Ice Skating – For Pleasure and Sport

The world of Ice Skating saw seven-year-old Sophie Kemp glide her way to stardom at the Planet Ice Skating Stars competition in the UK recently, one of the youngest participants to do so. Despite the fact that Sophie had only begun skating since April this year, her dogged determination saw her complete a three-jump and a spiral, two of the most difficult ice skating techniques, on her way to the top of the group that was open to ages 6-16. Her mother, Kate Kemp is proud of her daughter’s achievement, having been a former club skater herself, and overjoyed that Sophie is making lots of lovely new friends.

Ice skating and figure skating took the world by storm in the 1970s, 80s and 90s when many skaters, men and women, displayed intricate movements and graceful techniques of skating on ice. One name that shot to skating brilliance during that time is Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest ladies’ figure skater and the youngest athlete in any sporting discipline to win a gold medal. With titles of US National Champion and World Champion much before she turned 15, Lipinski won the Winter Olympic gold medal at Nagano, Japan in 1998. Unfortunately, her skating years didn’t last long as she quit the professional circuit in 2002 citing health reasons. However, her career as a figure skating analyst with NBC Sports took off and after nearly two decades away from the limelight, she plans to produce a skating show and hopes to bring figure skating to its former esteem.

As skating rinks around the world prepare to dive into the oncoming winter months, one of the most famous ice skating rinks in the world, the one at the iconic Rockefeller Centre in New York will celebrate its 80th anniversary this season. Opening for the winter season is scheduled in early October and already reservations for skating packages are underway. Skating enthusiasts are looking forward to making special memories of the season at the rink located at Fifth Avenue.

Skating is a popular sport that involves using skates to move on any surface including naturally occurring frozen water bodies such as lakes, ponds or rivers or artificially frozen tracks like parks, rinks and tracks which are mostly indoors.

According to a study by the Oxford University, Finland was where the earliest ice skating activity happened nearly 3000 years ago when flattened and sharpened bones were strapped to leather boots for people to glide on ice. The first ice skates were invented in the 13th century by the Dutch people. In the Nordic region, ice skating is a necessary skill besides a common sport for all classes of people.

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Broaden Your Horizons With Today’s TV Choice

Gone are the days when there were only one or two channels to choose from, these days the choice is astounding and viewers can find everything from real life drama to fantastical tales at a touch of a button. When TV first started making its way into people’s homes, choice was limited and couldn’t always cater to individual taste. Now that the technology behind TV broadcasting has advanced massively, it’s a whole different ball game.

In fact, now people who may have never had the chance to watch their favourite sports, can now enjoy them in HD from the comfort of their own home. Sporting events from all around the world are now televised, meaning people can do everything from supporting their local football teams to finding out about winter sports in remote locations or water games in sunnier climes.

There are also plenty of TV series and soap operas to choose from, ranging from tense medical dramas such as House to entertaining sitcoms like Scrubs. Those who aren’t fans of blood and guts might prefer to follow soaps such as Hollyoaks or Coronation Street for a UK flavour or Neighbours for an Australian setting. Joining these scripted shows are a whole plethora of reality TV offerings that allow people to find out how their contemporaries live and gain an insight into people they might never otherwise meet, but if you aren’t a people person, there are plenty of animal shows featuring exotic creatures to enjoy.

Once upon a time you might have had to wait a long time to see a movie. These days, there are entire channels devoted to films. This means that everything from classic musicals such as the Sound of Music or Singing in the Rain to brand new summer blockbusters such as the Spiderman or Transformers films can be found on the TV. What’s more, special seasons celebrating world cinema means that plenty of people get the chance to find out what films people in other countries love.

With so many different options out there, deciding what to watch can sometimes seem like a bit of a task – especially if there’s more than one person making the decision. Luckily, the number of programmes to choose from also means that you’re sure to be able to find something to satisfy everyone.

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Want To Buy A Used Kayak? Follow These Tips For Success

You’ve decided it’s time to buy a kayak, and the thought crossed your mind to buy a used kayak. Here are a few simple tips to follow if you want to buy a used kayak.

