June 2014 Newsletter – Articles & Commentary

So, here we are, the beginning of a new membership year.  In this month’s newsletter, we have:

Editor’s Opinion In Armand’s President’s Message for this month, he describes the board composition and the absence of general elections for the 2014-2015 membership year.  Armand surmises that the membership is happy with the board and its management of the club and the direction the board is taking.  I would like to offer a differing opinion.  I contend that one does not know how the membership feels without elections or taking a survey.  While continuity is good, new blood could be better.  Some of the board members have been tirelessly fulfilling for years.

Some of us would like to relinquish our positions and move on.  We don’t really know how the membership feels, or perhaps, you’re apathetic, assuming that the club will take care of itself while you enjoy all that the club has to offer. Hopefully, this has given you something on which to ponder and make the decision to step up and become a member active in the running of your club. ~ your Ed. ~

Snow activities in summer!

So, the day before Memorial Day, I ran another marathon, but I had this urge for snow, so 4 days later, I was climbing to the top of Mount Shasta at 14,179 feet with crampons on my feet, helmet on my noggin and ice axe in hand.  It was an arduous two day adventure, but very rewarding. Read about my adventure here: << Mt Shasta climb >>


June, 2014 President’s Message

A New Season
June marks a new season for NSC and so far it’s off to a great start. As president for a third term it’s a pleasure to announce that we have the same returning board members, which will maintain the continuity we’ve had for the past five years.  Although we have provisions for nominations/elections and we didn’t have any this year, it appears that perhaps the membership is satisfied with the current board and direction the club is taking. But, there’s always room for improvement and the board is going to actively pursue candidates that would be an asset as new board members.


Another highlight for the new season is the addition of four new members (and hopefully more in the coming months), and the return of former members. Most likely this is due to the popularity of the Jackson Hole trip, and it’s encouraging to see former members return to NSC. See the <<Membership Report >> for additional details.

Mt. View Obon Festival July 19th and 20th
This is an annual volunteer event that NSC participates in and is always a fun event. After all, there’s a variety of food, carnival-style games, cultural events, lots of people, and the famous Beer Booth. There’s room for a few more volunteers to work the Beer Booth.  Here’s the link to the << Obon Festival flyer >> or contact Karen Soo (tripdirector@niseiskiclub.org).

Picnic BasketNSC Picnic, August 9th
Mark this down in your calendar for the NSC Picnic on August 9th at the Las Palmas park in Sunnyvale (same place as last year). See the flyer  at this link:  <<Picnic Flyer >>  and there will be an Evite invitation in your email sometime in July.

Jackson Hole, a Big NSC Ski Week?
When I first announced on our Sun Peaks ski week that Jackson Hole would be our destination for 2015 there were quite a few positive responses. Later, as news started spreading it came to my attention that this could be a really big event. I also learned that there are quite a few members from the Hawaii Ski Club that are interested. So, in response to the popularity of this trip I’ve increased the 40-person limit to 50. Look for the Jackson Hole flyer in this edition of the newsletter and other details on the Jackson Hole Report.  << Sign Up form & Info >>

World-class skiing and snowboarding at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

June, 2014 Membership + Jackson Hole Report

~ Armand Gutierrez, President ~

Membership Activity

May was just a flurry of renewals, former members joining, and new memberships as members took advantage of the early sign-up discount.  There were a total of 37 signups, with four new members joining NSC for the first time, which handily beats last year’s 26 early signups.  Currently we have 44 members (including the seven board members), which is a record for early signups. Last year we had a total of 52 members and it looks like we’ll surpass that in June.

I would like to welcome new members Teresa and Warren Miller from Live Oak, and David Schultz and Lieu Lieu from San Jose. I’ve known Teresa and Warren for several years and have skied with them up at Tahoe. We also skied and stayed at the same hotel on the FWSA Zermatt ski week this past March. David and Lieu have been on Hoyt’s summer hikes and have wanted to join NSC for several years.

In addition to new members there were nine former members that have returned to NSC, most likely for the Jackson Hole trip in 2015. The return of former members is exciting because it’s always a pleasure to see familiar faces.


