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July 2015 – President’s Message

Armand Gutierrez, NSC President

President Armand on Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix

Summer has arrived with warm-to-hot temperatures, depending on where you live, and CA is officially in drought-mode. I’m trying to stay within my allotment of water usage (as dictated by SJ Water) and hopefully everyone else is on the same bandwagon. Once again the weather forecasters are calling for an El Niño for this year but only rains in November and December will prove that true.

Our annual Membership and Luau Picnic was well attended and everyone had a great time. There was plenty of food, the weather was very nice, and there were new faces that hopefully will become members.

Here’s a call for all you super-athletic types that would like to participate in a very worthwhile cause – Live Love Survive Dragon Boat Races. The Live Love Survive group is looking for strong-armed athletes to join the Dragon Boat team. Originally this was event was for cancer survivors but it is open to anyone that would like to support the Dragon Boat team. See the flyer for details, or contact Tina Woo (

SF Stairway Hike July 12th

Hoyt Nelson and David Schultz are leading the SF Stairway Hike on July 12th. This is a very popular hike so be sure to gander at the flyer for details.

 Mt. View Obon Festival July 18th and 19th

This festival is right around the corner and we still need a few more volunteers for Saturday and Sunday. Contact either Karen Soo ( or Judy Hom ( if you’re interested in participating in this fun and worthwhile event.

Park City/Canyons Ski Week 2016

I’ve been receiving applications for the Park City ski week so if you haven’t signed up yet then what are you waiting for? Members of the Asian Ski & Board Club Los Angeles (ASBCLA) have sent in sign-ups and I’m not quite sure how they found out about our trip, but they’re more than welcome to join us. Southwest Airlines has opened up bookings for February so there might be airline changes depending on what Southwest can offer so stay tuned for the latest updates. And, it’s not too late to get the Tahoe Local Pass (, which will be good for five days of lifts at Park City/Canyons as well as Heavenly Valley, Northstar and Kirkwood. And if you ski a sixth day then your lift ticket will be half-price.


July 2015 – Editor’s Musings

Food is an important part of our NSC events. Last month, we had the annual Thank You picnic and an abundance of food. Coming up July 18-19, there is the  Mountain View Obon  and its delicious foods: tempura, manju, udon, and more! Next month on August 22, there is the BAC fundraiser, pre-game BBQ, and Dennis Heffley’s famous chocolate chip cookies.

Speaking of food, the Dragon Boat Festival is one of my favorite Chinese food holidays. Did you notice that the Live Love Survive Dragon Boat team is open to all interested paddlers?

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated with zongzi (sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) and of course, dragon boat racing. The origin of the festival is attributed to the great Chinese poet Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC), who drowned himself to protest government corruption. The local people raced out in their boats to retrieve Qu Yuan’s body and zongzi was thrown into the river so the fish would eat the zongzi and not Qu Yuan’s body.

The festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. The lunar calendar is based on a 28 day  month. It does not match the Western calendar and lunar dates fall on a different date each year. Before the days of the internet and its instant information, I used to page through the special calendar with Chinese dates to find the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. Nowadays, I just search for “Dragon Boat Festival 2015″ and the answer is June 20, 2015!

Western calendar with Chinese dates

chinese calendar 2015


Zongzi are sticky rice packets with delicious fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fillings will vary from region to region. My favorite fillings are the ones that my mom put in her packets, which included dried shrimp, peanuts, chestnut, salted egg, lop cheung (aka Chinese sausage), fatty pork, and ham. Below is a picture of her beautifully wrapped zongzi.

Making zongzi is time consuming and requires lots of preparation. However, the results are worthwhile and delicious.


So, where am I going with this? Everybody likes good food and NSC events always have good food. So, attend an upcoming NSC event and enjoy the food.


July 2015 – Membership Corner

Greg Wong, Membership Chairperson

It’s that time of the year to renew your memberships. For those that took advantage of the early sign up discount, congratulations!

Memberships help support future trips. Activities are planned and based upon the number of members in the club.   I know last year ski season in Lake Tahoe was terrible, but hopefully next year will be a El Nino snow year.   There are still plenty of non-ski activities that the club has to offer. So come on back and join the club.

