Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Epic Weekend at Silverton Mountain

Hiking to White Wave This past weekend, I joined some of my best friends for a weekend of skiing at Silverton Mountain and Wolf Creek in south central Colorado. Most of the guys went last year and I knew I had to go this year after hearing about their thigh-deep powder experience.

The trip started out kinda rocky when we left on Friday afternoon. There were 3 different cars that drove and we were the last ones to leave Denver. We took my car, but I had a friend drive since I'd had a late night on Thursday night. About 2 hours into the trip, one of our friends called us to warn us about the speeding tickets the other cars had gotten. In fact, one of the guys had gotten two! I handed the phone to the driver so he could find out where, but he had to cut the conversation short as the police car's lights started flashing in the rear-view mirror. If only they'd called us 5 minutes earlier!

After the speeding ticket delay, we pulled into Pagosa Hot Springs around 11. With 18 soaking pools, this turned out to be the perfect place to stay.

All the way to the top On Saturday morning, we woke up at 5 and drove 2 hours to Silverton Mountain. I didn't know what to expect at first. I had it in my mind that we'd be hiking for 5 hours and get one run in the entire day. I was pleasantly surprised to find you 1) ride the lift up and 2) hike to your run. We had a guide named "Ronbo" and our first hike took 1.5 hours. It was very steep and steep like a ladder in some sections. The White Wave run was awesome in the middle, but somewhat skied off at the top. The powder was around boot-deep and the weather was beautiful.

After a 2nd run and a much shorter hike, 5 of us decided we had to take the leap and do a heli-drop. We rode to the top of the lift, got picked up by the chopper and rode for about 2 minutes to a neighboring peak. This was by far the best run of the day and one of my favorite ski experiences of my life.

We figured we couldn't top heli-skiing, so 3 of us called it a day around 3 o'clock. We did 3 runs all day and we were exhausted. A couple guys took a 4th run and the guys that didn't do heli-skiing got 5 runs in. A 2-hour drive back, some fireworks in Durango and a night of soaking at Pagosa Springs made us all very happy campers.

On Sunday, we woke up and headed to Wolf Creek for a few hours. It was Local Appreciation Day and tickets were a mere $31! We did some hiking, found some powder and enjoyed some of the best skiing weather of the year. We hopped in the car around 2, kept the cruise control on 5-over-the-speed-limit and made it home in time to catch the Super Bowl (thanks to my DVR).

If you're in shape and are an expert skier, I highly recommend you take a trip to Silverton Mountain. It's truly epic.

For more pictures from this trip, see my Silverton 2009 set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Feb 03 2009, 08:56:24 AM MST 3 Comments

The kids actually like skiing!

Helmet Stickers The kids and I had a blast skiing at Winter Park today. I can't remember a day I've been more proud of my kids and their willingness to ski. I woke them up just before 6 AM this morning. I was very impressed when they both popped out of bed with huge smiles on their faces. They were actually excited to go skiing. Their enthusiasm didn't end throughout the day and we had a ton of fun.

I was most impressed with Abbie - she now wants to ski blues all the time. Not only that, but when she falls she has no problem getting up herself. Jack, on the other hand, can barely do "Pizza" and says "I can't" and "I'm scared" most of the time. I somehow convinced Abbie that if you believe you can do something, you can do it. She's been using that mantra whenever we ski and it's worked awesome for her.

For the last run today, I told Abbie we could do a blue; Jack would only do it if I carried him. We rode to the top of Winter Park and skied down a steep blue/black. I imagine it was a pretty funny scene because it looked like I was in way over my head. Abbie was going slow, snow-plowing like mad, and I was skiing with Jack in my arms while he carried my poles. Several folks stopped to see if we needed help, but I told them it was all pre-planned. Abbie fell several times, but got up by herself every time and even got "the burn" towards the bottom. It's a good thing I've been running to work lately, carrying a 4-year-old top-to-bottom on a steep blue with 8" of powder can be quite a workout.

Posted in General at Jan 24 2009, 05:24:34 PM MST 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Mom!

