“The best way for investors to learn from mistakes is to let others make them, then read about it.” – Scott Barlow in The Globe and Mail
A belated Happy Fourth of July…
Here are my most influential reads for the month – in no particular order:
Bill Miller: An Investor’s Evolution (Part I) – “He found that the “source of excess return had little to do with pure accounting factors such as low p/e or low price-to-cash flow; it had to do with changes in the return on capital.””
Time to Stop Believing Deficit Bullshit – “There is a rational middle between Zero deficits on one side and Modern Monetary Theorists on the other. We can fix our infrastructure, extend broadband to everyone throughout the country, even work to moderate climate change — and the economy will be just fine.”
House Money – “There has been an unfathomable amount of money made in crypto over the last decade. But it’s not the amount of money made that is most shocking. It is the velocity at which it occurred, and the age group that benefited most.”
Selling to yourself: the private equity groups that buy companies they own – “At the heart of the deals is a broader issue that is becoming more significant as stock markets tumble. Companies owned by private equity groups are facing the same pressures as their listed peers, as interest rates rise, supply chains struggle and an economic downturn looms. Critics of the industry believe some of these deals could be a way of hiding from this reality.”
One Experiment Ends and Another Begins – “So this is in no way unforeseen. The prediction in advance was that this behavior would provoke very high inflation. And the MMTers said “pshaw.” They were wrong, and that experiment is over. The next person who mentions MMT, you are entitled to run out of town on a rail.”
Right answer to wrong question – “For the first time in the history of Park City skiing, the planning commission has said “no” to resort upgrades. A ski town saying “no” to more skiing is a turning point. “
The Challenging Middle – “Be wary. This present cycle is so unusual – pandemic lockdown, fiscal stimulus, overdue wage increases, inflation spike, supply chain issues, ongoing global pandemic, and a Fed overreaction (even panic) – that prior cycles do not fit very neatly. “
Fed Starts Experiment of Letting $8.9 Trillion Portfolio Shrink – “After doubling in size through asset purchases in the first two years of the pandemic, the balance sheet will be reduced at a pace that’s almost twice as fast as after the last financial crisis. While the process officially commences on Wednesday, the first US Treasury securities won’t run off until $15 billion mature on June 15.”
Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published. Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.
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 (https://www.today.com/home/defrost-windshield-solution-t106477) 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:
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.
Longer reach – 60” vs. 48”.
Straight vs. curved. This probably impacts ease of storage more than anything else.
Feels substantial vs. a lighter tool (a touch subjective).
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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:
Powder Ski: I lean toward something like the Moment Wildcat, Blizzard Rustler 11 (length?)
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.
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.
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.