Ski Weekend – Ultimate Fitness/Family Combo

Heavenly! That’s where we’ve been skiing the last five days and I couldn’t better describe our time here. That is if you enjoy memorable experiences with your family and going to bed every night severely exhausted from an intense workout on the snow. I’m constantly trying to find time for family and fitness and now I’ve unlocked the secret: Ski Vacation. Vacation may be a strong descriptor, as it could be just a long weekend.  Here’s our routine:

  • Wake up at 6:30. Eat, get dressed and out the door. Note dressing a 4 and 6 year old with all required gear requires planning and patience. 
  • To the mountain. Check kids into ski school. (highly recommended and more on that below). 
  • Ski/snowboard til 11:30. Eat lunch. 
  • Pick kids up at 4:00.  
  • Back to cabin (I highly recommend Airbnb or VRBO)
  • Start dinner. And open beer/wine.  Kids exhausted and telling stories all night. 
  • Eat together as family. Tell more stories. 
  • Everyone is dead by 8:00 and in bed by 9:00.  
  • Sleep like your dead and repeat.  

Fitness Element: 
I had some disillusioned dream that I would go for a jog or bust out 30 minutes of a HIIT-type workout while here…ya…not happening. My legs are toasted and I’m mentally exhausted from navigating the daily routine. After a few days of recovery, I’m pretty sure my legs will be stronger than ever. It is so nice to get out of the bike/run hamster routine. Try to hit up a resort with Express-Lifts, as you’ll get in twice as many runs and likely (if like me) may call it a day around 1:00.

Family Element:
Memories, memories, memories. We’ve created more stories here in a few days than a few months at home. Our kids have learned a skill that that they will enjoy their entire life! Every night we are together sharing experiences of the day. We meet people on chair lifts, chat with instructors and the kids love it. We happen to be here during Christmas, so opening and playing with toys was a bonus.

Ski School for Kids: 
I’m an accomplished skier – raced in high-school and college, etc… – but truth be told, I’m not the most patient guy and generally kids will listen to a stranger/coach better than a parent. I do ski with my kids, but we want them to have a great experience and establish key fundamentals. Ski school, can seem costly, but consider what you get for ~$125 per day: lift ticket, coaching, lunch, ski equipment (including helmet) and mass entertainment like hot chocolate breaks! Heavenly (owned by Vail) coaches rock! Works out to about $15/hour; it’s like a babysitter. Also check out Epic if you visit a Vail resort: pictures, vertical miles, etc…
Cost: 
A trip like this does not have to break your budget. Plan ahead, buy lift tickets from your local ski shop, book ahead on Airbnb or something similar, cook your own meals and pack your lunch. If you need to rent gear, do that locally before heading to mountain (my fav Sportsbasement; rented a snowboard for $60 for 12 days!).

Finally: 
Have fun and rock it! Full disclosure I snowboarded 4 out of 5 days and took some nasty spills. I kinda of suck, but loved it. My wife just started skiing and she is dominating.  The entire family is severely challenged daily, sore, beat and insanely united and having fun!

Would love to hear if you have fitness/family combos!

Stock Bets

I enjoy gambling. Craps, blackjack, poker. I’ve rarely left a casino ‘up’, but the entertainment justifies the cost; at least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep. Another way to place bets is in the stock market. I think its similarly fun, because in addition to an occasional adrenaline rush, you get to follow companies you love and follow your bets over time. I’m not referring to day trading; I don’t have time for that. We’re talking about long-term bets on companies and brands you know and understand.

[Disclaimer: I’m not your financial adviser and you may want to talk to one prior to buying individual stocks.]

I own the stocks listed below because I believe in the long-term success and future growth of the companies. Some of these bets may be bad, and there are certainly some better ones out there, but these are bets I’ve made based on personal circumstances. I live in Silicon Valley, so I hear a lot about these companies, and you’ll note almost all my bets are SV companies.

Another recommendation: listen to your significant other. My wife recommended Adobe about a year ago, and boy did I miss that one. She also had great calls on Amazon and Twitter.

