Category Archives: Dad Life


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Our neighbors are moving and starting to clean stuff out.

They had two skateboards from their daughters that they were giving away.

So, at the age of 47, I am the proud owner of a skateboard for the first time.

This should give the neighborhood plenty of entertainment.

Inspirational credit: An Ode To Falling On Your Ass In The Wintertime

2023: The Year Of Exploring

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We have decided that 2023 is the Year of Exploring.

Yes, we have a series of trips planned – to the Pacific Northwest, to Colombia, and to UK & Europe.

We also reached a major milestone – exiting my prior business. And I subsequently resigned my role to take a “sabbatical.” So, I plan to use that to do some exploring along some other lines as well.

Inspirational acknowledgement: 2023 is the Year of _________

Winter Boot Liners

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I found an original pair of Sorel Caribou, the standard issue winter boot, in a Thrift Shop in St. Augustine, Florida a few years back.

Great boots for winters out here in Utah.

However, the liners were dying – particularly the fur cuff.  

Last winter, I searched and could not find Sorel branded replacements.  Found some other options, but the compatibility was questionable.

Well, it appears July is a good time to search for winter boot liners.  They are currently in stock at Sorel.

Mrs. SFTE said I should go with the black collar vs. the white.  Know. Your. Audience.

The only question was my boots say size 9.  They also say they were made in Canada.  So I guessed they meant size 9 in U.K. sizing.  Sorel’s run a bit big, but I am generally not a 9 in anything.  So, I went with size 10 U.S., which corresponds to size 9 U.K. and size 43 in EU.

Back in business.

Pray for snow…

Gear Review: Auto Snow Brushes & Scrapers

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We have lived in snowy climates for sometime, but the environs of Park City certainly upped the the snow fall levels a bit from Central and even Northeastern Ohio.  We also changed the requirements with the addition of our van – which at close to 10’ tall – is not going to fit in most garages.

Here is what we were using in Ohio.  

I am not going to spend time reviewing these older brushes, but you can see by the design, that ice scraping was a bit more important than actually moving snow.  I actually try to avoid scraping ice and use this method to defrost icy windshields ( quickly.

Last year, I upgraded our snow brush to the SubZero 48” Polar Vortex based on a review from Blister Gear Review.  A definite upgrade to what we had been using.  The foam part did fall off.  But an ample application of Gorilla Glue seemed to provide an adequate repair.

This year, I went ahead an upgraded a bit more to the 60” Snow Moover.  Again, an upgrade from prior brushes.

A few features of the Snow Moover vs. the Polar Vortex brush to point out:

  1. One side of the head is a brush and another side is a soft scraper vs. an integrated brush / foam scraper.  Both sides pivot, but you can see the difference.
  1. Longer reach – 60” vs. 48”.
  2. Straight vs. curved.  This probably impacts ease of storage more than anything else.
  3. Feels substantial vs. a lighter tool (a touch subjective).
  4. Ice scraper – pretty similar, but as I said above, I try to avoid scraping.

In summary, my recommendation is to get the right tool for the job.  That is 80% of the battle.  Either of these brushes is a good upgrade, but I have found the 60” Snow Moover to be superior.

Some other related gear review:

  1. Kinco Wool Gloves
  2. Snow Shovels
  3. Ski Gear
  4. Spatula

No affiliation with Amazon or any of these products.

Ski Gear Thought Experiment

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So, I put this together to send to the Blister team, since they will give you gear recommendations if you are a member.  They’re great; I highly recommend their reviews as well as a membership.

However, I decided what I really needed was more reps, not more gear.  So as of now, I have not made any new purchases, but am considering another guided backcountry trip.


I have been building out my ski gear lineup over the last few seasons; making an investment or two each season.  Where would you recommend investing for this season?

Here is my current gear lineup, built over the past five seasons or so, while living mostly in Ohio but skiing Colorado quite a bit.  We’re currently in Park City, Utah.

Skis (In Order of Acquisition):

  1. Dynastar Slicer (175) – I bought this ski back in 2016 and really love it.  It is my daily driver and I generally have to look for reasons not to ski this ski.  It inspires confidence.  It’s my baseline for the rest of the skis below.
  1. Dynastar Distorter (179) – I bought this setup off season in 2016 at a price that made it sort of impossible not to purchase.  I use it as a “beater” ski, when coverage is less than ideal.  We will occasionally cruise through the park, but that’s not where I spend significant time.  So generally this ski doesn’t do anything better than my other skis.
  1. Head Supershade iTitan (163) – Purchased this ski in 2018 and have learned to enjoy it early season and days I want to work on short turns / carving.  The ski has helped me progress.  It is obviously a short length and a carving ski, but I have found it to be way more versatile than I expected.  Matched to the right conditions and objectives, I always enjoy this ski.
  1. Line Sick Day 104 (179) + Atomic Shift Binding – Bought this at the end of the season in 2020 based on Blister reviews and as a 50 / 50 ski as I have started touring a bit.  Touring was all we could do at the end of 2020.  I also use the ski on softer inbounds days.  I find it seems to require a bit more attention than the Slicer and that I need to “drive it” a tad more to inspire the same level of confidence.  But that could also be conditions or my own shortcomings as a skier.

Boots (In Order of Acquisition):

  1. Nordica GPX 110 – Call this my first real ski boots that fit properly.  I have a narrow heel and my prior boots would fall more into the comfort category.  After a bunch of work, this boot and I get along just fine.
  1. Atomic Hawk 120 XTD – purchased with my Lines at the end of 2020 season for my touring setup.  I have been impressed with the boots and the fact that I’ve actually not had them worked on at all and they feel pretty good (only 2mm BSL difference between my boots).  I could use a punch or two.  I mix and match them a bit with my other skis depending on my mood.  They ski significantly better when you remember to take them out of walk mode.

