Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Tele Boards

For the last month, I have been dissecting telemark ski gear and plotting my next purchase. Sorting through skis I managed to select the Black Diamond Kilowatt!!! After getting my BD O1 bindings I spent 5 hours contemplating the position of my bindings and finally making a decision and carefully mounting them. Today all day I couldn't wait to leave the class room behind and hit the slopes to try them out.

After class I waxed them thoroughly and headed out to the hill. The skis where just what I was looking for and performed beautifully. They give me confidence in my turns at all speeds. I am extremely excited to go Westward and put them into some deep powder!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cascade River Skiing

Having passed through the fire of a tested and feeling freedom in my liberation from school for a three day weekend, I was eager for rejuvenation. So myself and friend drove up the north shore with our cross country skis on hand. As we drove fresh snow hanging from the trees grew in thickness while we noticed 4 inches lay on the ground.

Looking for groomed trails we found fresh corduroy along the Cascade River. I was outfitted by my friend with classic gear. I hadn't classic skied since I was 17 and even then it was sporadic at best. I awkwardly applied kick wax and skied away. My technique was clumsy and uncoordinated. My ability to get kick was poor. We threw on some warmer wax and I was on my way. My reintroduction was 8 km of climbing without rest from the incline. I was breathing heavy and feeling my legs were working different muscle than skate. Soon enough the groomed trails ended and we continued on. The trees rained snow as the wind blew it from their branches.

"Chastity" frozen

The way back was refreshing as we flew down hill; the landscape flying by. We abruptly took a hard turn into an ungroomed powder trail. Following the leadership of my friend we trudged down the steep banks to the river. With caution we skied along the river. As the banks became stone and river constricted, I stopped and listened. You could hear the ominous roar of the water in the depths and under the ice. We stopped on the precipice of the water fall entitled "Chastity". We climb back up the bank and skied back to the car.

We stopped to check out Onion River road on the drive home but it was lathered in 4 inches of ungroomed powder. We instead pulled into the Coho Cafe and ate a hardy meal before heading home to Duluth. It was all that I needed to be ready for the rigors of the week ahead.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fall and the Winter Thus Far

The Autumn season brought the inevitable.... school. Yet despite being beseeched by the daily rigors of holding completely still in a class room for extended hours of fact studded lecture, I managed to get out a bit. I began to run a little more, out of the mere fact that it was accessible. I made it out to several of the NMTC Wednesday night runs and was humbled by my aerobic condition and at the same time was happy I wasn't more out of shape than expected. I also managed to get out climbing before the whether turned too cold. I found myself enjoying a little sport climbing at Sandstone quarry and was happy to be out and leading again.

The last hurrah at Wausau

I also managed to get a little paddling in before the water froze up too much. I hit up the last release at Wausau in September and got a good fix of playboating.Myself and a friend made one last run on the boney lower St. Louis a day before the dams would completely constrict it's flow to unrunnable levels. It was great to jump in the creek boat again and scrape my way down to the swinging bridge. Although I will say, after a summer of play boating I felt awkward in my creek boat. I even managed to get a last minute paddle in early November and played at first wave on Upper St. Louis. It was good just to be on the water. On a whim I also managed to throw myself into a roller ski time trial with St. Scholastica Nordic team. There I managed to further humble myself and my lack of conditioning but enjoyed the strenuousness of it.

Finally the season turned and the cold set in. I found myself stuck between seasons... to cold to paddle or climb, yet no snow to ski. I instead went hunting and managed to provide a freezer full of food for the winter for myself and family members. But winter came soon enough and colored the barren brown landscape with a gorgeous coat of white.

After being liberated from school and embarking about winter break I had my plate stacked full for time well spent. I managed to afford myself a telemark ski setup and hit the slopes of Mt. Bohemia in Houghton, Michigan and ride 96 inches of untouched powder. I made some valiant attempt to find powder at Duluth's Spirit Mtn.

Hitting the powder at Mt. Bohemia

I made two trips up the North shore for what I have labeled "soul" skiing. On each sitting myself and a friend would ski for three and half hours cover over 45 km of the beautiful trails near Tofte. As tradition called for, we sat and ate at the Coho cafe. Food never tasted so good than after a long strenuous ski.

Perfection: XC Skiing Onion River Rd.

The winter has thus been eventful and has kept my diet full of meaningful and adventurous days that have put me to bed at night tired and content!