Friday, April 16, 2010

It's coming

We have flurries to hand out, a winter to recap, and some other sundries. This weekend is planned as a weekend to catch up on the Tubes. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One last day: Tahoe XC

What is likely the last ski of the season for me was a lovely, 1:45 skate at Tahoe XC. The snow had frozen up from the sun the day before (sadly, there was no crust skiing to be had this week in Tahoe; too much new snow, so not that sad) and good for skating, with a bit of new snow overlaying the harder-pack. No pictures; it was snowing lightly the whole time.

I hit mostly trails I hadn't skied the day before, including the Lakeview trail (only one side was groomed, a long uphill and then a nice downhill on the way back). Then it was off to ski around the hills at the end of the loop, and apparently in the wrong direction. I went up Nose Dive and most of the rest of the hills were steep up and then gradual down. So I spiked my heart rate a few times and didn't get any thrilling downhills to show for it. Oh well. I definitely want to come back for the Great Ski Race next March.

It was snowing again by the time we left—they got 12-24 inches of powder overnight—and it took us 7 1/2 hours to get to SFO for the redeye to MSP. For 35 miles were were in "chain control" which meant we averaged 17 mph for close to three hours, and it was just a brutal drive. We may not have a 120 inch base in the Twin Cities, but it's real nice to have trails in our backyard.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tahoe XC

The weather took a break today and we actually saw the sun. My dad and I decamped for Tahoe XC and got there (after some hideous traffic on CA-89) to find midwinter, picture-perfect conditions. (We had a foot of snow last night and tomorrow promises another foot or two.) There's little better than throwing on some generic blue wax and kicking all morning. The trails at Tahoe XC are tamer than at Tahoe-Donner—there are no 1000 foot climbs to windblown peaks but it is definitely better for training. This is not to say there aren't hills; there certainly are. There are certainly portions which are hillier, but it's not built in to the side of a mountain. There are also fantastic views of Lake Tahoe (which we could see!) which only sweetens the deal. It was just a lovely day for a ski, and on April 3, no less.

By the time we came in from 20+ k in the morning, the sun made an appearance, which instantly softened the trails and rendered my kick wax useless. No matter, a bit of skating got me in to a well-deserved lunch, and I grabbed the proper skate skis for some slow skating on the now-wet powder in the afternoon. By the time we were leaving the temperature had dropped and a snow shower was passing through; tomorrow promises to be a snowy adventure, especially for the drive over the pass to San Francisco.

I made a bit of a deal with Tahoe XC's proprietor/groomer/whateverer that I'd do the Great Ski Race (won by Duluth's own Adam Swank this year) and he'd come and ski the Birkie. Seems fair.

Oh, and pictures (click them to make them big, more to come later):


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Street Skiing

Finally! After several false starts, I got in some good street skiing.

After a day of gravity skiing (yes, dearest sister, a few thousand hours on skinny skis will make me more than a total beginner) I announced that I "needed some exercise" and the streets were, at least above about 6300 feet, packed snow over a solid icy/slushy base. I got six good kilometers in before I was picked up by an automobile to go off to dinner.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tahoe Donner

Today was supposed to be sunny, which means that instead of an all-out blizzard there were passing heavy snow showers which left us with three or four inches of snow by the end of the day. I headed out striding from Tahoe Donner XC (Tahoe Donner is this bizarre planned community, but has a very nice ski area on the edge) in the morning, skidding down to the Euer Valley (apparently great crust skiing when the sun has a chance to make crust skiing, map) and then up Crabtree Canyon to something that, in nicer weather, is apparently a lookout. Not today, although the sun peeked out at times. It was a long 800 foot climb up, but a nice ride down, and then another climb back for lunch. (All the pictures are from the morning; report from the afternoon continues below them.)

Here comes the sun …

… 20 minutes later: blizzard.

Yes, there is a lot of snow.

In the afternoon, I took out the skaters and went from the lodge up to Hawk's Peak at 7730 feet (a 1100 foot climb, although not completely all at once). I stopped at two huts, each of which has water, and crossed a ridge near the top in blowing snow, although I was lucky to get there in between two heavy snow showers, so I had a view down 1300 feet to the Euer Valley below. With a few inches of powder over a solid base, it was perfect for turns of the parallel and telemark variety. Then I crossed over and skied down the downhill slope to where we are staying. Not bad for April Fool's.