It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I can happily say that that is mostly because I have been too busy doing cool stuff to update my blog!
This season I decide to try my hand at ski instructing. Oh man, did I learn a ton! I’d like to think that my own skiing has improved drastically. I tackled my first double black diamond runs this season. I’ve made some forays into the bumps without having a total melt-down. And I’m getting into the trees a bit. My goal is to be a confident, all-mountain, all-conditions skier. That feels more possible now than it’s ever been!
Last weekend was probably one of my more memorable ski experiences of the season. Hubby and I travel to the Adirondacks for the Backcountry Ski Festival. If you haven’t gone, put it on your calendar for next year! (It’s always the first weekend of March.) I didn’t take any clinics this year, but hope to maybe do so next year. The goal for this trip was for hubby to demo some skis for him for next season. I can happily say, mission accomplished in that regard! This season was his first season back skiing in 26 years. The last time he skied, skis were long, skinny and straight! It took a few seasons of convincing him that the ‘new’ shaped skis practically turn themselves, but he agreed to give it a try this year. He was a little tentative at first, but quickly remembered the skills he learned years ago. The season rental he had been skiing on didn’t hold a candle to the boards he got to ride at the Backcountry Ski Fest though! He surprised me picking one of the more modern-shaped skis they offered, the Black Diamond Carbon Convert. I rode these puppies as well and they are super fun! Light, light, light! But with a just enough stiffness to charge through chop and crud. Anyway, the best part of the Ski Fest were the people and the atmosphere. The sun was shining, it was relatively warm and everyone was simply having a blast getting after it, celebrating that particular brand of magic that comes from the combination of warm sun and cold snow.
The next day we got to borrow some Voile Vectors and head on a small tour with a local friend. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we weren’t able to get into any of the brooks or slides that are so perfect for skiing in the Daks. This was a little run through the trees. It snowed big, fat, fluffy flakes on us all day. There is already so much snow up there! When we got to the top of the glade, I stepped out of my ski to take the skin off and when I went to stand on my foot, it sunk in the snow up to the top of my thigh! I’m pretty sure it only stopped because my other leg was still attached to a ski that was on top of the snow and my joints and ligaments thankful wouldn’t permit anymore separation than that! (Note to self: must learn how to rip skins without removing skis!)
The skiing was such a small part of the day, but it was an interesting challenge for me to ski through natural glades. (Plus, all that skinning was a great justification for downing some fresh doughnuts from the ADK Cafe!) I had to constantly remind myself to focus on the openings, not the trees! It wasn’t the prettiest skiing I’ve ever done, but at least I didn’t run into any trees!
The tree situation reminded me that I am grateful that I signed up for the PSIA Intro to Bumps Clinic- ah the benefits of membership! I’ve been told by various people that the skills for bumps skiing translate well to tree skiing, and you get to practice without the threat of running into the trees! Until that connection was made, I really had no interest in skiing bumps. I’m still not really attracted to the bumps as much as I want to get better at tree skiing! Hopefully, I can take a clinic on that next year….
The bump clinic will be right after my Level 1 exam. Hopefully, getting my Level 1 pin will be a nice cherry on the top of my ski season sundae!
So far, my only regret of this season is not getting more ice climbing in. I climbed TWO whole pitches of ice this season. Which is made even more grim by the fact that I got a pair of Stingers for an early Christmas present this year from the hubby. From the two measly little pitches I did get to climb on them, they were fantastic though! Very happy with them as crampons! Hopefully next winter I will be able to find a better balance between the going up and the coming down.
It’s starting to warm up here in the valley and with the days getting longer too, spring- and with it the end of the ski season- now feel profoundly inevitable. Part of me of me is looking forward to rock season. I’ve got some big goals for this season that I have already started training for. However, I’m not quite ready *yet.* I really want to get another ski tour or two in this season before I call it quits. Of course, the truth is, I say that now, and if I do manage those two ski tours- I’ll just want more. Either way, the only certainty is- I always need more time in the mountains, whether climbing or skiing!