Laura Valaas

You are currently browsing the archives for July, 2010.


Friday, July 30th, 2010 | Snow | No Comments

So I was out for a run and I went up this long dirt driveway to see where it lead. It was not quite as long as I had hoped but it did lead to a sweet little pine-board getaway. The best part of this place was that it had an outdoor shower on the deck. The shower apparatus was attached to a big old pine tree that made up one corner of the shower and there was glass on three sides and open on the fourth. No drain, the water just went through the deck boards and down the mountainside.

I was so tempted to take a shower. I didn’t. But I might go back.

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Sunday, July 25th, 2010 | Current, Snow | 1 Comment

I got an email today as follows:

“Tired of chip sealed roads?”

lav: yes!

“dust, rock chips, asphalt tar on your car. And now you can’t road bike, roller ski, skateboard, skate, etc for several years until it gets worn smooth. And then they just do it again!!!”

lav: well, I kind of like the asphalt-tar-on-the-car look, but I HATE rollerskiing on chip-sealed roads. so awful.

“There are other choices that can be used!”

lav: i know, but they must be cost-prohibitive otherwise no one would chip-seal, right?

Asphalt Seal Coat Options
Source: US Forest service comparative study –

lav: wrong. as i so often am.

“Chelan County has never done a serious review of these more modern sealing practices, and prefer to stick with their “old school” chip seal method as it is what they know well.”

lav: typical

“The County is currently planning to chip seal the White River Road next Wednesday. Please contact Jolene and Keith as soon as possible and ask them to use another method to seal this roadway.”

lav: yes indeed. so i drafted and emailed a letter as follows.

Dear Jolene (Dear Keith),

I have heard that there are plans to chip seal the White River Road next week. While I appreciate everything the county does to maintain the roads and public lands, I would like to draw your attention to several modern alternatives to chip sealing.

(insert table of seal coat options)

While chip sealing has been a common practice in the past, many other WA counties and western states successfully have switched to more bike friendly methods of road sealing. Using chip seal on the roads, especially roads such as the White River road, which are beautiful & popular roads for rollerskiing and cycling, is not only less pleasant for the outdoor enthusiasts in Chelan County, it is a safety hazard. On a smoothly sealed road, I quite happily rollerski or spin my way along the shoulder. If the road is chip sealed I, and every other cyclist or rollerskier I have ever met, will ski or cycle in the vehicle lane where the car tires make the chip seal much smoother than on the shoulder. This is a much more dangerous place to be as a cyclist or rollerskier but new chip seal can quickly cause your hands (cycling) or feet (rollerskiing) to lose sensation, which also has its dangers.

Another solution would be to recommend cylists & rollerskiers to stay home and watch ESPN instead. But is that the message Chelan County wants to give to it’s residents?

Thank you for taking the time to understand my concerns and I do hope you will be willing to explore the alternatives to chip sealing.

Laura Valaas

Feel free to copy and paste my message to Jolene and Keith also (addresses above) even if you’re not local… first one road, then the entire WORLD.

(This Message was brought to you by the friendly folk at Plain Hardware.)

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Ode to my Gummies

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 | Culture | 1 Comment

Cherished gummies did meet their end.
Began their life with much promise
In a corner store, I commend,
But all too soon they met demise.

At close of perfect summer day
The warmth lingered ‘gainst the earth’s skin
With my sister, friend, and C.A.
We took gummies to the drive-in.

There we did enjoy and munch most
But one small pack, o’erlooked on the dash
Came home with us like parcel post
And, forgott’n, an auto food cache.

But, lo! we woke too late next morn
And the early morn sun did melt
Those poor sweet gummies, all forlorn
Oh! in agony and pain we knelt!

Good gummies, once distinct as worms
Were now a pool of neon goo
The sad sight our neglect confirms
Bright swirls of loss we had to view.

If you love them, do not leave your gummies!
In your car they will cease to be yummies!

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Changes at Skaði!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010 | Current | No Comments
"Skaði Hunting in the Mountains" by H.L.M.
“Skaði Hunting in the Mountains” by H.L.M.

Ideally one would get everything perfect at the first try. Sometimes, however, the first choice isn’t quite right.

Even though Skaði only began in 2009, by spring of 2010 we had started to outgrow our old business name. It failed to capture our passion for skiing, our originality, and our respect for the sport. Rather than trying to mold and suppress the company to fit the old name, we have chosen to rebrand the company as Skaði.

Skaði is a goddess from Norse mythology. We’ll have more the say about the mythological figure of Skaði later. For now, we want to express how thrilled we are to have found a name and an icon that we can draw on for inspiration and for strength. The skier Skaði is mysterious enough that today’s skiers can re-imagine her to be whatever they need her to be while being firmly rooted in Norse mythology and the history of skiing. We hope to honor her past while bringing her forward and into the awareness of the modern skiing community.


On a personal note, I have this to say:

Researching 13th century literature?

Like! Like! Love!

If only the rest of the world shared the same interested I do… then nothing of any material value would ever be accomplished. Wait, maybe that’s not such a good thing. But, we’d all be healthy athletic scholars!

