Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sherpa-Improved Trail Steps in Norway

Based in Lafayette, California, Tom Velken serves as president and owner of Viking Real Estate Group, a real estate agency assisting individuals and companies in the acquisition and financing of their individually held real estate investments. When he's not working, Tom Velken spends time traveling. In June 2016 he ventured to Norway, where he hiked in the mountains above the Sorfjorden village of Reidsete. The trail head which leads up to the Folgafonna glacier has been partially fortified with stone steps recently reconstructed by Sherpas. On the other side of the Sorfjorden, near the city of Odda, the Sherpas have also worked on the more famous Trolltunga trail.

According to an article on the website, The Norwegian American, Sherpas first began working in Norway in 2000 and have built paths and stairways in over 100 different Norwegian locations. Much of their work has been filmed by a documentary team from national broadcaster NRK, who interviewed a number of the Nepalese mountaineers.

“The film sets out to show the trails seen by the Sherpas in Norway,” filmmaker Jannicke Farstad told NRK. “I’m not sure people realize how much they’ve contributed to the country. “We also wanted to find out what it means for Nepal that the Sherpas come here to work.”

According to the article, Farstad told NRK that she had personally witnessed the effects of the Sherpas’ Norwegian wages in Nepal, particularly after the April 2015 earthquake in which over 8,000 lives were lost.

But it is not just the potential for earning a wage several times larger than would be earned at home, according to the Sherpas themselves, who spend between seven months and a year working on the Norwegian paths.

“Money comes and goes. The things we have learnt in Norway will be with us for the rest of our lives. I feel like we are creating history. One day, my grandchildren will be able to come to Norway and see what we have built,” Nima Sherpa told NRK.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cushman and Wakefield - One World Trade Center


As the founder and president of the Viking Real Estate Group, Tom Velken has overseen thousands of real estate transactions for his customers. Tom Velken created Viking in 1995 in Lafayette, California after having worked in a number of real estate investment firms, including the well-known commercial broker Cushman and Wakefield.

Cushman and Wakefield is responsible for the development of a number of world class properties as well as being the leasing agents for many iconic buildings that include One World Trade Center. Awarded the leasing assignment by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey while the project was still in development, the contract was continued when the Durst Organization took over as the owner of the property.

Designed by architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, One World Trade Center features a 104-story tower that provides 3 million square feet of space and sits on eight acres of land.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kansas City vs. Memphis: What's the Difference in BBQ Styles?


Real estate executive Tom Velken is the owner and president of Viking Real Estate Group in Lafayette, California, and possesses more than two decades of experience with real estate acquisition and development. In his leisure time, Tom Velken enjoys cooking, particularly barbecue-style dishes.

Two of the best-known styles of barbecue in American cuisine are Kansas City style and Memphis style. But what are the differences between the two? Here’s quick primer on what separates these two types of barbecue.

Kansas City style is generally considered the most prominent type of barbecue in the country. Grocery stores across America are lined with different sorts of Kansas City barbecue sauce, which is so popular that the city itself is home to the largest barbecue society in the world and is often referred to as the “Mecca” of barbecue. Kansas City style barbecue is distinguished by thick, tomato-based sauces that contain lots of sugar. The rubs are sugar-heavy as well but mostly use brown sugar; consequently, Kansas City barbecue has a sweet and tangy flavor and is typically used on pork, pork ribs, and chicken.

Memphis style, while similar to Kansas City style, doesn’t contain nearly as much sugar. Rather, Memphis style barbecue is typically spicier and - most notably - is often served without sauce. In the rare occasions sauce is used, though, it typically is employed as a pork dipping sauce and is thinner than Kansas City sauce. Pork ribs and pork butt are the two most popular proteins for Memphis style barbecue.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Buying Your First Bass Guitar: Check the Neck

Real estate executive Tomas Velken is the owner and president of Viking Real Estate Group in Lafayette, California. Outside of his work in the real estate sector, Tomas Velken plays bass guitar in a classic rock cover band known as OPM.

When it comes to buying your first bass guitar or any guitar for that matter there are many features to consider; however, start with the basics. One of the most important components of any guitar is the neck, which extends outward from the body toward the tuning pegs. When shopping for a guitar, start by holding the guitar to see how it feels. The neck should not be too wide or narrow in your hand. If it does not feel comfortable at first, chances are that it never will.

On the top side of the neck is a series of metal bars known as frets, which allow you to play different notes. Play notes on every fret to check for buzzing or dead spots, which typically indicate design defects. It is also important to check for a warped or twisted neck, which often requires a considerable investment to fix. If you are ever uncertain about design quality, ask a more experienced friend or guitar instructor for assistance.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Early History of California Ski Racing

The president and owner of Viking Real Estate Group, Tom Velken leads a Lafayette, California, company that offers full-service property investment and finance services. An avid skier, Tom Velken particularly enjoys family vacations at resorts such as Kirkwood and Heavenly Valley in the Lake Tahoe area.

Ski racing in the Sierra Nevadas dates back to the early 1850s and the Gold Rush. La Porte, California, was an epicenter of miners waiting out harsh winters. The first ever organized ski competition took place in La Porte in 1867 and was led by Charles Nelson, who was experienced in what was then known as a Norwegian sport. He created shaped wooden boards 12 feet long that became popular among the local miners, who subsequently invented ski wax. The 1867 Alturas Ski Races attracted several hundred spectators and had a purse of $600.

An 1869 Sacramento Union article detailed the exploits of early skiing legend Snowshoe Thompson, who created a slalom-like track with stakes set up every 100 feet that he had to pass through. The next major evolution of skiing in California occurred in 1928, with the establishment of the first jump hill at Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Tavern. The skiing industry as we know it was born. In addition to the Sierra Nevada mountains, Tomas Velken enjoys skiing in Colorado and Utah.