Monday, March 22, 2010

The Time is Now

So we've had some pretty big days lately, starting with the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Nationals in Jackson and then keeping it going the last two days in the Wasatch. Getting pretty psyched on the light and fast idea as well as racing, I bought a pair of Hagan X-Race skis and Dynafit Low Tech's. The Hagans weigh 790 grams per ski and the bindings 160 each. That's 2.09 pounds per foot. Ridiculous. Even more ridiculous was the first time I took them out. I fell on my third turn, scraping up my arm and busting my thumb on the ice. This all went down on the Grizzly Gulch cat track.

Feeling super confident about my skiing and thumb, Lars, JD, Casey and I zipped up to Jackson for the U.S Skimo Nationals. We picked up our race packets and then tried to fulfill one of Lars' long time goals - to meet Rando Steve. He wasn't at the shop, so a dejected Lars and the rest of us met up with Jared, Bart, and Joey for some dinner before settling in for the night.
The slower half of the SLC crew

The race went pretty much as expected with some minor set backs.

1. Within the first 25 meters, my pole got trapped under someone's skis and I went down while my pole shot forward in between Jan's (Winter Park transplant from Slovakia) legs. Fortunately, he managed to kick it out and it shot right back to me and I was off again before taking anyone else down with me. While on the ground, I heard some reassurance from my brother as he passed me saying, "Get off the ground you IDIOT!"

2. Transitioning at the top of the first climb, I was feeling great about my position in the race. I was hanging with the second group, comprised of places 5-9. Turns out to be competitive in these races, one needs to be able to ski, and as mentioned above, even low angle cat tracks give me and the Hagans fits.

3. Jason lost a ski at the top of Rendevous and had to boot down 500+ feet of icy bumps and lost a few places in the process.

4. There isn't any snow in Jackson.

Otherwise, the race was fun and super well organized. Looking forward to it next year.

We all woke up pretty achy the next morning from a hard 7500 foot effort but Lars isn't in town all that often. His other long term goal was the Coalpit Headwall.

Thought there would be a track in already but we had put it in up to the ridge. Scored a great booter up the Y though.

On the way.

At the top of the Coalpit, we couldn't resist dropping into the Needle. Especially since a prior party had thought the same thing and put in a booter back to the NE ridge.
The Hagans

Lars demonstrating perfect chute technique...limbs in all directions

We took the middle shot down the Coalpit. Amazing. A friend once told me that skiing the Coalpit will change your life. I think it might have.
Jason easing into the main shot

Today, our legs were tired but our spirits were frisky. The weather looked good again so this was the objective:
Well, the summit at least. The Cold Fusion Couloir is on the other side of the right skyline.

It's a long skin into the base of the couloir, and then we switched between booting, skinning, and scrambling a few times.

Looking toward the true North Summit of Timp

Casey getting sick.

Amazing days. Looks like the weather is gonna give us a little trouble tomorrow, but let's keep 'em coming.

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