Feb 2014 – Happy 4712! Editor’s Mumblings…

Happy 4712, the Chinese Year of the Horse! 

Per the www.travelchinaguide.com website, people born in the year of the horse have the following characteristics:

” Strengths
People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely. 

They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile
careers.  They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own. ”

NEW SNOW in the Sierras!!! Drought, Smought!  While the current drought is quite dire, there has been promising recent snowfall in the Sierras!  Northstar ski reports 17 inches of new snow within the past week (See: http://www.northstarcalifornia.com/snowreport.asp) while Heavenly Valley reports a phenomenal 27 inches of snowfall during the past 7 days!!! (see http://www.skiheavenly.com/the-mountain/snow-report/snow-report.aspx)

On the subject of Heavenly Valley and the drought, our ever busy trip director, Karen Soo, reports on her recent sojourn to Heavenly Valley. As you can see from this picture, there was plenty of natural and man made snow at Heavenly.

Here is the link this month’s trip director report: “Drought or No Drought?”

Your intrepid N.E. (Newsletter Editor) and ex-president Morgan Hua, schlepped off to Winter Park recently in search of powder.  I suspect that our trip brought luck to Tahoe as it started to snow in Tahoe shortly after our return! We spent much of our time skiing glades at Winter Park and its sister resort, Mary Jane.  My new Rossi Soul 7 skis floated through the untracked powder within the trees with relative ease!

Presidential Affairs

And speaking of powder, I expect the imminent Sun Peaks trip in British Columbia will fullfill your powderhound dreams!  Club president, Armand, will be leading this trip this weekend!  Armand also pays tribute to the Chinese New Year among other subjects in his February President’s Message and reports on the current state of our membership as well as the Sun Peaks trip in his Membership & Sun Peaks report.

BAC Person Of the Year - this year, the NSC board has decided to participate in the Bay Area Snow Sports Council (BAC – what happened to the “S”s???) “Man/ Woman” of the Year program. Here’s the link to Armand’s nomination: BAC Man or Woman of the Year.
To quote William Tecumseh  Sherman (1820-1891) :

If nominated, I will not run;
If elected, I will not serve

April 6 St Joseph’s HikeJoin Hoyt as he leads another of  his always interesting sylvan hikes to  the Saint Joseph’s Open Space Preserve in Los Gatos.  See his article here: St Joseph’s Hike.

Where Am I? where is your N.E.?

February, 2014 President’s Message

 ~ President Armand Gutierrez ~

Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Horse! Yes, the Chinese New Year started January 31st and if you were born under the sign of the Horse then you have a love of wide-open spaces (a big ski bowl, perhaps?) and considered a hard-working individual with efforts that pay off handsomely.

Let the ski & snowboard season begin! Well, for some of us it started back in December of last year. Others, well, they were waiting for some decent snowfall and the recent winter storm, albeit a small one, did bring a fresh layer of snow to the Tahoe resorts. However, I know that many of you still haven’t skied yet and perhaps the Sun Peaks trip coming up on 8-15 February will be your first foray onto the slopes. That’s OK, because Sun Peaks has a base of over 55” and the cold temperatures (in the 20-25 degree range) keeps that snow nice and soft and fluffy.

If you’re not on the Sun Peaks trip then you better be on the Squaw Valley/Northstar weekend trip slated for 28 Feb – 2 March.  Signups are on the low side (less than ten people as of the end of January) and we need at least 18-20 signups in order to make this trip a go. Click here for the << Sign Up form>> within the NSC Trip Schedule page.

In the past few years, I’ve become more attuned to the FWSA/BAC activities. Starting with my first trip with FWSA to Chamonix, then to Innsbruck, and now a return trip to Zermatt, Switzerland.