For the last couple weeks, I've been enjoying a great Christmas vacation in Oregon with most of my family. Abbie and Jack didn't join me, but they got to spend 3 weeks in West Palm Beach, Florida. Poor kids.

Mom on Playa Carrillo I made sure the end of my vacation would land on a very special person's birthday. My Mom. Not only is my mom one of the coolest people in the world, she also has an excellent job title: Burn Boss. Growing up in Montana, I was always proud that Barb Raible was my mom. She was famous for her kindness in the Swan Valley. I hope she's always famous for her story about nailing a bear's nuts to a tree.

My mom is a Montana Native who wasn't afraid to raise her kids in the backwoods at her family's homestead. It sounds like a crazy idea to me, but she made it happen - cooking over a wood stove every day and working at the Swan Valley Ranger Station to make ends meet. She was responsible for getting us out of Montana and onto Oregon. She went back to school in her early 40s, got a degree in Forestry from the University of Montana and moved the whole family to Oregon for a job with the BLM.

I moved to Oregon on June 14, 1990 driving a '73 Plymouth Duster with a homemade International trailer in tow. We certainly looked like we were from Montana when we rolled into town. We moved into a house on Felony Flats. My sister and I got jobs at McDonald's (Dad's advice) and started school at North Salem High school in the fall. I met many good friends at North Salem - Jess, Matt, Clint and Michelle becoming favorites over the years.

Sunrise in Bend For New Years, Jess, Clint and I rented a condo in Bend, Oregon. Matt joined us on Friday after most of us experienced an Epic Powder Day at Mt. Bachelor. It was the first time we'd all been together in 9 years. We had a blast.

This vacation in Oregon has been very special to me. I've reunited with many old friends, enjoyed 2 epic powder days and had a great time with my Mom, Dad, Sister and her fiancé Mya.

As much fun as I've had, I'm looking forward to getting back to Denver and hanging out with my kids. January 2009 is sure to be one for the books. I start a new gig at a new office tomorrow. On Wednesday, the kids return from Florida to a mountain of presents at my house. My parents are coming to town next weekend, followed by a trip to Tahoe and a weekend in Steamboat to finish out the month.

Yeah, 2009 is going to be a lot of fun. Maybe I'll see you on the slopes. ;-)

Posted in General at Jan 04 2009, 12:08:28 PM MST Add a Comment

My "almost slept in a snow cave" Adventure with Clint Foster

Yesterday began innocently as one of the best ski days of my life. I woke up early, drove to Eugene (Oregon) to pick up my good friend Clint Foster, then headed up to Willamette Pass. It was an Epic Powder Day with over 2 feet of fresh pow pow and face shots on almost every run. After lunch and some liquid courage, we stepped it up a notch and skied some cornices and awesome trees.

Getting ready for a Cornice Jump Epic Powder Day Willamette Pass

Around 2:30, our luck began to change. In our quest for untracked powder, Clint led us off the back side of Willamette Pass. There were no out-of-bounds signs or ropes to indicate this was a bad idea. The steep tree run we found was great, but our attitude changed quickly when we reached the bottom.

With 2 feet of snow and no trail, we found ourselves trudging down a flat path that got us nowhere fast. For two hours, we slogged through the deep snow down a cross-country ski trail (there were blue signs with arrows). As we started to pass the 2nd lake (I believe they were called Rosary Lakes), we decided it was time to bite the bullet and turn around. We had no map or compass. If we kept going in our current direction, we didn't know when (or if) we'd get out. If we turned around, we knew it would take 4-5 hours, but at least we knew it would get us out. "And besides", Clint said, "the trail is already broken." The time was 4:30 and it was starting to get dark.

Yes, the trail was broken, but it wasn't broken for hiking sideways up the mountain we'd skied down. We couldn't take our skis off because we'd immediately sink up to our waste in the snow. It was slow going, sometimes only a step or two at a time. If I wasn't sweating and breathing hard, I'd start to get cold and shiver. We were soaked on the outside from the snow and soaked on the inside from sweating. It was snowing pretty good too, so we knew we might lose our trail if we dug a snow cave and spent the night.

