November 20, 2016 11:33 am | Category: Weather | Comment | Permalink

When one makes meatballs, one must begin with quality meats:


Without good meat, you just have balls.

Next, you have to make sure that you have a good sauce to cook them in.


Then it’s all about the roll…List people, it’s all in the wrist. You gotta take the meat in your hand and gently roll the ball…


Then it’s just a factor of time. You need to let the balls simmer. Sometimes I even bake ’em overnight:


But trust me, the longer you let ’em go, the better.



Well you shouldn’t be….making meatballs isn’t that hard! Trust me, if you start now it might seem wet and unsatisfying at first, but by Tuesday morning I promise you that you’ll be eating MEATBALLS!

Man of Many Moods

By: Greg
October 24, 2016 8:00 am | Category: Skiing | 5 Comments | Permalink

Sunday October 23rd was a fun day on Mansfield in Northern Vermont.

It started off with 11+ inches of snow atop the summit, and many a man and woman merrily made marks.
merrily making marks

merrily making marks

Pow Turns was [sic. bro] there!
pow turns was there
pow turns was there
pow turns was there

pow turns was there

As the day wore on, and legs became tired, it was time to stop thinking about schuss (for a moment), and take a breather to fawn for our favorite fall feature: SNOWLIAGE!

It was a beautiful afternoon to drive around and enjoy the many moods of Mansfield. We hope you enjoyed it too!
many moods

many moods

many moods

many moods
click to make larger!

many moods

many moods

Hopefully the mood of his that we’ll be seeing more of soon is cold and wintery!

The Hidden Woman of Héraðsvötn

March 7, 2016 7:40 am | Category: Skiing | 1 Comment | Permalink

A farmer named Halldór and his wife Helga had two sons: Sigurd who was 7, and þordúrr who was 6. Just south of their farm there was a gravel hillock that fell into the Héraðsvötn river. At one point along the hillock there was a sheer drop. The two boys liked rolling rocks down this drop. The Héraðsvötn had a pool below it, and the rocks made a splash.




Helga liked to lay down to rest after finishing morning chores, and one day she did just that. After she fell asleep she thought a woman came to her wearing a black cloak. The woman was average height, angry, and rather corpulent. The woman said: “I would ask you good woman to take better care of your sons, and not to let them roll rocks around my home, and drive my children mad with fright.” The woman left, and Helga woke up.

Helga went outside and saw her two boys rolling rocks off the hillock into the Héraðsvötn. She said: “Stop doing that because you could fall into the Héraðsvötn after your rocks.”

rolling rocks

rolling rocks

rolling rocks

A few days later, Helga laid down to rest as usual, and dreamed that the same woman came to her again, but even more angry. The woman said: “your boys are still troubling me and my children, and you’ll be sorry if you do not make them stop.”

Helga woke up, went outside, and saw her two boys rolling rocks into the Héraðsvötn. She called to them and promised a thrashing if she caught them doing it again. She ordered them back into the house.



Three days later Helga once again laid down to fall asleep after the morning chores. Just as she was about to fall asleep she heard someone enter the baðstofa who said: “Helga go outside and find your boys.”

Helga got up and went outside. þordúrr was standing on the hillock, and Sigurd was on the ground next to him. Helga picked up Sigurd, telling him: “get up.” His body was limp though, and he was unable to speak.


Helga carried Sigurd home while giving þordúrr a scolding. Sigurd lived for four more days, and on the fifth day he died. þordúrr grew into a strong and prosperous man; he had three children, one of whom is still alive.


Ed note: This story was adapted from:

Sigmundsdóttir, Alda. The Little Book of the Hidden People. Reykjavík: Enska Textasmiðjan, 2015.

Pictured is the east couloir of Hólkotshyma (AKA “Hotel Hill”), a few kilometers south of Ólafsfjörður, Iceland.

We’re With The Band

By: Greg
January 7, 2016 12:58 pm | Category: Skiing | 9 Comments | Permalink

I don’t have to tell you animals that the most epic shows are wherever The Band sets up. Want to catch a killer show? Hit the road, and follow The Band.

Sometimes The Band throws down a show at a smaller venue for the groupies out in the American heartland.
smaller venue

The Effect can be unreal.
smaller venue

Other times The Band goes all international and books a big stadium near a city for a well publicized show.
big stadium

Très bon
big stadium

But maybe the most fun shows of all are those serendipitous ones; when you’re in town for another reason, and The Band turns up almost as if its following you rather than the other way around.

You weren’t quite ready to party, but you get your shit together as fast as you can.
not ready

As the show relentlessly falls, things can get a little blurry.
things can get a little blurry

The whole show storm is so unexpected, you might even think you’re in a dream…
in a dream

…or seeing ghosts…
seeing ghosts

seeing ghosts

seeing ghosts

or trolls…
seeing trolls

seeing trolls

seeing trolls

…and The Band plays on.

