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October 23, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Handling Tree Hazards on a Golf Course

Kevin Brandes enjoys leading an active lifestyle. An expert skier, Kevin Brandes has taken on black diamond trails at Vail, Steamboat Springs, and a number of additional mountains.

The four most common ski trail ratings are green circles, blue squares, black diamonds, and double black diamonds. Trails marked with a green circle represent the least challenging courses on a mountain and are ideal for novice skiers who have only recently transitioned from the bunny slopes. Slope gradients on these trails range from 6 percent to 25 percent, or three to 12.5 degrees.

Blue square ski trails are slightly more intense than green circle trails. As slope gradients can extend to the 40 percent range, blue square runs are best suited to skiers of intermediate skill. Black diamonds, meanwhile, represent some of the most difficult courses on a mountain. Not only are black diamond trails steeper than green circles and blue squares, but their inaccessibility also means they are more likely to feature ice or undergrowth. The most challenging ski trails are labeled with double black diamond trail markers. Only the most advanced skiers should attempt these runs.

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October 15, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado

A lifelong skier, Kevin Brandes skis at an expert level and is particularly fond of big mountain skiing and skiing moguls, or bumpy trails. Although he has skied at a number of mountains around the United States, Kevin Brandes counts Vail Mountain Resort in Vail, Colorado, as one of his favorite spots.

Covering over 5,200 acres of snowboard and ski terrain, Vail is home to one of the world’s largest ski resorts. The area has been a popular winter destination for over five decades, offering a huge range of lodging and dining options for all budgets. Part of the resort’s appeal is its dedication to creating an excellent experience for all visitors. Vail is constantly improving its lifts and facilities and adds new events regularly to keep visitors entertained.

The mountain also features a wide range of terrain that makes the area popular for skiers of all levels. Vail is primarily known for its seven Back Bowls, but the mountain also contains terrain parks and areas for kids. Ski and snowboard professionals are on hand to assist beginners and help them become familiar with the mountain. The 2015-16 winter dates for Vail Mountain Resort run from November 20 to April 10, and passes for the season are already on sale.

October 7, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Fishing along the Baja Peninsula

An avid game fisher, Kevin Brandes enjoys the challenge that fishing for sailfish, marlin, and roosterfish provides. Kevin Brandes especially enjoys deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Baja Peninsula.

An extremely popular area for recreational anglers, the Mexican state of Baja California hosts several fishing tournaments annually. The area has a wide range of sea life, but is particularly known among fishers for its snapper, sailfish, and striped marlin. Depending on the season, the types of fish found along the Baja Peninsula will vary. In general, the best fishing time is during the summer and fall months. However, some fish, including sierra, cabrilla, and yellowtail, are more prevalent during the winter. Even during general seasons, most fish have specific prime fishing times during different months and many fishers plan trips around those details.

Fishing the Baja Peninsula also requires a bit of planning beyond figuring out when to go. The Mexican government restricts fishing in the area, and recreational anglers may only fish within 50 nautical miles of shore, while also following species and size restrictions. No one can take more than five fish of a species or more than 10 total fish daily. Fish can be caught and released as many times as desired, but they must be in good physical shape when returned. Sharks and rays must also be returned unharmed. Offshore fishing by boat typically requires a license, which can be bought in increments of a week, month, or year from most fishing supply stores.

September 29, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Preparing for a Successful Motorcycle Excursion

Kevin Brandes, a motorcycle enthusiast, owns and rides a Harley-Davidson. He is a frequent attendee at motorcycle shows and events across Florida, specifically in Daytona. Kevin Brandes also enjoys completing motorcycle excursions and some of his favorite routes are through the Smoky Mountains and Kentucky.

A long trip on a motorcycle epitomizes the carefree spontaneity often associated with motorcycling, but in reality, successfully completing a long excursion requires a bit of planning. If you’ve never ridden your motorcycle for more than a few hours at once, a long trip may not be the best idea right away. Although many trips may require only four hours on the road at once, riding a motorcycle for that amount of time can be difficult if you aren’t used to it. By riding for longer times before starting a trip, you can also correct your riding position. Although position is not often thought about for short motorcycles rides through the city, it is very important that you maintain a comfortable and proper position during longer rides.

