October 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

The first rains have appeared and snow has been falling in the Tahoe area. Although the early snowfall has only resulted in a slight dusting of that fine, white powder at least it’s a start for what hopefully will be a good winter season. If you’re a seasoned ski veteran then perhaps you can identify the ski resort in the picture (hint: it’s in California). Drop me a line (president@niseiskiclub.org) if you think you know the answer.


Click for a larger picture


Coastal Cleanup

Under the guidance of Judy Hom, members of NSC hit the beach armed with buckets and gloves and convened on Crown Beach to pick up litter and trash. Thanks go to Karen Soo, Sandy Kiyomura, Curtis Otaguro, and Winston Fong for helping to keep our bay area clean and a job well done!

September Pizza Social

The September Pizza Social at The Garret was well attended and everyone had a great time. Fortunately The Garret wasn’t that crowded and we were all able to sit at a big round table and enjoy pizza and beer. Although the intent was to watch a football game most of our time was spent discussing a variety of topics, some NSC-related and some not related. I’m hoping to turn this into an annual event with a Pizza Social for Week 1 of the football season.


Halloween Party

Halloween is this month and that means witches, goblins, and all sorts of creatures of the night. Dave Schultz will be your tour guide to a big neighborhood Halloween party so be sure to read his article.

SnowBomb Shows in October/November

The annual SnowBomb shows are coming up this month and November. The San Jose show will be on October 2930 and the San Francisco show on November 56.  We’re looking for volunteers to support the BAC booth at both locations. As a volunteer you get free admission to the SnowBomb event, talk with people about the various clubs that are part of BAC, and do some self-promoting of NSC. Arrive early, or stay later, and visit the other ski-related booths or perhaps pick up something at one of the retail booths that have discounted prices on ski gear. If interested then drop me a line (president@niseiskiclub.org) or Karen Soo (tripdirector@niseskiclub.org).


Snowmass Ski Week 2017

The Snow mass trip is full with 65 signups. This is way more than I was expecting but I’m glad to have such a great turnout for this trip. There is a wait-list for those that are still interested in going on the Snowmass trip.

October 2016 – Trip Director’s Message

Karen Soo, Trip Director


Fall is just around corner just as the days are starting to get shorter. I’m not ready to put my golf clubs away but it’s a good time to think about the upcoming ski season. Now is the time to inspect your ski and snowboard equipment and see if there are gouges and scratches that needs to be taken care of. Your equipment deserves a good yearly tune up. Check your local ski shops for early tune up discounts.

Our Snowmass weeklong trip is wrapping up its planning stage with Armand leading the pack. There are 64 attendees. While he is finishing up with that, I’ve been planning our weekend trip for 2017.

Save the Date – March 3-5

NSC is planning a bus trip to the North Shore – Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows – Dates: March 3 -5, 2017

If you’re on the Snowmass trip and have the Mountain Collective pass, you will be able to use your pass on the weekend trip.

The good thing about our weekend trip is that cost will be the same as 2015/2016. Please sign up early or give me a verbal. We need 36 people to make this trip happen. If you have friends that are interested in a weekend trip, please bring them along.

We are planning one bus trip for 2017. Surely, we can plan some other weekend car trips.

We will go up during BAC race weekend. NSC can get discounted tickets on those race days. The race schedule is not available yet. As member of the Bay Area Ski Council, we are eligible to get the discounted lift tickets as low as $65.00 per person and you don’t have to race.

Other Trip Possibilities

Another possible weekend car trip to Squaw Valley is to see the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Down Hill races on March 11-12 weekend. Olympic champions Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin will be on hand for the Giant slalom and slalom races.

Mammoth anyone? Ski 3½ days with condo lodging. Again, you can use your Mountain Collective pass here. Please let me know you are interested and if you are available to drive.

We can make it all happen if there are interests out there.

Snowbomb Schedule

Snowbomb is coming to the bay area.

San Jose: Convention Center
• Oct 29 – 30, 2016
San Francisco: Fort Mason
• Nov 5 – Nov 6, 2016
Sacramento: Cal Expo
• Nov. 12-13, 2016

We would like to welcome volunteers to promote our club and talk about our weekend bus trips. You can help out for 2 to 3 hours and get free admission to the show. Sorry as volunteers, you will not be eligible for any free lift tickets.
Please email me if you are interested in helping out – tripdirector@niseickiclub.org.

A Date with Warren Miller

Warren Miller’s new movie called Here, There & Everywhere is coming to the South Bay on November 19th at The Heritage Theatre in Cupertino, 6:00pm showing.