Jackson Hole Ski Week (24-31 January 2-15)

Jackson Hole logo

Last month the board met Matt Hollis from Sports America at our May board meeting. Matt provided us with  information about the Jackson Hole trip and I’ve been working with him to finalize the lodging arrangements. For details on this great trip see the Jackson Hole flyer in the June Newsletter. This trip appears to be quite popular and I’ve already expanded the available airline seats from 40 to 50.

I’m also getting indications that the Jackson Hole trip might bring in a few members that we haven’t seen in quite awhile so hopefully that will mean more signups in the coming months.

Sign up form and details link → Jackson-Hole Flyer -SignUp

NSC 2015 Ski Week Trip to Jackson Hole, WY

~ President Armand Gutierrez ~

Jake the Ski Fool says “follow me to Jackson Hole for our 2015 ski week trip.” NSC has not been to Jackson Hole since 2001 and it’s time to make a return trip. There’s a new big “Red Tram” to whisk us to the top, Corbet’s Couloir for the insane skiers, the Vertical Foot Club, and perhaps a moose or two on the slopes.

Dates:    January 24 – 31, 2015
Price:     $1475 (Senior – $1400)

Trip price includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare from San Francisco to Salt Lake City to Jackson on Delta Airlines
  • Roundtrip charter bus from Jackson to Teton Village Accommodations
  • 7 nights stay at the Nez Perce, Sleeping Indian, Rendezvous, and Teewinot condominiums (free shuttle bus to Teton Village, plus pool/hot tub)
  • 5 of 6 day lift ticket (6-day optional, senior (65+) also available)
  • Farewell Dinner
  • NSC Souvenir
  • Mid-week activities at no additional cost:
    • Skiing
    • More Skiing
  • Price does not include Baggage Fees
    (see http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage.html for current baggage fees)

    • Baggage fees as of May, 2014:  $25/first, $35/second. Boot and ski bag are consideed a single bag.

Price and availability guaranteed for 50 seats only. Sign up now.
Link to the sign up form :  Jackson Hole Flyer -SignUp

Sign-up deadline: September 15, 2014

Rooming: Condos are 2BD or 3BD. Accommodations will be assigned based on roommate preference and room availability.

Cancellation Policy:  It is your responsibility to find a replacement if you cancel. Cancellation fees will depend on what NSC is charged and what is refunded from Delta Airlines or Jackson Hole Resort.

You must be at least 21 years of age and a member of the Nisei Ski Club to sign up for this trip.

Questions? Contact: Armand Gutierrez at jacksonhole@niseiskiclub.org

Nisei Ski Club Annual Membership Meeting & BBQ Picnic, Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Save the date!  Save the time! Save your energy for catching up with friends!

Who: NSC members and their invited guests. Look for your Evite invitation.

What: Our annual meeting combined with a picnic. NSC will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, beer, water,etc.  Attendees are asked to bring side dishes and dessert to share.

When: Saturday, August 9, 2014 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Picnic area #1 in Las Palmas Park, 850 Russet Drive, Sunnyvale.
                See the link at the bottom for exact location and parking information.

Why:  To update our membership on the club and its future plans and to enjoy a pleasant day together.

Cost: No $$, Just Bring (3) – $1.00 bills for our game of luck and chance

For more information please email Karen Soo  tripdirector@niseiskiclub.org


Trip report for SF Stairs #2, May 04, 2014

by David Schultz 
The weather gods were with us for this hike and it was a day of crisp clear air, plenty of sunshine, and fabulous San Francisco views.  Plus, the event was well attended (27 people), so there was lots of catching up with club members, meeting new friends, and good discussions to keep things lively.Gardens
The hike took place just below the Twin Peaks area of San Francisco, always facing the inner Bay.  Great views sprang out from every turn, many of them between buildings or framed by the amazing foliage.
From a natural perspective, this walk was heavenly for plant lovers.  All the stairways, streets, and yards sported beautiful manicured gardens, alive with flowers of all colors from plants, bushes, and trees. There were more flowering trees than I’ve seen in a long time, especially compared to hotter and drier areas like the South Bay where I live.
Stairs between BldgsAnd where the flowers gave up some space, succulents were eager to step into the limelight.  Amazingly, our group found bags of fresh succulent clippings, meant for the trash but just perfect for grabbing and replanting in our own gardens.  The hike really was like a four-mile botanical garden walk.


