Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SLUSKI does Whiteface

Sun, corn snow, pond-skimming, jorts and spring skiing at Whiteface Mountain!

Eric sports the jorts

Lunch in the sun

Dudes on the mountain

Full wacky outfits

Monday, March 31, 2014

A BC90 Miracle

This fall sophomore Kyle Curry and I found a good deal went in on some closeout pairs of Rossignol BC90 backcountry touring skis.

Mounting up the skis...simple but solid backcountry set-up. 3-pins keep it simple!

I don't mention brand names to suggest we are in any way affiliated with sponsorship and ski companies; I only share the product name because "BC90" has become somewhat of a universal phrase this winter in reference to open lines, glade-like hillsides and massive quantities of snow.

When training during Thanksgiving camp in Foret Montmorency, Kyle and I would look up at the clearcut hillsides and glance at each other quickly. "BC90's!" we would exclaim, wishing we'd smuggled our fatter boards across the border among the race skis and rollerskis. As more and more snow piled up we imagined breaking up the classic/skate/interval/distance monotony with a trip up to the higher elevations and a ripping descent back down to the "normal" trails.

Then the season proper came along, and the thought of ruining a carnival year due to injury or fatigue meant the BC90s stayed put in the back of the lockers. Every fresh snowfall brought back the cries for a "BC90 adventure" though, and the great winter of snowfall kept up the hope that there would be plenty of time for exploration after the racing ended.

So far, the best winter possibilities have come true. We ended the season with plenty of snow...enough to hold races on campus, crust ski anywhere imaginable, and plenty of snow for real adventures.

One of the first BC90 adventures was a trip to Seven Springs, the old Clarkson ski hill

We've made numerous trips with the BC90s so far: Seven Springs, Snowbowl, Titus and Big Tupper to name a few. But yesterday (Sunday), we woke up to a fresh foot of snow with more falling from the sky. "A BC90 miracle!" I texted Kyle. Eric, Kyle and I had already planned the day prior (on the way back from a great spring classic ski on 50k of trails at Van Ho in Lake Placid) that we would wake up and take the BC90s to nearby Catamount Mountain the next morning, a small peak that was asking to be skied. We had no idea of the impending fact it seems like nobody did.

The three of us began our trip mid-morning, and found even more snow just up the way toward the mountain, which is right inside the ADK park about 30 minutes from campus. We broke trail up to the summit and explored all angles of the mountain.

Near the summit of Catamount Mtn

Lakes, ponds and the foothills of the 'Dacks surrounded us as we made repeated trips up and down various slopes, jumping off little rocks, cruising through trees and burying ourselves deep in the powder. Every time you fell, your arms would sink shoulder-deep into the thick snow and you would have to wiggle repeatedly to dislodge yourself from the thick snowpack.

Kyle popping off a little rock jump...

...and straight into the deep end

With so much snow still around, there is still plenty of time for more BC90 adventures. If you're burnt-out from the racing season, nothing beats a backcountry ski. You are exploring the sport from a totally different perspective and still getting outside, challenging yourself and building strength, balance and coordination in new ways. When out on these adventures it's impossible for me (and probably any other skier who has read it) not to think of Hemingway's passages regarding skiing in the Alps from A Moveable Feast. I'll end this with a little sampler on the backcountry skiing of those days which, in fact, is really no different than today nearly 100 years later...

Anything you ran down from, you had to climb up to first, and you could run down only as often as you could climb up. That made you have legs that were fit to run down with...It was better than any flying or anything else, and you build the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter build to make it possible.

Heading out of the woods...for now!