Reading Week Ski Trip

I just got my hands on photos from the reading week ski trips.

Day 1

Departed Banff rather late in the morning after Neil and I patiently obeyed the timeline of all the females [see first picture] and eventually headed out to RedEarth creek. It’s a rather uphill route which meant that we made our way slowly up to the top (we turned around at the ranger station) and then absolutely flew on the way down. I managed to make it down the hill without much snowplowing at all but the kamikazee attitude to descending that trail wasn’t quite universal. I took my 85 liter pack along and filled it right up and it turned out to be heavier than the overnight the next day; that extra weight combined with the fact that I was the only person not on waxless skis meant that I didn’t have a lot of competition in the downhill race!

skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08

Day 2-3

Neil Vicki and I escaped Calgary and made our way out to Spray Lakes and then exited civilization overnight to spend the evening of the lunar eclipse out under the stars. The weather certainly held out as we had blue skies both days. Excess would be the way to describe the 24 hours that ensued as we proceeded to gorge ourselves on ridiculous amounts of food and return having only been able to eat half. There aren’t really any stories in particular that are worthy of sharing but one bit that sticks out in my mind is being perched waiting on the side of the trail having come flying down one stretch completely out of control. I ended up getting about 10 minutes ahead somehow because when I eventually started to be able to hear Neil coming I then got to listen to him sing Simon and Garfunkle tunes for the next 5 minutes as he approached through the forest.

skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08
skiing reading week 08

This is really only a small selection of the photos, follow this link to see all the photos I have from these 3 days.

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Skiing

Took my skis out for a trip around the river valley today, about 13 kms but the pace was lousy, nearly 2 hours. I’m really reliant on a good trackset to keep much rhythm, basically I’m going to need some serious practice in the next month before the Birkebeiner shows up. I was hoping to try and get done in a 10 km/hour pace which is about as fast as I can ski in a good track right now. I don’t want to expect to ski as fast as I’m used to doing the birkie, I need to be confident going faster so that I’m not rolling any dice when I get out there and try to get it done in 5.5 hours.

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Out on the snow

The snow arrived last night in sufficient quantity to test out the skis. I realize I’ve got some work to do to get my technique improved by the time I want to try some longer distances. I also realized the significant advantage of skiing in machine tracked snow, or at least deep snow. The trouble today was that when I followed someone else’s skis across the field the place that they had already been was packed hard and all around was soft, that meant that the tendency was for my feet to shift sideways out of the tracks. When my sore groin and hips caught my attention due to their extra work I put two and two together and realized that I knew what was going on. Some things you’re suprised to re-learn when you try them out for the first time in many years.

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Ready for some more snow

Riding the fixed gear has been a bit of an adventure since the snow really started accumulating this past weekend. Some insane lockups have had me scaring myself at points. It’s really be an interesting challenge to ride fixed gear in the snow, typically there has always been some brute force involved with riding bikes in snow, and often spinning out just goes with the territory. That’s not been the case riding fixie to the same extent, if I spin out I’m going to be in rough shape and likely will have to step off a pedal. Instead I’m very aware of weight distribution and power application as I negotiate curbs, snowbanks, icy patches and death cookies. There’s a heightened awareness of how tight I’m pulling corners as all chances to slip out will likely grant you the opportunity to slide. If I thought I was learning to think in advance of where I planned to go just by riding fixed during the summer, winter fixie riding has really done some re-teaching of that concept.

I’m suprised how well the $6 tyres I bought are working out, I’m running them with low pressure, especially the front, which is on a free wheel/rim that I’m not particularily concerned about denting. I don’t believe the progression to spikes is going to be necessary this winter with the short commute I’m doing.

Skis

I just finished getting appropriate bindings mounted on the skis my Dad picked up in Calgary for cheap so that they match the boots I got a month ago here in Edmonton. Less than perfect communication meant that we had to deal with the less than perfect situation brought on by the incompatibility of SNS and NNN binding styles. At any rate there’s a match now and I’m excited to get out on the snow to do some classic skiing this winter. The river valley trails are going to see some use from me this winter as I’ve got a lot of preparation to do in advance of the Birkebeiner race in early February. The number of people who I’ve found that have equipment and would like to get out on the trails is awesome. A couple triathlon club people and a few people I know through IVCF. It should be a good opportunity to get out and spend some time developing a skill I haven’t really used since I started the downhill skiing era in grade 5.

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The Powder and the Glory

After skiing Louise on a bluebird day we managed to get through the road to Golden and skied there two days. The hill gets better every time I ski it, I feel like I’m just getting used to it. I even discovered a brand new run on the last descent of the day, I’d never bothered doing the little hike to get over to “Terminator” until then but, but boy oh boy it was certainly worthwhile, some seriously soft soft-pack at a pitch steep enough to fly but shallow and smooth enough to entertain the possibility of looking 3 or more turns down the hill while doing so.

We packed in 4 trips down Whitewall in the course of 2 days (it only opened at 2 pm the first day). Another 4 runs in Feuz bowl (accessed from Redemption-Ridge) and I think that’s pretty much all the excuse I need to tell you that my thighs are a bit sore (but not sorry!). The highlights were… Paula’s Line (on Whitewall), Horsefly (lower down Redemption Ridge) and Terminator (furthest south exit from Bowl-Over). Our second day grand total elevation was 35 152 feet. That’s the same as skiing Everest 1.21 times!

photo of Feuz Bowl

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Man, Skiing Rocks

I could reiterate my frustration with Hiebert but I’ll refrain from that for the time being, but if I’m back in class on Monday and still don’t have any information on that course, the proverbial shit will hit the proverbial fan.

So, I’m sitting in Golden after *the* sweetest two back to back ski days of my life. Kicking horse had something like 40 cm of snow on Tuesday night, the road from Louise through field was closed due to avalanches so we skied Louise on Wednesday with the hope of still getting through to Golden in the afternoon when the road opened.

Louise was great, I don’t want to estimate how much snow there was because I know I’m going to do it wrong. It was less than a foot and more than six inches. The Whitehorn chutes had a bit more, partly blown in, and I don’t think it had been open the previous day. We did a bit of cruising around at Larch and the six-pack before actually making it into the back bowls. (Have to do a bit of skiing with Mom, it is a family vacation afterall). Anyhow the important thing was that the Whitehorn chutes weren’t open yet and when we arrived atop the poma, the ski patrols lifted the rope. There was already a line up to get in so I wasn’t the very first person down the run but I was probably third. Check out the evidence!

Photo of my tracks on Whitehorn

I skied ER face for the first time in my life (It had always been a “permanently closed avalanche area”) and had some sweet powder runs down from the top of Olympic towards the six-pack. Meadowlark was also superb and was really a thigh burner both last run before lunch and last run of the day.

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