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Life Ruin-er. (and now i shall ruin yours)

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 | Culture | No Comments

The problem with being on a computer most of the day combined with the super-duper connectivity running rampant through every feature of my computer screen is that every one of my friends has several venues with which to distract me and more or less ruin my productivity. (For the more dramatically inclined, we will call this “ruining my life.”)

And now, because you have voluntarily opened this webpage & you may not have the good fortune of having a certain Mr. Farnand on your gmail sidebar posting inane yet addictive links, I will share the current inane and addicting link that has sucked me into a spiral of life ruin-ing.

I can’t help it, it’s one short article after another of some inane guy named David mercilessly email baiting friends, colleagues, and whatever poor unfortunate makes the mistake of supplying him with an email address.

At some level I think there may be something sinister in me since I find the suffering of his victims so amusing. At another level I’m impressed by the effectiveness he’s shown at getting what he wants by being completely unreasonably. See, for example the one on Blockbuster late fees or unallowed pets.

Now that I’ve passed on the curse of this stupid website, I feel much better.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010 | People | No Comments
Laura & Kirsten Valaas
Laura & Kirsten Valaas

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A Difference

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 | Snow | No Comments

I woke up early this morning and went for a run. It was a very enjoyable run. Then I had a very nice yoga session with my new kitten.

Aside: We got the most adorablest, cutest, tiniest, friendliest, lovablest kitten yesterday and said kitten spent most of yoga curled up squarely in the middle of my mat. She even managed to crawl up onto my lap and onto my belly between seated forward bend and bridge. Then I went straight into half-wheel (also known as a back bend for the rest of y’all) and she was perfectly content to perch on top. Shoulder stand to pike rolled her off though. Soooo Cute. End Aside.

I realized, as I was contemplating how nice my run was and how nice it was to stretch out afterward, that THIS run existed for me as a complete and separate entity, apart from any other run or workout or whathaveyou. It started at a certain point in my day, I ran, I came home, it was Good. For so long each run existed as only a part of a whole, one piece in the SkiFaster Puzzle. An individual workout was a means to attaining a goal. Of course I enjoyed my workouts but a huge part of that enjoyment was knowing it was bringing me one step closer to accomplishing something bigger. A run always had its place as 2hours OF THE 800 and I was always very aware after a workout of how that workout fit into the grander scheme of things.

This morning I ran just for the day. Exactly as I felt like running today. I didn’t think about what I had (er… hadn’t, rather) done yesterday, I didn’t think about what workout was happening tomorrow. I didn’t think about getting faster for some far distant race. I simply ran because running was good and running was the proper thing to do this morning. It’s so refreshing! I feel like I have given the verb To Run its proper homage by running solely for the sake of running in that Moment.

When I finished I looked at my watch. 1:16. I looked at it waiting to feel something. Nothing. one hour, sixteen minutes, thirty eight seconds. seventy six minutes. It’s a unit of time and it had absolutely no impact on me. I looked at it out of pure reflex, it doesn’t have any meaning. For so long there was always a value attached to the time on the watch at the end of a workout. Good. Bad. Never indifferent. It was always accompanied by a judgment statement. “I did great!” “I should have gone 90 minutes.” Whatever it was I was always judging my workouts. (And, let’s be honest, I gave myself a LOT of positive feedback. Constructive criticism! Sandwich the critique between two compliments! Positive self-talk!)

No judgment, no value outside of the intrinsic value of running in that moment. That’s the difference. I’m redefining my concept of Running.

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Skaði Contest!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 | Current | No Comments

I have cajoled and bullied & pleaded and finally… Skaði is having a contest! I know, it’s only July, but July is the best time to getting ready for season and what’s the best way to prepare? rollerskiing? nope. Pull-ups? no way. Earning free gear for your team? Of course!

Skaði wants to support youth oriented cross country ski teams in their pursuit of skiing education, fun & excellence and invites all such teams to fill out a simple application to let Skaði know that you exist & are interested in winning free products. The main portion of the application is a Creative Response to the question, “Why we want BootBuddies.” Creative Response means it can be in just about any format. And that, my friends, is one of the easiest questions you’ll ever be assigned. (I could quote some of my essay topics from college theology classes to prove that point but then everyone would stop reading…) There are two deadlines, August 31st for teams who are proactive and functioning during the summer and December 31st for teams who need to get some skiing before they start thinking about these sorts of things.

So, download the Skaði Contest Application! (in editable pdf format.)

If you know of any deserving ski teams, please let them know about this contest & encourage them to apply.

If you have any other questions, please email me at laura (at) Skaði (dot) com. You can also request a paper application to be mailed to you/your team by providing me with a mailing address.

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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 | Culture | 1 Comment

I ate at McDonalds today, which I haven’t done in forever. Really, forever measured in years. As I was opening my little silverware packet to get my fork out, I very talentedly managed to slice my finger with the plastic knife. I thought maybe it was a bad omen. And honestly, who manages to cut herself with a plastic knife? I almost deserve a Darwin award for that.

So… fruit & walnut side salad… fresh, delicious… berry smoothie… fresh, delicious.

Oh, McDonalds! I have judged you wrongly these many years. You changed, you grew and I kept you pigeon holed in a greasy, bland cupboard. Now I see, you’ve grown up while I was eating old lettuce at subway. Please forgive me, I will malign you no more.

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