But that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of exercise.  The hills of S.F. under Twin Peaks are definitely steep, and Hoyt’s walking plan made sure we got a workout.  Along the 5-mile route, we trudged up or down about 1.3 miles of steps (as recorded by one hiker’s mapping device).  With the combination of long stairwells and steep streets, I was pleasantly bushed (pardon the pun) by the time we got back to the cars.
Like the Bernal Heights Stairway Hike, we found a smoothed concrete slide at one of the city parks we passed.  This slide was a little different, with two curved sections to give you a roller coaster feel. Several people in the group used cardboard as a “sled” to scoot down the slides, challenging each other for speed.
Mount SutroNot all the gardens we passed were ornamental.  Hoyt brought us to a small shared garden park with artichokes, blackberries, limes, and lots of fennel where we lunched and shared a variety of goodies that people brought along.
Speaking of fennel, it was everywhere.  So were rosemary and lavender. These herbs add so much fragrance to the air of the city.  It was a treat to be able to grab little bits of these plants to get an aromatic boost while walking the streets.


After the hike, many of us drove up to the top of Twin Peaks to take in the vast panoramas of S.F. and the Bay.  The city sparkled and we could easily see down to Mountain View to the south and far into Marin County to the north.  It was just as much fun to watch the tourists posing for the pictures that would give them great memories back home.  I still remember the first time that I stood awestruck on Twin Peaks and it didn’t feel any less impressive on this trip.


The perfect finish to a day spent burning calories was to pack them back on at the Mandalay Restaurant.  Mandalay offers “Burmese” food – a blend of Indian and Thai cuisines, with some distinctive dishes like crunchy tea leaf salad and a ginger fish chowder that is to die for.  With their special fruit sangria (loaded with oranges and lychees) to wash everything down, life is good at Mandalay.


All in all, it was a perfect day.  I met a lot of cool club members as well as their guests, and I’m looking forward to more events like this.  Don’t miss the next hike!


David Schultz

Climbing Mount Shasta

Photo PhotoThe week of Memorial Day was a very busy week for me, your newsletter editor.  The day before Memorial Day, I ran another marathon and BQ’d.  It must have been the runner’s high or euphoria of some crazy nature, or maybe just plain craziness,  but 3 days later, I was headed to Mount Shasta to climb to the summit with a group of 10. Of the 10, only 3 were experienced at mountaineering.  We had backpacking experience, but not mountaineering experience.  Heck, we had trouble figuring out how to put the crampons on! Nonetheless, , we enthusiastically set forth on our adventure with the assurance that 2 of the experienced climbers worked with Mountain Rescu! but had never climbed Shasta before. The plan was to hike/climb up on Day 1 from the  at Bunny Flat trail head (6700 feet) and set up base camp at Helen Lake at 10,000 feet of elevation .  On Day 2, the plan was climb to the summit and descend  back to our cars .

Day 1 - The first couple of miles from Bunny Flat (I never saw any bunnies) were your garden variety backpack trail.  

PhotoThen it became scree, loose rock.  Loose scree rock gave way to snow.  SOFT HEAVY snow!!!  The stuff you sink into up to your knees at time especially with a 35 – 40 pound pack on your back.  (reminder to self – bring trekking poles next time) The final ascent to Helen Lake was incredibly steep, but little did we know, the climb to the summit was to be much steeper at times. Camping in the snow at 10,000 feet can be bitterly cold, especially if the wind kicks up.  To make Photothis more difficult, Mount Shasta is one of the National Park sites where one  is required to carry out one’s human waste!  So, we had to take time to aim our derrières at paper targets, then collect the results into paper bags, then seal them into zip lock bags and pack it out.  All this with frozen hands and  rear-ends!

