December 27, 2005:
This isn't exactly about skiing. My uncle Art Louie, in fact, told me he only skied once in his life, and hated it.
Last Friday night, Art was working the floor at the restaurant in his customary and unique style, ordering dinners for parties, telling jokes, patting customers on the back and calling the old ladies "girls." Shortly after nine o'clock, he ordered a root beer, then came in the office and slumped heavily into a chair, complaining that his legs wouldn't work; as my aunt rallied friends to lift him and called 911, a clot in Art's brain was quickly shutting down his conscious being . . . by the time the medics arrived, he was no longer talking or responding to voices.
The mood at the Louie family Christmas dinner was subdued with Art in the hospital in a steadily declining state. When he passed to the other side this morning, he closed the door on a chapter in Seattle restaurant history that included characters like Victor Rossellini and Peter Canlis. Art was a host who knew everyone in town, or at least acted like he did, and specialized in making each diner's personal experience memorable, often ordering his own favorite dishes for people he had never met and gaining a life-long customer in the process.
Art Louie was a man who pursued his passions in life - food, friends, painting, fishing and golf - with an unbridled enthusiasm which rubbed off on everyone. If there's a lesson to be learned from his life, it's to go as hard as you can for as long as you can until you just can't do it anymore. Arty, I hope the place you're in has great food, beautiful women, fat fish and fast greens.
Arthur J. Louie, 1918-2005. Rest in peace, pal.
December 17, 2005: Don't feel bad if you were left off my hard-copy Christmas card list, the virtual version is right here. For those of you who aren't familiar with the story, my wife Lindsay and I are hosting Jason and Jennifer Brunet, a young couple from New Orleans who lost their home and most of their belongings in Hurricane Katrina last August. They've adapted quickly, snuggling into fleece and Gore-Tex like native Seattleites, sipping espresso and micro-brews, and taking in the local music scene . . . Jennifer has been attending the University of Washington as a graduate student in architecture, while Jason has found a job building websites for a local firm specializing in sites for auto dealerships. It's been an inspirational experience for all of us. As our home fills with wrapping paper and sugar cookies in preparation for the holidays, it's a reminder that family and friends are what make Christmas real, and a wish that all of us make that circle of family and friends as large as we possibly can.
December 10, 2005: This is preposterous. Today's news on CNN that more than 150 nations will enter into talks regarding mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases post-2012 WITHOUT the #1 producer of said gases is a slap in the face to people who make an effort to curb their personal use of fossil fuels. Former president Bill Clinton, perhaps not a man whose lead I would follow at a bachelor party, but a guy with a handle on international statesmanship and a respectable legacy of leadership, agrees. I don't think I could have said it better myself; the Bush administration is " flat wrong" on this, and I'm afraid their heads are somewhere where their vision is obstructed. Remember this in a few years when your grandkids can't find anywhere to ski below 8,000 ft.
In skiing related news, here's a link to a 90-minute Powder Magazine interview with Lowell and Gordy Skoog on the life and premature death of their brother Carl. I didn't really know Carl; at most I said hello to him a couple of times in the lift line, but his recent death while skiing Cerro Mercedario in Argentina leaves a big hole in the worlds of both skiing and photography.
Speaking of breathtaking mountain photography, check out these pictures by my friend Michael's brother Christian Trommsdorff on his trip to Chomo-Lonzo last spring . . . Christian's day job is guiding climbing and skiing in Chamonix, and according to his brother is something of a badass. I look forward to meeting him in a few weeks. The scale of those Himalayan peaks is hard for us flat-landers to comprehend, but these pictures bring it home pretty well.
"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I covet, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2006 Gregory C. Louie