Why I like dogs more than cats

I have always loved my animals. Dogs, cats, snakes, mice… I don’t know why, perhaps…

My last dog Ansel Adams was a great family companion until his last big hike at 14 1/2 yrs. After Ansel our family wanted to hold off on a canine replacement. We found a cornsnake, her name is Copper. Enjoyable animal, and I still love it when friends come over and my 10 yr old daughter brings out Copper around her arm or on her shoulder. It makes me think I am doing a good job as a parent to have a daughter who enjoys ballet equally as well as skiing, and enjoys her pet snake too.¬†After the snake we found a beautiful kitten from a shelter. It is my son’s cat, and he loves her dearly. Although the cat some times runs the other way out of fear my son shall pick her up and hold and pet her all afternoon. The scratches on the kid’s arms support my claim.

Dog in Breckenridge
Pushing the boundaries of understanding. Lessons from my dog.

I have had dogs and cats since my birth. Terrific companionship. They seem to enjoy my company, even when I am doing something else… like going through mail. Oh wait, our snake doesn’t really seem to care. My cat is actually pissed that I am sitting in “her chair”. But my dog, Pepper sits there with her ball and tug rope about 3 feet from my feet, awaiting any sudden movement. Even if I forget feeding time, she still will jump up and down wanting to play. My cat doesn’t like to go on a run with me, sit when I ask, or pose for a picture. But Pepper is game for almost anything at any moment.

I don’t judge an animal by how well it will obey. My point my dog is completely in the moment, and willing to be in MY moment. As far as I can tell my dog doesn’t give consideration to the poor judgement I made when we ran last week and it poured rain.
We were soaked and cold, yet she is happy to do it all over again. I know that she remembers, because when we prepare for today’s run and it’s starting to drizzle she looks at me with those puppy dog eyes, as if to say. “Really? You remember last time, right?” She may even move back to the door as if to say, “I’m not really into this.” Yet when I take off running she is there by my side.¬†People seem to be only animals on earth who punish themselves a hundred times or more for the same mistake, and who punish everybody else a hundred times or more for the same mistake.

I appreciate the understanding, forgiving, and playfulness in friends as well. And I choose to surround my friends who are aware of my flaws and past mistakes, yet they run with me anyway.

Learning is a partnership, but someone probably should go first
Learning is a partnership, but someone probably should go first

Once the lesson is learned from the mistake a friend may remain aware but doesn’t dwell and rehash the mistake over and over again. When I coach people in skiing, we find an issue, address it, and solve it. We then practice the new movements. I may remain aware of previous tendencies, but I don’t place too much weight on them. We go on to enjoy the skiing, and when a new issue presents itself we approach the learning as a partnership. We have fun with it, we may laugh about it, and we go about our business of solving it and moving on.

I do like the lessons that dogs give me. Even though I love my cat and snake, our dog acts like my best friend. When it comes down to it, Wag more.

Learning and sharing on the side of a Mountain

During my first year of teaching skiing (1988) I rode up the lift with a gentleman around the age of 60. I was skiing at Bear Mountain (formerly Goldmine) in Southern California. It was 7 minutes of my life that could have just as well been a dream. He said to me:
“Do you enjoy what your are doing?” Yes, I love it.
“Are you any good at skiing?” I’m ok, but getting better.
“Do you get paid well doing it?” $5.50/hr… so not really.

He then said, “The last question is the least important question at this time in your life. You will have plenty of time to earn money, if that is what you choose.” “I have spent my entire life earning money. And I have done well growing and selling a few businesses. But you know what I will never have back? The time to get ‘really good’ at some activities that I love doing. That window has closed for me. But it doesn’t stop me from trying :)” We laughed, and then shortly thereafter unloaded the chair. He left me with a hearty, “Enjoy yourself Jonathan.”