Recently I received email about the BAC Man and Woman of the Year nominations. This nomination is designed to bring recognition to a member of the club that has performed outstanding duties and contributes to the success of the club. All nominees from the various clubs in BAC are also considered for the BAC Man and Woman of the Year contest. As far as I can recall NSC has never participated in this event, until now. This year the Board decided to nominate a club member for Man of the Year. Take a look at the Man and Woman of the Year Nomination article to find out who has been nominated.


February, 2014 Membership + Sun Peaks Ski Week Report

~ Da Prez, Armand Gutierrez ~

Membership Activity

NSC Members!

Not much activity for January, although we did get one returning member that needed to join NSC so he can be on the FWSA trip to Zermatt, Switzerland. Hopefully there may be a few more membership signups as we get closer to the weekend ski trip to Squaw Valley/Northstar on Feb 28 – Mar 2.  Our membership currently stands at 51 (LI) members.

Sun Peaks Ski Week

The Sun Peaks ski week is around the corner and all arrangements are in place – air/ground transportation, special NSC welcome reception, and the Farewell Dinner. As a reminder to everyone, be sure to arrive at the airport early for check-in and make sure you have your passport.

If you have any questions regarding the trip don’t hesitate to send  Email : president@niseiskiclub.org

All the winter storms are hitting north of us and Sun Peaks now has 55” at the top of the Crystal Chair (my last report indicated 46”). Don’t look at these webcams if you think you can’t handle the beauty and nature of what Sun Peaks has to offer:



 ~ Karen Soo – Trip Director ~

The howling wind with accompanying snow flurries is music to my ears as I sit here writing the NSC article here in Tahoe. Finally, we got a decent snow fall of 12” during a year where storms have been few and far between. So I hope you have faith that this year will turn around and you decide to sign up for NSC’s Ski trip this year. Snowmaking at Heavenly and Northstar has made a big difference during this drought year, so skiing is not as bad as you may think.

I was skiing at Heavenly this past weekend and there was snow.  

The Dipper, Comet and Sky Express chairs were in full operation. We had powder conditions and snow was still falling. The weather forecast is calling for more snow in the next couple of days.

We heard that the snow making and coverage at Squaw Valley was not good. We might have to change our destination to Alpine Meadows. It all depends on you and if we can get 35 sign ups by Valentine’s Day, February 14th otherwise we have to cancel our trip.

We have only 8 sign ups so far. I don’t blame you for not signing up. We are in the middle of the worst drought crisis since 1977. Please send me an email if you are interested.

The Nisei Ski Club officers and Board members are starting to think about where to go for the 2015 week-long trip. If there is a specific place you would like to ski, please let our president / Ex-officio Armand know.

In the meantime,  24 NSC members are gearing up to leave for Sun Peaks this weekend.

Have a great trip.

BAC Man or Woman of the Year

~ Armand Gutierrez, NSC President ~

One of the ongoing traditions of the Bay Area Council (BAC) is to have all clubs nominate a man and a woman that they feel have done the most for their club that year. In the past Nisei Ski Club has never been part of this traditional nomination, until now.

The nominee can be an officer of the club or it can be a club member who has gone above and beyond to make the club successful. This can be through volunteering to help at multiple events, hosting events, doing a job for the club like newsletter or website, etc.

Once a year, BAC then names a Man and Woman of the Year from one of the clubs. The BAC contest uses formal criteria and the BAC Man or Woman of the Year must agree to go to the FWSA convention and represent BAC in their Man and Woman of the Year contest. Since there is a convention attendance requirement, it is optional for the Club Men and Women to enter the BAC contest.

As a further perk for being named a club’s Man or Woman of the Year, BAC invites all to attend a dinner in their honor, regardless of whether or not they decide to enter the contest. BAC will announce the Club’s Man and Woman of the Year names at a BAC meeting in March and also list them in the BAC newsletter.

At our January Board meeting this topic was discussed and we decided to nominate Dan Lew for Man of the Year. Dan was selected because, as webmaster, he ensures that the NSC website is updated in a timely manner, uses his creativity to enhance the articles that are submitted (witness the touched-up photos), provides colorful commentary on current events, and has also added a variety of helpful articles (i.e., last month’s ski goggles tutorial).

