Skiing Stoke from Lake Tahoe

Month: January 2011

A flight with Quinner

By Rob McCormick

My birthday blessings continued yesterday. My friend Grant arranged for a flight with Kevin Quinn in his 1953 Cessna 180. This aircraft can fly and land just about anywhere. What a treat to be able to scout the region for new backcountry touring options from the air!

Here’s footage from our flight which departed the Truckee Airport around 9am on January 29.

Product Review – Syma Metal Series RC Mini Helicopter (Model S107)

By Rob McCormick

The bad news is I turned 41 this month. The good news is that I am still alive, I have an awesome family, and for my birthday they gave me the coolest toy ever…a metal series miniature remote control helicopter by SYMA. The S107 Model is a small, durable, fully operational helicopter that actually flies wherever you want it to go.

The infrared remote control is powered by 6 AA batteries and has a throttle that allows for lift (up and down) and another lever that allows you to shift direction and drive the ship forward or backward with the tail rotor. It also has a rudder trim that allows you to correct rotation until the copter hovers on a steady axis.

The main chassis and skids are lightweight, durable, alloy which protect it from hard landings. The body is stylish plastic and houses blinking LED disco lights that make it fun to fly in the dark. The rotor blades are made of extremely durable plastic. I cringe every time I drop it from 10 feet up or fly it into a wall at full power but I have yet to break it. A metal balance bar located above the rotor blades allows the ship to hover perfectly using gyroscope technology. The helicopter charges with a USB cord for your computer and flies for about 5 to 7 minutes per charge…the perfect amount of time for a work break or as a reward for your kid brushing his teeth before bedtime. As the copter loses charge it flies only a few feet off the ground which makes it OK for my two year old to fly it over carpet.

The helicopter takes practice to fly well. Part of what makes it fun is that you don’t just pick up the remote and own the thing. By logging in flight time you are rewarded with better navigation skills and less crashes. As skill level improves you can walk around the house flying it right in front of your face. You can also impress your friends with dicey, high consequence landings on tall objects. My son and I set up a couch pillow as a heli-pad for realistic takeoffs and landings.

If you told me five years ago that a product of this precision, suitable for indoor flying would be available I would not have believed it. Or I would have guessed the price to be in the hundreds of dollars. Thankfully engineers somewhere worked diligently to design this ridiculously cool product that could be delivered to the consumer at a price point of around $35. At this price every aviation or technology enthusiast should have one. Have fun!

Junuary Continues

This January hasn’t been the best month for skiing. But it hasn’t been the worst either. Still been some nice corn on south facing aspects at the right time of day. Sunny skies and balmy temps are expected for the rest of the week. Looks as though we may finish the month with less than a foot of new snow. Thankfully the early season snowpack is holding strong.

Here’s some footy from the past month or so:

It’s Time to Get G.N.A.R.

If you live in North Lake Tahoe and are not yet familiar with the game of GNAR you must be living in a vacuum. The acronym G.N.A.R. stands for Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness and provides a sound method for proving how much better you are than everyone else at Squaw Valley. What started as a bonus chapter in Robb Gaffney’s Squallywood book eventually became a real contest where the winner would take $25,000. What happened during this monumental event? Unofficial Networks proudly presents the feature film…GNAR…the Movie! Check it out here:

GNAR…the Movie!