I taught and worked in guest services at Bear Mtn for a few more years during winter breaks and winter weekends. Graduated College and then sold a business I had grown during college. The sale of that business financed my move to Colorado, and helped subsidize a few years. I had a list of goals and Breckenridge met most of them. The top of my list: Excellent training staff, many students to teach, and property to buy.

The first year in Colorado I earned my PSIA Full Certification (Level 3). Within 4 years I had become a staff trainer, and by 1999 I earned my PSIA Accredited Trainer status (RMT). I did this for many reasons: Improve my teaching ability; teaching a greater variety lesson levels; and earning relatively high pay for a resort instructor.

I continue to do what I love, and I have taught nearly 20,000 hours of lessons and clinics. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I stayed in California, as I imagine my life would be radically different. But upon reflection I mostly appreciating the people I have met, and friends I have made. Primarily appreciating the things which I have learned and continue to share on the side of a mountain.

The Perfume

Sometimes a story resonates with you. Gaining an understanding that things are not always what they appear, and accepting others at more than face value.

Here is a email forward that I just received, and I believe that is worth the minute or two it takes to read.  Enjoy…



As  she  stood in front of  her
primary 5 class on the very first day of school, she told  the children an

Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and
said that she loved them all the same.

However, that was impossible, because there in
the front row, slumped in

his seat, was a little boy named Koko Bassey.

Mrs.Thompson had watched Koko the year before
and noticed that he did not

play well  with  the  other 
children,  that  his clothes were messy and that he

constantly needed a bath. In addition, 
Koko BASSEY could be  unpleasant.


It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would
actually take delight

in  marking  his  papers 
with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and

then putting a big  “F”  at
the top of his papers.


At  the  school where Mrs. Thompson
taught, she was required to review each

child’s past  records and she put Koko’s
off until last. However, when she reviewed

his file, she was in  for a surprise.


Koko’s primary 1 teacher wrote, “Koko is a
bright child with a ready laugh.

He does his work neatly and has good manners…
he is a joy to be around.”


His primary 2 teacher wrote, “Koko is an
excellent pupil, well liked by his

classmates,  but  he  is troubled
because his mother has a terminal illness

and life at home must be a struggle.”


His primary 3 teacher wrote, “His mother’s
death has been hard on

him.  He  tries to do his best, but his
father doesn’t show much

interest  and his home life will soon
affect him if some steps aren’t  taken.”


Koko’s  primary  4  teacher
wrote, “Koko is withdrawn and doesn’t show much

interest in  school. He doesn’t have many
friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By  now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem
and she was ashamed of herself.

She felt  even worse when her pupils
brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in

beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for


His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy,
brown paper that he got from

a grocery bag. Mrs.  Thompson 
took  pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.

Some of the  children  started 
to  laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with

some of the  stones missing, and a bottle
that was one-quarter full of perfume. But

she stifled  the children’s laughter when
she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet

was putting it on, and dabbing some of the
perfume on her wrist.

Koko  Bassey  stayed  after
school that day just long enough to say,

“Mrs.  Thompson,  today 
you  smelled  just like  my Mom used to.”


After  the children left, she cried for at
least an hour. On that very day,

she quit  teaching reading, writing and
arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach

children.  Mrs.  Thompson  paid
particular attention to Koko. As she worked

with him, his  mind  seemed to come
alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he


By the end of the year, Koko had become one of
the smartest  children in

the class and, despite her lie that she would
love  all  the  children  the same,

Koko became one of her “teacher’s

A  year  later,  she  found
a note under her door, from Koko, telling her that she was

still the best teacher he ever had in his whole

Six years went by before she got another note
from Koko. He then wrote that he had

finished secondary school, third in his
class,and  she  was  still  the best teacher

he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter,
saying that while things had been tough at times,

he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, 
and  would  soon  graduate from the university with the

highest  of  honors.  He assured
Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher

he had ever had in his whole life.

Then  four  more  years 
passed  and  yet another letter came. This time he

explained that after he got his bachelor’s
degree, he decided to go a little further.