Congratulations Dan for a job well done. As I mentioned to you previously, your excellent efforts could possibly result in a permanent webmaster position.

Latest pic of Dan & his clones


~ by Hoyt Nelson ~

Great views of Lexington Reservoir to the West at the start and a sweeping view of the Santa Clara Valley to the East at the top.  There will still be monkey flowers, Scotch broom and remnants from the vineyards that supplied sacramental wine for the Novitiate in Los Gatos many years ago.

Take Hwy 17 South  just past Los Gatos and go R at Bear Creek Road  so you can double back on the other side of 17 on Alma Bridge Road across the spillway.  If no room there, you may need  to pay for  a parking lot on the R where boaters put in.   We meet there at 10 AM where the hike begins just a few feet further on the left up the hill. 

I have done this hike 3 or 4 times, but can’t find any my pix, so I attached a few from bahiker.com.   This is a good source of hiking information in the Bay Area for your future reference.  It’s a little over 3 miles round trip on a semi-loop dirt trail  with about 650 ft. of elevation change.   We should be done by noon.  Not much shade, so bring a hat, drinks,  and layer your clothing.  Also bring camera, sturdy footwear and snacks.   There is no water , but bathroom facilities are in the parking lot.  There’s lots of spots for lunch nearby after the hike, or you can bring your own. 

Contact stjosephshill@ niseiskiclub.org to sign up and get more information.

Happy New Year – Welcome to 2014

Happy New Year to All!!!

And PRAY for rain & snow!  Anyone know any rain dances? Hey, maybe you can talk Armand into letting you go on the Sun Peak’s trip.  Who knows, maybe there will be a cancellation and you can sneak in and ski or ride amongst Sun Peak’s snow angels. While we have a dearth of snowfall in the Sierras, I know of people who have been having a good time skiing the limited man-made snow at some of the Tahoe resorts including your esteemed president, Armand!

Speaking of Armand, in his first  <<monthly president’s message >> of the new year, he gives tips on how to become a better skier or snowboarder. So what’s happening with the membership and the week long Sun Peaks trip?  Satiate your Walter Mitty dreams with Armand’s <<membership and Sun Peaks report>>.  With the paucity of Tahoe snow, don’t you wish you were going to Sun Peaks?? Your editor (me) has been on many of NSC’s week trips and they’ve always been memorable. Keep this in mind for next year’s trip!

GEAR TALK- this month, I thought I’d give you a brief primer about

Smiths Women’s Asian Fit

snow goggles.  Since our club has a one or two Asian members, I want to point out that FINALLY, some manufacturers are producing “Asian Fit” goggles.  Are you tired of goggles riding high on your cheekbones uncomfortably or having cold air blowing through the gap above the bridge of your nose??? Well, relief “may” be available.  Some of the manufacturers that make “Asian Fit” goggles are: Oakley, Smiths, Anon and Dragon. In theory, these goggles may fit Asian faces better. Of course, everyone’s faces are shaped differently.  I personally own a pair of Oakley “Asian Fit” A Frame goggles with spherical lenses, but they don’t fit that much better than my regular fit Bolle goggles.  However, they do fit a bit better, nonetheless. As they say, “your mileage may vary”.  That said, the most important aspect of goggle buying is FIT. When shopping for goggles, try on several pairs, paying attention to how they fit around your face, particularly around your nose.  A good fit will have even pressure & sealing around your face.  Note that goggles come in many different sizes.  Women specific goggles tend to be a bit smaller, but non  gender specific goggles vary in sizes too.  Goggles should be wide enough to provide adequate peripheral vision.  If you wear a helmet, ensure that the goggle fit isn’t adverse LENSES – most lenses are of double lens construction. Avoid single lens goggles as they have a tendency to fog up. A double lens is like a  home’s thermal window, they provide a buffer of air between the lenses to prevent the cold outside air from directly affecting the inner lens, thus reducing fogging. To help prevent fogging, clear any snow that may accumulate on top of the goggles which can impede adequate air flow. Ensure that the fit is not affected by the helmet and that the goggles don’t leave a big gap between it and the from of the helmet, unless you want a forehead brain freeze! Lens color- When do you wear goggles? All the time or just when it’s snowing and

