Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to the grind.

Obviously mom and I made it home Monday night without incident. The weather was fantastic in Fairbanks when we left, and stayed that way until we hit the MatSu, where we basically drove into a sheet of RAIN. And it stayed that way all the way home.

Overall I loved our trip, the skating was fantastic, the company was - of course - awesome, and mom and I got to unwind. We did a whole lot of nothing and I have no problem doing that. Decided I want to make the trip again at least by next summer. Will definitely do so if certain skaters get to come back (wink, wink) at the same time of year, but then again I don't know if I wouldn't come earlier before the tourist season rush.

I will be giving a full review of our resort this weekend, when I have more down time, right now all I've been doing is work, catching up on sleep and editting my MANY photos, of which I will also share at some point. I will say this about the Wedgewood Resort: I will stay there again and I recommend it to all of my friends. It is great service, great rooms, and it's affordable. I also suggest going on the weekends as they are less crowded/cheaper because that is when they are recooping from the influx of tourists Monday-Thursday. Just a little hint, I'm sure other hotels are similar.

 Nothing else to really report. Still working on photos. Will have to post some eventually. Night, all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Watch the SUNBURN!

Today was, for the most part, relaxing. We stayed at the resort until 11:30 just chilling, and then headed to The Pump House for a “brunch” buffet. We met up with the Lees and Melissa and Denis and ate outside overlooking the Chena River. The sun was out and warm, and aside from a few pesky bees, it was a fantastic time. We spent two hours just gabbing and enjoying the wonderful weather. Getting to know the Lees better was a treat, and I have to say their kids are a kick. Andrew is just ENERGY all the time, and Grace is such a sweet young lady.

The weather was just fantastic; Warm, sunny, and perfect for giving me a sunburn. Which I am now suffering from because it is mostly on the back of my neck. Sleeping should be interesting tonight. We saw speed boats, float planes, and the famous paddle boat pass by while we chatted. It was just a great way to close out Melissa and Denis’ week and mom and my weekend.

After filling up on all the yummy offerings and saying our goodbyes (so hoping Melissa and Denis get to come back soon!) mom and I headed out to North Pole, AK which is about 11 miles away from Fairbanks (if that). We were on our way to The Santa Claus House, and somehow managed to miss it not once but twice. Don’t ask me how. If there’s one thing about this trip it’s the fact that we can’t navigate worth a darn! Haha! Finally drove into their parking lot – it was HOT outside – and spent a couple of hours wandering around the gift shop before going out and seeing the Reindeer and taking photos of the large Santa’s on the property.

Then we headed back to the hotel and stopped at McDonalds on the way to get us some well needed soft serve ice cream. It was just insanely hot in the truck. We crashed at the room for a couple of hours (mom napped and I edited photos. Can’t wait to have time to edit them and post them!) , and then had dinners over at Gallo’s Mexican restaurant. My stomach is so stuffed it’s not even funny.

Now we’re back in the room. Mom is snoring away and I am watching Law & Order SVU (thinking of you, Heather! It’s not skating without chatting with MelDen and watching Law & Order! BD Wong is hot!). We have to leave in the morning and I am not looking forward to getting back to the real world. I have really enjoyed being away, but I do miss my pug. So that’s something to look forward to!

Gotta pick up a few things from the depot for work up here and then we’ll be on our way! Check out tomorrow morning is at 11am, so I don’t expect us to get moving quickly at all. It’s 9:30, though, so if I want to be well rested for the drive back I better sign off for now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I've missed watching Melissa and Denis skate.

Mom slept for twelve hours last night. It’s really no surprise as she’d been up since 4 am and even though we didn’t do much but drive, it takes it out of you. We were in bed by seven, and mom CRASHED.

Woke up to not so fantastic weather, it was pouring down rain, but by 10am it was over and done with. We ate at Denny’s (which boasts being the world’s furthest north Denny’s) for breakfast, and then we headed up to what we thought was the ice arena. No such luck, it was the wrong one, so then I just decided to take a gamble and head up college road. Found UAF all on my own (easy to do with all the signs) and made it to see the tail end of the ice dance testing. We got to see Denis take the girls testing through the proper steps. It was like watching Compulsory dances at nationals all over again; thankfully Midnight Blues was not one of the testing pieces. We had the Viennese and Golden Waltzes and the Paso Doble… and one other one that I don’t remember. Seeing Melissa and Denis working with the students got me excited for the show tonight.

After watching the kids go through their testing we headed back to the room to try and make a game plan. Sadly we have NO idea what’s going on that isn’t incredibly touristy – and by that I mean expensive – and the rain had returned. We just decided to suck it up and go for a drive. Then dad called and we spent about 15 minutes in the lobby while mom talked to him on the phone. While we sat in the lobby the rain stopped, we decided to try to find the “real” Fairbanks – which translates to downtown. It was the Golden Days festival and we wanted in on some of the action. It had rained during the parade – and we spent that time in doors at the rink anyway – but now the clouds had parted and the weather was pretty good.