I’m uncomfortable with surprise (among many other things…human contact, nice people, spiders).

It is how I’m wired. Being a lawyer certainly reinforces it. I research, analyze, review and plan. I define the options, weigh the contingencies, have alternative strategies, document the known unknowns and unknown unknowns, develop a BATNA and plan for the worst. Thus, surprise, is antithetical to my daily experience. If I get “surprised,” more often than not, something has gone horribly (and expensively) wrong.

Trieste, Slovenia and Croatia surprised me. ( I went there, and this is a Trip Report).

And I loved it.

I’ve wanted to go to Slovenia for a long time. It’s a small country with a long history. Documented settlements date back to the Roman empire, and cave dwellings further back than that. Moreover, like other interesting parts of this world, Slovenia has had many “mothers” over its history. In just the last few hundred years it has been partof the Ottoman empire, the Austrian-Hungarian empire, the Italian states and incorporated into Yugoslavia. Tucked up against the high limestone eastern Alps,with a broad fertile plain and connection to the sea, Slovenia has always been a crossroads between the west and east. I’m the moth, that’s the flame.

Surprise though began in Trieste, a good gateway to Slovenia. Like Slovenia, Trieste Italy has had a long blended history. At times it has been controlled by Romans, Venetians, Austrians, Italians, and even was an independent state.

I mean are we in Italy?



Or are we in Austria?



It’s hard to tell. And frankly, I didn’t care once I realized that the marriage of Italy and Austria-Hungry resulted in such wonderful things as cold Aperol Spritz’s with salty snacks at 4 p.m. (and 2pm and 3pm and 5pm…and 11 am).


After a few days it was time to move on to some cooler (or so we thought) mountains. Surprise, they weren’t cool. Surprise they were awesome.  Six days of trekking through the Julian Alps was a blur of fantastic vistas, punishing sun, homemade food, full-service mountain huts and grappa.







If you keep walking you get to a pretty awesome hut with no running water and only crowded stinky (seriously stinky) dorm accommodations. Surprise, nobody cared.





Towards the end of the trip, we wandered into an area that had seen some of the heaviest fighting in World War I. There are old stone bunkers, field hospitals and barracks all over the mountains in this area, including along the old front lines which ran along the ridgeline of some the highest mountains.




Let me repeat that: they fought a war on knife-edge ridges 7000ft in the sky. In the 19-teens. All year long. Wearing only wool and with no advil. Surprise, we’re wimps.

Following a boot explosion (grrr) it was time to leave the mountains. Wanting to check out Ljubljana, and thinking a hot shower would be valuable to maintain relationship bliss, we headed that way. While we had a an auspicious introduction to Ljubljana (the original hotel we booked was wedged between a stone crushing operation and a used auto car dealership and across the street from a derelict farm and monument to fallen communist brethren of the great Yugoslav Republic… app to the rescue) Ljubljana would come to simply blow me away.

On a picture perfect late summer night, Ljubljana came alive in the way only a European city can. By 4pm it seemed the entire city had decided it was time to relax. Cafés all throughout the old cobblestone town center were packed with stunning (seriously everybody is extremely attractive here) locals enjoying a macchiato, an aperol spritz or a glass or two of exceptional local Slovenian wine.

Walking around the city fueled by Slovenian wine and macchiatos, the city revealed itself to us.





After a few days of this, it was time to head into Croatia.

The Istrian sections of Croatia are another one of those ancient parts of the world that have had many “mothers” over time. More Italy than Croatia, I only knew Istria was a place because the Mirna river valley is renowned for its truffles. I had no idea I was about to visit a cheaper, cleaner, less crowded and more welcoming version of Tuscany. Surprise.

Istria really feels like Tuscany.







Now, if you only hit the well known highlights you’ll miss the true magic of Istria. We were tipped off by a Ljubljana local to pull off the main road and follow the signs to any one of the many small konobas (taverns) that dot the farm roads. These small family eateries are often overlooked by tourists because they sit away from the hilltop town centers, have small hand-painted signs, take no credit cards, and don’t appear in any guidebooks. But, take my advice: find one. You’ll be rewarded with a homemade meal absolutely smothered in local truffles, local organic olive oil and local white wine.

Oh, and it will cost about as much as your last dinner at Chipotle.

Once we finished stuffing ourselves with truffles and pasta, we went to explore the Istria coast. More tourist-y than interior Istria, the Istrian coast is still rather undeveloped compared to the Southern Croatian coast (i.e. Split, Kings Landing, Dubrovnik, and the islands of Brac and Ceres).

Despite the prevalence of northern Europeans who still haven’t quite nailed the “sunblock” thing, its hard not to be in surprised and awed by the beauty that results from medieval stone buildings bracketed by a deep azure sky and sparking cyan sea.





After soaking in this beauty for a few days it was time to head home. But not before one last surprise.


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