Tickets are $21.00 per person and free swag, like 2 for 1 lift tickets to Squaw Valley/ Alpine will be given out to each ticket holder.

Let me know if you are interested. Maybe we can get a group together and have some pizza and beer afterwards. Armand is buying the first round.

Shopping at Amazon?

If you need something from Amazon.com, check out Amazon through our website at the Nisei Ski Club Website. Our club will get a small percentage from your purchases.

Discounts for Seniors

Looking for some discounted outdoor gear? All you have to be is 50 + and over and sign up at Senior Skiing. Check it out at www.seniorsskiing.com.

On the right side of their website you can sign up for the Promotive deals. ProMotive.com is the online community for industry experts and influencers — matches Qualified ski members such as yourself with top brands offering exclusive discounts on all your favorite gear.

We’re looking forward to a great season. If you have ideas for a great season, let me know.

Karen aka Trip Director for how many years now?

Big Halloween Block Party

Dave Schultz

Yes, the party is on and it’s a big one. There is a big Halloween party in the San Jose Alum Rock area. It occurs over 6 square blocks, bordered by Toyon Avenue, upper Golf Drive, Pepper Tree Lane, and Tallent Avenue. Most of the homes in that area will offer candy at the door. Some will have “fun houses” or “haunted houses” set up on their lawns or in their garages. At the top of Golf Drive (just before the condos at GolfView Drive), is a booth run by the condo dwellers, where they serve soft drinks, hot drinks, beer and wine, and more candy. Most people visiting this block party will be in costume.

Let’s meet at my old house around 7pm, which is 3972 Golf Drive (about four or five houses up from Toyon Avenue). It’s typically cool on Halloween night, so a warm (but not hot) costume may be beneficial.

Rather than trying to park near my house, it may be easier to park on lower Golf Drive or on nearby Richardson Drive (below Toyon Avenue). There will be a lot of kids on all the streets in the block party, so be extra careful if you drive on those streets.

Feel free to contact me at 510-512-6441 or email me at dave_schultz28@hotmail.com with any questions.

More Halloween Clip Art Illustrations at http://www.ClipartOf.com

Good Turnout at the 2nd Annual NSC Pizza Social

Frank Chang
On Sunday September 11th, the NFL capped its first weekend of the 2016-17 season with Sunday Night Football in Arizona. Meanwhile, the NSC kicked off our 2016-17 season with a Pizza Social at The Garret in Campbell, CA. True to the description in Armand’s invitation, we all did “gather around, quaff a few ales, dine on outstanding pizza, and watch New England and Arizona battle it out on the turf.” Eleven club members attended this event. Armand went early and saved the biggest round table in the place so that all of us could sit around the same table. Topics of conversation ranged from the upcoming Snowmass trip, to the Patriots v. Cardinals game (most were rooting for Arizona), to the Monday night 49ers game at Levis stadium (Go Niners!), to individual stories of our experiences with general anesthesia (don’t ask how we got to this topic…). A good time was had by all! Thanks Armand for organizing what we hope will continue to be an annual event.

NSC Participates in the 2016 Coastal Cleanup

Judy Hom

The California Coastal Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s international cleanup effort. On the 3rd Saturday in September, people join together at all sites around the world to pick up litter and trash from beaches, lakes, and waterways. This year, 5 volunteers from Nisei Ski Club assisted with the cleanup of Crown Beach in Alameda. This effort is part of NSC’s community service work.

Karen, Curtis, Sandy, Winston, and I got out to Crown Beach would 8:30am. Armed with gloves, bucket, and trash picker, we spent 2.5 hours cleaning up the beach. Part of the job was to itemize and tally up the trash we found. This way, the coastal commission can put policies in place to reduce trash and litter. For example, the ban on one-time use plastic bags was put into place because the coastal cleanup collected so many plastic bags during their cleanups. I am happy to say that we didn’t find plastic bags but cigarette butts comprised the majority of our trash.
It felt good to be part of the effort to clean up the coast. Our planet needs some help from time to time. There are many sites that need to be cleaned around the state and some of the sites may be in your “backyard”. Think about volunteering next year. Check out the California clean up map for a list of sites.


NSC cleanup crew


Winston is ready to cleanup!

September 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Summer is giving way to fall and the next thing we know it will be winter. Are you ready for the upcoming ski season? With the warm temperatures I’m still busy with my summer activities and haven’t started thinking about the ski season, yet. If you need new equipment then starting in October is when the ski shops start having some sales for last year’s inventory. And then in late October/early November we have the annual SnowBomb shows in San Jose and San Francisco. These events offer great deals on ski/snowboard equipment, clothing and accessories, plus it’s like attending a great big party.

