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Schralping the Butte 

click to enlarge Kyle Ohlson lays it down on PB
  • Kyle Ohlson lays it down on PB
Kyle Ohlson lays it down on PBEvery few years a snowfall comes along that allows us to indulge in some unusual fantasies.

An igloo in the front yard? Check.

An Apple computer logo snow sculpture on Franklin? Check.

The most recent in-town dumps allowed a few determined DIYers to do what many skiers and boarders have pondered, but probably never done - put down fresh tracks on Pilot Butte. Upfront had heard whispers of people schralping the Butte. But got our first visual confirmation this past Sunday when presented with a cell phone video of an acquaintance busting turns through the scrub Juniper in a piece of low-res video that would have brought a smile to Warren Miller's face.

Upfront got further evidence that Bendites don't need to leave town to go "out of bounds" when the accompanying photo arrived in our e-mail inbox Monday morning. The photographer Jerry Ohlson wrote that he and his son Kyle have joked about skiing P.B. in the past and decided to scope it out after a recent day on Mt. B. Ohlson said that they had no sooner hit the parking lot than Kyle was strapping on his boards and schralping the butte.

Upfront has no idea what the State Park's official stance is on skiing (though there are plenty of stay on the trail signs for hikers). But that's the kind of do it yourself determination that probably would have brought a smile to Bill Healy's face as well.

Borealis To Crash WinterFest

WinterFest kicks off this Friday and for the first time since seasons began it might actually be winter. But even with so much snow, the promises of a ski races, rail jams, and even a good 'n' drunken snowball fight or two aren't the only reasons that officials expect as many as 40,000 people downtown. Upfront has learned that Bendites can get a glimpse of Central Oregon's hottest new destination resort Borealis: The Village this weekend at Bend's signature winter festival.

According to inside sources, Borealis Developer Sam Hillson plans to unveil one of his prototype eco-homes ™, which will be transported from its mountain-view lot near Mt. Bachelor, where his ski-in, ski-out community is underway. Once downtown, "commoners" will have a chance to see how they can own a slice of the good life that Hillson says a second home at Borealis represents. (As you may remember, Borealis rocked the Bend real estate market a few months ago when Hillson announced that the long-awaited dream community of near-mountain accommodations was at last a reality.) Now he wants the public to see firsthand the type of brilliant engineering and environmentally safe practices his communities embrace.

Hillson couldn't be reached for comment (his agents said something about "a stupor" and "in Mexico") but the Source has discovered the model home is likely to be installed somewhere near McMenamin's on Bond and Louisiana, perhaps as part of a co-branding venture with WinterFest sponsor Alpine Physical Therapy.

"We welcome all visitors to come tour the home," Hillson's deputy secretary of public relations cooed to Upfront. "We're positive that they'll be clamoring to build one, too." For more information on this exciting community, visit

Lords of the Blocks

Back in the far-off days when Upfront played with Legos, we never got much beyond building rectangular boxes and standing on them to see if they would fall apart. (They did.) So we were suitably impressed when we learned two teams of kids from Bend had won big in the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League 2007 Championship Tournaments.

The idea was to build working Lego robots that carry out "missions" on a 4-foot by-8-foot "playing field." More than 370 teams, comprising more than 2,600 9-to-14-year-old students, competed in qualifying tournaments to try to make it to the finals, held in Hillsboro on Jan. 19 and 20.

When the dust of competition had lifted a team called "The Solution" from St. Francis Middle School had taken the Fred Meyers Teamwork Award, which, according to the official press release, is "presented to the team whose members best demonstrate extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit, exceptional partnership, the utmost respect for their own teammates, and support and encouragement for other teams."

And the "Thunderbrains," a team of home-schooled kids, had captured the Catlin Gabel Robot Design Award, "presented to the team whose work stands out for the best combination of innovation, consistency, and great programming."

Our congratulations to "Solution" team members Dan Schimmoller, Matthew Logan, Jack Widmer, Mitchell Cutter and Cameron Tulare, and to "Thunderbrains" Jordan Haglund, Devon Haglund, Tyler Swan, Devin Swan, David Minar and Tucker Rampton. Live long and prosper, and may the Lego force be with you.

The Good, the Bad and the Nauseating

Right, the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. It was a tremendous upset. Cinderella story. Incredible drama. Thrilling finish. Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, yada-yada-yada.

Now let's get to the important question: Who won the Battle of the Super Bowl Commercials?

According to a Wall Street Journal online poll, it was a tie between a team of horses and a talking baby.

Budweiser's ad told the inspiring story (complete with theme music from Rocky) of a horse who gets cut from Anheuser-Busch's famous Clydesdale team but then, with coaching help from a Dalmatian, goes into training and breaks into the lineup next year. E-Trade used a talking baby to explain how easy it is to trade stocks - and make money - through the online brokerage service.

Coming in a close third was a Coca-Cola ad showing an Underdog balloon and a Stewie balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade fighting over a giant inflatable bottle of Coke, only to get beaten out by a Charlie Brown balloon.

Ironically, Portland's own Weiden + Kennedy firm was responsible both for that ad and for the hands-down winner of the competition for the worst one: CareerBuilder, an employment service.

The CareerBuilder ad shows a woman working at a computer in a dismal office when her heart - a very realistic-looking one - suddenly leaps out of her chest, plops down on the keyboard, gets up, walks into the boss's office and shows him a sign reading "I Quit."

Twenty-three percent of the participants in the Journal poll were able to stop gagging long enough to vote the CareerBuilder ad their least favorite.


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