The letter  explained  that she was
still the best and favorite teacher he ever

had. But now  his name was a little
longer….The letter was signed, Koko A. Bassey, MD.


The story does not end there. You see, there was
yet another letter that spring.

Koko said he had met this girl and was going to
be married. He explained that his  father

had died a couple of years ago  and he was
wondering if Mrs. Thompson might  agree to sit at the

wedding  in the place that was usually
reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what?
She wore that bracelet,  the  one with  several rhinestones

Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the
perfume that  Koko  remembered his mother wearing

on their last Christmas together.They
hugged  each other, and Dr. Bassey whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear,

“Thank you, Mrs.  Thompson 
for  believing  in  me Thank you so much for making me feel
important and

showing me that  I  could make a

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered
back. She said, “Koko, you have it  all  wrong.

You were the one  who  taught  me
that  I could make a difference.

I  didn’t know how  to teach
until  I  met  you.”

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this
along.  Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today or
tomorrow.  Just  “do  it”. Random acts of kindness, I
think they call it.

Find time to laugh… but not at the weaknesses
of others!

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Today is the present, so let’s call it a Gift!!!

And if you have another few minutes, listen to the Shia Story…

“Curiosity” in contrast to the fundamentalists

I am happy to have escaped from the oppression of Vail Resorts as an employer. I will be working with another fine ski area in the county build their training program. I will be teaching on a part-time request only basis this season. And you may contact me directly.

As I enjoyed my Sunday morning walk-and-read, I enjoyed Seth Godin’s 2008 book, TRIBES.
tribes walk.jpg
In this post I will speak to a few elements with regard to Curiosity (p.63) by Mr. Godin. I will include some personal interpretations as well.

“A fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to his ‘religion’ before he explores it. As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications.”
I still remember my 4th grade class with Sister Lillian and one of our Priests were explaining how, “All but the Catholics were damned” because they did not believe our teachings. I raised my hand and asked, “What about the monks and Buddhists who spend their whole lives praying in an effort to do good in this world? Are they going to hell too?” “Yes, I am afraid so.” said the priest. 
“A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles  with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it.”
Curiosity is a key concept as it has nothing to do with income, education, or organized religion. “It has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting.” 
endless waves.jpg
I remember starting my first web-based business SkiPros.com (Instructor directory, now defunct) in 1995 and talking with a number of the top western ski areas about how the internet can connect their instructors with students. It could create loyalty. It would also foster the ability for prospective students to better match themselves with instructors. They didn’t see the ROI potential and passed off the internet as a fad. Some also believe accepting this change would disrupt their system of having a student blindly put down money and hope for a qualified instructor.  This would lessen the ability for the resort to put a less experienced (lower paid) instructor with the client and allow the resort to reap a higher profit on the lesson.  This is a practice which is financially incentivised by my previous employer. If you are taking a private lesson, always ask for a Full Certified professional instructor, and accept nothing less.
The non-curious “masses in the middle have brainwashed themselves into thinking it’s safe to do nothing, which the curious can’t abide”. However, “It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious.  For seven, ten, or fifteen years of school, you are required to not be come curious. Over and over again, the curious are punished.”
To me this punishment can lead to freedom. I am more eager to get to work when I am moving beyond set limits. I love to challenge the status quo and push something forward. Something I believe in. Ski Pass Defender is a driving force when I wake up at 6 or go to bed at 11. The thought of helping create culture at the new ski area I will be working with is also incredibly appealing.
It is not as though something magically happens and you become curious. A person must reprogram themselves. It is a multi-year process where you start finding your voice, and finally you begin to realize that the safest thing you can do feels risky. The riskiest thing you can do is to play safe. The “safest” place in a prison is called, “Maximum Security” for a reason.  Yet we are “sheepwalked” into believing this is what we want. A few books worth reading to reprogram your power to the person belongs include The Slight Edge, Think and Grow Rich, Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead, and The Four Agreements.
Mr Godin concludes, “Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn’t go away. EVER. And perhaps it’s such curiosity that will lead us to distinguish our own greatness from mediocrity that stares us in the face.”
If this post resonates with you, I would enjoy reading your comment and/or skiing with you this winter.