We figure-eighted around until we finally made it to first street where all the action was. Made the mistake of trying to see the rubber ducky races, but they were late in getting started and mom wasn’t feeling well, so we made our way away from the races, only to have not waited long enough and they crossed the finish line not five minutes after we left the river. Go figure. Oh well, there’s always next trip! We toured Treat Street, for a while anyway, and visited the Yukon Quest “headquarters”. It’s pretty much a mini version of the Iditarod Race Headquarters in Wasilla. After walking around a bit more we headed for the truck to freshen up before the ice show.

The show was pretty good, it was all the local talent, and some of the skaters are surprisingly good for not having a solid program up here right now. Some of the older skaters really put on a good show, and every skater brought their game. The highlight, of course, was when Melissa and Denis closed the show with their program. Melissa rocked the jeweled eyes, and they both were just so smooth. I had forgotten just how much I LOVE watching them skate. I didn’t think I had, but I had shivers. Makes me want to go to Nationals or any skating event that much more. So thankful they made it up here, definitely worth the drive!

After the show we met up with them, and I figured we’d chat and then be on our way, but like always that didn’t happen! It was so much more. We did a little catching up and we will be going to brunch/lunch with them and the Lees (big into Fairbanks Skating club) tomorrow (well, today once this is posted). It’s just like old times, I suppose!

Mom DID embarrass me, though, when she met Melissa and Denis because she took one look at Denis told him she loved watching him because he was just “SO CUTE”. I literally tried to die right there. They were really good sports about it though. Gotta love them! And I guess I gotta love mom, too.

After that we grabbed some KFC and came back to the hotel where we are now just watching some TV before going to bed. Will be shutting her down pretty soon. I took pictures tonight and will have to edit them some other time ha ha. Just not into it tonight. Tomorrow after meeting up with MelDen we are planning to head to North Pole and visit Santa Claus House. I am so tempted to yell out “SANTA! I KNOW HIM!” but I won’t. Gonna go see me some reindeer and play tourist. Yup, sounds fun.

So not ready for our trip to be over, but it’s been fun. I’m going to enjoy the next two days, then it’s back to the grindstone.

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We're here!

Hello From Fairbanks.

I am typing this up on my word document as we do not have wireless in the room, this is an account of our first day. That’s about the only complaint I have with the Wedgewood Bear Lodge. The room is far bigger than I was expecting, and the entire resort is just beautiful. Mom and I ate at the Bear Lounge tonight and the food was FANTASTIC. Mom had the steak and I had a pulled pork sandwich and we both came away full before we were finished. The food was just wow.

The drive up was pretty uneventful, the weather was grey so we didn’t stop to take pictures, will probably do that on the way home as we made a mental note of where to stop. Is it totally touristy of me to get all excited to see Gorilla Fireworks in Houston? There will be pictures on Monday when we come back through because it is just SO COOL.

No sighting of Denali (Mt. McKinley) as the clouds were out, but didn’t expect to see her anyway. Kinda hoping she will be out in full force when we return home, but again, not counting on it.

We did have a few issues finding our hotel just because mom sorta skipped a few directions and so we had to turn around and come back. It’s actually not that far away from the main highway and is one of the first exits. It’s great. We should get our bearings fairly easily.

Tomorrow (or rather later today by the time this gets posted) we are going to hopefully take in some of the test skating in the morning and figure out what we’ll do in between that and the show skating. Hoping to chat with Melissa and Denis somewhere in there as well. Cannot wait, it’s been far too long since I got to chat with them!

Overall I’m having a blast (good thing seeing as how we just got here) and mom seems to be as well. Good thing since yesterday (Friday) she gave us a scare by taking herself to the emergency room thinking she had a heart attack. All tests came back clear so doctors believe it was brought on by stress and the fact that she fell earlier this week and her body’s just now reacting to the pain. We have laughed so much already on this trip it’s been awesome.

More later, for now enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gregory & Petukhov are in Alaska!

This week US Silver Medalist Ice Dancers Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov will be hosting a skating seminar in Fairbanks, Alaska. This Saturday they will be the guest stars in the local art festival ice show. And, yes, if anyone is wondering I am not only super excited that they've finally made it up here -but I will be going.

