Alpine Shop Ski SWAP 2006!

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The air was thick with anticipation. The staff was buzzing about how many people were waiting outside. The managers were wringing their hands...did they get everything done? All the signs made? All the racks restocked? The buyers, like ants on an anthill, zipped around remerchandising tables and racks before the onslaught. All parties waiting for the big moment...The Alpine Shop Ski SWAP was finally upon us!
I stand outside the tent by the Marmot table perfectly positioned by the front door. A monument of red, white and black all tied together by the soft indie beat of Jurassic 5. The golden mounds of lightly colored sugar cookies, sending out fragrant wafts to the waiting line, stand all in order: M-A-R-M-O-T. They come with a purpose: brand promotion. They sit tall and proud on their little red plates, ready for recognition, ready for consumption. To further their cause i walk the line passing out stickers and the little soldiers of profit...
Many have been waiting for hours. Camp chairs, refreshments...this starts to look more like a tailgaiting party. But the air is not so jolly. It is pregnant with anticipation, crouching and waiting for the moment with the tent flap goes up and permission is granted.Mothers stand poised like linebackers, ready to find those holiday deals. This is a combination of an after-Thanksgiving sale, a playoffs football fame and the mad dive for the last can of pumpkin on Thanksgiving day. These people have come with a mission.
Yet, some take it more slowly. One chap had a putting green set up in the parking lot, many more had cards. They are the slyest of them all...fake obliviousness, then run for the kill, that is their strategy. Posted by Picasa

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chaos, destruction, driclime...

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Though this will be my eighth ski swap, the excitement is always the same. It is the anxiousness of not completing all the tasks at hand verses the hardly containable excitement of the crowd. This night is like a bloodsport.
At the stroke of seven, a herd of anxious shoppers pours into the string-lit billowy white tent, all grabbing, grunting and diving for the best deals of the season. A bi-stander might see something reminiscent of a childhood memory involving cotton candy and tigers...welcome to the circus.
The next hours are touch and go. We wait inside for the initial struggle in the tent to subside before the masses push their way through the small door at the back to all the deals inside. Sand through an hourglass...The Marmot Ember jackets that were on special were gone in twenty minutes. Employees yelled over the mass chaos that ensued, "Where are the TKA jackets?", "Does anyone know if we have this jacket in teal?", "Where are all of the Roo packs?" Zipping, folding stocking, became a dance we did on the floor as rep and employee alike worked together like a fine-tuned machine to get them into product and get them in line.
The lines were long, the natives were restless...but we made it through the night, amazingly.It was a great night, a great event and the most successful first SWAP night that the Alpine Shop has ever had. Tune in next spring for another update from the crazy land of St. Louis. Until then, goodnight and good luck! Posted by Picasa

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Marquette Races, Sept. 23rd

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Sunday and i headed up the beautiful drive from Madison to Marquette once again this fall for a set of Montrail sponsered trail races. The weekend was amazing, all the leaves changing, the weather beautiful. Couldn't have asked for a better race day. My favorite, the starting line picture...

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Marquette races continued...

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The runners are in! These first few images were of the 5K run, but for these guys, i think it was a sprint!
Does anyone else think this guy looks like Pre?

Our fearless race coordinator, who was in the top five finishers of the half marathon. Nice work! Posted by Picasa

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...stories of perilous, nay, endless traveling in the ever changing midwest territory...