The scariest part happened when we were about an hour from getting out. Clint started to cramp up and it seemed for moment that we were destined to spend the night in a snow cave. While it was his idea to take the trail, he was the reason I made it out last night. He broke trail for most of the hike out. I tried, but would get tired so quickly it didn't help much. So when he, the trail breaker, started to cramp up, it began to look grim. I don't know if it was the thought of sleeping in a snow cave or because we could see the top of the ridge, but Clint's cramps subsided and we were able to make it out. We ended up on a groomed run and had to hike another 45 minutes to get to the top of the mountain and ski down the front-side.

As for Search and Rescue, they were looking for us, but had only recently started searching. The resort had night-skiing and it wasn't until 9:00 that anyone thought we might be missing. Clint's wife, Autumn, was on the ball and had contracted the authorities to inspire their search. We couldn't have asked for a better concerned relative. Autumn is a special person who has a way of making things happen. If we'd spent the night in a snow cave, there's a good chance she would've had the National Guard looking for us the next day.

We made it back to the car just after 10 PM. We first started our run at 2:30 PM. From the point we turned around, it took about 5 hours to hike out. I've never been so tired after a day of skiing. We arrived back at Clint's place just after midnight after a 2-hour drive in the blowing snow and rain. Autumn greeted us with warm clothes, hot tea and the best hugs I've gotten in a long time.

If you ever get a chance to meet Clint and Autumn, I'd highly recommend it. They're the ones who got married in Costa Rica recently. As far as skiing with Clint, that's fun too, but I wouldn't recommend following him out-of-bounds. ;-)

Posted in General at Dec 27 2008, 11:58:54 AM MST 7 Comments

Abbie is a Blue Skier!

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I headed up to Winter Park for a night at Zephyr Lodge. The drive up was great (no traffic) and it started snowing as soon as we got off I-70. 45 minutes later and the kids were on the slopes for the last few runs of the day. There was a few inches of snow that turned out to be great - it slowed them down enough that they didn't have to turn or worry about "pizza".

On Saturday, we put Jack in Ski School and Abbie and I had a "Daddy + Daughter" day on the mountain. She didn't want to hit the magic carpet and instead opted for the lift right away. We skied a couple greens and w/in an hour she was ready to try a blue. She did quite well on the blue and even skied a few bumps on the side. Yes, she did fall a few times, but she got up by herself and always had a smile on her face. I was extremely proud. Below are a few pictures and a video from our weekend.

Riding the Magic Carpet Snowball Fight! Pizza

I'm glad I took the kids skiing yesterday. It's been dumping with cold temperatures ever since we left. It's currently -15°F in Denver (a new record) and it's snowed 2 feet at some resorts. Now I just need to figure out a way to make it up a couple of times this week. ;-)

Posted in General at Dec 14 2008, 09:55:44 PM MST 1 Comment

Going to Colorado Software Summit? Bring your skis!

As I mentioned last week the Colorado Software Summit begins this weekend. I don't know what to expect weather-wise, but the Keystone forecast looks like it might snow a bit. A-Basin is open and tickets are only $49 per day. Since it's only a few miles from Keystone, I think I'll bring my skis and hit the slopes. If you're coming to the show and would like to join me, let me know.

Based on my schedule, I'm currently thinking of going Tuesday, Thursday or Friday morning. If the conditions are good, I may even go a couple times. Below are a couple pictures I took during the conference in years past. It'll be interesting to see what the weather is like this year.

Snow in Keystone Keystone

Posted in General at Oct 17 2008, 11:47:55 AM MDT Add a Comment

The 2007/8 Ski Season comes to an end

Yesterday, I woke up early and drove to Winter Park/Mary Jane for an 8" Powder Day. I arrived in the Challenger Lift parking lot at 7:30, took a nap until just after 8, then hopped on one of the first chairs up Mary Jane. Knee-deep powder at the top of Mary Jane Trail, fresh tracks the rest of the way down. Next run was Derailed into Short Haul. Then I hit the chutes off Challenger and called friends to see when they were showing up. It was 9:30 and everyone was still on their way. One friend recommended I head over to Vasquez Cirque and Eagle Wind lift. 3 runs of knee-deep, fresh-track face shots and I was spent. I skied to the bottom of Mary Jane for some lunch and a beer.

