Monday, March 30, 2009

Wasted

My legs can't keep up with all of the storms and resulting fresh powder! After skiing 5 of the last 8 days (all but one of those days with 12-20" of new snow) I'm officially cooked. Brighton served up some awesome snow this morning and my first 3 runs were solid, but from that point on I gradually fell apart.

It's all good though. Work is heating up and I'll be stuck in the office for the rest which will be a welcome rest. If Friday's storm is a good one I should be well recovered to take advantage of the goods on Saturday. Sorry, no Cholla or Hell of the North for me this weekend. I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth as there will be plenty of opportunities to ride bikes in another week or two. Until then I'm getting all the fresh I can!

Honestly, the reality of the situation is that I have no bike fitness. I've spent all winter playing in the snow and probably have fewer than 20 rides total in the last 4 months. No intervals, zero structure, just a handful of fun rides when the opportunity presented itself with most of them taking place during my two trips to Arizona.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Internet Ski Lesson - Any tips or suggestions?

Both of these were filmed in the ungroomed chop to the side of the Wildflower run at Sundance yesterday. The sun had softened up the snow and also made it a bit heavy.

In this first video my legs get bounced out of position a few times but I manage to hold on. Would more pressure on the front of my boot and perhaps more speed help my legs power through the junk?

Run #1

video


In this one it looks like I'm a bit too far in the backseat. This happens to me a lot: I'm worried about catching a tip so I stay back. The problem with this is that I'll inevitably hit a bump and really get tossed back. I can usually hold on when this happens but am forced to cut across the hill in order to get everything under control before I can point the skis down again. You don't see it in this video but it happened a lot in Bishops and Grizzly Bowls which are steeper and the snow is a lot rougher.

Run #2

video

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Check out that forecast --->

Neverending winter!

I skied 17,480 vertical feet at Sundance today with Kris. Why Sundance you ask? Because they are offering $20 lift tickets if you become a fan of theirs on facebook. So I joined and am now trying to avoid wasting too much time "making friends" with my friends. I'm not sure if that makes any sense...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shane McConkey Fundraiser

I just read that Shane McConkey was killed in an accident yesterday while filming with Matchstick Productions in Italy. This guy defined what it meant to be a big mountain skier and helped pioneer much of the modern ski technology we now take for granted. I've watched Claim no less than 3 times in the past week, with Shane's segment getting viewed multiple times in each showing.

Monday morning while skiing at Brighton I had Jukebox Hero in my head the whole time which is the soundtrack to his segment...

While I never met Shane in person, knowing he left behind a wife and young daughter, not to mention innumerable close friends and family, fills me with a desire to do something to help. Adam Barker, a local Utah photographer with close ties to the ski industry, is donating all proceeds from the sale of his fine art ski poster to the McConkey family. You can buy a copy here, or visit Adam's website for more information.

Please remember to leave a note in the PayPal transaction stating it is for the McConkey fundraiser. Or, if you forget to do that (like me!), send Adam an email (his email address is displayed on your order confirmation).

I just bought a poster and hope all of my readers will too. My thoughts and prayers go out to Shane's wife Sherry and daughter Ayla.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Icing on the Birthday Cake



Wow.

Another fantastic morning skiing. Too bad word got out that my birthday party was at Brighton this morning and half the city showed up to party!

Seriously, it seemed like the mountain was tracked out after my first run. No matter, the snow was so good it was still tons of fun to rip the deep, soft chop with the VP and my neighbor Mike.

Speaking of the latter, he was beta testing a pair of home brew powder skis and absolutely ripped. In fact, thanks to Mike I dropped my first 15 footer. Of course, it was completely unintentional as I was innocently following him down the mountain and had no idea what was coming. Well, I knew there was a drop in the area but didn't think he'd launch it. Turns out he did and not 10 seconds later so did I. Somehow I managed to land on my skis but immediately double ejected from my bindings and shot face first into the snow. Pretty funny and given that the lift passed directly above me I even received some cheers.

Or maybe they were just yelling happy birthday?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Too Much to Handle

Wow.

Today was seriously amazing.

17,100 vertical feet of pure powder goodness. I was #5 (not counting patrol) on the lift. Untracked lines everywhere I turned.