Welcome to the returning members and 4 new members this year:

  • Pia Sanda
  • Jennifer Chin
  • Calvin Han
  • Edward Levin

Sun and Summer In Sunnyvale

NSC Thank You Picnic on June 28, 2015

Alex Kami

Mission accomplished! I’ve been assigned this article since I won the “$3 Elimination Game.” Back to this topic in a moment.

On June 28th, NSC held a successful and extremely enjoyable picnic on the grounds of Las Palmas Park in my hometown of Sunnyvale with over 50 attendees. Because of my dormancy from skiing during the past few years, this is the one event I seem to attend on an annual basis, and I was overjoyed to see so many friends still active in the Club. In addition to catching-up on everyone’s great lives, I learned that polonium does wonders in eliminating invasive berry vines; sorry, you needed to be there to understand the point.

Of course, as with every NSC event, the food was abundant! We had BBQ ribs/burgers, pot stickers, salads, etc. – better than a post-game spread in the Warrior locker room. One of the ingenious contributions came from Greg, our membership chair, who provided a do-it-yourself tortilla wrap bar complete with guacamole, sour cream, veggies, and shredded pork.

The diversity of the attendees highlighted the success of the event. We had men, women, babies, and our four legged family members including Judy’s Captain Kirk with a distinct personality. Even Superman walked by, but he was going to our neighbor’s birthday party. The weather was perfect – not too hot, not too cold. NSC couldn’t have picked a better venue – Sunnyvale, a town with (in addition to good weather) lots of parking, open space and for you ladies, eligible, handsome men.

As I went around talking to different people and getting up to speed on the Club, I am thankful for the veteran members keeping NSC going strong. To Armand for continuing to lead the group and being our glue, to Judy for returning as our newsletter editor after we retired her jersey, to Sandy for returning to the Board and being an interface to the BAC, and of course to Karen for continuing to lead the ski trips even during this frustrating period of a California drought. Oh, and thanks Hoyt, our VP, for bringing the Tiki figurines since most of us didn’t read the “Hawaiian theme” for the picnic.

Okay, back to the mission being accomplished. As an annual tradition, the picnic culminated with the “$3 Game.” Not enough room here to explain, but in general, each participant starts with three Georges, stands in a circle with other competitors, throws dice, and at some point only one person remains with at least $1 in his or her hands. This person wins everyone else’s contributions, and that was me this year.

But, winning wasn’t the accomplishment. You see, in the past years, the husband-wife duo, Amy and David, have dominated this game. Prior to the picnic, I was approached by a dude in dark sunglasses, a hat and a trench coat who instructed me, “Whatever happens, you need to knock this duo out.” Mission accomplished.


Thanks to Bill Lee for the group shot

June 2015 – President’s Message

June has arrived and that signifies the start of the 2015-2016 NSC season. I’m really excited about this new season because following the elections we now have new board members to help guide NSC through this season. At our May board meeting the new board members were introduced, although most needed no introductions because they’ve been with NSC for a number of years and have served on the board in the past. One new member, David Schultz, is serving on the board for the first time and will be helping Hoyt Nelson with upcoming hikes. And Sandy Kiyomura was initially responsible for the Alameda Bike event held on May 30th.


Upcoming Events

Once again Hoyt, with assistance from David Schultz, is leading the SF Stairway Hike on July 12th. This is a very popular hike so be sure to gander at the flyer for details. The week after is the Mt. View Obon Festival on July 18th and 19th. 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 so look for information in the newsletter or contact Karen Soo (


NSC Annual Membership Meeting and Luau Picnic, June28th

Mark this down in your calendar for the NSC Annual Picnic on June 28th at Las Palmas park in Sunnyvale (same place as last year). See the flyer in the newsletter and the Evite invitations have already been sent out. If you didn’t get an Evite in the mail then please let me know (


Park City/Canyons Ski Week 2016

Plans are moving smoothly for the Park City/Canyons ski week trip for 2016. Take a look at the flyer and make that all-important decision to be on this trip. You might also consider getting the Tahoe Local Pass (, which will be good for five days of lifts at Park City/Canyons as well as Heavenly Valley, Northstar and Kirkwood.