Day 2 – The summit climb was unforgivingly cold.  We awoke at 2:30 but our group didn’t Photo get going until almost 5 am.  Other climbing groups set off much earlier, as early as  2:30.  It was so cold that I wore a light base layer, a thick “expedition” weight base layer, a down vest AND a jacket and wasn’t too warm despite the exertion of climbing up a steep icy slope above 10,000 feet.  Virtually everyone’s water froze.  Even those with insulated hoses on their CamelBaks had frozen hoses and bite valves.  I kept my bottle from freezing by keeping it inside my down vest!  Despite that precaution, ice crystals  could be seen forming in those few minutes when I took it out to drink from & share with others.  As I had decided late to go on this climb, I didn’t have time to buy or break in proper mountaineering boots.  My normal lightweight hiking boots gave me frozen toes for the first several hours of the summit climb.  However, despite not having mountaineering boots, I never had the predicted problems with loose crampons. Word of advice – wear warm mountaineering boots!


The first climb from Helen Lake to Red Banks, a wall of red rocks,  was entirely in the dark.  The climb was so steep that our rhythm was to walk only 20 or 30 steps and rest for a few minutes.  We chose nearby “goals” to aim for, rock formations that were only about 75 yards away.  When we reached those goals, we sat down, rested, re-hydrated, ate a little and made crampon adjustments as needed. We were all so grateful when the sun finally rose high enough to warm our frozen bodies.  But the warm sunny slopes meant that the icy slopes gave way to soft deep slushy snow!  This was much harder to climb through than the ice. While easier to walk on, the ice was dangerous, .  We had to learn how to execute an ice arrest with our ice axes in the event of falling and sliding down the mountain, or worse, off a cliff.  In addition there was also the danger of falling rocks.


The mountain began to take it’s toll and only 3 of us  7 newbies made it to the summit.  The rest  succumbed to fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches and altitude sickness.  My fellow summiters, Lauren,  Chris and I were exuberant upon finally making it to the 14,179 foot summit.  The summit views were incredible as Mount Shasta is a stand alone volcanic mountain, unattached to other mountains.  Hence, we could see for miles around including Mount Lassen over a hundred miles away!



Descending was also taxing.  The last  picture above is of Lauren (in red)  descending backwards using her ice axe and crampons to tackle this steep section.  We learned this technique thanks to our mountain rescue fellow climbers, Todd and  Joe.  Thankfully, Todd and Joe accompanied us on the descent until we were within sight of our tents when they were certain we wouldn’t be stranded on the mountain. After descending back to Helen Lake in the heat of the day, we broke down our tent, rested and ate some, then descended back to Bunny Flat.  It was a really tough day.  We finally arrived at our car  at 9:40 pm, the last portion of the descent in the dark by head lamp, of course.  19 hours after we woke up that day, we were finally done. It was a rewarding close to a strenuous and rewarding week.  

Next climb – Kili! (I hope) Anyone who is reasonably fit and a lot of determination can do this climb! ~ Ed. ~

May 2014 News and Events

~ da N.E. ~

Happy May Day! Did you dance around a Maypole in grade school??  I did!  This pagan ritual is still performed in parts of the United States and Europe. In many European countries, May 1, May Day, is celebrated as labor day, as we do in September here in the U.S.

Don’t confuse “May Day” (2 words) with “Mayday” (one word), the international distress cry for help! Etymologically, “Mayday” is thought to have it’s origins en Français.  In French,  “aider” is the infinitive verb for “to help”, but in French, aider is a reflexive verb, hence (without explaining reflexive French pronouns), “help me” is “me + aider” and is always abbreviated as “m’aider” and is pronounced as “may + day”!!!

Onto club business….

May marks the last month of NSC’s 2013-2014 membership year. So, it’s time to renew your membership for the 2014-2015 year.  See President Armand’s Membership Report + Jackson Hole Report for membership renewal details and the $5 early renewal discount!  You can also glean some preliminary information about next season’s week long trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, home of the Big Red tram where your’s truly has skied some incredible runs in deep powder.  It was also at Jackson Hole where I saw a porcupine waddling along under a chair lift!

NSC in the news; A New Season, Same Old NSC; Code of Conduct - these are topics covered by Armand’s “May, 2014 President’s Message“.  Armand describes how his trip to Sun Peaks, British Columbia, is featured in the National Ski Club Newsletter.  More importantly, Armand discusses issues facing the future of our club and how we might be able to increase our membership and hence, the longevity of our club.  Finally, his President’s Message provides an update on the development of a “Code of Conduct” for NSC.

