End of Fall Semester!

December 18, 2010

With the Fall Semester now coming to an end and Christmas on its way, it really made me realize how ridiculously fast the year has gone by. It feels as if it was just yesterday that everyone was moving their stuff into the residence halls here at Alpine Campus and classes were just starting. That was absolutely not the case however because exactly the opposite has been going on for the past 168 hours (seven days). I say 168 hours because life as an RA here has not been governed in days; instead It has been a wicked juggling of mere hours for me. With students checking out, us RA’s facilitation  room change requests and parents frantically loading stuff into their vehicles, anyone still here could say that it was quite chaotic the past hundred or so hours here at Hill Hall.

Beginning on Monday, RHA (Resident Hall Association) invested EPIC amounts of money into motivating students to clean their rooms and freshen up the place before the long one month winter break began. RHA had purchased hundreds of dollars on energy drinks, tons of cash on food and even more on cleaning supplies for the biggest clean and shine week this place had ever seen. For a simple check out of cleaning supplies, students were awarded with anything from an energy drink, a snow cone, some chex mex or even some hot wings. “Hopefully these free indulgences will motivate everyone to do some sort of cleaning before the break ends” said an RHA member, “with already one day in, the halls smell a LOT better.” With Thursday night coming to a close and no students in the hall except for us RA’s, I can contest that this place smells like pine sol and windex.

Sitting here in an empty Hill Hall its ridiculous to think that the semester is over! Finals are finished, classes are complete and the students are all sianarah! It was a ridiculous first semester at the least. Not in a bad way but I am happy to say that I have made it through the thick and thin without any bad news. With record amounts of snow, a new student activities coordinator, hundreds of new events and an awesome class schedule, this fall semester was a blast. Taking off, enjoy a picture of the incredible view of Steamboat I took today. Record snow already here, and a ton more on its way… Man its gonna be hard to leave this place for winter break! I will see you all when the spring semester begins next year and happy trails!



Parade of Lights

December 13, 2010

During the holiday Season, many towns and cities close down the main street and host a parade of lights! Attributing the holiday season, a Parade of Lights is nothing more than a parade, filled with lights in every form a light can come in. Its a great spectacle to look at and a lot of fun to attend and the very own town of Steamboat hosted it’s own parade of lights last night on December 11th. for a few hours, downtown Lincoln Street was closed to traffic to host this fun and festive gathering.

All throughout downtown there were lights, people, and hot coco by the masses. All the restaurants down mainstreet were having awesome dinner specials and deals on hot drinks to keep the insides warm during the cold evening. The event started off with a parade obviously filled with lights and all the locals of the town. After the parade, there were side street attractions for everyone to enjoy.

As I was walking down the street, I noticed something familiar that caught my eye because of the fire spinning around in the air. In the middle of 7th street was a group of fire dancers performing a show for the crowd… Being a pyro myself, I was super excited to see the fire performers downtown. There was poi, fire breathing, fire staffing and fire wicking going on which was super awesome to watch.


Another fun attraction downtown were the kid carolers. They bundled together in the cold and sang Christmas carols to the crowd passing by. It set the Christmas vibe quite nicely. All in all, the parade of lights in Steamboat Springs was a lot of fun. Minus the cold, I had a great time. I have a feeling it’s going to be a white holiday season this year!



So if you don’t remember, The Sky Club at CMC Alpine Campus put on the largest Haunted House in all of Routt County for the 12th year in a row for Halloween. After a month of preparation and two weeks of construction, the 12th annual Screamboat Haunted House opened to the public for the scream season. Over a 5 night span, hundreds of people visited to tour the haunted Monson Hall on the Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs. Sky Club charged $10 per person and if you do the math, Sky Club earned a few bucks putting the event on. All the money made from Screamboat was put towards funding the biggest trip of the year for Sky Club: The trip to California’s Mt. Wilson Observatory!!

On November 13th, Sky Club rented out the Mt. Wilson Observatory for the biggest star party of the year. From sunset to sunrise, Sky Club would party under the stars viewing the galaxy through the world’s largest telescope available to the public: A 60 inch reflecting behemoth! This colossal telescope provides some of the most incredible star viewing capabilities in the entire world and we Sky Club were going to put eyes up to it. Less than .001% of earth’s population gets to look through a telescope this big. The entire trip cost me a mere $100. Everything included. Man were we in for a treat.

Fast forward to Friday November 12th

Bright and early at 5:00 am, Sky Club was en rout to Los Angeles California! It was snowing in Steamboat but that didn’t slow us down one bit. Fearless leader Jimmy Westlake (Astronomy and Physics Professor) was keen at keeping our vans on schedule. After 11 hours of driving, we reached the famous Las Vegas! We stopped to eat dinner at the Rio Hotel and Casino and man was it good. After getting to see the Las Vegas strip, we continued on to our final destination. Around 11:00 p.m. we all rolled into Pasadena California a town just north of LA. We checked into the Best Western hotel and hit the sack because the following day would be the most incredible night of our lives.

