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