FWSA Cortina d’Ampezzo Ski Week 2016

As a member of NSC you are eligible to participate in any of the FWSA/BAC ski trips. For 2016, FWSA is going to Cortina d’Ampezzo, onCortinaChalete of Italy’s most famous and extensive ski towns. It boasts interesting slopes for all levels of skiers, 1200 kilometers of skiable terrain, 140 kilometers of ski trails and 43 lifts. This is one trip I’m planning on taking, along with a second week in Florence and Rome. If you’re interested in joining me on this trip then contact me for details ( And, yes, this trip is after our Park City/Canyons trip.


June 2015 Newsletter – I’m b-a-a-a-a-a-c-k

newsletter-editorIt seems that one is always part of the Nisei Ski Club. There are a lot of good things about the club that keep bringing me back. I met my husband Winston through the club and I’ve made some lifelong friends. So I’m serving as your newsletter editor for the umpteenth time and as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, “I’m b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!”.

Thanks to Dan Lew for his work as newsletter editor for the past 4 years. Enjoy your break, Dan because you may be coming back in the future. Wink. Wink.

NSC 2016 Ski Week Trip to Park City/Canyons, UT

park city 2016Jake the Ski Fool says “follow me to Park City/Canyons for our 2016 ski week trip.” For the 2015-16 season, Park City is combining with The Canyons to bring you over 7300 acres of skiing. NSC has not been to Park City since 2001 and it’s time to make a return trip. There’s a new gondola that will take us to Canyons for additional skiing at no extra cost.

Dates: February 20 – 27, 2016
Price: $1375 (Senior – $1310)

Trip price includes:
• Roundtrip airfare from San Francisco to Salt Lake City on United Airlines
• Roundtrip charter bus from Salt Lake City to Park Station Accommodations
• 7 nights stay at the Park Station condominiums (one block walk to Town Lift)
• 5 of 6 day lift ticket (6-day optional, senior (65+) also available) for Park City and Canyons
• Farewell Dinner
• NSC Souvenir
• Mid-week activities at additional cost:
o Winter Zip Tours
o Heliskiing
o Sleigh Rides
o Guided Snowshoe Tours
• Price does not include Baggage Fees. See United Airlines current baggage fees
o Baggage fees as of May, 2015: $25/first, $35/second. Boot and ski bag are considered a single bag.

Price and availability guaranteed for 40 seats only. Sign up now. Link to flyer and sign-up form: Park City 2016 flyer.
Sign-up deadline: October 10, 2015

Stairway Walk #1 in San Francisco

~ Dave Schultz, Board Member ~

On May 3, 23 ski club members and guests from San Jose to Sacramento gathered in San Francisco to begin perhaps the most famous of the stairway walks in the city. Based on parts of stairway walks in Ada Bakalinksy’s guidebook, we took in some of the best sights from the Telegraph Hill and North Beach neighborhoods. Total length of the hike was only around 4.5 miles, but it was nearly all up and down (I’m guessing an elevation gain/loss of between 1500-2000 feet).

Led by the intrepid Hoyt Nelson, we started at Levi Strauss Plaza. This plaza was a surprise treat for me, since I had never been there before. I always knew that the headquarters for Levi Strauss & Co was in the Bay Area, but it didn’t sink in until I was standing in the plaza that this is the headquarters. (Levi Strauss got its start in San Francisco in 1853 when Strauss sold canvas overalls to gold miners.)

As you can see in the photos below, it’s a beautiful square with inlaid brick and stone, an impressive fountain, and even more impressive foliage in the park that they’ve built there. You can also see our first destination for the hike – Hoyt Tower. Er, uh, sorry … I mean Coit Tower.

Before climbing the Greenwich Stairs towards the tower, we had to admire the quirky architecture of the base of the stairs. As you can see, the non-linear construction gave the base a theme park appearance, letting us know that a fun time was about to start.

Levi Strauss Plaza

Base of Greenwich Stairs

Quirky theme park appearance







We started the lonJulius Castleg walk up, and soon reached the Montgomery St overlook. There sits an old SF landmark called the Julius Castle. The building dates back to 1922 and indeed looks

like a miniature castle. For a long time, it was a restaurant, but then fell into disrepair. It was repurchased in 2012, refurbished, and is now a functioning restaurant again.