If you have comments or recommendations, please let me know!

  • Apple – I use so many of their products and so do most people I know. Pays a dividend too! 
  • Amazon – Taking over retail of the world! Same-day delivery in most metros not too far out. 
  • Facebook – Not cool with kids any more, but can you bet against them? Owns Instagram.
  • Google – They have data on all of us; information is power.
  • LinkedIn – The Facebook of every professional in the world…not seeing a lot of competition here. 
  • Netflix – (disclosure: I work here). Watch what you want, where you want, when you want. The “what” is debated from a content standpoint, but continues to improve significantly. 
  • Tesla – I see these cars everywhere in the Valley. No reason to believe other regions won’t follow. It is the coolest car on the road. 
  • Twitter – Could be bigger than Facebook. 
  • Workday – Probably the least known to the layman, but I use their cloud-based corporate HR management solution daily, and I think its slick. If their Finance ERP solution proves similarly successful, watch out. 
Could have picked up for $40!! 

BIG Thailand Vacation – Experiences, Friendships, Memories

Just returned from my first trip to Thailand and hands down will recommend it as an unbelievable must-see vacation destination.

There is just too much to talk about this trip, so I’m just going to hit some highlights with some photos.

There is a key takeaway though: BIG Vacations!  I wavered so much on booking this trip. $’s and time away from work! You kidding me; How are we going to manage this? It is so easy to say ‘no’, next year, or a little later, after the promotion or when the kids are a little older. Well guess what, we said ‘yes’ and we handled it and now I can’t stop thinking about the memories, friendships and awesome experiences. A fair quality measure of vacation is how often you continue talking and thinking about it.

Some people looked at me and said “Thailand?” with this bewildering, ‘are your kids going to be safe?’ look. We were on the island of Phuket, which is a destination for what seemed to be everyone around the globe save Americans. I never felt safer.

Cruising to snorkeling destination.

Another one I loved “you’re taking your kids out of school for 2 weeks!?” Well actually it crossed over Thanksgiving, so only about 8 days, but YES! And guess what, their experiences there were significantly more meaningful than two weeks in a crazy classroom of kids.  And they learned some basic Thai to boot.

Ok, so why Thailand and why so much fun…in a nutshell…

I listen to the Ben Greenfield podcast regularly, and he invited listeners to join him in Thailand for some fun, training and triathlon. So basically, he planned it out, we went along for the ride.

Exercise enthusiasts will appreciate that our experience was augmented by the additional fun of attending/participating in back-to-back weekends of big-time triathlons with big-time names like: Chris “Macca” McCormack, Pete Jacobs, Melissa Hauschildt – all multiple Ironman and 70.3 champs – among many others. With each triathlon also came a big-time awards banquet and after-party at a bar on the beach. These guys know how to let loose!

Kids with Macca

I participated in both tri’s, but my performance basically sucked because I came down with Mono the week before leaving….Mono sucks. Oh, and I don’t think I got it from kissing.

The food was delicious and inexpensive. We ate three full-course meals a day, but because the food was so healthy and we were so active, I think we lost weight.  Also, was finally able to introduce some variety to my kids diets; its a chore to get them to try new food, but there they were willing.

The after-party.

Thai massages. Famous, inexpensive and make sure they don’t break your back. The kids got massages too!

Weather. Sunny, hot, humid and rained for about an hour everyday around 4:00.

What else did we do there? Well besides the tri’s themselves and parties. We did have our fair share of hanging out at Angsana’s resort pool and beach. Day trip to Patong; think major parties, counterfeit goods and vendors trying to sell you everything. Three day excursion to Railay Bay; accessible only by boat and truly paradise on earth.  Rock climbing. Snorkeling. It’s easy to fill up 2 weeks.

Rock climbing.

I’m fairly confident we’ll make it back there, and I hope its in 2014. I’m ready for another BIG vacation and I’m ok if it’s the same place.

Hanging out with Rasmus, winner of the 70.3, in The Airport! 

Me, at least looking triumphant.