This month there are several events designed to get the membership together and have some fun and give some volunteer time to the community. Let’s get together for a fun evening at The Garret in Campbell for a Pizza Social, and then you can make a difference in the community with the Coastal Cleanup that is being organized by Judy Hom.

September Pizza Social – September 11th

Last year, we had an August Pizza Social at The Garret that was well attended, especially for a Thursday evening. This time we’ll have a September Pizza Social on Sunday, September 11th at The Garret (Campbell) so we can gather around, quaff a few ales, dine on outstanding pizza, and watch New England and Arizona battle it out on the turf. Although the game starts at 5:30 we can meet at 5:00 and still catch most of the game. If you’re planning on attending then let me know at president@niseiskiclub.org

SnowBomb Shows in October/November

Coming up in October and November are the annual SnowBomb ski shows in San Jose and San Francisco. I usually attend the San Jose event and Karen Soo and Curtis Otaguro attend the San Francisco event. We’re looking for additional volunteers to support the BAC booth at both locations. As a volunteer you get free admission to the SnowBomb event, talk with people about the various clubs that are part of BAC, and do some self-promoting of NSC. Arrive early, or stay later, and visit the other ski-related booths or perhaps pick up something at one of the retail booths that have discounted prices on ski gear. The San Jose event is October 29-30 and the San Francisco event is November 5-6. If interested, then drop me a line at president@niseiskiclub.org or Karen Soo at tripdirector@niseiskiclub.org.

Snowmass Ski Week 2017

The Snow mass trip is full with 54 signups. I originally targeted 44 people but was able to secure two additional 2-bedroom units. There is one new group of six that made their own air/lodging arrangements but they will still be part of the NSC group. A wait list will be created for those that are still interested in going on the Snowmass trip.

Sign up for Coastal Cleanup Day – September 17

Judy Hom

This is a reminder that I am organizing an NSC team for Coastal Cleanup day on Saturday, September 17, 2016. I’ve picked Crown Beach in Alameda as our clean-up site. 10 spots are available. Send an email to cleanup2016@niseiskiclub.org to let me know if you want to participate. Lunch will be provided courtesy of NSC. For more information see the August Coastal Cleanup article.

NSC Enjoys Alum Rock Hike

Winston Fong

On August 27, a group went on the 7.5 mile Alum Rock hike lead by Dave Schultz. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were lucky that we hiked on the North Woodland and South Rim Trails, which were shaded. This was a fairly steep trail. If you fell, you would roll a couple hundred feet downhill. If you survived, you would surely have a bad case of poison oak. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining because we got some pretty good views of Silicon Valley. We saw some turkey vultures and Rick talked of hang gliding with them.

We saw a sign that said “Trail closed. Do not go beyond this point”. Dave said that he didn’t see anything when he hiked up here a couple of weeks ago. So, he told us to keep going and to ignore the sign! It turned out that the hillside had eroded and the trail was washed out with dirt. Okay, it wasn’t that big of a deal. We had to walk carefully 30 or 40 feet. This was our big adventure for the day. I guess that’s why we signed the NSC waiver.

I found out that Alum Rock Park was the place for the health nuts back in the late 1800s through the 1930s. It was famous for the health benefits of its mineral springs. I understand that there were 27 mineral springs and as many as 10,000 visitors on a Sunday afternoon. I didn’t see 27 minerals springs but I did see a few decomposing baths. Some baths were hidden by vegetation and you could still smell the sulfur.

At the end of the hike, we visited the Youth Science Institute (“YSI”). We saw live owls. The owls live at the YSI because they’re injured or handicapped. One was blind and another had an injured wing. We also saw stuffed animals like a mountain lion, bobcat, gray fox, badger, hawks, shorebirds, and ducks to name a few.

At the end of our hike, we enjoyed snacks at Dave’s house. Thanks for a fun time, Dave!


Our hike leader – Dave Schultz



Panoramic view of Silicon Valley


Remnant of mineral bath


The whiteness of the water is from sulphur


Injured barn owl


Stuffed mountain lion

August 2016 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

Although summer is here and once again I’ve been receiving notices from Mammoth Mountain to lock in on low season pass rates for the upcoming season. Mammoth seems to be the only early bird on season pass notifications, but I’m sure that the Tahoe resorts will soon be sending out their notices.