FrAnyone want to take a cruise?om the parking lot near the Julius Castle, we got our first good views of the eastern SF Bay. Looking down at the piers, it seemed like we were in Costa Rica rather than California. Anyone want to take a cruise?

Although the day started cloudy, we had a feeling that the clouds would burn off. Nature didn’t disappoint us and before long we had a gorgeous sunny day.Coit Tower mural

Turning upwards, we finished ascending the 284-foot hill (approx 400 stairs from the start) to the base of Coit Tower. Probably the highlight of the day’s hike for most of us, the art-deco style tower offers commanding of the city, even from the base.

We didn’t have time to ascend the tower since the wait to go to the top is pretty long, but we did have time to step inside the foyer and view the famous murals. The murals depict SF life during the Great Depression. They were recently restored (the official re-opening was in May 2014) and the colors are as vibrant as ever.

Gathering at the back of the tower we continued winding our way around Telegraph Hill, in and out of streets, until we reached Lombard Street – the “crookedest street in the world”. With plenty of tourists in tow, we ascended up the street to Hyde Street.

Ever vigilant to keep tModern art in unexpected placesogether as a group, we prowled through the North Beach neighborhood, stopping at times to admire the fine architecture of many old homes and their graceful gardens. However, there are new apartment buildings as well, and one of them had a really cool fountain, reminding us that modern art can be found in San Francisco in unexpected places.

 Hoyt planned the route so that we had a chance to visit the San Francisco Art Museum. Built on a hill, with some very angular buildings, the museum afforded us an opportunity to view plenty of art works and climb yet more stairs (the museum is on many levels). As an added bonus, there were excellent views of Alcatraz and the intervening neighborhoods from the decks and roofs of the buildings.

Traversing the stairs on this hike, we were constantly reminded of the beauty and attention put into the gardens on either side of the stairs. Even on the longest stairs, every foot of garden was manicured in some way. The creative power of the people who live in the houses along the stairways is always impressive.

Stairway gardens

Stairway gardens



Montgomery Street was steep (ribs in the sidewalk are a big hint) and gave us one of the best workouts on the hike, but the views of downtown, especially the Transamerica Pyramid were worth the effort.

As we dropped down into the Vallejo Street neighborhood, we went through northChinatown and then the Columbus Ave Italian section. We had been walking for about 2 & 1/2 hours without stopping for food, so you can imagine what was leading us as smells from adozen restaurants wafted by.

Finally, we succumbed to our hunger and stopped in at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where all sorts of dim-sum style stuffed buns were being served. It was a lucky find, since from mixed meat & veggies to desert buns, everything was excellent and very inexpensive. Sorry for not remembering the name of this place, but I have a feeling that finding it again would be a challenge anyway.

At the top of the Filbert Stairs is a small overlook where we got the BIG view of eastern SF. From Treasure Island to the financial district – we took it all in under a cloudless sky.

San Francisco view

We finished our hike by descending the Filbert Stairs past homes that get so much exposure to hiking tourists that we had to keep our noise level down. But it was hard not to be jolly knowing that we were going down the steep 400 stairs rather than up. And as always, it was tough not to comment about all the amazing foliage that has been planted by the homeowners.

Back at Levi Square, the Sacramento and South Bay groups bid a fond farewell to each other, then headed home. As we drove past the many sights we saw from above, we smiled at having done another hike unique to the City By The Bay. Hope to see you at the next one!

Happy hikers

May 2015 Newsletter – Editor’s Swan Song

Recycle SymbolOut with the OLD, and I mean  OLD!!! and in with the NEW,  well, maybe not exactly NEW, ummm – how about RECYCLED???

The month 0f May marks the end of NSC’s membership year and it also marks my last month as your newsletter editor. When I became newsletter editor 4 years ago, we were still printing and mailing paper newsletters and then duplicating the publications online.  Today, we’re online only, resulting in more immediate notifications of club events and information as we no longer have to wait until the next month to send out club information.

I present to you, our new newsletter editor, Judy Hom!!!  Actually, Judy is a former newsletter editor, so she’s actually being recycled. Judy will bring new and interesting aspects to the newsletter.

