Monday, December 30, 2013

The OPUS hut...

Let's start of by clearing up one thing. The OPUS(Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski) hut is certainly relying on the Euro definition of  a "hut".  This place is  about he same size, and much nicer, than our house. I would be incredibly impressed with the design and build quality if this place were in mtn village in Telluride, thankfully it isn't.  It's built a 1/4 mile off of the Ophir pass 4x4 road at almost 11,700 ft. If you want more details on the hut check out their website and read through the scrap book when you make it there.

If you really just want to see pictures and skip my wandering dialogue I've got the full set posted here. Link 

This year for Christmas Natalie and I decided that we wanted to do something a little different and started looking at options for a hut trip.  I had been in contact with Bob, of the OPUS hut, several years ago but hadn't made it down there.  Their schedule was pretty open over Christmas with only one other couple staying there so we decided to make it happen.

The weekend before christmas we had people over for dinner and then began packing.  This was a relatively simple affair as all we needed was our ski gear, hut cloths, sheets and daytime snacks.  Skiing in for a four day hut trip with my normal ski pack was pretty awesome.

Monday we skied Monarch Mtn and then stayed in Montrose.  Tuesday we drove south, into the San Juans.  I will always love the sight of that mtn range coming through the windshield.

We got the trailhead and made our way up to the hut.  3.5-4 miles on the summer road.

Wicket was very curious about our new home for a few days.

Another view of the inside of the hut.  The post and beam structure if salvaged from a barn from PA. Quite a bit of the other building material is also "salvaged" but the place can barely be called rustic. Hot running water at almost 12,000 ft???

 A couple shots of the view from the hut, not too shabby.

Our objective the first day was a tour across the basin to ski a feature called the nose.  Wicket still can't figure out why it takes us so long to get ready to play in the snow.

After a pretty easy skin we booted up to the ridge above the nose.

Christmas day was a beautiful, sunny, San Juan day.

We skied a large, low angle  bowl up high...

..and then rolled over onto the nose proper for some really nice turns.

The ridge above Ophir Pass on the way back to the hut.

We were greeted at the hut by  soup and appetizers.  This was followed by leg of lamb for christmas dinner... to be completely honest, I've had much worse food at some pretty nice hotels.

The following day we took a nice warm up lap from the hut with Don and Brenda and then toured over to the lower portion of the nose with Don for a couple more laps of the goods.

It didn't disappoint.

It seemed like each lap the snow kept getting better as the sun softened the top a little bit, allowing better access to the creamy goodness within.

Wicket made sure not to get left out of the action.

Don testing out the snow a bit further was good too.

Having the camera gives me an excuse to stop and not have to keep up with her..

Back at the hut again we met our new hut keeper, Miriam, and enjoyed more delicious soup an excellent dinner.

After dinner we were all pretty cached so we called it a night, after some time in the sauna.  This was certainly a memorable christmas spent with some new friends and skiing some outstanding terrain.

Happy New years everyone.

Monday, December 23, 2013

TV Stand Part VI - Slow and Steady

The last month has been as busy as usual with Christmas parties and skiing.  I have managed to get some time in the down in the shop.

I finally got all of the parts pre-finished and the sub-assemblies glued together.  This was the last dry fit of the inner shelf assy before I finished the front edges.

The glue-up went pretty well, a couple rehearsals were key.  Using a glue that sets pretty slow (Old Brown Glue) certainly didn't hurt either.

In preparation for  a Christmas hut trip I picked up a fisheye (15mm equivalent) lens for the camera.  Here is the TV stand case all glued up and just about ready to go.  There are just a couple more details to wrap up on the case.

With the fisheye I can finally get  a decent shot of the shop.  It's cozy but I am settling into some routines and find it a rather pleasant place to be.  Last year I was running a propane heater while I was down there, but found it to be loud and smelly.  This year I have been trying out a small electric heater that I leave on with the thermostat set around 55.  This seems to work much better as it keeps the shop from getting so cold in the first place and things stay a much more constant temperature.  With the cost of Propane I think running the electric heater on low might even be cheaper than blasting the shop while I'm working.

I've started milling the boards for the drawer fronts, saved the best for last.  These have some really nice curl and should be a nice touch.

The top is also in its early stages. With a little cleanup the boards for the top are looking quite nice, they even have a bit of curl as well.  I am still trying to decide on how wide to make the breadboard ends.

And a couple pictures of my shop helper.

I had to run to the lumber dealer for some baltic birch to make drawer bottoms and this little guy snuck into my car.  It is a beautiful 10' long by 14in wide piece of walnut.  There were a couple big knots right in the middle so I had it cut down to fit in the car.  The other half isn't nearly as nice as the one top, but is still quite usable.  For the price it was worth it for just the one shown.  I've managed to collect a bit of a stash walnut at this point so I think my next project might have to make use of it.  I just need to figure out what that is.

We are off to the Opus hut for some christmas skiing.  Pictures will surely follow.  

Merry Christmas