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

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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.

Farewell to the 2011-2012 Ski Season

In 2011, I experienced the best ski season of my life. On the Thursday after ski season ended last year, I wrote:

For next year, I think I'll keep my goal at 30 days. If everything works out as planned, we'll have a place in the mountains this fall and it'll be a bit easier to hit the slopes without sitting in traffic.

Everything did work out as planned and we found ourselves in eager anticipation of ski season last fall. We prepped the Ski Shack for lots of visitors by getting queen-sized bunk beds made for the kids. We even got a hot tub installed for Trish's birthday in mid-December.

Hot Tub Installed for Trish's Birthday!

For Christmas, my parents, sister and her wife all flew in and we spent a beautiful evening watching the parade at Winter Park.

Christmas Eve at Winter Park Village

The skiing still wasn't great, but there was enough snow to cover the tubing hills in Fraser. We got some sweet helmet covers from my Mom for Christmas and had a blast with Trish's brother's family over New Years.

Skiing on Christmas Day! Skiing with Wild Animals

The "Training" Park Shredders

The rest of the season was filled with a lot of 4-run outings, where we skied the bare minimum to count it as a day. I can recall only 3 really good days. One was at Steamboat with 11" of powder and lots of knee-deep stashes. The others were at Mary Jane where Trish and I got fresh powder tracks for a good hour.

Yep, the snow was terrible this year. In fact, my favorite lift at Winter Park (Eagle Wind) never even opened. I still managed to get in 33 days, but it certainly wasn't a ski season to reminisce about. I am proud of the fact that Abbie and Jack skied 15 days and never needed a lesson. Trish even taught them how to snowboard one day and they both loved it.

We only made it to 3 resorts this year, a far cry from last year's 9 + a hut trip. However, I don't feel like we missed out because the snow was so bad. Having a condo 15 minutes from the resort certainly helped us get more days in, but I'm willing to bet we skied 10x more hours last year.

Next year, I hope it snows a ton and we get 50 days in. In the meantime, I'm pumped that mountain bike season has started and there's lots of dry trails along the front range. I have two rides in so far this week and hope to get at least 30 days in this summer. With 600 miles of trails just minutes from our Ski Shack, it seems like it should be easy enough.

In other life-related news, I'm driving to Colorado Springs this afternoon to pick out the interior for The Bus. With any luck, MotorWorks Restorations will have it done in a couple months. In the meantime, you can see their latest progress on Facebook. I can't wait until this bad boy is road worthy! :)

Posted in General at Apr 26 2012, 09:46:33 AM MDT Add a Comment

Farewell to the 2010-2011 Ski Season

I'd call the 2010-2011 the best ski season ever, but it's really just the best ski season so far. In 2008, I wrote about a great 21-day season. This time last year, I wrote about an amazing 25-day season. This year, I took it up a notch and aimed for 30 days. I'm proud to say I accomplished my goal and had an awesome time doing it. I skied with more people I'd never skied with before (largely in part to my cool co-workers from Overstock) and shared many days with the lovely Trish McGinity.

The season started with a trip to Copper, shortly after Abbie's 8th Birthday. I remember that day clearly as the kids were a bit rusty and had a heckuva time on their first run. Sobbing, whining and fear surrounded them the entire time. After the first run, I had some hot chocolate with them, calmed them down and then proceeded to the bunny slope for some turns. The lift was broken when we got there so we had to hike for a few runs. Amazingly, Abbie said it was the most fun she'd ever had skiing, which surprised me after her meltdown on the first run.

It's fun to compare that day to the last day I took them this season. We did the same run (a blue at Copper) and both kids were doing parallel turns and having a blast. Actually, Jack was the only one doing parallel turns, Abbie was flying down the mountain, not turning at all. She was going so fast her legs looked like rubber bands, weaving and bobbing over the bumps in the snow. I'm awful proud of my little skiers.

As for me, I happened to land a new gig in Utah, home of the greatest snow on Earth. My interview with was two days, with the 2nd day on the slopes at Snowbird. It was easily the best interview I've ever had.