Every day people decide to get rid of perfectly good used kayaks for a variety of reasons. It could be divorce, relocation, upgrading to a better model, changing to a different sport, or it just doesn’t get used anymore – no matter what the reason for the sale, you can really get a great value for your money when you buy a used kayak.

Follow these tips to get your next deal on a used kayak:

1. Pay attention to how the kayak has been stored.

Proper storage can extend the life of a kayak. The best possible option is that the kayak has been stored inside a garage and kept out of the elements. If a kayak has been stored outside for an extended period of time, it requires further examination.

Check the seat for wear; sometimes the fabric on the seat can look fine until you touch it and it reveals that it is dry rotted.

Check the seals on the bulk heads. They can crack and dry up over time and exposure, and the bulk heads may no longer be water tight.

Make sure the boat doesn’t have any dips and bends in the hull from being stored without the weight being evenly distributed. While the roto-molded plastic does have a memory and can return to its original position, this may take some time and render the kayak difficult to use until it happens.

2. Look for signs of repair.

The most obvious repairs will be to the hull of the boat. Turn it over and look for any signs of patching or other repair work. A boat is only as good as its weakest repair, so if you see signs of repairs, you need to test the boat and make sure it is still water tight. If you find that the hull of the boat has been breached, it may still be worthy of a repair, but you want to take that into consideration when you make your purchase.

3. Sit in the boat. I don’t care how silly you feel, get in it. You will thank me later.

You need to make sure the seat is comfortable and adjustable. As you are sitting in the seat, picture yourself in that seat for 4 hours. Will it still be comfortable? Can it be adjusted to make it more comfortable? You want a seat you can spend all day in comfortably.

Now, see how your lower body fits in the boat. Does it feel tight and claustrophobic? Can you adjust the foot pedals so that they are in the right spot to provide the support you need? Again, make sure the fit is good enough to be comfortable all day. Trust me, you won’t use a kayak that is uncomfortable and causes you pain.

4. Pick it up. Yep. Pick it up.

Can you pick it up and load it by yourself? Try it and see if it is something you can manage on your own. If you don’t think you will ever be in a situation where you need to load it by yourself, then maybe this isn’t that big of a deal for you. However, it is good to know whether or not you could handle it alone before you make your purchase.

5. Educate yourself to get the best deal.

Research the make and model of the kayak you are going to look at before you go. It is important to know the length of the kayak too. Find out how much the kayak costs new. Also search the internet for used kayaks of that same make, model and length kayak for sale. See what the range of prices are for the used kayaks. Search the internet for reviews of that kayak. See what others who have owned that kayak say about its performance and durability. If you find that most of the reviews online indicate that people weren’t happy with that particular kayak, then this may be a clue as to why this kayak is for sale.

You can literally save hundreds, and possibly even a thousand dollars by buying a used kayak. In addition to buying used from individuals, you can also buy demo boats from kayak dealers. Demo boats have been gently used and possibly rented for short periods of time. Again, this gentle usage knocks several hundred dollars off the cost.

Another way to get a great deal on a used kayak is to buy a kayak from a rental or excursion company. They will sell their kayaks after a set amount of usage and they replace them with new kayaks. Most of the time, these kayaks have been well maintained and are a good investment.

If you just have to have a new kayak and be the first one to put any dings in it, then I have one other tip to help you get a great deal. Many dealers that sell kayaks in the summer, also sell skis and winter sports gear during the winter. Before they change over their store from one season to the next, you should be able to get a great deal on the model year that has just closed out. It is easier for them to sell it at a reduced price than to store it over the winter, and next year have a new kayak that is a year old to try and sell alongside the new models.

Buying a used kayak can be a fantastic way to get a great value for your money. Many used kayaks are barely used and you could buy it and save hundreds of dollars.

Whether you buy new or used, do your research and try to get the most you can for your money. You will love your new kayak! The water awaits!

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Success Lessons from the Winter Olympics: Visualization

Over the next few weeks, the Olympics will no doubt generate many headlines focusing on inspirational stories, unexpected successes, good/bad television ratings, and even scandals.

But here’s a fact you probably won’t hear much about: With each Olympics, countries throughout the world rely more heavily on sports psychology to help their athletes achieve success and win gold.