July 19-20 Mountain View Obon Festival Beer Booth – call for volunteers 

This year’s Mountain View Obon festival will be held on the weekend of July 19-20.  We need volunteers for the beer booth. Come on, all you NSC beer drinkers, time to step up & volunteer!
See Karen’s sign up schedule here : Mountain View Obon Festival.



Fall Creek Hike – date to be determined
While the hike date has yet to be determined, start thinking about Hoyt’s next hike along Fall Creek in Felton’s Henry Cowell State Park. As soon as the date is finalized, it will be published in the NSC website.  In the meantime, here is the hike description: Fall Creek Hike.

Until next month, Happy Trails to You!
Your N.E.

May, 2014 President’s Message

~Da President, Arman Gutierrez ~

Ski season is officially over (unless you’re planning on a trip to Valle Nevado or Bariloche) and June marks the start of the 2014-2015 NSC membership season. As usual, you can take advantage of the $5 membership discount if you sign up and send in your membership form before May 31st.

NSC In The News (Again)

Last month NSC was featured in the BAC website with an article about our ski trip to Sun Peaks, BC. Well, NSC has done it again! In the May-June 2014 issue of the National Ski Club Newsletter (NSCN) there was a short article about our Sun Peaks trip in the “Ideas from other clubs” section. This is not the first time NSC has been featured in the NSCN.  The other time was when we were featured with a two-page write-up for our 2007 Panorama, BC trip. The purpose of the NSCN is to provide a forum for sharing ideas amongst the nation’s ski clubs and the publication is sent to the officers of approximately 2,100 ski clubs. I try to submit relevant articles to BAC and NSCN in order to showcase our trips and get publicity for our club. Alas, a confession must be made because I did not submit this article to NSCN, but a big Thank You goes to whomever did submit it.


A New Season, Same Old NSC?

Some may consider that NSC has reached a point of stagnation with the same board, no new ideas, and a declining membership. Well, it’s hard to dispute those notions, but I would like to think that there are opportunities for NSC to consider that could affect the club.

I’ve been told, and recognize, on many occasions that NSC needs new blood and younger members if the club is to be self-sustaining. As our membership gets older we need to focus on getting younger members that are interested in skiing & snowboarding and participating in NSC events (e.g. hikes, potluck picnics, etc.). On our last weekend ski trip to Tahoe we had a family from the Monterey Ski & Social club join us and they brought their teenage son, and since they hadn’t been to Alpine Meadows before I gave them a morning tour of the ski area. Although the parents preferred the groomed runs it was obvious that the young boy was interested in something a bit more challenging. So, the parents were directed down the groomed runs and their son joined me down several black runs, which he handled fairly well. The next day at Northstar he managed to find all the black runs on the backside and enjoyed skiing so much that he was one of the last ones to return to the bus at the end of the day. So what does this tell me? Perhaps the club should consider allowing parents with kids to join NSC and bring them on our ski trips and other events. This might get more people on the trips and introduce the young folks to NSC, and potentially they would become future members. This subject will be brought up again at one of our future board meetings and I would like to invite anyone interested in joining the discussion to attend that board meeting. Can’t wait that long? Very well, please send in your comments and ideas to any of the board members. Incidentally, our next board meeting will be held at the Texas Roadhouse in Union City on May 18th at 11:30am. Join us for lunch if you can.

Code of Conduct for NSC

Last month there was a discussion about creating a Code of Conduct for NSC. This effort is still in progress and once it gets to a final stage it will be presented to the membership.

May 2014 Membership Report + Jackson Hole Report

~ President Armand Gutierrez ~

Membership Activity

There was no activity for April, which was no surprise. However, May is upon us and it’s time for you early birds to download a membership form and send it to me and be eligible for a $5 discount on the membership. Last year we had a great ski week at Sun Peaks and a great weekend trip to Tahoe. This upcoming 2014-2015 winter, we’re going to Jackson Hole and I’m hoping to get 40 members to go on this trip. Although Tahoe was weak on the snowfall, Jackson Hole had plenty of snow. So get your forms in now and be a part of the 2014-2015 season.
Use this Membership Form link

Jackson Hole logo

Jackson Hole Ski Week (24-31 January 2015)

Arrangements for the Jackson Hole ski trip are well on its way. I’ve received preliminary costs from Sports America and once those are finalized look for a flyer in the June newsletter.