Thursday, December 24, 2009


There are few things better than hairies. Crust skiing might be, if the conditions are exquisite. But the thought of scraping your skis clean, roughing up the kick zones and striding around is fantastic. And rare. But today, with freshly-falling snow and the temperature at exactly freezing, I got excited—hairies!

I drove over to Battle Creek, strapped on the striders, and went out for a spin. With no kick. Apparently the bases of my skis are not as clean as I thought they might be. So, it was back to the car which is, luckily, a depository for all things ski (I only really use it to go to rollerski or hike in the summer, so it retains assorted ski detritus through the summer.) and the search began for sandpaper. A snippet was found. Then, a kick scraper. I didn't have one, but figured the scraper I use for my windshield (try it, ski scrapers beat the heck out of gas station scrapers) would suffice. Five minutes later, I was ready to go. A fellow walking by said "it seems like a great time to cross country ski." Indeed.

The kick was almost magical. I had no wax on my skis, but was able to stride a lot of the hills. I spent some time skiing in a bit of a track to go back and forth in, and skied around the whole loop. There's about a foot of snow in the open, and the trail has packed down really well—this snow should stick around a while—skating seemed good and a classic track should set up deep and firm. There are no thin or sketchy spots, which happens with heavy, dense snow. I went down the singletrack trail to practice my backcountry tele turning (with varie success) and didn't touch dirt. There's a lot of snow.

If they can roll the next batches of snow as well as the first, Battle Creek will have pretty epic conditions. Perfect timing for a race!

(I took a couple of pictures of the lighted course afterwards)

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