Packing can also be a struggle due to the limited storage space on most motorcycles, so it’s important to focus on packing only the bare necessities. Weather-appropriate gear is especially important because it is likely you will encounter several different types of weather during your trip. You can check the weather in the areas you are planning on going through to get a better idea, but that is not always a guarantee. Further, you will want to bring a few emergency and maintenance supplies in case something happens while on the road. Personal comforts such as lip balm and toiletries also make your trip more enjoyable. Lastly, you may want to consider getting a windshield and some ear plugs.

September 22, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Staying Safe on the Slopes

Kevin Brandes, a lifelong skier, enjoys downhill and big mountain skiing when he has the chance. Typically skiing at an expert level, Kevin Brandes has tackled several black diamond runs over the years at various locations around the United States.

Staying safe on the slopes is an important part of having an enjoyable skiing experience. Be aware of your personal limits and stick with runs that fall within your skiing ability when on the mountain. While skiing beyond your ability level can help you improve, doing too much too fast increases your risk of injury.

Similarly, not following the rules of the mountain often results in injury. Every mountain is different and may have off-limits areas or closed areas. Mountain staff close these areas for good reasons. If you do not heed the signs, you may find yourself at a higher risk of colliding with other skiers or coming face-to-face with a cliff.

Before setting off on a run, check your bindings and make sure they are properly adjusted and secured. Even if a shop technician helped you put on all your equipment, re-checking the bindings yourself adds another level of safety. Also, look uphill before you start on your way to avoid collisions. Snowboarders often descend a slope along different lines than skiers and may not see you in time to stop; likewise, you cannot always rely on fellow skiers to pay attention. In addition to looking uphill, practicing basic skiing etiquette, such as giving the right of way to the skier below you and not stopping in the middle of a trail, also limit your risk of injury.

September 4, 2015 / kevinbrandes

Successfully Landing a Large Fish

Kevin Brandes is a deep sea fisher who enjoys fishing for such species as marlin, rooster fish, and sail fish. Frequently visiting the Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida for fishing excursions, Kevin Brandes enjoys the sport for the thrill it provides and the effort required to successfully pull in a game fish.

While reeling in small fish is pretty simple, larger fish, including game fish, often require more effort and strategy. Without proper technique, fishers can lose their catch, and they may never get another chance. The key to landing a large fish is keeping the line tight to prevent the fish from freeing itself from the hook. However, too much pressure on the line isn’t good either because it may cause the line to snap. Keep the line tension consistent by pointing the rod’s tip up into the air and using a smooth motion to reel in the fish.

Once a large fish is caught on the hook, it will attempt to swim away. While it may seem better to prevent the fish from running, holding it in place will actually increase the likelihood that the line with snap. Allowing the fish to swim away while still attached to the line tires it out and makes landing it much easier. Reeling the fish in can be a long process, especially if you catch a strong game fish. Working slowly by lifting the rod’s tip and slowly dropping it down while reeling in the line is the most successful technique.

August 27, 2015 / kevinbrandes

The Two Types of Drag Races

Kevin Brandes is an avid fan of drag racing. A former drag racer himself, he started racing in Gainesville, Florida, and spent some time racing super street cars throughout the United States. When he decided to stop racing, Kevin Brandes was running quarter-mile stretches in about nine seconds and at 155 miles per hour.

A side-by-side contest between two vehicles, drag races take place on controlled racetracks and cover either a quarter-mile or eighth-mile stretch of drag strip. There are two general types of drag racing: handicap and heads-up. These two types cover all car classes, from top alcohol dragsters and pro stock motorcycles to super comp and super street cars.

Heads-up races are the simplest type of drag race. Used for top alcohol funny cars and pro stock motorcycles, this type simply involves two cars racing to the end of the track. Both cars start at the same time and the first racer across the finish line wins the race. Although foul starts still apply during heads-up races, they are not very common.

Handicap races are slightly more complicated. This type, often used for such classes as super gas and super street, involves both racers predicting how quickly they’ll finish the track. The winning racer still crosses the finish line first, but also has to be below or at his or her predicted time and not have a foul start. If one driver’s car takes longer to drive the same length, that driver starts the race first. While some handicap races have predetermined times, the basic rules still apply.