Steamboat ski trip, part 1

Here's the lovely home where we're staying in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The house was built by a prize-winning architect. It's unique. The lower level has a sauna, hot tub, steam bath, and a door out to a balcony where the very brave can roll in the snow.

Here's the view from the line for the gondola at the Steamboat ski area. The layout of the mountain is a little different than any other place I've skied. It takes some getting used to.

My first run at Steamboat. I had to go to the top of Storm Peak and then hike up another few hundred meters to get to this slope. It must have been the highest point around because the peak was dotted with radio towers like the one in the left of the photo. The snow conditions on the first day were not so great. Rain and wam temperatures combined to make the snow on the lower part of the mountain rather slushy. I stayed on the top of the mountain.

Our host Jev and I skied together for a while today. The weather was much better. The temperature stayed below freezing for most of the day and we even got some sunshine.

Here I am basking in one of those rare sunny moments. A kind passerby took this photo.

The top of the mountain was very windy. Wind speeds of up to 50 mph were recorded. The gondala and one of the express lifts were closed shortly after midday due to the high winds.

My place of frequent refuge today was the Four Points Hut. It's a tiny little cabin about 3/4 of the way up the mountain. It has a little fast food bar and restrooms with hot air dryers -- good for warming up gloves.

I did a few mogul runs today but not this one. Just looking at it made me tired.

I stopped in at the house for lunch, and to warm up my frozen toes. Ethan and Kelly had already set up the AirPort Express base station and were happily surfing the net.

On the way up Storm Peak Express lift. Four Points Hut can be seen in the distance.

The view from the top of Storm Peak looking back toward the top of the gondola.

The lovely town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Somewhere on the mountain.

Here's one more of those scarce sunny moments.

Ethan and Kelly built a snow-Mildred!

The last rays of the setting sun cast a warm glow throughout the house.

Naturally, the sun came out AFTER the lifts had closed.

Here are a few more Christmast photos. This is the music room in my parent's house, the traditional place for the family Christmas tree.

Ellie, Mark and Melanie down by the creek.

My mother's parents joined us at Heimat (the Karbach homestead in New Braunfels) for the Christmas celebration with my dad's side of the family. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins were in attendance.

Jake opens a gift while Gwynna, Dustin and Lowry look on.

Jon, Beth, Oliver and Matt were also paying close attention.

Jake seems fond of his Karbach sign. All the cousins got these becuase Karbach is the name of our great grandfather.

Gary and Oliver show off for the camera.

Kelly watches intently. My dad distributed gifts from under the tree.

I'm sure something really interesting caught everyone's eye, but I don't remember what. :)

In what promises to become an anual event, the cousins participated in a lego building race. It was all arranged by Ethan, who let each cousin choose a lego set to build. The one who finished building his set first won an extra set! Here Jake starts to build the Millenium Falcon.

Master lego builder and professional engineer Taylor took an early lead.

Gwynna didn't chose the easiest model.

Lowry chose the twin pod racers -- probably one of the more difficult ones.

Matt -- another expert lego builder -- chose the twin space ships.

Duke chose the most complicated of the lego sets, and decided to build it in the bedroom away from distractions.

The race is on!

Taylor declares victory.

Gwynna (third place after Taylor and Matt) displays her creations.

Duke wins the booby prize for finishing last -- a Duplo kit for remedial Lego training.

But wait! There's a problem with the Millenium Falcon model. Jake wins the booby prize instead!

Here's a nice photo of me with my mother's parents.

And here's my dad distributing the Karbach sausage signs.


Here's a photo my aunt Melanie took of me in the meadow behind my parents' house.


This afternoon we drove down to my aunt and uncle's house on Lake Dunlap in New Braunfels.

A heron took off just as I was taking this photo.

We sat and visited for a while, had lasagna for dinner, and then played games until bed time.


Bull Creek photos

The stems of some of the tall grasses had these delicate ribbons of ice at their bases this morning. My guess is that these plants finally succumbed to the freeze last night (the first hard freeze of the season here), and the water oozed out in tiny droplets, freezing in the cold night air.