So, a warm welcome to Judy!Elections

ELECTIONS – on the subject of new club officers….for the first time in recent memory, elections have been held.  Many incumbents have been re-elected, but more importantly, it’s exciting to see some new board members!!!  (plus one re-cycled newsletter editor)

Here are the election results.


RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP – Did I mention that this is the end of our membership year? Renew your membership before the end of May and save $5  on your membership dues.  The memership form can be found on the right side of NSC’s home page.  To  save wear and tear on your scrolling fingers, here’s the link: MEMBERSHIP FORM.


SIMPLY PRESIDENTIAL – Incumbent and president elect, Armand Gutierrez finally reveals the destination of the 2016 week long snow trip!  Many of you have already guessed it based on the breacrumbs that Armand has been dropping.  Where will it be??? The secret is in Armand’s May President’s Message and Membership report.


ALAMEDA BAY TRAIL BIKE RIDE –  don’t forget Karen and Sandy’s Bike for 4 Electric HeadsAlameda Bay Trail bike ride on Saturday, May 30.  Dust of your penny farthings!

The details are here in the Alameda Bay Trail Bike Ride flier.


PIcnic BasketANNUAL PICNIC – Mark your calendars!!!  Save the date – June 28 for this year’s Membership Meeting and Luau Picnic. The details are here in Karen’s picnic flier.

Watch for Armand’s EVITE coming soon!




Alpine - Squaw Gondola


Have you ever been at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows and looked across and wondered if it were possible to ski to the other resort? Well, your dreams may come true!

While Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have common ownership, KSL Capital Partners, there is no way to ski or ride from one resort to the other as there’s no lift that connects the two and more importantly, there’s a small sliver of land between the two that is owned by Troy Caldwell. Until now, Troy has had dreams of erecting his own ski lift and has not been ameniable to KSL building across his land.  This is changing…

If all goes well, a connecting gondola may be in our future as described in this article:  Two Mountains, One Gondola.


This closes out my final Editor’s Newsletter. message. I bid you adeiu!

Handing over the reins to Judy!


May 2015 President’s Message & Membership Report

~ Incumbent and President Elect, Armand Gutierrez ~

Now that the ski season is officially over with all the Tahoe resorts closed, it’s time to bring an end to the NSC 2014-2015 season. I thought this past season was pretty incredible and highlighted by a variety of accomplishments:


  • Introduction of a Code of Conduct
  • Volunteer participation at the annual Obon Festival in Mountain View
  • Various hiking and picnic events
  • Increased participation at BAC events
  • An increase in membership
  • A very well-attended ski week to Jackson Hole
  • The Jackson Hole trip was featured in the BAC newsletter
  • First marriage proposal on the slopes at Jackson Hole!
  • Nominations and elections were held with a good response from the membership
  • Several new board members to take NSC into the 2015-2016 season.


June marks the start of the 2015-2016 NSC season, and beginning this month, you can take advantage of the $5 membership discount if you sign up and submit your membership form before May 31st. Please note that Greg Wong is the new Membership Chairperson and the forms should be sent to him.  Link for the 2015-2016 Membership form

Since it’s the end of the ski season, it’s time to start having our spring NSC events. Coming up we have a Bike Ride through Alameda on May 30th led by Karen Soo and Sandy Kiyomura, and our annual Post-Season Membership meeting and luau picnic on June 28th. Be sure to gander at the flyers in this month’s newsletter for details. Also, we’ll be looking for the usual volunteers for the annual Mt. View Obon Festival on 18-19 July. If interested, then be sure to send a note to Karen Soo (, NSC’s trip director.


Ski Week 2016
Canyons Utah


Night Skiing


For those of you that have not figured out our destination then let it be known to all that NSC will be going to Park City, Utah. Plans are all ready in progress and details will be in the June newsletter. Why Park City? Well, it’s been quite awhile since the club has been there so we’re probably due for a trip to Park City. Plus, for the 2015-16 season Park City is combining with the Canyons to become the largest ski resort in the U.S. with 7,300 acres. And for those of you that get the Vail Resorts Epic Pass (