Who's in the Burrow?

Who's on the "Dream Team"??

Nobody knows who has been named to the "Dream Team" (word has it they will make their grand entrance by parachute at Sugar Bowl tonight), but the Fighting Marmot can confidently report today that SBA Head of School Tracy Keller will once again don her Dartmouth speed suit for the Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation's annual Silver Belt Calcutta races tomorrow.

Noted ski-racing handicapper Jim Harleen of San Francisco contributed the following highly entertaining "2013 Silver Belt Handicap and Tip Shot," which is duplicated below in its entirety (and entirely unedited for your reading pleasure). Thanks, Jim, and good luck to all the Silver Belt racers!
TEAM #1: JEFF HAMILTON, CAPTAIN - The “Silver Bullet” says he’s serious this year. No messing around. The gloves, or mittens, are coming off. Yep, that can mean only one thing: Captain Jeff Hamilton is dusting off “The Tuck,” not seen since 1984, for this year’s Silver Belt! Olympian and first man to ski over 150 mph, Hamilton is a fearless speed merchant tired of fellow competitor’s “Hey Hammy, straight-line Nob Today?” taunts reflecting rumors he may be north of 40 now. He says to any doubters, “The Bullet is back, fit, and ready for a Buckle!” Teammates, Milt “Freight Train” Holstrom, Gladys Weidt aka Yesican Arc (an alumni of the Bolshevik National Team and the University of New Mexico), the “Fresh Prince” himself, Dashiell Judd, Lucie “Dead-Eye” James, and Head Nordic Coach Jeff Schloss (doing the uphill honors) make this a low risk proposition. Odds: 3-1 
TEAM #2: TAMARA MCKINNEY, CAPTAIN - She is the greatest female ski racer in US history. Yes, even better than teen phenom, Mikaela Shiffrin, and what finer venue to prove it once and for all than the Silver Belt Calcutta! Tamara McKinney won so often she climbed the World Cup podium like a stairmaster and now plans on taking home a Silver Buckle to go with all her World Cup hardware. Her team is poised to make it a double celebration with Tim “Gordie’s Father” Critz Devin “The Yammer Hammer” Gill, Eleanore “The BB” Hamilton, Andrew “Pliny” Elder and uphill ripper Skyler Mullings make up the “pitch” perfect choir. This team’s a diamond in the rough. Odds: 5-1 
TEAM #3: KRISTEN CLARK, CAPTAIN - Kristen “The Colonel” Clark is back and ready to once again fry up some male egos in her special blend of seven herbs and spices…..The former US Ski Team super star and World Cup downhill winner loves nothing more than watching former USST male teammates sprout feathers as she chicks them in yet another Silver Belt. When asked about this, the ever shy and modest Clark just said, ”dipping sauce, anyone?” Her team looks particularly strong this year with, uh oh, is this true!?!?…. Oh, God, please tell me there are two people named Dan Keller who ski at Sugar Bowl. Otherwise this could be Assistant Sugar Bowl Patrol Director, Dan Keller, (husband of Tracy), who’s entered in this year’s race! (If so, Zaloga, get a meat wagon ready at gate 4, which is where Mr. Keller’s ski racer fantasies historically end. Badly.) You’d think that with a Masters in engineering from Berkeley he’d be smarter than this…. Please Lord, just no compound fractures this time……Fortunately, this team also has Chummy Prestowitz who says he can keep up with his daughters down Nob Hill and the dynamic duo of Lily Rose Longton and Harrison Marshall who are two of the finest skiers the SBST has ever produced. Add in “Thunderbolt” Sam Zabell and you have a money team. Odds: 4-1 
TEAM #4: DARON RAHLVES, CAPTAIN - He’s the greatest downhiller in US History, winner of the Hahnenkamm, Olympian, fearless Big Mountain Movie Star, the Fort Knox of Silver Belt Buckles, a man so nice I can’t think of a single bad thing that could be said of him. I know you think I am talking about Tim Fitzpatrick! Understandable, but no, I’m talking about the twins’ father, Daron Rahlves! And believe you me, his entire Hall of Fame career has been pointing to this very race. He’d give it all back, the fame, the fortune, everything! for just one more Silver Buckle….and short of some one driving nails through his skis, you can start etching his name on that buckle right now! He has AAA rated wingmen in Mike “Ready Mix” Rodarte, Maggy “East Burke” Mulhern, Cody “Deep Freeze” Winters, Grace “Velvet” Hammarskjold with Danielle “Skip the Klister” Nivinski doing the uphill racing. Bidders are going to love this team. L…O….V…E…THEM!! Odds: 2-1 
TEAM #5: TRACY KELLER, CAPTAIN - The years of clearing gates have put so many holes in the famous Dartmouth speed suit that when Tracy Keller slips into it, she’s the spitting image of Jennifer Lopez strutting her stuff at the People’s Choice Awards. Backing her up are Mark Palamaras, Brandon “The Ravin’” Craven, “Sweet” Georgie Sullivan, “Yosemite” Sam Ferguson and Martin “Yes, I know it was Elaine on Seinfeld’s Last Name” Benes. I know what savvy handicappers like Phil Hammarskjold are thinking, “Keller’s knees? What’s the status?” Truth is, when she’s in the starting gate and hears, Racer Ready, 5…4…3… she’s the same old Wilson with smoke pouring from her ears, flames firing from the nostrils, stomping her skis, whanging her poles together while chanting “Kill, Kill, Kill!” Believe me, the knees could be fused and locked straight and it wouldn’t matter a whit. Come race day, she’ll be ready. Could this be her year for a buckle? I say YES!!! Team #3 is a “Best Bet” for a podium. Odds: 2-1. Prop bets have Keller at even money for a Buckle. 
TEAM #6: TONI STANDTEINER, CAPTAIN - Former US Ski Teamer, NCAA Champion, Toni “The Anvil” Standteiner flosses with barbwire, wears homemade squirrel pelt long johns and moves mounds of red hot forge coals barehanded…OK, we all know he’s tough, and was fast….but what is he doing to make up for the ravages of time and to create some speed for the Silver Belt? According to his wife, Jennifer: Total Body Hair Removal……using duct tape, forge tongs and left over roofing tar. He says it makes him not just feel fast, but, well, sexy fast. When last seen, he was hanging his speed suit back up in the closet….Uh, oh. Parent teammate Brendan “The Convertible” Dyson is tanned, rested and ready! Star skier, Katharina Golik is on the team diet of free range yak burgers seasoned with metal shavings and Sno-Melt (so you know she’s ready!) and there is the Batman and Robin combo of Addi MacCracken and Michael “Mini” Cooper ready to carry the load should Toni get arrested. Taking on the uphill duties is Katrin Larusson, who is a powerhouse Nordic athlete. This Standteiner team has cashed in more often than any other in the history of the Silver Belt! Odds: 4-1 (Standteiner shows up wearing only a jock strap and Bowie Knife? 2-1!) 
TEAM #7: BILLY “BAROO” HUDSON, CAPTAIN - Rumors that he actually was a US National Champion, World Cup and Olympic skier with a book, “Right on the Edge of Crazy” written about him are, by current observations, very unlikely, but being verified. Whatever the truth, nothing says SILVER BELT! like when Billy “Baroo” Hudson dusts off the 215 Hexcel Swallow Tails , waterproofs the Henke 2 buckles and straps down the chin strap of his world cup leather helmet! Hasn’t skied much of late (had to ask big brother, Jim, “Hey, how do I get to the “Christmas Light” chair?), but he says this is his year. With Bill “Soon to be Silver Belt Legend” Veghte, Cheslsea “Beware of the Dark Horse” Boone, Christina “100” Watridge and Austin “Powers” Peña, the team is looking very, very competitive. But the ultimate success of Team Baroo all comes down to the guy on the skinny skis. Peter Carroll crushes it, this team cashes it. Odds: 5-1 
TEAM #8: KATE KREHBEIL, CAPTAIN - Google the words “Kick Ass” and what’s the first search result that comes up? “Kate Krehbeil’s US Ski Team Bio, that’s what! The former US Ski Teamer has lost zero, nada, nil, nuttin in retirement and, in fact, may be faster than ever. And she’s got Jimmy “Juice Man” Schaffner laying down so much Hi-Fluro their skis could be hovering 2” off the snow by race day. Backed up by the great Dan “Willie” Loman this team should be an easy sell job for auctioneer Jim Hudson. Add in the jet fuel combo of David Niehaus and Luke “How Could I Not be a Skier with a Last Name Like” Winters and Casey “Jones” Jobe providing the Nordic power and you have an almost sure bet. Odds: 3-1 
Grand Entrance by Parachute 8:30 PM Saturday Night 

