Thursday, October 1, 2009

Run, Bike... Ski?

October 1st was the first snow day for the 09-10 season with a wopping 15inches reported a the Collin's snowtell. The question is really twofold at this point, the first is do you have rock ski's? If the answer is yes, than we've got more to talk about; but if its no, then really your decision has already made--your not going skiing. Really the answer should ALWAYS be yes in October as this is when the snow pack is WAY to thin, but some people are like kids in the candy store and feel they MUST ski on the first snow day of the year, regardless of the cost... When I arrived at Albion Basin this morning around 11:00 it was clear that I wasn't the only one with faulty decision making skills as I would guess maybe 20 others had already made tracks high on the mountain. But what those powder hounds should have been asking was when is there enough snow to ski? A friend once told me the '100 inch rule' that went something like if you don't have at least a 100 inch base, then you should be not skiing, or skiing conservatively, in areas where you know whats below, and probably not killing it on those huge drops and kickers that you usually hit (ya right). I tend to be a little more liberal on my decision making mostly because of a few good experience in an army of bad experiences. Last year, for example, on about Oct 15th ish we had 40inches in one storm and I must say the skiing was excellent, and I didn't leave one trace in my bases. This is not the norm, but the abnormal.
So what should we doing this time of year instead of skiing on rocks grass, and a little snow? I don't have any idea BUT I started running seriously again late summer of this year and have been enjoying my new access to the uncycle-able trails in the Wasatch. This has inevitably let to a marathon. So of course the one I wanted to do, the mid mountain in Park City, was full so I had to choose something else. After looking around and around I landed in the Adirondacks, NY. It turned out to be a very nice run with lots of hills, endless forests, and a beautiful lake. I finished, just about as I had planned at about 4:33. I felt good about it, but figured out its not really a very good time. Anyway, its a good thing I'm not a real runner.
If I was going to do some training for skiing that was fun, I think I'd either run or bike. Running is probably better for muscle training, and you can do it in just about any temperature, while cycling is more fun (to me anyway) and easier to burn calories, but very limited to sunny, warm, days. I've read that the only way to train for free healing is to run up hill, backwards. I won't be doing that anytime soon.

After driving up to the end of the pavement in the upper Alta parking lot to see how deep the snow really was and then again in the BC access lot above I got out of the car to feel the brisk air on my face. There is something special about the first breath of cold fresh mountain air that brings back the memories of endless powder turns in a beautiful, free Wasatch wilderness. I look up as far as I can see at Alta and see good turns, executed not by the beginner, but by one of the many, many excellent skiers from the city below. I guess that's why we are all here, because of this. For the first time, (ever actually) after seeing the snow, feeling the cold air on my face, I make the right decision--to get back in the car and drive home to wait for the 40 inch storm.