Canada, for example, is hoping to rebound from their disappointing 2002 effort by sending 12 psychologists with their team to the Olympics in Turin, instead of the seven they sent to Salt Lake. The U.S. took just two psychology experts to Lillehammer in 1994, and then attempted to achieve greater success by taking 11 to Salt Lake.

Why this increased reliance on sports psychology?

Simple. Sports psychology works.

Numerous studies have shown that the techniques of sports psychology significantly enhance success and performance. That’s particularly true in the Olympics, when the different between gold and silver is often hundredths of a second or fractions of a point. When physical performances are nearly equal, the mental edge determines winning and losing. Psychology becomes crucial to success.

Sports psychology features a number of proven techniques to enhance success and performance, but this article focuses on one in particular: Visualization.

Visualization goes by many names, including mental practice and covert rehearsal. It’s been a favorite tool of sports psychology experts for many years, but it has an even longer history as a technique for motivation, self-help, and self-improvement.

In the late 1800s, many popular self-help and self-improvement movements swept the country, including Christian Science and the “New Thought” movement. Some of these “schools” of self-improvement were overtly religious, while others took a more philosophical approach to the psychology of success. But they all shared a common belief in the importance of psychology as crucial to success. Specifically, they all taught that our beliefs literally shape our reality, and that visualizing the future *creates* the future. In a sense, they preached that psychology is destiny, and the path to self-help and self-improvement begins with visualizing what you truly want. Many of today’s motivational gurus borrow heavily from these century-old self-improvement movements.

In the 1920s, followers of Freudian psychology also preached the benefits of visualization, but for different reasons. They believed that visualizing the future influences the unconscious mind, and in turn, the psychological dynamics of the unconscious would push you toward what you visualized, without you even realizing it. Again, the fundamental philosophy of self-improvement at work is that psychology is destiny, and visualizing the future is crucial for motivation and success.

==> Why Visualization Really Works

Today, research in sports psychology has made it clear that visualization can enhance success and performance in sports. But parallel research in positive psychology has confirmed that visualization can enhance success in everyday life, making it a valuable tool for those interested in motivation, self-help, and self-improvement. But the reasons that visualization enhances the psychology of success are more practical and pragmatic than followers of Freudian psychology or popular self-help movements would have us believe. Here are the three main reasons that visualization enhances success and self-improvement:

1) Visualization enhances confidence

Research in the field of positive psychology shows that simply thinking about an event makes it seem more likely that it will actually happen. As you think about an event, you begin to construct mental scenarios of how it might occur, and even more importantly, how you might *make* it happen. The result is often greater confidence, and self-improvement occurs via a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” The psychological process is simple:

Visualization => Confidence ==> Action ==> Results ==> Success

2) Visualization boosts motivation

Visualization boosts motivation as well as confidence, making self-help and self-improvement more effective. As your dreams for the future seem more likely, you become more motivated to initiate and sustain action.

Setting goals is often a very rational, even “dry” element of one’s efforts for self-improvement. But visualizing your desired future is a very different psychological process, making abstract goals very tangible and concrete in your mind. This process engages your emotions as well as your thoughts, and generates an authentic excitement that motivates self-improvement.

Visualizing your future also makes you aware of the gap between where you are now, and where you want to be. The result is more motivation for self-improvement, as you strive to close the gap between your future ambitions and your current reality.

3) Visualizing is a form of practice

This is the most important reason that visualization enhances success, but the one most often overlooked in self-help and self-improvement books. Like any kind of practice, visualizing a behavior makes you more skilled and successful when it comes time to actually engage in that behavior. Moreover, visualized behaviors can be practiced more quickly, easily, and frequently than actual behavior – that’s part of why world-class athletes regularly complement their actual practice sessions with regimens of psychologically-focused visualized practice.

