Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kicking off the ski season at Grand Targhee

I just did four days in Grand Targhee. It's a ski resort just on the Wyoming side of the Idaho/Wyoming border that has the most reliable early-season snow according to bestsnow.net. My brother found the web site a while ago, and if all of it's information is as good as this was, it belongs in every skier's bookmarks. Targhee already had five feet of snow when we got there, and it continued to snow gently for most of the trip. In observance of Murphy's Law, a pretty big storm hit on the last day we skied, and there was about a foot of new snow taunting us on our way home.

The terrain at Grand Targhee is fairly moderate. Which isn't to say that it's not steep - it just doesn't that wide a selection of chutes and gullies. There was a cliff band that would probably offer some really great lines later in the season, and a couple gully runs that didn't have quite as much snow as I would have liked. However, there was also a lot of fun gladed skiing, so I got my darting around between things fix. And the snow quality was awesome. Dry, light powder. It was good on the first three days, which were lift-served, but our fourth and last day we got to ride a snowcat in an area that the resort hasn't made lift-served yet. I've laid some fresh tracks, but this was run after run of fresh tracks. In-bounds powder skiing usually consists of traversing to somewhere out of the way along some scraped-out, roller-covered mess, followed by a couple of powder turns, followed by another traverse back to the base of the lift. This was a little bit of skiing on a snowcat road, many linked powder turns, and another short traverse on another snowcat road. Emphasis on the many linked powder turns. All the advantages of hike-to terrain, with nowhere near as much hiking.

Yesterday and today see me installed at Sugarbowl, and with new boots. I didn't get to ski yesterday because of work, but I did today. Which brings my days for the season to five.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I know that things aren't supposed to make me happy

But I finally got to see the racing skis that I bought on eBay several weeks ago. They're pretty awesome. Everything about them screams "speed" and "precision." This brings my quiver up to three pairs of skis and a snowboard. Enough is never enough. I'll try to line everything up for a picture in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Discovering more trails in Cunningham

I may sound a bit slow, but it took me until my last ride to figure out how to read the blazes in Cunningham Park out in Queens. Today was the first time I could really use them. Between the blazes and learning the trails over time, I've been finding some of the pieces of trail that I've missed in the past. Turns out there's a ton of advanced singletrack in one side of the park that I've been missing, so I like the park that much more.

On a technical note, I replaced a lot of the front end of my bike in the last couple weeks. New, much lighter handlebars, a new, longer stem, and most recently a new suspension fork. Last time I went riding was my first ride with the fork, and I think I had it too soft. I've upped the air pressure in both legs (it uses an air spring and air compression damping system) and it's much better now, although I think I'm going to put it a bit higher before my next ride. I seem to be much more of a brute in my riding style than how I've seen myself in the past. There's some claim that with the compression damper set high, the fork will allow a lot of rider movement before it starts doing its thing, and I'm hoping it might also reduce nosedive under braking. I'm also going to raise the main spring because it has a tendency to bottom out under hits that I don't think are that big, or even when I'm compressing before popping the front wheel up on something or hopping. And here's a picture. The best thing about pictures is they don't make you read - like Li'l Bush on Comedy Central.