I don't know where it all came from (the overnight forecast was for less than an inch and this morning Brighton reported 8" in the last 24 hours), but the Milly Express board showed 15" and at the top, due to wind loading, continued snowfall (it dumped the whole time I was there) or by magic, it was much, much deeper. Face shots were in abundance, even for a hack skier like me. Also in abundance were more intimate, up close moments with the snow due to my lack of back seat driving skills since I pretty much had no choice but to be in the back seat in order to keep my tips up. When my tips went down so did I. In fact, I went down on average at least once every run and came out of my bindings more times today than all of my previous days combined. I had my hands full with the conditions but even so loved every minute of it.

However, after my experience today I've all but made up my mind that I need a pair of dedicated powder skis with an aggressive tip/tail rocker and 2-3 more centimeters under foot. K2 Pontoon, K2 Hellbent, Salomon Czar, BD Megawatt or Rossignol S7 - all are under consideration and I'm certainly open to suggestions. Today was amazing, but I'll bet it could have been even better with a bit more float.

Can't Resist

I woke up this morning to a text message from the Utah Sheriff's Department alerting me to the fact that Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons were limited to 4x4 vehicles or chains. What? The forecast storm was supposed to produce less than 1" of new snow overnight... I quickly checked the snow report for Brighton and what do you know, they reported 8" overnight. Knowing Brighton (notorious for under reporting new snow accumulation) I figured this was a day that couldn't be missed. Sure, tomorrow is my birthday, I'm taking the day off, and there should be at least another foot on the ground between now and then but hey, when you get a bonus like this it can't be ignored. Especially when it's the end of March!

I'll see you on the Milly Express in about 1 hour...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Juicy Forecast

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the four rides on the Salt Lake Shoreline trails this past week I'm even more excited at the prospect of a couple late season powder days. My skis are in the car on standby for deployment tomorrow morning. Bring on the snow!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

BST is Back!

Today's lunch ride was a good one. Warren, Matt (friend of Mark A.), Bart (who joined us for the Dry Creek portion dressed in his work scrubs) and I did the full Dry Creek to City Creek route after Andy provided the final confirmation this morning night that the trail was good to go.

Depending on what the storm currently forecast for Sunday/Monday brings I may be riding skis instead of a bike next week. Let's hope that's the case!



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thursday Lunch Ride

When: Thursday, March 18th at noon

Start Location: Einstein Bagels (481 E South Temple)

Route: Ride up E Street to 11th Ave. East on 11th to Popperton Park where we'll jump on the bike path that will take us to Dry Creek. Up Dry Creek and over to City Creek where we'll ride pavement back to Einsteins.

Notes: Normally this route takes between 1 and 1.5 hours to complete. Since this is a lunch ride during work hours you are free to ride your own pace and choose your own route. In other words, the group does not need to stay together. If you want to drop out on Bobsled that's fine. If you want to hammer up Dry Creek that's cool. If you want to meet us at Popperton that's great. If you want to ride longer go for it. As for me, I'll be riding at a conversational pace. I don't have many hours in my legs yet this season and won't be looking to hammer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

City Creek: West & East

For my lunch ride today I decided to return to City Creek and give the west side trail another go. The mud I encountered last Friday was gone and I was able to ride almost to the top where, in the same location as 2 weeks ago, I again hit snow/mud and turned around. Assuming no new valley snow I'd think this will be clear in another week. It wouldn't be a big deal to hike, but I hate getting dirty and given the choice between walking my bike and riding my bike I'll choose the latter every time.

Here's the trail at the point I flipped a U-turn:



I was surprised at how loose the trail was to this point compared to the last time I rode it. In fact, I had to put a foot down navigating around the last left-hand switchback due to all of the loose rock.

I love the views as you begin the descent into City Creek Canyon:



After I finished descending I thought I'd scout out the trail to the east. It was dry (with the exception of one or two short, damp sections shaded by trees) all the way to the top of Terrace Hills where I dropped into the neighborhood on the doubletrack. It is, however, heavily rutted in sections due to people riding it when muddy. Given the firm base and heavy traffic this section of trail receives I'm guessing it won't take too long to smooth out.