Visualization also used routinely in psychology and self-improvement because it is excellent for practicing behaviors that are too frightening, intimidating, or even dangerous to perform in person. For example…

Salespeople who fear rejection perform better and are more motivated if the visualize themselves facing, and bouncing back from, rejection

Psychotherapists routinely ask patients to visualize themselves facing their fears and anxieties as a way of easing them into actually confronting those fears

Recovering alcoholics can begin practicing their skills at resisting temptation by visualizing themselves facing, and resisting, tempting situations such as parties or restaurants

In each case, it is clear how visualization allows you to practice your success skills, making self-help and self-improvement more effective.

==> Visualization Tips for Maximum Performance

Of course, visualization needs to be a complement to actual practice, not a replacement. But done properly, it can make actual practice even more effective, and start fostering a psychological mindset of success. Done improperly, it can even hurt performance. To incorporate visualization into your self-improvement and motivational efforts most effectively, just keep these three principles in mind…

1. Correct visualization

Visualization only enhances success if you visualize the appropriate behavior. On the other hand, visualizing incorrect or ineffective behavior creates the wrong psychological mindset, hurting performance and minimizing success.

Sounds obvious, but this principle of the psychology of visualization is often violated, particularly by novice athletes. For example, someone who has just started playing basketball can certainly visualize themselves shooting f’ree throws, but because they haven’t had much coaching or training, they are likely to visualize the wrong things (e.g., not bending their knees, not following through). As a result, visualization has been shown to actually hamper the success of novice athletes. But many studies have shown that experienced athletes, who use proper form and technique, will benefit from visualization, because they are likely to visualize the right things.

The bottom line: If you are new to a sport or other endeavor, maximize your success by skipping visualization for now. Instead, your best path toward success and self-improvement is to focus on real practice, learning from skilled performers, taking lessons, getting training, etc.

2. Distributed visualization

Visualization increases success and self-improvement most effectively when visualization sessions are distributed over time, as opposed to being “bunched” into fewer, longer sessions. This is true for any kind of practice or preparation. For example, in preparing for a test, short bursts of studying distributed over time (e.g., one hour per night for four nights) leads to better results and more success than cramming (e.g., four hours in one night). The advice of “a little practice over many days” – commonly offered by self-help books – is definitely not self-help snake oil.

3. Precise visualization focused on the means, not the ends

Visualization must be precise, vivid and detailed to be an effective tool for enhanced motivation and success. Self-help and self-improvement books often encourage people to visualize broad ends, like “being richer” or “having less fear.” Although this can temporarily boost confidence and motivation, this is one case in which many popular self-help and self-improvement books often steer people in the wrong direction. Visualizing the “ends” – how your life would be if you accomplished your goals – is not the most effective approach because it doesn’t provide the many benefits of practice.

Instead, research in positive psychology shows that visualizing the “means” rather than the “ends” leads to more personal growth; documented benefits include reduced anxiety, more effective planning, and enhanced success. For example, don’t envision “having a great sales year.” Instead, a better strategy for success and self-improvement is envisioning yourself going to specific sales meetings, your actions in those meetings, the reactions of others, and how you will specifically overcome obstacles and persist in the face of rejection. Use all your senses – as you imagine the actions of others, consider how they might they might dress and the sounds of their voices. In short, self-improvement requires visualizing how you achieve self-improvement, rather than how it will feel to have accomplished your self-improvement goals.

When visualization was successfully used as a psychological tool with the 1976 U. S. Olympic ski team, for example, precision, detail and focusing on the “means” were crucial to the process. Skiers focused less on their eventual success of winning the gold medal, and instead visualized themselves careening through the entire course, experiencing each bump and turn in their minds. That team went on to have unexpectedly strong success, and precise visualization has been a standard psychological tool in the training of Olympic athletes ever since. You can use these same principles to enhance your own motivation, self-improvement, and success.

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Brazilian Wedding Traditions

Brazilian Weddings are rich in tradition and culture. They are often very expensive and the bride’s parents usually pay for the wedding, but that is becoming less common because of the overall cost. Brazil is a Christian nation and, therefore, holds several customs similar to other Christian regions; however, there are a few traditions that are different.

Wedding Rings

Unlike in the US, engagement rings are not that important and instead the couple exchange wedding rings. The rings are placed on the right hand and then are switched to the left hand during the wedding ceremony. It is customary for the bride and groom to write each other names on their ring. It is considered bad luck to drop the ring during the ring exchange and is told that the marriage would not last if it was to happen.