Snowbird! Mike, Sean and Chris Sun over Snowbird Back of Snowbird

That week, I returned to Denver for 3 days of skiing Breckenridge and A-Basin for Trish's Birthday Weekend. After returning from Christmas in Florida, I got a couple days in at Mary Jane and then accomplished 10 days before 2011 while skiing in sub-zero temperatures at Steamboat for New Years.

Good Morning from Steamboat! Sunrise over Steamboat

The next 4 months of skiing were fantastic with many firsts. I experienced Alta, Crested Butte and thigh-deep powder for the first time.

Speed Racer! Top of Crested Butte

Free Heeling at Alta Free Heeling at Alta

We finished up the season with a hut trip after TSSJS in Vegas, a weekend with the kids at Copper (as mentioned above) and Spring Splash at Winter Park.

For next year, I think I'll keep my goal at 30 days. If everything works out as planned, we'll have a place in the mountains this fall and it'll be a bit easier to hit the slopes without sitting in traffic. For now, I'm pumped about the beginning of mountain bike season. I took Trish and I's Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Plus's to the shop for tune-ups yesterday and we have a trip planned to Moab for Memorial Day. It's gonna be a great summer. :)

Posted in General at Apr 28 2011, 09:40:08 AM MDT 3 Comments

Peter Estin Hut Trip in Colorado's High Country

Last weekend, after returning from our trip to Las Vegas, we packed up our stuff, got a good night's sleep and headed on a hut trip in Colorado's High Country. The name of the hut was Peter Estin Hut and it was a bit of a hike to get to. My friend, Joe, set my expectations correctly when he warned me it'd be a 5 hour death march. It took us 4 hours, 30 minutes and we skied up 2200 vertical feet of switchbacks.

From the Parking Lot Joe and Sean Made it! View off the front port of Peter Estin Hut

The hut itself was great. It was a lot like The Cabin, but bigger, slept a lot more people and was at 11,200 feet. It had an old fashioned cookstove, heat stove (where we melted snow) and a two-room outhouse.

The Roomy Inside Water Source Peter Estin Hut

On Sunday, we hiked up to the top of Charles Peak (12,000') and had a nice (albeit choppy) run down and packed up to hike down.

Livin' it up, hut style We made it! At the top of Charles Peak

This was the first hut trip I'd been on since Last Dollar Hut near Telluride in college. It was definitely a physical challenge, but was a lot of fun thanks to good friends, nice views and "summit push" music from Joe's boombox.

For more pictures from this adventure, check out my Peter Estin Hut Trip photos on Flickr.

Posted in General at Mar 26 2011, 11:20:12 AM MDT Add a Comment

The Greatest Snow on Earth

Last week, I traveled on my monthly trip to Utah to work on-site at Overstock. Unlike previous visits, snow was in the forecast and it didn't disappoint. I woke up early on Friday, worked a few hours and then met a couple co-workers at the office at 8. We arrived at Solitude by 8:40 and were in line for the lift by 8:55. We were the 5th chair on the lift and quickly skied to The Summit Lift. It was here we found thigh-deep powder and face shots on every run. The video below has shot by my co-worker, Eric. You can also view it on YouTube. The face shots start around 0:45.

After an awesome morning of skiing, I returned to work and later picked up Trish from the airport for a weekend of powder. When I started working at Overstock, I told myself that I'd buy a pair of "Utah Skis" if the powder was good. It seemed like the right time, so I picked up some Bluehouse Powder Skis on the way back from the airport. That night, we saw Hot Buttered Rum and woke up early for 27" of fresh powder at Alta.

Free Heeling

The skiing was incredible all day and it never stopped snowing. That night, we headed to The Canyons and stayed slopeside at The Hyatt. We got upgraded to a great room and enjoyed some nice views.

The Hyatt Bluehouse Awesomeness View at The Hyatt

We slept in on Sunday, grabbed some breakfast and hopped on the lift around noon. It was a Bluebird Day and we skied as much of the hard stuff as we could find.

The Canyons The 9990 Lift 9990's Fun Runs Into The Light

Hiking to the top of 9990 Top of 9990

Several weeks ago, I said I thought Colorado's powder was better than Utah's. After experiencing knee-deep powder at Solitude and sweet, fluffy powder at Alta, I'm officially changing my stance. In my opinion, Utah has the greatest powder on earth. If Colorado happens to get that much powder, and I get to ski it, I'd be more than happy to reconsider.

