Friday, January 29, 2010


It was a 'blue bird' day in the central mountains of Colorado and we finally got a few inches of snow at the ski area that we frequent. It was a small amount of snow but enough to get us up skiing for a few hours. It was warm with zero wind so I figured we needed to do some hiking to untracked powder.

We rode up to the top of chair #4 at Loveland Ski Area and then bombed it down to where you start your hike up to 'Tickler'. And yes, it tickles your funny bone to ski up at this altitude. You definitely have to put on your 'big girl panties' to ski this terrain!

The photo above is our hike up to the good stuff. The guy right in front of hubbie Jim asked him if he was on steroids because he caught up to them so fast. I think he is a little overzealous because we haven't had that great of a snow year....yet.

Here are a couple of photos of the same tree this season compared to last season.

Fortunately for Tess, her region has been getting slammed with snow this year. What gives? Oh well...that is the breaks and it makes you work that much harder to get the freshies.

So we skied 'Tickler'...guess which tracks are mine?? Hint...not the 'knuckle dragger' tracks on the far right....

From there we cruised over to A-Tow which is a term for a 'stash' we go to find powder. It is actually where one of the original tow ropes (yes, the ones that rip your gloves to shreds) was located at Loveland back in the day. I recently bought a book called "Powder Ghost Towns" by Peter Bronski...Epic Back-Country Runs in Colorado's Lost Ski Resorts. This book makes my husband feel really old because when he was a kid he had ski races at many of these defunct ski areas. My son loves it because he is a 'VINTAGE' junkie...not sure where he inherited that from? Odd how these things pop up in the genetics??

Anyway, we hiked over to A-Tow and it felt like we were skiing in wet cement. I had about 6" of snow packed all along the bottoms of my skis. Jim kept reminding me while I was 'cussing out my ski tuner person' that I am the one who said I wanted a work out. Well, I got one that is for sure.

We got out of that 'sticky' situation and Jim went back to his beloved 'steeps' of Loveland. I decided to hit the 'Ridge' one more time since the weather was just too perfect not to. I snapped a photo of Gray's and Torrey's Peaks which are two Fourteeners of Colorado.

I should mention that we have hiked these two and have skied down Torrey's. Now that was a day to be on your toes! Oh by the way, sorry Mom...ahhhhh...I didn't mention it to you because I am aware of how you worry just a touch...and yes I am preparing myself since I have a daredevil daughter....stay tuned....

Well, I guess I should stop this babbling on incessantly about our ski day. It was not an epic powder day but fun none the less. I will mention one more site which is ColoradoSkiHistory which is one of my son's favorite websites! Check it out!

P.S. Shadow objects are larger than they appear!

P.S.S. Knuckle draggers=see photo....

Until next time...Anne

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cute and Cuddly Etsy Shop....

Today I was looking around on Etsy and I came across this super cute site and I thought of my niece's one year old daughter! The site is called Sighfoo and the designer makes adorable creatures out of recycled and felted wool sweaters. I have made things out of felted wool sweaters as well but only something that is square and made into a pouch. But these stuffed animals take the cake! How fun and creative. It looks like she also has another shop with lampwork glass jewelry she makes as well called Starvingartistbazaar. Yet again I have found a super fun shop on Etsy!

Check out Andy Foo...Isn't he cute?

Or...Thomas Foo....

Now I just need to decide which one of these little cuties would be best for Avery! I can just picture her clutching onto one of these fun and unique toys!

Until next time.....Anne

Monday, January 25, 2010

Into Yoga

Recognizing after the first of the year that I had four ski events lined up to participate in, I quickly determined that I needed to get into better shape. My bike is shoe-horned into the house on its training wheels - and it gets a spin fairly frequently. We've also been skiing fairly regularly, but the recent warming trend has resulted in less than optimal conditions for that activity. When friend JackiePak got me tuned into a 5 week special for yoga, it took me about 30 minutes to decide to sign up. With the condition that we would go together to the first class, of course!

Corepower Yoga offers a great selection of classes from beginner to advanced. I'm still at the beginner stage, but have noticed something quite remarkable. I feel stronger, more flexible and a little less 'klut-sey". I feel like I sit and stand taller - and breathe more deeply.

For thousands of years, people have been practicing yoga for inward reflection, emotional release, centering, and of course for the exercise, strength-building and flexibility enhancing side-effects. I have found that I'm much more calm and relaxed after yoga class. The poses and stretching are a great work-out for me.