I'm over the top excited, I will be making the some six hour (it will no doubt be longer as this is the first time I'll be driving that road, there's construction, and my mom is coming with so we are going to do some touristy things) trip to Fairbanks with my mother on Friday morning and will be there through the weekend. Will try to blog from up there, but don't know what all I'll be able to get to. There WILL be pictures, though.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Documentary Review - Iditarod 2010: Chasing History

The Iditarod Insider has done it again with their latest documentary on the Last Great Race On Earth. The Emmy Award winning crew bring Iditarod 38 to life as they follow each team all the way to Nome. Many firsts happened during this year's race as well as lasts - each are captured by the cameras.

We follow, of course, Lance Mackey as he runs his way to a fourth straight title (the first musher to do so). We follow Dallas Seavey as he takes hold of destiny and becomes the first of Mitch Seavey's sons to beat his father. We follow Newton Marshall as he becomes the first Jamaican musher to finish the race. And, we follow Jeff King on his final "competitive" journey to Nome.

The Photography is fantastic, and even though you know the outcome before the video even starts you still feel the excitement and tension. These characters are real men and women and dogs running an amazing feat of a race. They are personable, they are blunt, they are entertaining, and they're heroes. Each loving their dogs with more and care than they're given credit for. Their stories are shared thanks to the wonderful direction of Iditarod Insider.

This is a great addition to any sled dog enthusiast's collection, Iditarod fans and dog fans alike will love their copy. You can purchase a copy from the Iditarod directly by clicking here.

Related Items:

Choreographer Sandra Bezic named to Canadian Hall of Fame

The list of new inductees for the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame have been announced, top of the list is skater/choreographer/commentator Sandra Bezic. Bezic is most known for her choreography work - which garnered her an Emmy award in 2003 for Stars On Ice - which landed many skaters on top of World and Olympic Podiums.

Bezic was a three time Canadian Pairs Champion with her brother in the 1970s before retiring and beginning her work as a choreographer. In the 80s she worked some with a young up and coming Canadian men's figure skater, Kurt Browning as well as US and World Champion Brian Boitano. Bezic would be the key to Boitano's Olympic success as she was the lead choreographer of his Olympic Short and Famed Napoleon Long Program.

In 1992, after choreographing Kristi Yamaguchi to Olympic gold, Bezic joined the Stars on Ice team as director and choreographer. She reinvented Scott Hamilton's winning show and SOI saw its greatest success under her watchful eye.

Bezic landed a commentary role with NBC Sports in the 90s as well, voicing many of the professional competitions as NBC did not have rights to many ISU events. She has been critisized for being too down on many skaters, but other fans believe her eye for choreography and the subtlties in a skater's performance. When NBC won the Olympic bid for the 2002 through 2010 Olympic Games, Bezic was kept on the team and they added Scott Hamilton, Dick Button, and Tracy Wilson to the crew. Bezic was alongside Hamilton as they called the controversial 2002 Pairs Competition. Bezic and Hamilton were key in sparking outrage with the results.

Bezic's final year with SOI was in 2003 - the same year she won an emmy for her work with the show - after sharing her disgust with the changes in competitive figure skating. After a brief hiatus from the sport she is still commentating for NBC.

Congratulations, Sandra.

Buntin, Chipeur announce retirements

News broke this week that Canadian pairs skater Craig Buntin and Men's figure skater Vaughn Chipeur have announced their retirements from competitive skating. Craig Buntin, 30, has been on the national and international pairs scene for quite awhile and was on national champion with Valerie Marcoux from 2004-06. In recent years, Buntin skated and competed with Megan Duhamel.

Buntin is enrolled in the MBA program at McGill University, and plans to still be a part of skating though more behind the scenes.

Buntin stated in his press release, "Training, sacrificing, creating, performing and sharing the spotlight with my partners and coaches has meant more to me than anyone could imagine...I am so grateful to have had figure skating in my life and so proud to have represented such an incredible country."

In a statement released today, Vaughn Chipeur is the latest skater to announce his retirement from competitive skating. Chipeur, 25, is a two time Canadian national silver medalist as well as 2010 Olympian. Chipeur was 12th at the 2009 World Championships and 23rd at the Vancouver Winter Games.

Chipeur stated that he will tour through the summer before joining a cruise ship's ice skating cast.
"I want to wish him well in his professional career," Scott Davis, his coach, said, "and will miss those high flying triple axels on a daily basis."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Liberty Competition: It's That Time Of Year Already?!?

We're halfway through July and that means figure skating is getting its legs back after a few months of R&R for most of its skaters. The Liberty competition on the East Coast normally marks the start of the season for a lot of the second tiered seniors skaters and up and comers in North America. It's a chance to get their new programs seen by judges and officials and get some feedback as to what needs changing. Some bigger name skaters also show up not to compete but to get feedback on their new routines.

Reports will start flying tomorrow, competitions have already started, and videos won't be far behind. Cannot believe it's already this far into summer.

In blogging news, this is my 99th post. No idea what I will do to celebrate 100 posts. Not that anyone reads this anyway! (if I'm wrong PLEASE comment so I know this is worth it)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Backstage Wildride Again!