Kitchen Shower

Unlike a typical wedding shower that is done in other countries, in Brazil they throw what is called a Kitchen Shower. It used to be a small gathering of close friends of the bride so that they may catch up and give gifts that the bride will use for her kitchen. However, the gatherings have been getting bigger and not even men are able to join.

Wedding Party

A Brazilian bride may wear whatever color dress she wants, but white is a tradition. However, it is custom to wear golden shoes. It is considered bad luck for the bridesmaids to match; therefore no two people are able to wear the same color. Unlike in the US and other European countries that pick out their grooms-men months in advance, in Brazil, the groom could wait up to the last hour before picking his. The wedding party is often three couples who are very close to the bride and groom, they however do not have to be in a relationship together.

Before the Ceremony

It is a tradition that the day before the wedding the Brazilian bride and her family go to a spa to take a break. There they can get a message, as well as do their hair, hair and make-up before the big day. However, when the wedding actually is there, it is a tradition for the bride to be at least 10 minutes late, for it is considered it good luck. There are times where the groom and the rest of the guests have to wait a few hours before the bride finally shows for her big day.

Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is done like most Christian weddings. However, some differences are that the bride has two flower girls accompanying her, one that distributes the flowers and the other one who is more like a ring bearer. Then the bride and groom will recite their vows and then switch their rings from their right hand to their left hand to symbolize the change from betrothed to marry. Most wedding ceremonies can last up to an hour, but at other times it could last even longer.

Wedding Reception

The wedding reception is a huge party that the guest and newly-wed couple drinks, dance, and give speeches. One tradition is for the couple to exchange presents to their parents. Often the bride will take off her shoes and place them in the middle of the dance floor. As the guest dance around, they will drop money into the shoes to help support the newlywed’s financial future. Instead of a wedding favor, it is custom to give a Brazilian sweet, bem casado (meaning “well married”), to their guest as they leave.

If you are interested in knowing more about Mexican wedding traditions

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The Inner Game of Tennis – Tai Chi For Centering and Balance

Many years ago when I was a manager I provided Tai Chi lessons for my staff during the lunch break as a stress reduction technique. I brought in professional teachers and participated myself. We learned to breathe effectively and move in the slow, rhythmical movements of this martial arts exercise..

I was acutely embarrassed initially because I could not pick up the movements. However, as I progressed I started to feel the stress release effects of Tai Chi and wanted to learn more.

The most surprising result for me was that my tennis improved, particularly my volleys. As I investigated this further, I found that Tai Chi helped me in two key ways.

1. Becoming centred through Tai Chi

Centering yourself or becoming grounded is a key focus of Tai Chi. Some proponents encourage you to adopt the “horse” position when you practise this martial art and this is designed to center yourself and let your energy flow freely.

When you are centered you can focus more strongly and for longer periods. Your mind is on-the-job and you are concentrating on your tennis game and tennis strokes.

You will often see the momentum shift in a game of tennis when one player loses focus, even when they are winning. This can happen to even the elite players. They may be thrown off-centre by a bad line call or a poor shot they played at a critical time. The very top players, like Federer, have developed ways to stay centred and maintain their focus over very long periods.

Tai Chi is very important for centering and maintaining focus – make it a part of your inner game of tennis.

2. Improve your balance through Tai Chi

Tai Chi is considered a moving form of meditation and focuses very much on achieving balance and awareness of balance.

You have probably seen groups of people use the slow motion movements in the local park or at the seaside and observed how well balanced they are when doing movements on one leg.

Tennis requires a lot of balance, getting yourself set for the next stroke. You will hear tennis commentators frequently remark, ‘It was a poor shot because he was off-balance when he hit the ball.’

If you have a sore ankle or leg, you will find that it is hard to do volleys properly because you tend to protect the sore leg by taking your weight off it. As a result, you do not transfer your weight properly when you play your volley. The same applies for serving and groundstroke in tennis.

If you take up Tai Chi, even for ten minutes a day, you will be able to dramatically improve your balance and your tennis game.

Tai Chi has lots of benefits including stress release, improved breathing and circulation, and a healthier heart. The desire to improve your tennis game could provide the perfect motivation to adopt this martial art. In the process you will improve both your balance and your ability to stay focused and, as a result, enjoy your tennis game a lot more.

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Big Sky Montana Fishing Guide

Big Sky, Montana is home to the largest skiing area in the United States. The outstanding winter sports combined with numerous summer activities like fishing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and rafting have made Big Sky a popular year round destination for vacationers craving outdoor recreation. Big Sky also happens to be close to some of North America’s best fly fishing.

Gallatin River

If you close your eyes and envision a perfect trout river, the Gallatin River would surely remind you of the river in your dreams. This gorgeous fishery begins in Yellowstone National Park a short jaunt from Big Sky. The scenery along the Gallatin was made famous by Robert Redford’s classic “A River Runs Through It” where all of the fishing scenes were filmed. After tumbling out of the park it flows past Big Sky junction and enters the Gallatin Canyon of the next 30 miles. Upon leaving the canyon the Gallatin becomes a beautiful meadow river lined with cottonwoods on its journey to form the Missouri near Three Forks. The river offers great trout fishing throughout its course. The highest trout numbers occur below the Big Sky junction after numerous underground springs improve the productivity of the river. The canyon boasts thousands of trout per mile and fishing can often be fast and furious. Rainbow trout in the 10-17″ range dominate the fishery here, but the occasional brown trout provides some diversity. The trout in the canyon are not terribly picky and a well presented attractor dry fly or small bead head nymph is all that is needed to provide steady action. Once the Gallatin leaves the canyon trout numbers begin to drop but trout size increases. The Lower Gallatin produces fish in the 20-28″ range each year and is a favorite destination in the fall for those searching for trophy fish.

Madison River

The Madison River is frequently rated as North America’s number one trout stream. This legendary fishery originates in Yellowstone National Park and flows through one of Montana’s most picturesque valleys on its journey to form the Missouri river. The Madison river has it all: great hatches, spectacular scenery, huge trout and great water. A day float fishing the Madison from a drift boat is prerequisite for any Montana fishing trip. The upper portion of the River is designated for wade fishing only and is an ideal location to target large, strong and healthy browns and rainbows in swift rocky pocket water. The large rocks and swift current are not for the faint of heart, but those that are willing to do some aggressive wading are always rewarded. Throughout most of the Upper Madison Valley, the river flows through what is fondly referred to as the 50 mile riffle. This swift, shallow stretch of water offers ideal trout habitat from bank to bank. This amazingly productive stretch holds lots of browns and rainbows of all year classes with fish up to 30″ caught each season. Below Ennis Lake, the river changes character dramatically as it enters the tumultuous Bear Trap Canyon. Big Sky Angler guides Brian and Miles McGeehan are two of a very small handful of guides qualified to offer fishing trips through the class V whitewater run. Bear Trap is safely the premier one day float fishing trip in North America. After exiting Bear Trap canyon, the Lower Madison slows in gradient as its currents wash over large weed beds filled with sculpins, mayflies and crayfish. Some of the largest trout in the Madison reside in its lower waters and it is a prime destination in the spring and fall when water temperatures are ideal for trout fishing.

Yellowstone River Fishing

The Yellowstone is the longest undammed river in the lower 48. After carving its way throughout the length of Yellowstone National Park, it travels through Paradise Valley and eventually across the state of Montana to join the Missouri River in North Dakota. This large river is ideal for float fishing and offers some of the best dry fly fishing in Montana. Most Big Sky Angler trips take place on the 100 miles of water from Gardiner at the park boundary to just beyond Big Timber. Impressive hatches of caddis flies, stoneflies and mayflies bring fish to the surface from April through July and again in the fall. In the late summer months, the Yellowstone is home to some of the best terrestrial fishing in Montana, including some awesome grasshopper fishing. Numerous alfalfa fields near the river fill up with the large insects in late July through September and are frequently blown into the river on breezy afternoons. Large trout become reckless when chasing these large tasty morsels and a day of “hopper” fishing ranks high on the list of many international anglers.

Small stream fishing

Big Sky is surrounded by small mountain streams that are filled with eager trout ready to pounce on a well presented dry fly. Speciman creek, Fan creek, Portal Creek, Moose Creek, Storm Castle Creek, Swan Creek, Hell Roaring Creek and the Taylor Fork all offer secluded fly fishing to small trout. A short three or four weight rod and a box of attractor dry flies is all that is needed to have an action packed day on these small creeks.

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Hockey Songs

Hockey songs are inspirational songs written for the game of hockey. There are a lot of songs written about this great sport. Hockey songs are an excellent way to capture the spirit of the game.

There are many bands singing hockey songs. They play inspirational hockey songs for the team in order to boost their spirit. The themes of hockey songs vary widely from band to band. There are humorous hockey songs, songs about hockey players and songs praising the segments of famous hockey events.

There are a numerous hockey songs popular in Canada. The game of ice hockey is the most popular game and the national winter sport in Canada. Many Canadians are obsessed with hockey that has become a part of Canadian culture. Hockey songs are written in order to inspire and motivate the hockey players.

Of several hockey songs, ‘The hockey song’, is the best. Written by ‘Stompin’ Tom Connors, it is an immortal song celebrating Canada’s love for hockey. Well known for its chorus, the song has spilt up verses, each one describing a period of play in a typical hockey game. This song is the most played one at all Canadian hockey events.

Another classic hockey song is the Tragically Hip song “Fifty Mission Cap.” This song is a true song story about Bill Barilko, who scored one of the most famous goals in National Hockey League history. The legend of Barilko, who scored the 1951 Stanley Cup winning goal for the Toronto Maple, and his mysterious death are forever immortalized in this song.

Other popular hockey songs are “Hockey” by Jane Siberry, “Hockey Night in Canada” of The Shuffle Demons, “Gordie and My Old Man” of Grievous Angels, “The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II” of Rheostatics, “Hit Somebody!” by Warren Zevon and “The Zamboni Song” by Gear Daddies.

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Reading the Clouds: Weather Watching

In California, late autumn usually means the door to Pacific storms starts swinging wide open, bringing snow to the high country. Regardless of where you live, weather affects your daily life, but is especially important for people who spend time outdoors. Naturally, skiers and other winter-sports enthusiasts will be listening to the latest weather reports before they head to the high country. But once they are out gliding across the crystal blanket or hiking in potentially foul weather, they may not have a radio or television or reliable cell phone service available to check on that storm the forecasters said was coming.

However, approaching storms give hints of their impending arrival at least several hours ahead. The following aids can help decipher those clues:

“A Field Guide to the Atmosphere” by Vincent J. Shaefer and John A. Day (Houghton Mifflin).

As the title suggests, this book is about more than weather forecasting. As all the books in the Peterson Field Guide Series, its primary purpose is identification – in this case, clouds, rainbows, glories, haloes, and other atmospheric phenomena. For this, it has numerous drawings, plus 336 black-and-white and 32 color photographs.

Because the atmosphere isn’t just something to identify, but also is an ever-changing system to observe, the book devotes much space to discussing the processes at work in the ocean of air. It is as much for the skier who wonders how a high, icy cirrus cloud can give the sun a halo as it is for the backcountry snow camper who wants to know if he’ll have to dig his way out of his tent the next morning.

“Weathering the Wilderness” by William E. Reifsnyder (Sierra Club Books).

The subtitle to this book is “The Sierra Club Guide to Practical Meteorology.” It is written with the outdoor recreationist in mind. The first part of the book is a basic course in the whys and wherefores of winds and storms. Of particular interest to the would-be forecaster is a table that shows how different weather conditions – pressure (for which you’ll need an altimeter/barometer to measure) wind, clouds, precipitation, temperature, humidity, and visibility – change as frontal systems approach and pass. Incidentally the chapter on “Weather Hazards”, especially its discussion of wind chill, hypothermia, and avalanches should be of particular interest to the skier.

The second part concerns the general weather patterns of various regions across the United States and Canada, including the Sierra Nevada and it’s usually mild, wet winters that produce good skiing conditions.

Pocket Weather Trends (Weather Trends Inc.)

This device is the handiest of the three forecasting aids. It resembles a simple slide rule. A slide holder has 6 boxed areas on its face with photos and descriptions of different cloud types. Each box has eight compass directions. Each slide – one for each of several regions – has a black mark in the middle that is lined up next to the wind direction within the box that corresponds to the cloud type observed overhead. Then at two horizontal windows – one for November through April the other for May through October – the slide will show you the forecast for the next 12 – 36 hours.

These books are all available on Amazon.

In addition to books or charts, there are handheld weather instruments a recreationist can carry with them. Accurate measurements of weather conditions can take the guesswork out forecasting. Companies such as Kestrel, Ambient Weather, Speedtech, Weather Mate, and Davis Instruments make handheld devices that can measure temperature (current, maximum and minimum), pressure, elevation, wind speed, relative humidity, dew point, and other measures. Plus, they are all either water resistant or waterproof. These are available directly from the manufacturer, recreation stores, or online.

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Five Things to Do While on Holiday in Cyprus

Cyprus is a great island that attracts families looking to stay in holiday villas or self catering holiday apartments. People love to spend their vacation at this travel destination with their family and friends in order to have a time of complete joy and excitement.

The best part about Cyprus is that its tourist attractions are well located and distributed all around the beautiful island. The old-fashioned bars, cafes and taverns are simply amazing to visit if one wishes to have simple services.

All the nature lovers can conveniently enjoy the scenic and outstanding beauty of Cyprus by walking on the outstanding trails in the Akamas Peninsula and Troodos Mountains. Even the churches and monasteries of Cyprus are great places to visit such as Trooditissa, Ayios Ioannis, Kykko Monastery, Byzantine churches and Machairas.

The first and foremost thing that the travelers will surely love in Cyprus is snowboarding and skiing. Cyprus is soon becoming the established destination for exciting winter sports.

Skiing on the Mount Olympus is a great way to spend your time in eth beautiful natural landscapes of Cyprus along with enjoying your favorite activity. The Mount Olympus offers 4 ski-lifts and the Troodos Mountains are famous for providing exceptional winter sports.

Watersports is another thing that can keep you busy while holidaying in Cyprus. Opportunities about this island for the lovers of activities like swimming, paragliding and windsurfing.

Some of the recommended beaches include Dasoudi, Larnaca and Geroskipou. Scuba diving, diving and sailing are also open for the adventure lovers at certain locations. Also, it is best to spend a day with your loved ones on some of the magnificent and scintillating beaches of Cyprus.

The island offers peaceful conditions for each type of water sport. There is outstanding snorkeling option as well, particularly around the Cape Greko.

The third important thing that the travelers can enjoy in Cyprus is that of cycling. It serves as the effective as well as cheap way of watching serene atmosphere and scenic beauty of the island. Facilities to rent bicycles are easily available in the resorts and towns. The terrain of Cyprus offers various choices for mountain biking option.

In addition, trekking and hiking is one of the other great facilities that the travelers can take pleasure in while vacationing in this island. There are various unspoilt areas that serve as the perfect lands for hiking.

Some of the advisable nature trails are Kaledonia, Persephone and Atalante in Troodos region and Adonis and Aphrodite in the Akamas region, with other marvelous trails in Limassol and Machairas forests.

Needless to say, the events and festivals of Cyprus are simply amazing. The Carnival is widely celebrated with joy in almost all the towns of Cyprus. A week of entertainment is enjoyed accompanied by the orchestras, marching bands and serenading singers.

Birdwatching is another event that is taken with due interest. Cyprus serves as a brilliant destination for birdwatching as it as about 350 different bird species including the huge flocks to small clusters. Other must-watch events and festivals include Children’s Festival, Cyprus International Fair, Greek Independence Day and Anthestiria Flower Festival.

There is so much do and see when on holiday in Cyprus and one of the best ways to enjoy this beautiful island is for families to rent holiday villas or self catering holiday apartments.

By renting holiday accommodation in Cyprus you are able to sample the local food and culture. Many families choose self catering holiday accommodation in Cyprus and come back to this great holiday destination many times.

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