Valentine's Day Serenades at SBA

SBA Student Council officers delivered customized Valentine's Day serenades to raise funds for this year's senior trip to Disneyland. The performers made quite a splash on campus, and not only for their singing, as can be seen here...

Building a Better Dragon, One Gene at a Time

Pretty "Petunia" may not have gotten the fire-breathing gene, but she does have a menacing spiked tail, arched feet built for speed, pointed thighs, large pink wings, elbow spikes, and four intimidating head flaps. Male dragon Barney, on the other hand, was fortunate to get the fire-breathing gene, since he sports a large yellow comb on his head that might make him the object of some school-yard derision. Barney is noticeably flat footed, and has a much less-intimidating tail than does Petunia. 

They are two of a small clan of dragons born on the SBA campus this week, the spawn of the annual biology class "Dragon Genetics" project designed to help students understand how genes determine our physical traits. Welcome to SBA, Petunia, Barney, Betsy, Hansal, and Elliot, and thank you to biology teacher Andy Giordano for the following overview of this always popular project!

"Last week the biology class engaged in the annual favorite 'Dragon Genetics' activity. Once students get a firm grasp on patterns and mechanisms of inheritance, it is time to apply all of the principles in one activity. Students select sets of chromosomes, in essence generating parental genomes. Paired off, they create a baby dragon genotype by simulating meiosis among the parental genotypes. Students then are asked to interpret the genotypes by drawing a large dragon that displays the physical characteristics (phenotypes) dictated by their baby dragon's genes. The activity is extremely valuable, as students reinforce their understanding of topics across the unit (dominance, segregation, independent assortment, chromosomal mutations, meiosis, incomplete and co dominance, and sex-linked traits). It is also super popular because, well, Dragons!" - Andy Giordano, Biology Teacher

A Two-Podium Day for SBA

Fighting marmot alpine racers ably defended home snow with some strong skiing in this morning's giant slalom race, taking first place in the ladies' and third in the men's races here at Sugar Bowl.

On the ladies' side, it was Julia Bjorkman with another first place finish for the season. Michael Cooper was third on the men's side.

Also in the top ten for the ladies were Lauren Dunn (fourth) and Lily Longton (ninth). For the men, Owen Wattenmaker finished fourth and Pieter Weemaes seventh. Full results are available HERE for the ladies and HERE for the men. 

Scott Schadlich named me volunteer "cat herder" at the starting gate, giving me a chance to see some of the pre-race and gate action close up. Enjoy the film footage (also available HERE), and congratulations to each and every fighting marmot for today's strong showing!