TR: Hinterlandian BC, 3/10/12. A short tour yields an epiphany.
Epiphany: "the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something."
On one level, you could say that I went for a short ski tour yesterday morning. On another level (here is the epiphany), you could say that I took all the experience I've had in over 40 years of sliding on snow and channeled it into one joyous session. Let's take a look at that second level. In a previous post,I discussed the concept of the "total skier," espoused by my pal Steve back in the 80s. For those of you that missed it (the concept, not the 80s), the Total Skier is "the person who could ski all conditions and all slopes on one set of equipment." These days, accounting for age and experience, I might add a subsidiary concept: The Sum-Total Skier. This is the skier who uses all their background experience to make any ski experience that much better. This is what happened today. I'm not bragging, I'm just telling it like it is.
I learned to ski on a golf course when I was 10 or 11. We laced up our leather boots, clamped down the cable, slid down an ungroomed hill and sidestepped or herringboned back up. In a lot of ways, not much has changed. I still ski in lace-up boots and have cable bindings on my tele skis (remember the old Lange ad: "are you still lacing while others are racing?). Meanwhile, I have learned how to diagonal stride, skate, toboggan, wax alpine skis, wax nordic skis, snowboard (and wax snowboards), telemark, all the while continuing to lock it down, ride chairlifts and bomb down hills at great rates of speed.
Yesterday morning, I summoned all my tribal knowledge and put it together into one short, fantastic ski experience. By some people's estimations, conditions were total crap. A thin veneer of fresh snow covered a frozen rain crust. What to do? Think outside the box, obviously: get out the plastic tele boots and fattish metal edged skis, put XC kick wax on the base, stride over to the hill, ski down, slog/sidestep back up. Rinse and repeat a couple of times.Tour over to the next hill. Ski down, doing quick parallel turns because it makes more sense than tele. Haul out the skins, hike up. Bring along the dog for entertainment. Stop when your knee starts to hurt. Take pictures. Share it with the world. Be vague about where you went.
So get out there, enjoy the snow in whatever form suits you best. Try something different, mix it up. It will all come together and make you a better snow-slider, better able to enjoy all conditions, all the time. Wherever you are.
The more things change, the more things remain the same. But it sounds better in French: Plus ça change plus ça reste la même chose.
The day in pictures...
I love this base lodge with its warming fire (no, not using the lace-up boots today):
There is a reason for my internet handle:
I think I'll go with the Swix Cera VF20 on the 94 mm-waisted tele skis. A classicly oriented decision.
Damn moose tracks messed up the skin track:
First run is a little tentative:
Booting up the hill was a bad idea:
The lost art of side-stepping saves the day:
Utah checks out the various tracks on Bonk Hill:
Next up, Secret Hill is a little scrapey at the top: