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Early Season Dog Parking and Geese Chasing

We've had a bit of a strange Winter, it's been reaaally warm.  We've had 70+ degree temperatures for over a week now, and it's only March 18!  Just two weeks earlier from today we were skijoring on fresh snow and on the frozen lake. Well, we might as well make the most of it!  We took Sammy to Warner Park, one of his favorite dog parks (all dog parks are his favorite), where there is a bay that dogs can swim at.  

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Running around at Warner Park Dog Park

So after a little bit of running around, we wonder, is the water too cold for him to want to go swimming?

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Nope, water is just fine

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Muddy dog! You're going back in to rinse off! 

So we send him back in to rinse off, but lo and behold there are some geese nearby. Another one of his favorite activities is to chase geese, well... he certainly got his chance!

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

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Hokkaido Skiing

For a number of years I've dreamed of skiing in Japan. I've heard great stories about the powder, the lack of crowds, and the culture. I still have a lot of frequent flyer miles (see the EXP/FlightMemory article) so we finally booked our trip to Hokkaido, the North Island of Japan.  We were there a total of five nights and it was an amazing trip.  Let's go over my checklist of what I've heard and see if we experienced it:

  1. Powder: we skied four days, and three of them were full-on powder days.  The snow quality was great, super light and fluffy. Check
  2. Lack of crowds: For skiing three days in resorts (one of the days was a backcountry day with no ski lifts), we had to wait behind people maybe half a dozen times ... total.  There were times when we had to wait for the tram, but we never missed a tram because of people in front of us.  Check
  3. Culture: The Japanese are a very formal people. Lots of bowing, lots of respect shared. It was a very interesting experience, especially since so many people don't speak any English! We had lots of interesting encounters traveling around the island with our ski bags and practically zero fluency in Japanese.  Check
A great trip, I can't wait for the next ski adventure!
 
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Furano cultural event 
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Our resort for two of the four days of skiing 
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Lots of snow! 
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It was their 50th anniversary 
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Snow sculptures 
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Best ramen we've ever had 
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Backcountry skiing 
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Lunchtime in the backcountry
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Backcountry skiing 
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Another powder day! 
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Powder! 
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One of our best days of skiing ever
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In downtown Sapporo 
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8am: "Commuting" to the ski hill outside Sapporo  
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Sapporo Teine, with the city in the background 
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Sapporo Teine 
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Sapporo and the Ocean in the background 
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Hong Kong

I happen to be half-Chinese, and have some family in Hong Kong. We had been wanting to take a ski trip to Hokkaido, Japan for a few years now, so when were were planning a trip to Japan for late February 2012, we thought we'd take the opportunity to visit Hong Kong first.  Hong Kong is truly an amazing city, and is surprisingly easy to navigate since almost everything is in English.  We spent a few days sightseeing, eating excellent food, visiting family, and exploring!  All told we were there only 3.5 days (we took a redeye flight from Hong Kong to Sapporo) but it was a great time. 

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In the air, somewhere over Russia

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Hong Kong - near Causeway Bay

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Hong Kong Subway 

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Dinner with the family 

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Live fish market

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Horse racing is very popular. In the New Territories 

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City of Hong Kong, when viewed from the building at the peak 

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Hong Kong at night 

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Tahoe 2012

The people: Eric, Alicia, Nolan, Meg, Shea, Kortnee, Dan, Liz

The location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Synopsis: This year's (mostly) annual ski trip took us to South Lake Tahoe.  Unfortunately, the Lake Tahoe area had received very little snow this year (an employee told us it was the 2nd worst December revenue ever at Heavenly resort), but we did receive a nice storm giving us 12-24 inches of new snow depending how high up you go.  Add in a prime house rental, skiing, new snow, a hot tub, and it ended up being a great trip in spite of the lack of terrain open.

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Lake Tahoe

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Hm, which skis to pack?

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Skiing Day 1: Kirkwood

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Kirkwood

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Day 2: New Snow!

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Snowing, and my practically brand new rental Suburban :)

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Heavenly

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Heavenly

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Behind the house

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We stayed in Reno the last evening to catch an early flight the next morning

Can't wait for Ski Trip 2013!

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