As I was entering the bar, everyone showed up and I changed my plans to join them on their first run. 2 more hours of powder on Eagle Wind and it was (finally) time for lunch at 1:30. After lunch, Outhouse, a tree run near Challenger Lift and Bluebell to Corona Way back to Snow White. It was 4:00 and quite possibly the longest ski day of my life.

I was sad to hear that today marks the last day of skiing at Winter Park and Mary Jane. Thankfully, I got to end my ski season on an epic powder day. What a great year: 21 days, including Steamboat, Tahoe and Whistler. Next year, I'm shooting for 30.

Bring on Mountain Bike Season. I plan on riding a few races in the Winter Park Mountain Bike Racing Series as well as the Fat Tire Classic.

Posted in General at Apr 13 2008, 11:32:39 AM MDT 4 Comments

Spectacular Weekend at Whistler

This past weekend, some friends and I headed up to Whistler Blackcomb for a weekend of great skiing. We have a college buddy who's getting his PhD in Vancouver, so that's what motivated the trip. I've never skied in a place where the mountains were so huge. I've skied Jackson Hole and Mammoth, but apparently Whistler has a lot more elevation gain. This was proven when we skied the "Peak to Creek" run on the last day. We didn't do the 6.5 mile run because one guy was on a snowboard.

It snowed 8" on our first day and a few more on our last day. There was plenty of powder and lots of really steep runs. I highly recommend it - especially if you want to spend some money. It's not a cheap place to visit and it'll likely get more expensive since it's hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. The good news is I got a 50% discount on lift tickets with my Winter Park pass. Whistler Blackcomb is owned by Intrawest - the same folks that own Winter Park and Steamboat.

Double Black T-Bar

Long Lines The Longest Run

For more pictures, see Whistler 2008 on Flickr. This weekend's destination? Vail for day #19.

Posted in General at Mar 05 2008, 10:19:38 PM MST 3 Comments

Powder Day at Whistler

We arrived at our hotel late last night in Whistler. It was pretty warm out and we didn't believe the 20cm forecast for today. When we woke up this morning, we were pleasantly surprised. A Powder Day at Whistler - what more could you ask for?

Snow Report

Going to Whistler Powder Day at Whistler

Posted in General at Mar 01 2008, 09:05:58 AM MST 2 Comments

The Ski Train

This morning, I woke up at 5am, packed up the car, dragged Abbie and Jack out of bed and headed to downtown Denver to catch the Ski Train to Winter Park.

Ski Train

The kids were pretty groggy when I woke them up at 6, but perked up pretty good when they realized what we were doing. It probably didn't help that they didn't get to bed until 10pm last night (DU Hockey game).

I called earlier this week to buy tickets and they told me they were sold out. They recommended getting there at 6:15am to buy some from folks selling them. We were able to buy tickets (in different rows) and then waited until 7:15 for the train to leave.

I've always enjoyed traveling by rail and today's trip was no disappointment. It did take three hours to get up there, but the views were great and the kids loved the 29 tunnels along the way. The "breakfast car" was a big hit too - breakfast burritos, donuts, bagels among many other things. Our seats kinda sucked because they didn't have a window, but we moved to another car and found some that had a great view.

Two things I really like about the Ski Train are 1) you can leave stuff on the train and 2) it drops you off less than 50 feet from a lift. Abbie and Jack both rode the T-Bar lift for the first time in their lives today and pulled it off without a hitch. Abbie can not only ski all by herself, but she can get up when she falls and even puts her own skis on. Jack (3 and 1/2) still seems to be a little young for skiing as he refuses to do "pizza" - mostly because it slows him down. We had a heckuva time today and I'd recommend the ski train to anyone in Denver that's looking for an easy way to the mountains with beers on the way home. We arrived back in Denver at 6:30pm - a 2 hour nap for the kids.

There were a lot of groups on the train and it does seem like an awesome way to enjoy a ski day with friends or co-workers. I'd highly recommend it if you ever get the chance.

Posted in General at Feb 24 2008, 10:09:47 PM MST 5 Comments