Here's a view of the city from the trail just above Terrace Hills:

Friday, March 13, 2009

2 Hours of Dirt & Pavement



I rolled out of the office at 4 PM for a couple of hours to burn some calories in advance of an evening barbeque (tri-tip and salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, broiled asparagus, spinich salad, bbq beans and oatmeal cake).

According to Bob the Shoreline Trail was dry between Dry Creek and the Zoo so I climbed up through the Avenues and started riding east. The trail was in great shape until I reached Red Butte at which point it turned into a soupy mess. Not wanting to get muddy I flipped a U-turn and rode back the way I had come. Only this time I continued west on 11th Ave to City Creek and started climbing the trail to the radio towers. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I ran into mud so again I flipped a U-turn and descended back to the canyon.

Not ready to call it a ride yet, I rode up City Creek Canyon which, unlike the dirt, was bone dry all the way up to the treatment plant. However, just beyond the plant (where they stop plowing), the road was still covered with soft, slushy snow.



I flipped another U-turn and descended back to the office. The ride down was COLD and I wished I had brought a jacket instead of a vest.

Looking at the current forecast for next week it appears that my skiing days are numbered. I left my bike at work as I'll probably be riding a lot this week...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cold Leftovers

The thought of all the deep, soft, choppy snow that was sure to remain after Monday's big storm motivated me to hit Brighton again on the way in to work today.

I haven't done many back-to-back days on skis and after yesterday's epic conditions my legs were only good for an hour before turning to jello. However, it was a sweet hour as snow conditions were still good and the mountain (well, at least the area served by Milly Express) was a ghost town.

Leftovers will never taste as good as fresh, but it just didn't seem right to let such a good storm go to waste!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

25"

I woke up to one of the best snow reports (so far - I'm hoping we go even bigger before the resorts close) this season: 25" in the last 24 hours at Brighton. What made it even better was being told on the first chair of the day that the Milly Bowl hadn't opened yesterday. Sweet!



The snow was dense courtesy of the wind, but don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I was with the VP of Development again and after riding Milly exclusively for the last 2 months we decided to check out what Great Western had to offer. It was fun, but not amazing, so we made our way back to Milly for one more run before heading to the office. I'm sure it's good over there if you know where to go (I came down Silver Spur and Wrangler). Any suggestions?

I had some sweet ice in the beard that made a nice puddle in my lap during the drive down the canyon. Trying to pull it off yanks on the hair so I just let it melt off.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back-to-Back BST



Lots of BST for lunch this week. I'd rather be skiing but when you're dealt two 60+ degree days it only makes sense to get out and ride.

Yesterday I headed east to the zoo, riding out with Mark A. (until he disappeared up Dry Creek), and back with with Bob and Karl. While the latter two were cruising along at a mellow pace (for them!) I was holding on (or chasing back on) for dear life back behind. Good times.

Today I rode with Mark A. and another friend from work, Raul, only this time instead of heading east we decided to go west. The word on the UMB Trail Conditions Forum was that the bst up to the radio towers was bone dry with the exception of a patch of snow towards the top, on a north facing slope. The description proved to be spot on and we had a good ride to the snow and back, choosing to flip a U-turn and keep our ride to 1 hour rather than posthole through the slushy snow. In fact, the trail was so good that I was able to ride everything on the way up without putting a foot down. That was a first for me as the trail gets a bit loose over the course of the year and last fall it seemed like I always lost traction coming out of one of the switchbacks and had to put a foot down.

Given my lack of riding in 2009 (thus far I'd estimate I have no more than 20 hours in my legs) I'm actually quite pleased with my form. The transition from skiing to cycling definitely seems easier than the transition from cycling to skiing. I'm not saying I'm fast right now - because I'm most definitely not - but am encouraged by what I've seen so far.

The leading picture was taken on the way down today, just before the trail switchbacks into City Creek Canyon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Now this is what I'm talking about!

Enjoy the mild weather while it lasts, because it is going to come to a crashing end this week. The first storm will arrive Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The air will be cold enough for snow to fall to the valley floor. Another much colder storm is slated for Sunday night and Monday. There is the potential for heavy snow and Lake Effect with that storm and a most definite return to winter weather. So, don't put away the snow shovel, snow blower or the ice melt just yet.

Meteorologist Dan Pope
Live 5 Weather HD, Tuesday March 3rd 2009.