Posted in General at Mar 02 2011, 12:11:59 AM MST 3 Comments

Crested Butte

Last week was a great one for my ski season and happiness meter. First of all, I had the pleasure of skiing Alta for the first time while traveling to I started working early on an overcast day and was delighted to drive into sunny blue skies above the clouds of Salt Lake City. I never expected it to be so nice and was super impressed with the mountain and its powder stashes.

I flew back to Denver on Thursday night, had a gorgeous lunch ride in 70°F weather on Friday afternoon, then picked up my lovely girlfriend Trish and drove to Crested Butte for a weekend of skiing with James Ward and friends. It was my first time visiting Crested Butte and I can see why people call it Paradise.

We stayed at a sweet location right in town, ate some exquisite cuisine and had some of the most beautiful days I've ever had skiing. Hopefully the pictures below convey how beautiful it was. You can also checkout the full set on Flickr.

Crested Butte, The Town Top of Crested Butte

The Steep Stuff Blue Sky

Trish and I are up to 17 ski days for the year so far, and hoping to hit 20 by Valentine's Day. Not bad for a couple Flatlanders. ;)

Posted in General at Feb 01 2011, 05:57:41 PM MST 1 Comment


Had my first Alta experience this week. It was awesome.

A Bluebird Day

Will post pictures from Crested Butte on Monday. :)

Posted in General at Jan 28 2011, 03:47:16 PM MST Add a Comment

Farewell to the 2009-2010 Ski Season

Top o' Jackson Hole The 2009-2010 Ski Season ended for me last weekend. This was mostly due to the fact that Winter Park and Copper closed and that's where I have my ski pass at. I'm writing this post to reflect upon what a great ski season it was. I skipped writing a similar post in 2009, mostly because I was basking in the Florida sun at a helluva wedding on the last ski weekend. 2008's season was the last one I wrote about, and I managed to get 21 days in that year.

This season, I managed to get in 25 days, my most ever in a season! Not only that, but I got to watch Jack ski like a madman, enjoy a fantastic weekend with friends in Jackson Hole and perform The Trifecta. As a parent, I feel like a lot of hard work and persistence has finally paid off. Jack can now get on and off the lift by himself and Abbie hit her first jump (catching 2-3 feet of air) in the terrain park. Yes, I'm a proud papa.

Abbie showing Jack how to do bumps

Personally, I was able to complete several top-to-bottom runs (without stopping) at Mary Jane. This was a goal last year that I was never able to accomplish. This feat requires you to be in good shape and have some eloquence in your skiing style. I thank my good friend Matt Good for his tips on how to ski bumps more smoothly, exerting less energy. The one thing I failed to pull off was a helicopter, even though I tried twice. Oh well, I'll get it next year.

Thanks to all my skiing friends for the good times and to Winter Park, Mary Jane, Copper Mountain, Steamboat and Jackson Hole for the wonderful slopes. Can't wait to do it again next year.

Posted in General at Apr 24 2010, 10:49:24 AM MDT Add a Comment

The Trifecta: 3 Resorts in 3 Days

Last Tuesday night, I worked late in hopes of having a Powder Day on Wednesday. I went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 6 a.m. and found that there was only 5" of fresh powder at Winter Park. My ski rule is there has to be 9" of powder in order to justify playing hookie. Working these extra hours on Tuesday -- coupled with a late night on Wednesday -- and I hit my 40-hour-max on Thursday. Naturally, I took Friday off and headed for the hills. Below is how I started my Friday morning.

Good start to a Friday

After several high-speed groomed runs, I hit Mary Jane's bumps a few times (completing Outhouse and Trestle w/o stopping) and watched the Whiteout begin around 11.

White Out

Around noon, I began searching for a location to watch DU in the NCAA Hockey Playoffs. Unable to find a bar with ESPN U, I skied until 2 and then headed to my friend's mountain home. He had the game recorded, so I got to watch it and endure its unfortunate outcome. DU played really well, but couldn't beat RIT.

