which means I won't be around, though I may blog late next week.

OOF is a weird Microsoft TLA that means “out of office”. Yes, we know that it should probably be “OOOf”, but that's not the way it go expressed in our early tools. I guess that means it's really a TLpA (Three-letter-pseudo-acronym).

My wife and daughter and I are going up to Stevens Pass to night ski tonight. Nearby Snoqualmie pass was the first ski area in the country to provide night skiing, way back in 1945, and probably hosts more night skiers than anywhere else, as it's only 45 minutes from Seattle.

We'll stay up in the mountains, ski at Stevens again on Sunday, and then head up to ski Mt Baker, where Jake Burton started snowboarding, and holder of the single-season snowfall record for the United States (an incredible 1140 inches (yes nearly 100 feet) over the 1998-1999 season (ski areas had to *close* to dig out their lifts that year). The previous record was 1122 inches at Paradise Ranger Station on Mt. Rainier. I've never skied there, and I'm hoping for some of the “pow pow” that Baker is famous for.

We'll ski Baker Tuesday and Wednesday, then come back, relax for a few days, and head up to Stevens again next weekend.

[Update: Dare comments that “OOF” means “Out of Facility”. I've heard that before, but I don't buy it.

First of all, I've been at Microsoft for 9+ years, and have never heard anybody use “out of facility” (though to be fair,”OOF” is used far more than “out of office”). Second, if you do some google searches, you'll find that "out of facility" gets about 900 hits, and "out of office" gets 324K hits. ]

[Update: The skiing was okay, but not great, mostly due to the weather. On Monday, they had gotten 5-6" of new snow, but there was a 1/2" frozen crust on top. At the top of the first run, I skied down a little, sideslipped to the side of the run, hit the new stuff, and promptly fell down. Samantha skied next to me, and fell down. Kim skied around a "slow" sign, hit the new stuff and fell down.

Lest you think this behavior was limited to us, the first 5 people I saw did the identical thing. The new snow was fairly unskiable in the morning, and since there aren't a ton of trees where we skied, it was really hard to tell where the new snow started.

The second day there was about 7" of new, but it had warmed up, so it was 7" of slop. It was kindof skiable if it wasn't tracked out and you were patient, but without powder skis (I am not so equipped), it was a lot of work. A better day for boarders than skiers. Oh, and it was mixed rain and snow even up high, which meant we got really wet in the morning, even with our Gore-Tex.

Overall review: Baker is a good place for advanced skiers. It's not great for intermediates, as there aren't that many runs, and they don't spend a lot of money on grooming. And if you show up midweek, you better not be a beginner because you can't get to the beginner terrain without skiing the intermediate stuff. Lifts are all fixed-grip, which does mean you spend more time on the lifts. If you're hard-core, there is some good out of bounds skiing (bring your avalanche beacon). Note that we didn't ski some of the over lifts because a) some of them weren't open and b) Samantha isn't quite up to a “have to ski an ungroomed black diamond to get down” yet.

We stayed in Glacier, in an authentic log cabin. It had 'lectricity and runnin' water, but it didn't really have any amenities. So, we sat around, ate, read, and watched the first in the wood stove. Relaxing, and cheap for ski accomodations.

This has been the workout vacation. Worked out and skied Friday, skied Sunday, worked out Monday, skied Tues/Wed, rode 28 miles today, ski tommorrow and Sunday. Nice and relaxing.

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