Renewed hobbies aligning with goals. Summer 2013

P1010219Summer started a bit late in Breckenridge, CO. The summers are relatively short at 9,600 ft, so we try to make the most of it. P1010622This is time to rest the body, or at least get the feet out of ski boots. But with my mind focused on skiing and teaching I look for activities which carry over passion and fitness into winter. I would like to credit a friend of mine, Lindsey A. for helping me remember how much I enjoy two activities, Mountain Biking and Photography.

I keep 10% of my income in a jar(literally) for education, and another 10% for “passions”. Well, let’s say those jars have been somewhat depleted this summer in exchange for tangible items. I am currently the proud owner of a new Panasonic G5 DSLM camera, and a used Santa Cruz Superlight mountain bike. The camera was just what I wanted, and much more than I even knew was possible. My previous bike was a Team Marin hardtail that I bought in 1996. Oh how much more fun Full-Suspension mountain biking is.

At the docks on the 4th of July.
At the docks on the 4th of July.

I have been reading many of my older photobooks, and focusing on the nuances of Aperture priority, and longer exposure shots. There was a time in the “old days” when my wife and I would shoot 40-50 rolls of film a month. That was one heck of a monthly budget item. The ongoing cost is so much lower now. I love the idea of digital for this reason alone. I find the learning curve much quicker in the realm of digital. I have an idea, take a shot, immediately evaluate the results, take a shot, evaluate results. Then go back to the books for more ideas and understanding. Great stuff.

I plan on taking and posting more photos of my students for the winter. I want to find the special and unexpected shots that make my student’s vacations and lesson experiences that much more special.

My passion with mountain biking goes back to when I was 4 and I started motorcycle riding. P1010300I then raced between the ages of 7-11. I rode mountain bikes in college, and then again when I moved to Colorado. However, when I had children cycling took a back seat. Work and helping with the kids consumed most of my time. I started road riding more around 2006. A good way to combat the drop in metabolism which accompanied my mid-30s. I also found that I came back to the ski season much stronger when I spent my summer cycling. Pedaling also complimented my desired skiing movements as well. Plunging a singletrack decent is pretty awesome as well.

As I prepare for the second half of summer 2013, I am grateful that I have found a few activities which keep my mind and body in focus. Keeping physically fit will prepare me for another 155+ days on snow. These new activities will keep my mind sharp for a better quality of teaching.
What are you doing new this summer to keep you growing? I look forward to reading your comments.

And if you have a digital camera, and don’t know how to do this (below), learn how. It’s not that hard, and it is fun.

What some instructors do on their day off. May 3, 2013 POWDER DAY

Colorado snow was sparse in the early season. It was important to keep the edges sharp and to go with momentum and gravity. March, April, and May provided outstanding snow conditions. I traveled with with my students to a number of destinations throughout Colorado and Utah. But come April and May there was no better place to be than Summit County, Colorado. Most areas closed in April and this was unfortunate. May 2nd was the biggest day of my season. I skied Loveland Ski area. During the course of the day (8am-4pm) Loveland received 22″ and due to the foul (incredibly awesome) weather there were very few people on the mountain. We took laps and laps in low visibility deep powder conditions.

Jon Lawson Light and Deep in Colorado
Light and Deep in Colorado

As often happens the masses missed the big powder day and get there for the day after. May 3rd snow report stated 15″ of new and it was a bluebird powder day. Most of the people headed up to the Ridge and Chair 8 in hope of deep snow. This left me and a good ski friend PSIA Level 2 PSIA instructor from Winter Park, Lindsey Antonio to explore the powder and bumps on Chair 1.

The following video is a compilation of 4 runs we took together. I suggest you bump up the resolution on the video to 1080p and expand it on your screen.

See you next season for lessons at Copper Mountain, or if you go to Winter Park look up Lindsey. Enjoy

Woodward at Copper – First time experience

I have enjoyed skiing Copper Mountain over the years, And this is the first year I have taught there. As part of my training we took the “Intro” course at the Woodward Barn. The staff of Woodward took us through the process of initiating us the freestyle life of Woodward.

I was looking forward to the experience, yet when I put on my workout clothes and stepped onto the gymnastics floor my anxiety level elevated. Fortunately the experience staff anticipated this as well. We started with a good warm up and stretching. As we stretched, the instructors offered a verbal preview of the session ahead. This lowered the anxiety slightly.

We went through a simple progression of somersault type activities (front and back) on the mat with wedges and multiple instructors to help us improve our technique. The foam pits just off the gym floor reminded us of what was to come. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to try. Front flip, and 360 with a grab were two moves I wanted to complete. I was assured that it was very doable. Before we were to use the trampolines we were coached on entering the pit. Two footed jump and landing in a tuck butt first was our first pitjump. The landing was simple, but I did feel slightly claustrophobic getting out of the 6″ blocks of foam. The next jump off the map into the pit was a either a front flip or a somersault roll. I delayed entry for a bit, unsure if I could do it. I thought, maybe just the somersault into the pit. Fortunately there were other 1st timers doing what I wanted to do… a front flip. I took a big gulp, stepped forward and made a front flip into the pit. When I sat on the foam, I did so with a feeling of accomplishment. My first front flip accomplished.

Surefoot Lange RX 130 – 2011/12

I was fitted in the Breckenridge Surefoot store for my 2011/12 Surefoot Lange RX 130 boots (100mm last) with the Surefoot X2 liner and Surefoot insole. I thought I would offer a boot review for the RX 130.


I was told that I was the first Professional Ski Instructor in Colorado to get fitted for the X2. I arrived at 10:55am and was out of the shop with new boots, foamed liners and milled footbed by 11:50. Even better I was skiing Loveland Ski Area by 12:40.

Before we go further, it is important to know the best boot is the one which fits you. And the boot manufactures are doing a fine job of innovation. I have skied a number of boots between the 110-130 flex. I have a foot which fit well into Lange, but I have been adaptable.

I have been in the boots for 3 days and have skied hard pack and mushy combo snow, 14″ of powder, and moguls. I will giveaway the punchline… These are the best boots I have ever skied.

Two week update>> I have now had 10 days on the hill with them. They are still perfect. The fit is fantastic. They flex is firm but not rock hard stiff. I have played around with tightening down the buckles and it produces even higher performance and control on very hard snow. This is the best boot I have ever skied, and the 100mm width should fit a greater variety of feet when combined with the custom foam liner. Kudos to Lange, and the boot fitters at Surefoot.

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In Breckenridge before Dec 18th? Here’s the deal…

They say nothing is free, but this is pretty darn close.  If you are able to come to Breckenridge before December 18th.  This is the deal. You can stay in a studio unit at the Grand Timber Lodge for No Cost on WEEKDAYS, and No Cost @ Breck Inn on Weekends.


What’s the catch?  Breckenridge Grand Vacations is showing off their new lodge with a 2 hr tour walk-through Tour of the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 during the stay.  If it seems like a fair trade, just print out the certificates below.
And if you mention my name (Jonathan Lawson) as an owner you will also get a Friends of owners “2-Day Pass” for the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 pools and hottubs. 866.476.2315

Here are the certificates, just tell them you heard it here.
There are requirements: $70K gross household income, own real estate property, and married or have a significant other.
I’ve been an owner at the GL7 for more than 3 years now, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

MSP is pleased to announce a benefit to PSIA and AASI-RM instructors

I am pleased to announce as a benefit to PSIA-Rocky Mountain (Professional Ski Instructors of America, and AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors) for the Rocky Mountain Division.

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