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

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.

Need Volunteers – Beer Booth at the Mountain View Obon Festival – July 19-20

~ Karen Soo, Trip Director, Head Beer Barmaid ~

Hello NSCers and friends!  The Mountain View Obon Festival will be upon us before we know it, on the weekend of July 19-20.  NSC will staff the beer booth and we’re looking for volunteers who love beer, meeting people, and enjoy  having a good time!

Below is the current schedule.  If you want to volunteer, please contact me, Karen via email at:

Come on, you NSC beer drinkers!  There are many of you out there!

To volunteer, please contact Karen at
Serving Beer at Mountain View Obon
Saturday July 19, 2014
3:00pm – 6:00pm 1 C. R.
2 B. L.
6:00pm – 9:00pm 1 J. K.
2 T. R.
Sunday July 20, 2014
12:00-3:00pm 1 F. C.
2 D. U.
3 H. N.
4 D. M.
6:00pm – 9:00pm

NSC INVITES YOU TO ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE HIKES, Cowell Redwoods ~ Sunday, June 22, 2014

  by Hoyt Nelson

Date: Sunday, June 22, 2014

The hike at the Fall Creek section of Cowell Redwoods is only about 5 miles round trip and is fairly flat and shaded.  It follows the beautiful Fall Creek for most of the way and has a stop  after 1.5 miles at an area with 12 foot high abandoned lime kilns.  We will lunch a mile later amid the scattered machinery of an old barrel factory.  It’s a bit far to drive for some, but believe me, it’s worth it.


  • Take a Right onto Mt. Hermon Rd off Hwy 17 just a couple of miles North of Santa Cruz
  • Drive about 5 miles through Felton,
  • Continuing across Hwy 9 up the hill for less than a mile
  • to a signed dirt parking lot on the Right.

There is also a winery across the road just before the lot for free tasting afterward.  If anybody still has energy, we can stop at one of the best Japanese gardens in the state, Hakone Gardens (free parking if we take the short trail up the hill, but $7 entrance), on the way back in Saratoga.  There are several great restaurants nearby to round the day off.

There is neither water nor bathrooms along the hike, but there are at the winery.  Bring layered clothes for changeable weather, a lunch with drinks at the old barrel mill, and possibly something to share.  Due to the distance, carpooling is highly recommended.  At the least, we should meet at my house in Campbell and consolidate vehicles there.  I plan to leave my place in Campbell at 9:30 AM and I can take 5 more people.

For more info. or to sign up, contact me, Hoyt, at


Redo of San Francisco Stairway Hike #2 – May 4, 2014

by Hoyt Nelson
It’s been years  since we have done this hike (Twin Peaks, Dolores Heights, Upper Market.) and this is the perfect time for good weather, flowers and scenery.  We will meet at 10:30 AM on Twin Peaks Blvd. near the intersection of Crown Terrace.  It’s a fairly strenuous hike of 3.5 to 4 hours, but we will stop frequently for snacks and views.  I cut the length down a bit from the original.  This will make it similar in length to hike #1 (Coit Tower, etc.)
Bring clothes for warm and cold weather including a hat, comfortable hiking shoes, sun block, drinks and snacks as desired and camera.   There are no “formal” bathroom stops on this route, but there are usually a number of fairly clean porta-potties along the way at construction sites.  There is one water fountain at the bottom of Pemberton near the start and several small markets along the way for refreshments.  I can take up to 6 more in my van.  First come, first served.  Otherwise, use your GPS or follow directions below.  Be advised my van will stay in SF for lunch after the hike.  We can finalize at that time where to go.  If desired, we can first drive up to nearby Twin Peaks for a quick look at perhaps the very best view of the city (+ restroom) before lunch.
Directions From Jan Jose area: Take Hwy 101 N. to Mariposa St. exit (just N. of Cesar Chavez in San Francisco) and take an immediate L. onto Vermont.  Turn L. onto 16th for about 2 miles and bear L. onto Market at Noe.  Bear R at the next block onto 17th for 6-8 blocks and make a L at Twin Peaks Blvd. (It’s the third L. past Ord, and is marked as Clayton on the R.).  A little past the next R. (Carmel) you will see 23 wood stairs on the R. across the street from Crown Terrace where we meet   If you come back on 16th after the walk, take a R on Potrero and follow signs to 101 South.  There’s lots of parking on Twin Peaks Blvd.
From San Francisco or E. Bay: From the Bay Bridge exit to San Francisco (Hwy 80), continue on 80 toward signs for Van Ness.  Exit at Van Ness and take an immediate L. onto S. Van Ness.  Go 3 blocks S. and take a R on 16th.  Continue W. on 16th  for about 1.5 miles and take a L. onto Twin Peaks Blvd. (It’s the third L. past Ord, and is marked as Clayton on the R). (Heads up at 16th and Market!  It’s confusing and congested.)  A little past the next R. (Carmel) you will see 23 wood steps on the R which are across the street from Crown Terrace where we meet.  There’s lots of parking on Twin Peaks Blvd.
stairway walk 1stairway walk 2
For more info and to sign up, contact me at
Photos by Tony Holiday

2014 April – Editor’s Message

OK gang, tax filing deadline is almost upon us – get those number 2 pencils sharpened!

Mother Nature is teasing us again!  After a very dry winter, the last couple of weeks has seen a generous dumping of snow in the Sierras!  So, it’s not too late to bash some bumps, shred some runs and schuss the slopes.  Who wudda thunk!!??

Presidential Affairs

Speaking of spring skiing and riding, President Armand skied in late March and makes reference to “Magical March” in his monthly President’s Message.

Did you miss the Sun Peaks trip?  Don’t miss the next week trip to Jackson Hole in the Grand Tetons.  Armand is industriously planning next year’s trip.  Read about it here in his  ” Membership and Jackson Hole”   report describing the plans for next year’s return to Jackson Hole after a 14 year absence.

Jackson Hole website:


Why are your skis and snowboards tucked away in the closet? ~ Karen Soo, Trip Director ~

Is your ski season over yet?  I know we barely had fresh snow in the month of January and February.  Don’t call it quits yet. Take those skis and snowboard out of the closet. The Tahoe area is finally bombed with fresh snow this past week. Most of the Tahoe resorts reported 1-2 feet of snow….

 Read the rest of Karen’s article here :  << April 2014 Trip Director’s article >>


Are you a “mature” skier or snowboarder, but junenile at heart?  Want to show your younger cohorts that you can still rip it up???  Well, each year, there are Senior Winter Games held  at Bear Valley ski area.  For the past few years, NSC member, Rick Dumlao has been shredding the light fantastic (apologies to John Milton) at the games.  This year was no exception.  Check out his reportage here : << 2014 California Winter Senior Games >>.


Cherry Blossom Festival San Francisco – April 12-13; 19-20

This year marks the 47th anniversary of San Francisco’s Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival.

From the festival’s website  ( ):

 This year’s Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival® will be held on Saturday and Sunday April 12-13 and April 19-20, 2014. All are welcome to join in the festivities as we celebrate Japanese and Japanese American culture in San Francisco’s Japantown!

The festival will be held on Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore Streets. There will be food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, and more. The Grand Parade will be held on Sunday, April 20, beginning at City Hall and concluding in Japantown.

Until next month…