On Saturday, the snow report said 6" at Steamboat and 6.5" at Winter Park. Since we hadn't been to Steamboat in a while, my friend (a.k.a. The Professor) and I decided to drive there for the day. It was an excellent decision because there was easily a foot of fresh powder in the chutes and trees. We skied from 9:30 to 4:00; easily my most difficult day of skiing this year.

Steamboat Chutes The Professor recovers from a tree

On Sunday, I woke up and read the ski report: Copper had 3" of new snow. That's when it hit me that I could pull of The Trifecta. I don't know that I've ever done 3 resorts in 3 days before, but I'm happy to report I've done it now. Sunday was a beautiful day of Spring Skiing and Copper did not disappoint. They'd received 7" inches in 48 hours, making Sunday an awesome day for trees and double blacks. There was plenty of powder, great friends and lots of smiles from everyone. You can see from the pictures below what a beautiful Blue Bird Day it was.

You are about to experience Copper's High Alpine Nice ride up Storm King Spaulding Bowl View from Enchanted Forest

With only 3 weeks left in ski season, I'm happy to report I have 22 days in. With any luck, I'll hit 25 days and set a personal record.

Posted in General at Mar 29 2010, 08:11:17 AM MDT Add a Comment

Fantastic Fun in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Tram For the last couple of years, I've done a ski trip with college buddies to an out-of-state destination. Two years ago, we went to Tahoe and had a great time. Last year, we did it again and I (amazingly) flew and rented a car without a driver's license. This year, we decided to switch things up a bit and head for Jackson Hole.

Run under the Gondola Murphy, Morse and Matt Good

Murphy, Ben and Chris Paragliding

In previous years, only a couple of us went, but this year was organized by my good friend from Boston, Chris Morse. He managed to take it up a notch and invited a great group of guys, 9 of us in all. I knew about half the group, and met everyone else upon arrival.

The only unfortunate part about the trip was that no new snow fell. However, the Spring Skiing was warm and beautiful, somewhat making up for the lack of snow. The thing I enjoyed the most about this trip was how well the group jelled. Kudos to Chris for assembling such an awesome group and putting such a spectacular trip together. Can't wait for next year.

Top of Tram Top o' Jackson Hole Murphy and I Paintbrush

Apres Ski Corbet's  Couloir Morse and I Ben, Jed, Tom and Christian

For further action of what the conditions where like, checkout the YouTube video I made. If only I'd recorded it for another 5 seconds to catch the digger that Corey takes at the end. ;-)

To see all the pictures we took on this adventure, checkout my Jackson Hole Set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Mar 12 2010, 07:04:57 AM MST 1 Comment

Jack's Skiing Like A Madman!

My kids have been skiing since they were pretty little. Abbie started when she turned 3 and Jack started when he was 2. I don't know that I'd recommend starting kids that early because it's taken a long time for them to get good. Abbie was good last year and it looks like Jack is coming on strong this year.

On Saturday, I took Abbie and Jack up to Copper Mountain's Tubing Hill. It was a balmy 45°F day and we had a blast flying down the mountain. I especially liked run #3 that had a double jump in its path.

Tubing at Copper

After tubing, Jack proved he's a crazy 5-year old; then we grabbed our skis and hit the slopes for a couple runs. By the 2nd run, Jack was flying past both Abbie and I and giggling while doing it. It was a special moment for me considering he's been skiing since 2 and only recently let go of me.

Today, we headed to Winter Park for a few more runs. Since Jack has become bolder, I decided to skip the lift-walk-bus-walk pain-in-the-ass section at the bottom of Winter Park and park at Mary Jane (where you can easily walk-ski to the lift). We ended up skiing at the top of the mountain most of the time. I recall a couple times where Jack would go flying past Abbie and I and I'd think "I really hope he doesn't wipe out 'cause that's gonna hurt." By the end of the day, he was skiing down blues and even tried some bumps. Great job today Jack - you've made me proud.

Abbie showing Jack how to do bumps Blue Bumps Bumps

With Spring Skiing right around the corner, I think there's gonna be some good races in the next couple months.

Posted in General at Feb 28 2010, 10:56:05 PM MST Add a Comment