More photos of the real stars of the Wildride Sled Dog Rodeo: The dogs!

This here is Bandit. He's one of the characters of the show and is featured in the arena style races, he was pretty proud of himself on Sunday because he managed to get loose during the show not once but TWICE. It's the great Houdini Dog!

One of my favorite Seavey dogs of all time is the 2004 Champion Lead Dog Zebra. He's such a good boy, so sweet, and he knows how good he is. He's pretty much allowed to do what he wants. He comes out, wags his tail, pretends to pull, and then comes back to the dog lot and gets praised and fed. Oh to have his life. It will be a sad day when he's no longer with the team.

You have to forgive me on this one, I may or may not name this dog correctly, but I'm pretty sure this is Kosher. Sweet dog, but didn't get the spot in the show that Dallas was hoping for (lead dog in training). Oh well, he's a good lookin' boy with a cool name.
Sweet little puppies that will rip your face off, they are in the fiesty stage now at 8 weeks... and they are HUGE for Seavey pups!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yeah, Mon! New Iditarod documentary centers around Jamaican Musher.

Iditarod Veteran, Newton Marshall and the Jamaican Dog Sled Team will be featured in a new one hour documentary "Cool Mushings" this fall the official facebook page announced this morning. Marshall's rookie run was during the 2010 Iditarod where he leased a team of [Lance] Mackey dogs on his quest to Nome.

Newton Marshall runs a team of dogs out of his home in Jamaica, and has sparked a huge fan club after signing up for the Iditarod last year. He's already signed up for Iditarod 39 set to start the first week of March in 2011. Newton's story inspired many world wide, and was the talk of this year's race. His self promotion rivaled that of the professional promotions the big name mushers have. The entire crowd at each stop were chanting "Mush Mon" as Marshall ran his team up the trail.

According to the Official Jamaica Sundogs Racing Team website, the film follows Marshall the entire race, and spares nothing. In the trailor we hear Marshall state he wishes to make his family, his friends and his country proud. Later on he wishes he were back in Jamaica [instead of the middle of nowhere Alaska]. Lance Mackey is interviewed along with other mushers and racing supporters.

No date has been released, but you can read about the documentary and catch a sneak peak by visiting their site. Click here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weir reinventing his skating, sits out competitive season.

US Figure Skater, Johnny Weir withdrew today from the 2010-2011 competitive season. In a press release put out by Weir with the USFSA and Figure Skaters Online, Weir stated that he was currently working on reinventing himself as a skater and plans to come back after a year or retooling.

"I have decided that I need a year to rest and reinvent myself as an athlete and artist," Weir's statement read. "I say this with the hope of returning as a competitor for the 2011-12 season."

How hard he is actually working on that while making as many public appearances nation wide, one has to wonder, and many fans are arguing that we've seen the last of Weir on the competitive front.

Weir dominated US Men's figure skating from 2004-2006. Hitting a rough patch starting at the 2006 Olympic games, Weir suffered a devastating loss in 2007 at the US National Championships when he faltered and failed to make the World team. It's been a rocky road since then, but he seemed to have turned a corner in the last couple of seasons. Weir fought a good battle at the 2010 US National Championships to win the third spot on the Olympic team. Weir finished sixth in the games and many argued he should have been higher.

Weir withdrew from Worlds feeling he was not up to par to compete, stating that he would work hard and come back strong next season. Since Worlds he has flitted the world enjoying the glitz and glam of his new found fame.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Where would you like to spend your retirement?

Walt Disney World, sadly retirement is so far off.

Ask me anything

What's the longest you've ever gone without a bath or shower?

Four or five days, camping trip. I apologise to my friends, I knew not what I did.

Ask me anything

Harding marries again

allen figure skating superstar Tonya Harding has made the news once again, this time, thankfully, on a positive note. The Columbian and Associated Press reported over the weekend that Harding applied for a Marriage License with a Joseph Jens Price on June 23, and the AP wire stated that as of Saturday the paperwork had been turned in to prove that the wedding/marriage had taken place.

Harding made a name for herself in the early 90s as one of Nancy Kerrigan's main rivals leading up to the 1994 Olympic games, she was the only American lady - at that time - to land a triple axel in competition. Harding found herself in the middle of controversy after her - then - husband attacked Nancy Kerrigan at one of her practice sessions (it was later known as the "Whack Heard Round the World."). While she was not found guilty of having a part in the attack, Harding did take a plea deal for the charges of cover-up. Subsequently the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) banned the skater from competition for life.

Harding has had a rough go since her figure skating glory days, between domestic violence reports and a very short second marriage and her short lived (and unsuccessful) boxing career, one can only hope she's finally found her happiness.