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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The bamboo has progressed out the door. It oozes its way through the house always running South to North, North to South. Running on a jagged diagonal like an introduction to calculus. By the end, the entire upstairs will be one continuous mass of laterally growing bamboo shoots. No breaks, no seams, no changes in direction or flow. The bamboo appears to run under the wall and into the next room, and then under that wall to cascade down the side of the house.

Except that the bamboo doesn't actually go down the outside of the house. But maybe it should. Or maybe I should plant a grove of bamboo around the house and then once they're tall enough, take the slender, whippy stalks and weave the adult bamboos into a house wall. Brilliant. My next house will be a bamboo tree house.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The agony of rain! I went from bed this morning to the couch, hoping that it would stop so we could return to laying bamboo. Not so. And I have the feeling that you shouldn't lay hardwood in different humidity situations. CA holds the exact same sentiments. So it was on to another project... grouting!

See that grouting thing I'm holding? That's on my first tile. About six tiles into it I gave up on that and switched to using my fingers. Way more versatile. Unfortunate side effect that I now have grout embedded in the back of my hands. Did you know this stuff hardens into a concrete-like substance if you let it dry? If you ever hire me to grout tile: Do not pay me by the hour. I don't think it should take an hour to do six tiles. Although I did get faster.

The kitchen counter before hours of hard work by LV:

The kitchen counter after hours of hard work by LV:

Okay, so I used the actual same photo. But you get the point: ZERO satisfaction.

And then I got to seal the grout on one of the bathrooms. Again, the before and after pictures were identical.

Let's hope for drier days tomorrow.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some things you may need to know: I'm working on a house. Just the finishing touches. It makes a good first job as a contractor... my future career. (um, just kidding. about the career, not the house.)

What a beautiful bamboo floor!

and there's the other half of the room...

There happens to be another person in this situation. We'll call him my comrade in arms, or C.A. for short. So I've never laid flooring before, of any type. But I'm eager to attempt. LV thinks of bamboo laying as a geometry problem. Each bamboo piece is 3' long and 3 3/4" wide. The room is 209" long. The boards should be laid down as follows, start at one end, and the last board in the row cut to fit. The remnant should then start row two, run to end cut the last board to fit. This pattern should be drawn out to ensure that what results is a pleasing pseudo-random array of boards. (And please don't whine that truly random is better. Truly random has only a slight chance of being aesthetically pleasing.) Chances are this plan will, in a square room, result in a repeating pattern along with minimizing measurements taken, cuts made, and boards wasted. Right? Paper, please. Pen, please.

CV says... that's not how you lay bamboo. (Granny-- if chickens lay eggs, can I lay bamboo?) Chalk lines and hydraulic staple guns are how you lay bamboo.

But, how do you know what's going to happen at the end of the row? What about the lengths of boards you can't use? And why not do a nice hexagonal pattern in the first place?

It turns out that once I managed to squash all my theoretical floor laying schemes I actually make a pretty good floor layer. Er, I was measuring and cutting, but still, the first day went well. And they only got squashed because we're on a timeline. It's LV & CA, 1700 sq ft and 15 days. Okay, THAT sounds unimpressive. So I'm going to add that there's a ton of other, very, very impressive tasks that we'll be accomplishing in those 15 days.

My new workshop.

Birkie Race Wax (& BootBuddies)

Boulder Nordic Sports will be at the Birkie Thur & Fri to do race wax.

They have a location in my favorite Wisconsin city... Cable!

The location is the intersection of Highway 63 and County Road M. The address is 13270 Cable Sunset Road.

They're testing waxes leading up to the Birkie so if you want to be spoiled and feel like a professional athlete, have them wax your skis for me. Trust me, good wax = happy race. Bad wax = you think you're working harder than everyone else and going slower = sad time.

AND they'll have BootBuddies for sale! Which is even more exciting than race wax!

Hours of Operation in Cable:
Thurs 25th- 11:00AM-8:00 PM
Fri 26th- 10:00AM-9:00 PM

Local Phone Number (Available Wednesday-Saturday Birkie week):


Monday, February 22, 2010

To Do List

I mentioned that I'm excited about going out and embarking on new adventures. Some of the things on The List:

Trek into Tikal (Guatemala)
And to Annapurna (Nepal)
Fly across a continent in a helicopter (or several)
Along with getting my instrument rating
And Commercial and learning to sling load.
Kayak around Antarctica (around = in the area, not circumnavigating)
Get married, own a house, have a baby (puke, but it's true)
write a book (also puking about how cliche that one is)
Improve my Spanish.
Visit Laos.
Learn to Scuba Dive.
Fly Gliders (blame Tony W for this obsession)
Race a rowing shell
(And a railroad handcart)
Knit a felted purse
Jump a horse (is that the right terminology?)
Salsa dance with the locals in Rio
Paint something I'm willing to hang up on my wall
Become an FSA
(I'd love a phd too, but something tells me I'll be busy with other things...)
Donate Blood (because I've always wanted all my blood until now)
Make my own chocolate, and cheese. yum.
And on it goes...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I'll admit. I haven't been totally honest with you this year. There are some things I've been subtly omitting from the laura valaas blog. But now it's time for a catharsis.

As hard as it's been for me to accept, it's time for me to move on from my professional ski career. If I'd been honest with myself I would have realized that it's been time for me to move on for months (maybe even years). Don't misunderstand me, I absolutely love skiing and I am so grateful for everything that has happened in my life and much of that has come about because of my decision to ski race. Skiing has taken me places, introduced me to people, and given me fabulous experiences.