Mirrored, darker, spherical lens

wear sunglasses when it’s sunny? If you wear them even if it’s sunny, then a darker lens may be more appropriate and also consider a mirrored lens to reduce glare. Unfortunately, darker lenses are disadvantageous if it clouds over or gets dark. If you wear goggles only when it’s snowing, then lighter amber, yellow, orange or rose colored lens are good choices.  Amber/yellow/orange  and rose tinted lenses are probably not dark enough for use in bright sunny conditions.  Amber, yellow or orange lenses are better for contrast enabling you to see the changes in terrain better in low light while rose colored lenses are better for depth perception. Photochromatic lenses which automagically darken or lighten depending on the intensity of sunlight are available  but not common.  Polarized lenses reduce glare from the snow when sunny. Lens shape – higher quality goggles (and more expensive)

Flat lens

Spherical lens

have spherical lenses instead of “flat” lenses. Spherical lenses should provide more peripheral vision as they bulge out from the goggle frame.  They should also provide better vision as the lens is more or less equidistant from your eye whereas on flat lenses, the center of the lens is closest to your eye and the rest of the lens is further from your eyes.  As a result, light hits a flat lens at different angles on different parts of the lens when on a spherical lens, light hits the lens at more consistent angles.  All of these factors should result in clearer, sharper, and less distorted vision.  Again, your results may vary.  Perhaps I’m not sensitive to it, but for my vision, I don’t see much of a difference and I own both types – go figure!. OTGOver The Glasses goggles (not to be confused with USB On The Go << tech joke!)- these  goggles are specifically designed for eyeglass wearers. OTG goggles are deeper to allow room for glasses and usually have a channel in the temple foam to allow room for the eyeglass arms. Wearing goggles over glasses often present fogging problems, so consider an OTG goggle with a built in fan such as the Smiths Knowledge Fan OTG.

Oakley Heads UP Display

GPS GOGGLES - For you well to do techies, you can now also get GPS enabled goggles ($500+!!!) with built in “heads up” displays that show speed, altitude and even where your friends are (in theory). Oakley, Smiths and Zeal are among the manufacturers that make these for the well heeled. Now if only they can display trail maps!

That’s it for this month’s tutorial, GOGGLES 101.

Until next month…your Ed.

January, 2014 President’s Message

Excuse me, my phone’s ringing!

Welcome to 2014 and may the New Year bring you new found prosperity, continued good health, and the opportunity to improve your skiing and riding abilities. Did you get any new ski or snowboard equipment for Christmas? Well, I didn’t. I did get a new iPad Air, which is not made for skiing but brings me forward to the 21stcentury. Call me a Luddite but I still don’t own a smartphone. Yes, numerous friends have told me that I need new gear. Well, maybe this will be the year I demo some new equipment (I need it all – skis, bindings, and boots).

Armand’s Skis and Boots!

A week before Christmas I ventured up to Tahoe and skied Heavenly and Northstar. Heavenly only had the Nevada side open, and Northstar also had limited lift operations. Yes, skiing wasn’t the greatest but at least it was skiing and I enjoyed being on the slopes and meeting people. But let’s get back to improving your skiing or riding. If you want to improve your skiing or snowboarding, then it’s a must that you plan on several ski trips to Tahoe (or your favorite area). I’ve always told people that there are two things that you have to do to improve your skiing/ riding:

  • Ski or snowboard at least ten days in a season, and
  • Ski or snowboard with people that are better than you are.

