Found an inexpensive lift ticket for sale on Kijiji to scope the hill pre-race day. Bonus, was the ticket came with a free 2-hour lesson. Ended up with ski instructor John guiding me on wicked snowy steep runs on the backside, who gave a few helpful ski tips for the race.
|Small & hearty group - photo Phil Best|
Race morning was a nice cool temp -11C at the base, -16C at the top. Decided to go with lighter skinny skins with the fresh cold snow.
Dashed off at a comfortable pace up the open track - photo Phil Best
I weighted my skins down with each footstep and stabbed my poles at bottomless snowpack. The full-body extra effort needed was energy draining. I was happy to hear a "whoop" from above as one of the guys crested out of the tree section.
Next ridge section was hairy with a skins-on descent. I purposely skied down at ground level on my butt with my hands in the snow to slow the speed. It worked, not so gracefully, though intact.
First descent Goat Slide was snowy and steep. Started out ok, then I stopped sporadically with lactic acid burning quads. Almost out of the worst steep section, Martha Burley was beautiful to watch ski down making it look effortless. I followed Martha out thru the bumpy track to transition. It was interesting to hear ex-telemark pro Martha say "wow, that was a leg-burner"!
|Leaders climbing into Catch Basin - photo Phil Best|
It now felt like I had 4x4 skin traction, and swooped by Martha, quickly catching up to Simon Granda and Bryon Howard who both had flailing climbing skins. Soon, I was out of the trees and climbing into the open Catch Basin.
|Leaders heading up White Lightning bootpack - photo Phil Best|
|Marg starting the bootpack - photo Phil Best|
|Marg heading up and up and up - photo Phil Best|
|Jeff Perron scraping out of the 1st bootpack - photo Phil Best|
2nd descent was down West Ymir which ended in the same bowl. I managed to hold my position, yay!
Next ascent hooked into a regular backcountry skinning route so it was more trodden. The sun was out and it was warm though welcome.
|The bowl where we had 3 descents, left-side Goat Slide, right-side West Ymir, and middle from Half Dome - pretty epic for this nordic skier!!|
|This summer-time view of the same area almost scares me with seeing what rock climbing grade we were actually skiing down!|
3rd descent was smack down the centre of the big bowl from Half Dome. I made the most fluid turns I could, and stopped for lactic-acid relieving breaks less than before.
Then, had one complete head over heels fall on my head. Fortunately for the soft snow, I just toppled right over back to skiing. My compressed left ribcage attempted to hurt, though I immediately said to myself "you're ok, keep going!"
Merged into the same rolling terrain towards the base. This time with speed getting air off the little bumps!
|Martha on a stroll with Iliana|
Garmin Connect Stats: 1550m, 13.6 km, 2:43 official time.
Super happy how I managed to ski a little more fluidly on the descents, and amazing for a nordic skier to get to ski wicked terrain! The wall-to-wall skins earned their keep!
|Another event at the Coldsmoke festival! - photo Phil Best|