Last year at this time there was quite a bit of talk about El Niño and a wet winter. So far I haven’t heard anything about an El Niño, but there has been some talk about La Niña. Now, La Niña can have an opposite effect on the weather so it’s very possible this will not be a wet season like last year. It’s still too early to predict so we’ll have to wait and see what our winter season will have in store for us.

Last year we had an August Pizza Social at the Garret that was well attended. I completely forgot about discussing it at our July board meeting so I’m going to have a September Pizza Social at the Garret in Campbell. Date and details will be in the September newsletter.

Mt. View Obon Festival – July 16th and 17th

The Mt. View Obon Festival was quite exciting this year and I would like to thank the following volunteers: Bill Lee, Trisha Le, David Miura, David Uyeda, Frank Chang, Brian Hess, Curtis Otaguro, Alex Kami, David Ng. and Alice and Dick Horio. Once again NSC has stepped up to the plate and volunteered for this event. I was there on Sunday with Jeannie and her two grand-nephews (ages 9 and 11) and the boys had a great time playing the carnival games. The only rule was that they were not allowed to play any games that involved goldfish in the bowls, and they did bring home lots of toys.

Snowmass Ski Week 2017

The Snow mass trip is about half full (21 signups) so if you haven’t signed up yet then now is the time to do so. If you’re interested in signing up, here is the link to weeklong trip flyer.The Mountain Collective Season Pass (https://mountaincollective.com) is closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall so check the website often. The MC season pass will be good for two days skiing at Aspen Snowmass, plus a third resort of your choice. The Mountain Collective is also good for Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

NSC Alum Rock Park Hike

Nisei Ski Club Presents a Hike in Alum Rock Park, San Jose, CA – Saturday, August 27, 2016

David Schultz

Due to its location, Alum Rock Park is kind of a secret to many people who live in the Bay Area. While other parks like Mission Peak may be full of hikers, the trails at Alum Rock Park are largely empty.

Located in the upper East side of San Jose, Alum Rock Park encompasses over 700 acres of rugged canyon terrain, with each side of the canyon presenting a different ecosystem. On the shady side, the forests are thicker and taller and on the sunny side, the foliage is more bushes than trees, with sweeping areas of dry grassland. Sage is one of the most common plants in the park and the air typically smells of this fragrant bush.

The Hike

I’ve put together a loop hike based on the South Rim Trail. It’s a good overall length (7.5 miles), is on the shady side of the canyon, climbs about 700 feet so it provides good exercise, and offers excellent views of the park and Santa Clara Valley in the distance. In addition, you pass all of the Alum Rock Park tourist attractions on the way back to the beginning, including the Mineral Springs area which contains active sulfur springs and grottos, Youth Science Institute, and the park ranger station (which is part museum). We’ll have time to stop at these attractions.

The hike will be done at a moderate pace and will take approximately 4 hours, including our stops. If we’re lucky, there’s a chance that we’ll spot some wildlife, including deer, rabbits, fox, bobcats, wild turkeys, quail, and possibly a rattlesnake. (Don’t worry – I’ve only seen a rattlesnake once in over 10 years of hiking in the park.) Overhead, we’ll probably spot turkey vultures and hawks.

After the hike, people are welcome to lunch at my house. I’ll provide food and drinks, and we can relax and take in the views.

Meeting Point

We will meet at David Schultz’ house at 16100 Yona Vista Avenue, San Jose, CA 95127. There is room in my driveway for about 8 cars, plus there’s plenty of street parking. The park entrance is about 1/4 mile away from my house, so we can avoid parking fees at the park and still be close to the entrance. We’ll meet at 10 AM.


Take Route 680 to Alum Rock Avenue. Follow Alum Rock Avenue all the way past the San Jose Country Club, where the road bends to the left. Keep bending around to the left, and as the road straightens out, look for Chula Vista Drive. The street sign will also say “To Yona Vista Avenue”.

Chula Vista Drive twists and turns and goes up and down, but it doesn’t last long. After going down a short steep hill, the road rises and offers a great unobstructed view of San Jose to the left. About 50 feet later, you reach the intersection of Chula Vista Drive and Yona Vista Avenue. My house is on the corner on the right side. It’s a brown house with beige trim, and it has a Japanese style roof. Feel free to park in the driveway if there’s space. Pull up as far as you can since we’ll pack the cars in.

What to Bring

There are no drinking fountains until the last mile of the hike, so bring plenty of Gatorade or a similar electrolyte drink. Water is okay, but since you may sweat a lot if the weather is warm, an electrolyte drink is better for replacing lost salts. I recommend at least two quarts of liquid to cover you over the 6 miles of dry trail.
In addition, the following items are recommended:

  • Wide brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
  • Snacks for the trail and lunch if you need it earlier than lunch at my house
  • Lightweight hiking shoes. The trail is mostly packed dirt, but there will be some loose rocks occasionally. So hiking shoes will be better than running shoes or sneakers
  • Jacket in case of cooler weather
Hiking Details
  1. From 16100 Yona Vista Avenue, we’ll walk 1/2 mile along Yona Vista and Canon Vista avenues to the park entrance at the end of Alum Rock Avenue
  2. After entering the park, we’ll make a quick left onto the Stables Trail.
  3. The Stables Trail takes us another .4 mile down to the Penitencia Creek Trail. This is the main trail through the lower part of the park. We make a right onto the trail.
  4. Walking along the Penitencia Creek Trail, we’ll cross a bridge over Penitencia Creek, cross over Penitencia Creek Road (the main road through Alum Rock Park), and turn right onto an access ramp that takes us to the Peninsular Trail.
  5. We walk along the historic ramparts of the Peninsula Trail (once part of the Alum Rock Railroad), cross back over Penitencia Creek Road, and take a right onto the North Woodland Trail.
  6. The North Woodland Trail meanders upwards through a forest of oak, buckeye, and madrone trees. In between them, I’ll point out to everyone the abundant poison oak.

    Poison oak exists throughout Alum Rock Park, often in large bushes, and is identified by its classic three-leaf from one stem arrangement, with mildly serrated leaves similar to regular oak trees, and the leaves are shiny (due to the poisonous oil) and often red in color. Poison oak is a natural part of central California and the park service doesn’t do much to contain it. Basically, they clear the trails of it. By exercising a little caution, you won’t have any trouble with this constant companion.

    In about .5 mile, the North Woodland Trail brings us to a service road.

  7. We cross the service road and look on our right for the South Rim Trailhead. Getting on the South Rim Trailhead, we soon start seeing views of the park valley below.
  8. The South Rim Trail switchbacks along the upper forests of Alum Rock Park. As we near the top of the trail, the foliage becomes shorter and the trail sunnier. And the views get bigger. If the weather is good, we’ll have fine views of the park below and the Santa Clara Valley further out. By mile 3, we have reached the top of the South Rim Trail,
  9. We begin our descent while still on the South Rim Trail. It switches back and forth along the backside of Alum Rock Park, giving us a good sense of the steepness of the hillside. We reach the bottom of the trail around mile mark 4.5, and we turn onto the Penitencia Creek Trail.
  10. Right away we come to a beautiful rest area near Penitencia Creek and just before an old foot bridge. We’ll stop and have a snack.
  11. Crossing over the bridge, we continue on the Penitencia Creek Trail past group picnic areas and various man-made structures to contain the sulfurous mineral springs. We’ll explore some of these structures.

    (from Wikipedia)

    “In the late 19th century and through the 1930s, the park was famed throughout the country as a health resort. Through those years and as late as the 1970s, the park featured a natatorium (a huge, heated indoor swimming pool), dozens of private heated mineral baths that visitors could rent, a restaurant, and various other buildings. Many of the springs were enclosed in stonework grottos, and stone bridges were built across the creek. Due to overuse, some of the springs became extinct, and surviving ones became very weak, producing very little output.”

  12. Leaving the mineral springs area, we walk into the “tourist” part of the park and soon come to the Youth Science Institute. We’ll also find bathrooms and water fountains. We’ve now hiked about 6 miles.

    The YSI is used for educating Santa Clara County’s youth about ecology and native flora and fauna. It offers summer camps, classes, and has a good museum with both live and taxidermy animals.

  13. Soon after leaving the YSI, we come to the park’s official ranger station, where another small museum awaits, this one offering more human history than ecology. Nearby is one of the oldest buildings in the park – a log cabin built in 1913.
  14. The sweet smell of barbecue from the picnickers will probably be our companion as we continue along the Penitencia Creek Trail to the base of the Alum Rock Road entrance. Our total walk is now 7 miles. This part of the road is closed to vehicles, so we can spread out and ascend it to the park entrance where we began.
  15. Another 1/2 mile brings us back to my home on Yona Vista Avenue.
Contact me

For more information, you can email me at aughike2016@niseiskiclub.org. My contact number is 510-512-6441. Participants can call me if they get lost coming to my house, or while on the hike.


Link to trail map