Griffith 12 inch Telescope

Saturday morning, we were once again up bright and early to begin our awesome day of activities. We ate breakfast and went to the Famous Griffith Observatory right in the heart of Los Angeles. If you’re not familiar with Griffith Observatory, don’t worry. If you have seen the movie Charlie’s Angeles, you have seen Griffith. Remember the fight scene on top of the observatory? Yep that’s Griffith. Anyway, we toured the place around and got to check out the telescopes on site. The telescopes at Grifith were merely 12 inch refractors and seemed huge. I laughed knowing that in just few hours, I will get to put my eye up to a telescope 5 times as big!

Jupiter. Photo by Jimmy Westlake

After the Griffith experience, we ate lunch at a famous In and Out Burger. We made a trip to a grocery store and dumped a considerable amount of money on snacks and goodies for the evening. Everything from hot chocolate, fruit, soup, cheese, crackers and sushi, we made sure our star party would be filled with tons of goodies. After the grocery store, we began the 1.5 hour drive into the mountains just north east of LA. Once we arrived, I was swept away by the gigantic size of the dome encasing the 60 inch telescope.

We were greeted by Shelly Bonus the tour guide and the telescope operator Carla Johns. They greeted us with an open heart and gave us a tour of the legendary observatory. We got to see everything. The mechanics behind the telescope, the control room, all the old equipment used back in the 1900’s and last but not least, the telescope itself! Carla told us that Astronomers like George Ellery Hale and Edwin Hubble have used this telescope for study! EDWIN HUBBLE! I got the goosebumps when heard that. It was incredible. Simply incredible.

Hubble sat in this chair!

The sky was still bright when we got there so we couldn’t see any stars at the time. It didn’t matter though. Carla pointed this gigantic thing at the brightest thing in the night sky. Our moon! Never in my life have I seen something so far away in such great detail. I was shocked by the sheer power of this instrument. Once the sky darkened the real fun emerged. Carla showed us a wide array of planets and objects in our solar system. We got to see Jupiter up close and personal with its four moons orbiting it. The great red spot was visible as well. We also looked at Neptune and the beautiful Uranus. After touring our solar system, Carla cranked on the high power lens and peered the gigantic telescope into deep space. We viewed the Binary star Gamma Andromedae, M42 (Orion Nebula), M1 (Crab Nebula), M35 (star cluster), G1 (globular star cluster in Andromeda Galaxy). Some of these objects were so far away we were actually viewing them as they were millions of years ago. It was utterly mind-blowing.

Moon. Photo Jimmy Westlake

Our party went well into the a.m. hours. By 3 a.m. more than half of the group was asleep. The line to look through the telescope had diminished tenfold and that only made it more fun for me. Fueled by sugar and Red Bull, I was able to stay awake the entire night and complete Carla’s tour of the universe. When the sun began to come up over the horizon I was extremely bummed out. The tiredness set in and I accepted the fact that it was time to go. We drove back to the hotel at 6:00 am and the entire Sky Club took a nap until noon.

Sunset. Photo by Jimmy Westlake

At noon, we all woke up and headed to In and Out Burger for lunch! After lunch we went to the beach for some relaxation. It was blissful to sit in the sand under the warm California sun watching the sun set. We smoked a celebratory cigar and contemplated what we just got to experience. We came to the conclusion that we are some of the luckiest people on the face of the earth. Not many people on earth even get to put eyes up to a large telescope. That in itself is rare yet the fact that we got to put eye up to the largest public rentable telescope in the world for an entire night was ridiculous. To this day I still can’t believe it. It was life changing.

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Shout out to SKY CLUB, JIMMY WESTLAKE, LINDA WESTLAKE,  BILL PECK, SIGSTEDT, SHELLY BONUS, and CARLA for making the 2010 Sky Club a trip I will never forget.


The month of November in the year 2010 was a month to remember for Steamboat Springs. It was a month where the sun was hardly out and snow was constantly falling by the tons upon the little town of Ski Town USA. According to Steamboat Resort’s website, the month of November in 2010 went down as the “snowiest November in resort history.” Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself at www.steamboat.com. November’s snowfall topped out at 111 inches of fresh, indulgent, light,  fluffy champagne powder. For those of you that aren’t familiar with champagne powder, I can assure you that its some of the best snow for skiing and snowboarding in the world.

Opening day began on November 24th and man was it one hell of an opening day! The gates opened with 70 something inches and everyone was all everywhere getting some of that legendary pow shot up in their faces. It was well over ten years ago since Steamboat opened on a powder day and I am sure the owner was as excited as a child in a candy store. From the 24th until the 30th, a mere 6 day span, another 40 inches fell. I was in pig heaven. Fresh powder every single day. Man I love Steamboat!!

Check out a video I made of opening weekend. It was insane. Just watch.