Personal Details & Ability:

I am 46 years old, 5’ 11”, 160 lbs and am reasonably athletic (D1 track and field).  I’m not a super aggressive skier, and maybe take a little bit more playful approach.  I am a late to life skier, having grown up in Florida, but can ski 85% of the Canyons comfortably.  Steep bumps and deep powder are areas I need to work on in particular.  I spend most my time trying to keep up with my nine year old daughter, who is a natural skier (this will be her sixth season).  She skis the Atomic Bent Chetler in 133 because Santa likes her more than he likes me.  My ski lengths are probably conservative.

We skied ~85 days last season.  Mostly inbounds at the Canyons, or early season at PCMR, and ~5 days night skinning PCMR, and ~5 backcountry days.  Backcountry was a touch scary around here last season, but hope to do a bit more this upcoming season and did my AIARE level 1 in March at Snowbird.

2021 / 2022 Season:

My goal would be to continue to progress as an all-around skier and would prioritize any investment along those lines.

Here’s what I have been considering:

  1. Powder Ski: I lean toward something like the Moment Wildcat, Blizzard Rustler 11 (length?)
  2. Dedicated Touring Setup: Raven (length?) + ATK Raider? My spirit animal is the Raven, what is yours?  I am really just looking for an excuse to buy this setup.
  3. Updated Daily Driver: Something a bit firmer (Masterblaster, QST 99?). I honestly would consider getting the Dynaster Menace 98 in longer length before you can no longer find it.
  4. Invest elsewhere – Newer boots, other, etc.  For boots, I would probably be looking at the Nordica Pro Machine in 120.

What would you recommend?  And I welcome any other reactions to anything I wrote above.

Gear Review: True Temper Snow Shovel

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Sometimes the right tool makes all the difference.

If you live in a snowy climate and you are looking for an upgrade to those common, cheap plastic snow shovels that last about a season, get the True Temper Industrial Grade Snow Pusher.

This is the right tool for quickly moving snow around.  Especially the wet heavy snow that the snow blower cannot handle.  Or maybe that light 1 – 2” where it might be faster than actually getting the snow blower out in the first place.

In the 30” size (it comes in 24″ and 36″ as well), the Pusher makes short work of the sidewalk and steps in one back and forth pass.

Also, as the name implies, it is not really a shovel.  I actually don’t believe in “shoveling” snow.  I am lazy.  It is way more efficient to push snow, than lift snow.  Think snow plow. So the end of this tool looks a lot more like a snow plow blade, than a shovel.

After a bit of research, I snagged mine, in store at Home Depot toward the start of the season last year.  Totally worth it.

The Mountain West: Not All Sunshine & Lollipops

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We have really enjoyed being out here in Park City, Utah for an extended period of time.

I have written about the path that got us here.  In short, we were here when the pandemic started and decided to shelter here for a little while. A little while turned into a while longer.  

Last year, we missed most of fire season.  There were a few days where you could tell there was something going on with particulates in the air.  Mostly eerie sunsets.

This year has been a different story.  We have seen a lot of these kinds of forecasts.

We have learned about PurpleAir.  There have been consecutive days where it has been legitimately smokey – with smoke coming over from California (i.e., the Dixie Fire).  

And we had our own fire recently.  There were evacuations and disruptions. And a lot of smoke.

VLAT Operating Over Parley’s Canyon Fire near Park City, Utah

Recent events have made us appreciate the clear days even more.  Even the locals are distressed with the situation this year.  

Fire season is something to understand if you are considering the Mountain West.

Unexpected Benefit

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I am a cyclist.  I generally ride as much as I can.

This does create some tension in my personal life.  Safety is a root cause.

So, I have ridden with Road ID’s “ecrumb” application (  for several years.  It allows my wife, or anyone else I add, to track my rides via an emailed link.  There are similar applications from other companies.  The main benefit is if something unforeseen would happen, your last known location is traceable.

Recently, I discovered an added benefit of the application.  I lost my phone on my ride. 

I had put my phone in my jersey back pocket.  That’s fairly common.  But this was not a particularly well fitting jersey and I had my repair kit in there as well.  And, I had a little off bike incident that apparently dislodged my phone without me knowing it.  We won’t call it a crash, since I never hit the ground, but I did come off the bike in a fairly unceremonious way.

As soon as I got home, I realized my phone was missing.  We looked on the “ecrumb” and the application reported the last known position as the spot of my little event.  When I rode back to the spot, there my phone was, laying under a little bush.

A nice surprise.

Hard Tacos

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Mrs. SFTE decided to torture our daughter the other week.  She made tacos.  Taco Tuesday you know.  But with a wrinkle.  She made hard tacos.

These were the new and improved version.  These hard tacos had flat bottoms so they stood up on their own.  However, they still broke down the middle, spilling all the contents as my daughter found out the hard way.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate hard tacos.  Guessing here; but I think you could measure that time in decades.

It’s funny how your perspective changes.  I think the first time I realized there was such a thing as soft tacos was at a restaurant at an age not too much older than my daughter.  What a paradigm shift that night was.  Maybe they were widely available before that.  I really have no idea.  All I know is that from my perspective there was only one kind of taco: hard.  And once I realized soft tacos were an option, I never went back.

Sort of like soft tacos for my daughter – until the other night.  She had no idea. Ha ha ha….