Socialism Defined

This is from an Anti-Obama email I received.  Before I start with the email, the reader may know that I voted for Obama.  In my opinion, he was the best person for the job between our two main choices.  Although, my first two choices did not make it to the Republican Presidential ballot. Furthermore, I believe the premise of “Obama’s Plan” is not accurate.  Changing the health system is an imperative.  Although, I believe it can correct through business incentives rather than Congressional laws and regulations.  I don’t believe pure “equality” is the objective of the administration. But rather the “equal opportunity”.  And these are two very different things. 
I would also recommend that the reader take the time to read or re-read Atlas Shrugged.  Especially the chapters regarding the 20th Century Motor Company.  The concept is very relevant to the professor’s “expermiment” below.

Here is the professor who ran the experiment.It offers a very good lesson.


An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never
failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire


That class had
insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one
would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said,
we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the
same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. 

the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who
studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied
little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a
free ride too so they studied little.  The second test average was a D! No one
was happy. 

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. 

scores never increased as bickering, 
blame and name-calling all resulted in
hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told
them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great,
the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no
one will try or want to succeed. 

Could not be any simpler than that.

Here is 1 of 6 of John Stossel’s take on Atlas Shrugged (Fox)

Thankful Thursday – Breckenridge style

A few internet friends are creating a Circle of Thankful Thursday.  I like this idea.  I like it a lot.  We all have the ability to create heaven or hell on Earth.  Some people think one must wait to visit these places.  I believe it is in your power to create either one.  


How does one create these alternative realities.  It is based on our beliefs.  What have we come to hold as true.  I have the ability to generate a great day.  One in which ideal situations attract to me.  I also have the ability to create a rotten day.  This is to say, I have the God-given ability to respond to situations in anyway I see fit.  I have the ability to manifest my reality.  I choose Heaven.  The writings of Don Miguel Ruiz resonate with me at a very high level.  
This morning I woke early.  I was pleased to see the market down and the dollar up.  Yes, I was please.  Crazy huh.  Why… well in trading I have positioned myself for the US dollar to benefit from a sideways to up moves.  And I have positioned myself to profit from the Equity Mkts to be sideways to down. If I am wrong, so be it.  I limit my losses and move on.
I wake up to trade which I love.  I then move on to teach skiing, which from this blog MySnowPro.com I obviously enjoy.  This afternoon was shared with my son and daughter who are joys of my life.  And tonight I went to visit friends and teammates with our PrePaid Legal Business, which is a product I believe everyone in North America should own.
It may have been a full day, but it was a full day of doing things in which I enjoy.  A day I could have said, “Whoa is me.  I have worked for 18hrs today.”  However I chose to say.  “Wow, what a life.  I am going to fill up my day.  Then rest, and do it again tomorrow.”

An Evolution in Affliate Marketing – Are you ready to Blastoff?

One week ago I received information that is way ahead of the curve. I feel the similarly to those who heard about Google “Ad-sense” prior to its release. Imagine if we were able to position ourselves on the business end of that market force. Ad-Sense a good way for website owners and bloggers to easily generate income through the addition of relevant content on their site. The Blastoff Network concept allows anyone in North America to have an even more explosive opportunity than Google Ad-Sense. It is really quite simple and amazing.

Continue reading “An Evolution in Affliate Marketing – Are you ready to Blastoff?”

Another potential notch in the belt of The Federal Reserve and global Central Banks


There is much talk about further expanding the power of The Fed to be a macro-regulator. A plan hatched nearly 100 years ago is gaining more strength. We should be taught about this in school.

Continue reading “Another potential notch in the belt of The Federal Reserve and global Central Banks”