Last week, JackiePak and I decided to try Yoga Sculpt. This is not as innocuous as it sounds. There is no clay involved. What a great cardio and strengthening work-out! It's yoga with weights - and faster! I'm sure we were two of the oldest people there, and I know that at least 85% of the participants in this class were young enough to be my daughter. But I know that I will do this more and more. After class we got the low-down on who the best (translate: easiest) instructors are for the sculpt class.

The cool thing is that my membership is good at any studio, so I'm presently bouncing between Minneapolis and St. Paul. I did recently learn that (after my special intro deal ends), I quality for a sr. discount! Every instructor I have had has been great. I am hooked! I am certain that yoga is something that I will do for many years to come.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old ranch in Southwest Colorado

This is my neighbor's land up on Summit Ridge. The Mtns on the horizon are Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Mtn Ute land. The majority of the people that settled the summit ridge area are Hispanic and ranched primarily cattle and sheep. There are a lot of sheep herders around this area though. They typically take their sheep up in the high country in the summer months and bring them back down in the winter.

The Pyranese, Border Collie, and Australian shepherd dogs are very popular down in the Montezuma, Western slope, and San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. There are a lot of Pyranese dogs that guard herds up near the LaPlata and Lizard Head Mtns as well. The Great Pyranese has always been a favorite dog breed of mine, and when one landed on my doorstep in 2005, I had no choice but to adopt it. She (Poncha) had a brother but was either killed or run over. Poncha is a real lovable dog, although she licks a lot and has a mind of her own. She is actually a Pyranese mixed breed. If you ever have a herd of sheep and need to protect your herd from wolves, coyotes, or other predator's, get yourself a Great Pyranese.

Friday, January 22, 2010

While we are at it. Ski jump #1

Epic Ski videos of us above Aspen, Colorado. These are priceless. Tess

Jason doing a jump with some whiskey in him before noon. Listen to Eric and Anner laughing. Funny.

The Girls up at Loveland Valley -circa 1989 /

Judging by everyone's oversized glasses of different colors, this must of been on the tail end of the 80's. I really like Anner's shades. It's like wayfarers but white. Made for some great racoon eyes in the winter. This was taken at the Valley I believe when Anner was working for skier services. I have more photos if anyone is interested.

You know me. We built a shed just for my stuff, which is mostly photos. Enjoy. Tess

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the life of a ski bum...

My name is Anne Johnstone and yes...I am a ski bum.

The reason that I have not gone out and gotten a "real job" is because my parents introduced me to skiing at a young age. Yup, I am blaming it on my parents. All of those romantic stories about skiing the most incredible snow in Alta, Utah and Aspen, Colorado really had an affect on my young brain.

Because my parents are skiers and made a point of taking us skiing all the it downhill or cross country... I feel that I can safely blame my ski bum life style on them. And nope, I am not going to feel bad about it. Every type of skiing I have done on that wonderful cold white stuff has brought me so much joy over the years. I moved to Colorado, the most awesome place to downhill ski in the world for crimeny sake. See, you can tell that I am a ski bum because I can't spell a word that for all I know is a made up word. Maybe I should Google it.

Skiing has changed a lot over the years. There are the new shaped fat boards that are "oh so fun" for those 'terrain park punks' with baggy pants, huge jackets made for giants and those lovely Gramma crocheted hats...See?...can you say 'run on sentence'? I can't even write a normal sentence without rambling on and on and on.... and on.......

Tess and I are still kicking ourselves for not mass producing those dandy crocheted beanies.... Our Gramma's would have been so proud.

Skiing in today's times comes with every accessory you can imagine....fleece neck ups, helmets, goggles that don't fog, gore-tex, soft shells, I-pods for jammin' to tunes, heated boots, killer shades and hand warmers....yes, hand warmers. Can you believe it?

When we got to go downhill skiing as kids we were PUMPED! We got on the chairlift first thing when they opened and kept on skiing until the chair closed. By the way, this was in Minnesota where it wasn't balmy and warm like it is in Colorado. I remember my sister Angela and I wearing our hooded sweatshirts backwards so we could flip the hoods over our faces for the ride up the chair. Such great conversations were had going up the lift....NOT! The frozen lift attendants hated us by the end of the day because we were the last ones on the chair and we weren't about to stop skiing until they closed. Our eyelids were frosted together and we were forming ice beards on our facial hair. Facial hair you say? Yup...I said there...what are you gonna do about it?

Those were the days....Thank you Dad and Mom for introducing us to skiing for where would I be without it in my life? I met my my hubby at a ski area...not sure if I should thank you for that or not. But, he's here now and you just gotta love him even with his "foot in mouth disease".

And yes...I would probably have some kick butt job traveling around the world as a famous photographer or something but I would have missed out on all of those powder days...something I just can't bare to think of. Unless I would have become a ski photographer or I think of it! Ugh!


