Photo Cred

Monday, December 24, 2012

Going Glory-Taylor

...That's the text I sent to Erica from the parking lot on top of Teton Pass.  I try to let her know where I'm headed when I ski solo, and figured that she would understand my intention to spend the morning skiing the two crown jewels of the Teton Pass area.  Turns out she had no idea what I meant.

I'll have to work on that.

Despite getting a later start than I had intended, the Pass lot was empty when I pulled in.  It's been so busy this year that I assumed I would be in a crowd hiking up Mt. Glory, but instead I ended up breaking the bootpack.

Things were pretty well scoured up high, with Twin Slides getting well-loaded.

Frosty head on top of Glory.

Of course, having the opportunity to break trail up Glory meant breaking trail back down, too...

Pretty darn powderful turns up there.  Even the luge-track in Coal Creek had 4" of pow on it.  Sweet.

The guys at Wagner Custom built a pair of GoFast ski mountaineering boards for me last spring--lightweight little things to help me keep up with Z.  Of course, my season ended so abruptly that I never really got to ski them, but I've been LOVING them this year.  It's really fun to be out on something so light and nimble.

There are certainly lighter rando-race skis out there, but I guarantee that these ski better and will last longer.  And they don't come with a lycra suit or a pair of faerie slippers.

They're definitely not powder boards but they ski super well, and paired with the chipmunks from ClimbingSkinsDirect (still the best skins I've ever used) they make the uphills pretty fun too.  Can't wait to get them up into the alpine where they're meant to be.

In any case, back to skiing.  I was once again granted the opportunity to break trail up Mt. Taylor.  8" of light, fluffy new snow was easily skinned through and the wind that had blasted me on Glory was easing up, with occasional patches of blue sky through the storm clouds.

And then standing at the top, having broken trail uphill...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's The End of The World As We Know It?

I mean, I still feel fine.

Apparently the Mayans were wrong.  More likely, they weren't forecasting the end of the world at all.  Maybe we're just not all that good at interpreting their message.  Or maybe they just got tired of forecasting and went exploring.

In any case, it was good to wake up yesterday morning and see that the world was still spinning.

Still feeling a bit slow-in-the-brain as I transition from a string of work to some time off for the holidays.  Thursday being the first "day of rest" was interesting--I woke up feeling like my skull was stuffed with wool, with a little marble rolling around in there somewhere trying to keep things under control.  It wasn't until I got to the top of Mt. Taylor for a late-day ski lap that the wool cleared out and the marble started to feel more like a bowling ball.

A little windblast to engage my brain.
I spent most of the morning stumbling around the house trying to remember all of the things I should be doing instead of stumbling.  

All as a result of a week spent teaching a professional level 1 avalanche training seminar for NOLS instructional staff.  What a great community to work with!  Totally engaged, energetic participants with an overactive drive to get shit done.  Couldn't ask for a better setup, except for the lack of sleep.

My typical schedule looked roughly like: wake up at 03:30, brew coffee, prep classes/do paperwork for a couple of hours; get dressed at 06:00 and warm up the truck; arrive at the NOLS base a little before 07:00 for breakfast with the crew; teach, ski, thump on the snow; dinner at 18:00; home around 19:30 for some family time; repeat...

Not much sleep to support a whole lot of activity, but I loved it.

It all came together with ski tours in the Park.  We had been getting blown around on Teton Pass for a couple of days, but my group's day on 25 Short was all sunny powder.  As Andy Bassett put it, "At least the view doesn't suck up here."

Fun day.  What a place to live.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Singletrack Dreams

There has been an interesting transformation in my brain this year--never before have I been neck-deep in powder skiing (okay, maybe knee-deep) and found myself dreaming of racing bikes.  I mean, the turns are REALLY good in the Tetons right now, but visions of anaerobic singletrack are floating through my head.  Kind of like sipping Glenfiddich while dreaming of High Life.  Both satisfying drinks, but very different and not often consumed together.

In that vein, Erica and I sat down recently and came up with a schedule that will hopefully work to balance my competitive itch with family time.  A bunch of ultra races (too many?) peppered with some shorter stuff.  The NUE changed up the rules this year; now we have to race in 5 events to compete for the series championship!  That's quite a few miles to fit into a 3-month season, especially when there are limited event options in the western half of the country.  (There a few races early-on that make it look more like a 6-month season, including the True Grit 100 in March, but with everything under snow around here until late spring it's hard to see myself ready to race that far before June.)

In any case, here's what I came up with:

I'm hoping to add in some racing in Lander as well; word is they're going to expand the Jurassic Classic beyond just the one event.  So much potential there!  And the Breck Epic stage race is high on my list, but that's going to take some financial wizardry.  It just fits so nicely between Pierre's Hole and the Point2Point, and looks amazing!

Of course, this assumes that I am actually able to get into all of these races.  (The PCP2P sold out in 4 minutes this year.)  Part of the win at High Cascades was an entry into this year's race so that one should work, but for the rest?

Sitting at the computer with credit card in hand 10 minutes before registration opens...