I feel so fortunate to have the life I have. And have the people (and dog) in my life that I do. But for now it's time for me to explore some other aspects of life. There's a long list of things I haven't been able to do because I've been a "serious" athlete. Trips through the jungle, mountains to climb (of the literal variety), other sports to attempt, a start-up to run.

What I don't know is what happens to the laura valaas blog. It's always been about skiing, but now I want to focus on five thousand different pursuits. Does anyone want to read about a "normal" life? Or will my life ever really be normal? (Those are rhetorical questions, fyi.) I haven't been posting because I've been been disinterested in skiing and wasn't sure that I should stray so far from the ski arena. Life is so wonderful and I feel like I've been pretending to be subdued, but the truth is that I am absolutely ecstatic about all the new opportunities in my life right now.

I hate being cliche... but I feel like Dr. Seuss again

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.


And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)"

We sold some BootBuddies at the Canmore World Cup Festival last weekend! It was fun to see BootBuddies out and in action on the street.

So I was out last Saturday when they had the main street of Canmore groomed with snow & a girl walked by with some of her friends, wearing a pair of BootBuddies. (Which made me smile.) They stopped right in front of me (and probably thought I had some problems because I was unabashedly staring at them and listening to their conversation) and the girl was talking about the fast & female event at which she had been. Then she said, "and my dad got me a pair of BootBuddies!" and kicked one of her feet up almost over her head, to show off her BootBuddy. I was so proud. It was my first BootBuddy sighting that was a BootBuddy obtained in the normal, retail way.

Our new merchandising containers... stackable, recyclable, and made in the USA.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010


I am back in Squamish, land of the rain and rock and sea. The Olympic buzz around here is awesome. All the Canadians are so cute walking around in their cute little red and white Canadian outfits. The stores have all of their windows decorated with winter athletes and Olympic souvenirs are for sale everywhere. (I'm not going to tell you how long it took me to figure out how to spell "souvenir.")

I wish everyone good luck and hope that all of the athletes get the experience at the games that they were looking for.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I love grammar. That is all.


So I decided yesterday that I really should go do the Vasaloppet this year. As with most of my plans, I made this decision a couple of months later that I really should have done.

Does anyone have a start spot in the Vasa (the real, 90km, race) that they would like to sell me?

I can make payment in cash, credit card, or BootBuddies.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Racing this weekend in Canmore was fun, I may not have raced that fast, but I had fun. I didn't look at any results lists because I knew that was just going to be depressing. Sometimes it's better just to race and let the effort stand on its own without tying it to a number or a percentage back.

I did get my first reorder for BootBuddies from my first retailer. I felt like a proud mother. My little babies all getting grown up and sold off to be walked all over. tear. I hope they go into the world and do there job well. Which I know they will because every single one of them has been tested in my presence in a boot to ensure perfect fit. Let's just say that our quality control is at 100%.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

SkiTraxx Store

The SkiTraxx Store is now up and running!

(although there is the kink that you're going to receive two receipts for each order right now. I wonder how we fix that.)

The PINK BootBuddies are going to be ready to ship next week. Red, Blue & Yellow are ready now. And if you're in Canmore you can stop by TrailSports at the Canmore Nordic Centre to pick up a pair.

Excite! Excite!

E-commerce = success!
Next task = figure out when I start that 10k tomorrow. I keep having to convince the controller peoples here to let me into the venue. I must not have my World Cup swagger goin' on.

(And if you're a retailer, contact us or go to the dealer page.)


Wednesday, February 03, 2010


So you probably already know that I consumer more than my per capita of those Dove chocolates. You know, the ones with the messages written on the inside of the wrapper. I'd been out of them for almost a month (tragic) and I just restocked. Except the ones in Canada, in addition to coming in packages about a quarter of the size of the packages in the US, have the messages written in both English & French.

This has been doubly entertaining (which also means I've been enjoying twice as many chocolates as usual, yum) as I get to try my translating skills on the French version. It always is interesting to me how other people translate things, for example:

"Enjoy retail therapy"
"Ne sous-estimez jamais les bienfaits du magasinage"

Now, aside from the debatable advice this piece of chocolate is giving me, how in the world does a three word phrase turn into an entire sentence when you change it to French. Is that the fault of the translator or is that the fault of the French? If you gave me the French sentence I would translate it into: "Never underestimate the benefits of shopping." (I'm cheating on magasinage, I have no idea what that word actually means.) And I would say, where's the "pas?" isn't it supposed to go ne-verb-pas? They're going to write an entire sentence yet are too lazy to finish the negation.

I've also noticed that the phrases are different too. My last chocolate told me to "wear matching underwear."

Speaking of chocolate, I have discovered chocolate covered banana chips. Um, delicious. I got a bag when I stopped into Nutters, the little local health food store.

When I grow up I am going to have a health food store. Except when you walk in it's actually going to be a chocolaterie. With maybe some organic raspberries for color.

I wonder what advice that unopened Dove chocolate over there has for me...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I am back in Canmore. There's so many sweet ski areas in the world, everywhere I go I'm excited to be there. I have my first World Cup races of the season this Friday and Saturday. I love the buzz of being at a World Cup venue and this should be a big weekend because most of the other countries have their Olympic team here acclimating before heading over to Vancouver.

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