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Tom Ross: Not kinky, just stinky

Watch a football game in your ski boots - your feet will thank you in November

All over Steamboat this morning, guys are emptying their garages in the worst possible weather in a vain attempt to squeeze the car back in there. A few hard frosts on Mama’s windshield, and priorities subtly shift.

September has really let us down thus far. This should be the sweetest month of the year, with frosty nights and crystal days in the low 70s. Instead, we get this slop. It would be great news for duck hunters, except that duck season in the Pacific Flyway doesn’t begin until Sept. 30.

So what are we supposed to do on a perfectly crummy September Saturday?



The boys down at the One Stop urge you to get your ski boots out from underneath the stairs and wear them while you watch a football game (I recommend the Badgers at the Wolverines in the Big House, 10 a.m. on ESPN). Do me a favor and get fully dressed before you put your ski boots on. If the neighbors glimpse you strutting around in your briefs and your ski boots, they might get the wrong impression.

If the game comes down to crunch time and you find yourself pacing back and forth in front of the plasma screen, that’s even better, according to a local ski technician.



John Kole, aka Captain Comfort, explains that during ski season, boot liners conform to your foot. Over the long off-season, the liners relax and sag in the absence of being buckled and compressed against your foot. Walking around the house in your ski boots in September gets them back in shape, literally.

If wearing your ski boots for two hours reminds you of the pain they gave you last season, take them to a ski shop before the November rush and get them punched out.

Speaking of hunting season, if you still have frozen elk meat in the beer fridge, a rainy weekend in September is a good time to clear out the old game and make room for this season’s new game.

Mary Brassell recommends elk soup. Dip a 1 1/2-pound elk round steak in flour and salt and pepper, then brown thoroughly in a Dutch oven with some oil (no, not Pennzoil, wise guy, cooking oil).

Add four cups of water (or beer) and stand back. Add two tablespoons each of Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice, a bay leaf and one teaspoon of allspice to give the soup a hint of Scandinavia.

Simmer that bad boy for 60 to 90 minutes before adding a large sliced onion and six small potatoes, Cook another 45 minutes and serve with crusty bread. Aaaargh!

You can’t spend the entire weekend watching pigskin parade in your ski boots and eating elk soup, now can you?

Chris Puckett, Alpine director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, agrees it’s against the rules to use the weather as an excuse to avoid ski training. He suggests that recreational skiers look for a way to get some interval training into their lives.

Puckett says mountain biking on hills can improve a skier’s balance at the same time it improves his or her power.

He says a short, relatively steep hill that takes 60 seconds to ride is ideal for interval training. Charge up the hill and repeat the exercise five to six times before continuing on with a less strenuous ride, he suggests. If you’re a hiker, carrying a pair of tall ski poles and using them to propel you up a hill adds considerably to the exercise value of the interval.

Before the Broncos tee it up in Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday night, you need to make plans to get some peace and beauty in your life. September is a great time to plant tulip bulbs for next spring’s reawakening. Before you stick those tulips in the ground, Talina Tarzian at Windemere suggests dusting them with fertilizer made expressly for bulbs. It should contain nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. While you’re busy dusting your bulbs, consider a second treatment with powdered bone and blood meal. It will help deter voracious pests such as voles and mice. They would love to make a salad bar out of your flower bed.

Finally, don’t give up on September and early October. We’ve got at least two more weekends for classic autumn weather to take hold before Old Man Winter clamps down on us with all his fury.

Glad I could cheer you up.


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