Send us some of your fun childhood memories of skiing or other memories of the great things your parents did for you....we would love to hear it!

Here is a VIDEO I made....check it out...WOW, I could have been a film maker...I always think of things too late.

Until next time....Anne the ski bum.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Barbara Jean Johnstone

I got up this morning, knowing that is was Barbara's Birthday. She would have been 48 years old. You know the saying "Time heals all wounds" I really don't think that is true. I know that I still think about her all the time. I wish she was here now. I have so much to talk to her about.

The thing I remember most about her was her getting up long before we had to go to school to get ready. She changed clothes about ten times before she was satisfied. She was the prettiest girl in school. A lot of boys would hand me notes to give to her but I would just throw them away. I was really proud of her though and she had a lot of talent.

I also remember playing Volleyball and Basketball with her. Those were the times I remember the most.
I remember we had to scrimmage with the Girl's basketball team from Moose Lake. Those girls had a great coach and they went to the State tournament for about 3 years in a row. You know who got those girls in shape to go to State???? The Mora Girl's Basketball team, namely me and Barbara. We successfully out rebounded those girls and even made the star player cry during the scrimmage in Mora. I think Barbara did that. I could go on and on about this but I mainly remember their coach coming up to Barbara and I, telling us to "Give em Hell" under the boards. This would be the only way that they would get in shape for the girls that awaited them down at the State tournament. I still remember the girl that walked to the side of the court sobbing because Barbara and I were pushing her around. I guess. Following the game, the coach came up and thanked us for giving them some real action before they were to depart for Minneapolis the following week. I do think that they were runner up to the team from New York Mills and their star player Janet Karvenon. Those were the days that I will never forget. Tess

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bon Appetit! Julie and Julia the Movie

I watched the movie Julie and Julia the other night and I found it to be a refreshing and fun story. It is about a girl named Julie Powell who decides to start a blog about cooking every one of Julia Childs recipes from her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." She gave herself one year to cook 524 recipes. It was a fun movie that combined Julia Childs and Julie Powells memoirs in one. Of course Meryl Streep was incredible...she is an amazing actress.

I have to admit I did not know much about Julia Childs. I only knew that she had a cooking show on television when I was a kid and that she had a very 'interesting' voice. Of course the Saturday Night Live skit that Dan Aykroyd did sticks out in my mind as well. Watch the skit and then watch this other video with the 'real' Julia Childs. I hope to read more about her. She seemed so happy, positive and real.

I have to admit that eating French food every day for a while is truly an experience. The five course meals were more than I could handle. Eating out in France is a lengthy do not go in to a restaurant and expect to leave in an hour. Try four hours or more! Being a waiter or a chef is a coveted job and they get paid well for it. The chefs in France truly are rock stars. Plus the wine in France is cheaper than buying a bottled water. OOOOlala!

Now I am not claiming to be a great cook, baker or a domestic goddess but the movie did give some inspiration. Julie Powell wrote a blog and it gained many, many followers...I figured with electricity, a computer and an internet connection all things are possible! Yes, there are zillions of blogs out there in cyberspace. But, we can make ours stand out in the crowd by posting fun, interesting and helpful blog posts for the world to read! Isn't the world wide web amazing? Please tell us some of your memories of Julia Childs or any other fun travel adventures!

That is all for now...Enjoy and Bon Appetit!


Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Been A While!

I think we are all recovering from the holidays and are playing catch up so we haven't been blogging lately. The last post was about the Johnstone Tree Farm and it included a really cool video that Kathy made. A big thank you to GGG, our guest blogger for writing up the post about the tree farm. Lots of good times were had over the years "Up North" at the family deer shack. One thing we forgot to mention was the story about Tess and our sister Barbara pruning Christmas trees on the same tree. Bad idea...Tess has a funny looking finger that was almost sliced off by Barbara with the pruning shears. An accident of course...but she does have the reminder of that day by the shape of her middle finger. It has a permanent 'flipping the bird' look to it. The story she told me was that a t-shirt was wrapped around it and she went back to pruning trees. Now that is devotion! But hopefully they went to separate trees!

I think we all had a nice holiday break though. Tons of drinking, cookie eating, weight gain. Tess and I did do some back country and cross country skiing that was a lot of fun. It took the guilt out of all the excessive eating and drinking. Here is a photo of us at Jones Pass. A nice long hike up and a fast descent down. What a gorgeous day it was!

Anyway, my plan is to get my shop stocked back up and to keep on enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. What are your plans?

Until next time.....Anne