Why ten days? Anything less than that will keep you from improving and you will stay at your present level. Repetition is important so you can develop muscle memory on the slopes.  That’s why firefighters practice putting out fires and disaster scenarios. When it comes time for the real thing they are prepared with automatic reflexes. Skiing or riding with people better than you provides the opportunity of informal lessons. Follow a good skier/ boarder and you’re bound to pick-up improved techniques and style. Plus, there is the added motivational factor to keeping up with a good skier / rider. By the time our weekend trip to Squaw Valley/Northstar comes up there should be plenty of snow. Let’s see how many members, and friends, we can get to sign-up for this trip for some good skiing and riding and perhaps the opportunity to improve your skiing and riding abilities!

Although we’re in some sort of drought for snow I’m still planning on going up to Tahoe for another weekend of skiing. The California side at Heavenly is now open so that will mean more runs to take, and hopefully Northstar will open up a few more runs as well.

~Armand ~

January, 2014 Membership + Sun Peaks Ski Week Report

~ Da Prez, Armand Gutierrez ~

Membership Activity

Not much activity for December, however we did get one returning member since he wanted to go someplace that has snow and now he’s signed up for the Sun Peaks trip. Hopefully there may be a few more membership signups as we get closer to the weekend ski trip to Squaw Valley/Northstar on Feb 28 – Mar 2.  Our membership currently stands at 50 members.

Sun Peaks Ski Week

The Sun Peaks ski week is almost here and I’m looking forward to skiing with the “snow angels” (Big White calls them “snow ghosts”). Allen Hu decided that there’s nothing happening in Tahoe so he decided that Sun Peaks is the place to go, and that brings us to 24 members on the trip. On Saturday, 11 January, we’re having our Sun Peaks orientation meeting where members can get information about Sun Peaks, trail maps, an NSC pamphlet for details on the trip, and their NSC souvenir. The Sun Peaks ski week is from 8-15 February, and this date was chosen based on the following:

  • Flight availability, and
  • Hopefully watch the 49ers in Superbowl XLVIII (2 February)

If you have any questions regarding the trip don’t hesitate to send email me (president@niseiskiclub.org).

All the winter storms are hitting north of us and Sun Peaks now has 46” at the top of the Crystal Chair (my last report indicated 30”). Don’t look at these webcams if you think you can’t handle the beauty and nature of what Sun Peaks has to offer:


Last Monthly Newsletter of 2013!

“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas ~~ Just Like the One I Used to Know  - I and my fellow board members are just like Bing Crosby – DREAMING of SNOW, as I’m sure is also true for all of our club members!

As of today, Dec 5, several ski areas have already opened, albeit, with limited operations.  Hopefully, the recent Tahoe snowfall portends greater things to come!  In fact, tonight’s weather forecast for Squaw Valley is : Periods of snow becoming heavy, accumulating 4-8 inches; cold;  Hours of Precipitation: 7 hrs!!!  As soon as the semester ends, I hope to be able to break in my brand new shiny skis!!!   Woo Hoo – new toys!!!

Hopefully, many of you had the chance to attend the SnowBomb events in San Francisco and in San Jose. NSC had a presence at the Bay Area Ski Council (BAC) booth where Karen and Curtis represented our club at the ATT Park venue in San Francisco, while club president, Armand and Gary Lyon bestowed our club’s incredible people and activities in San Jose.  Check out Armand’s SnowBomb article and pics!

Don’t forget to read Armand’s monthly President’s Message and Membership Report with an update on the upcoming Sun Peak’s trip.

“DEAR SANTA, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS SNOW” penned by our esteemed trip director, Karen Soo has some very important updates regarding the weekend bus trip, particularly the loss of parking at the San Jose pickup.  We need your help in finding alternative parking in San Jose. The signup form for the weekend trip can be found here: ** weekend trip sign-up **

The next newsletter will bring in the NEW YEAR !  So until then I on behalf of the NSC Board, wish you all a great holiday, until next year, I bid you adieu…