Well, it has been a really abysmal ski season in the Northeast. Even life-long New Englanders will say that conditions are appalling. If there is any snow, it is chunky, granular, and icy. But mostly, it is just rocky and bare. Honestly, there are runs open at Jay Peak that you would never see open out West.
Nonetheless, like all skiers, I was jonesing to start the ski season, no matter how awful conditions were. The fact that my first day only happened in the middle of January is another sad data point.
For a variety of personal stresses, I have been very slothly for the last 6-8 weeks, so I was worried about how out of shape I would be, especially since I rely on one leg. My right glute, quad, and hamstring were pretty worked within two warm-up runs. But things got better after that. I was actually very surprised to be skiing as well as I did. In contrast to last season, I did not have to spend the first 3-4 months, setting up my outriggers to be the right length.
At the very end of last season, in Alyeska, we came up with a system of clipping my left foot up in order to get it out of the way of deeper snow. This continued to work fairly well going into this ski season. I have had to iterate on that though. I wear a belt on my ski pants (now, I can’t buy ski pants that do not have belt-loops), and clip a quick-draw to that. The reason for this is so that the rope-end of the quick draw sticks out below my ski jacket so that I do not have to reach underneath it every time I get started down a run. I used a crappy old oval carabiner attached to some cord I had tied around my left snow boot, to clip to the quickdraw. Dealing with a non-keylock biner, especially with mittens was a real pain in the ass. Next, I went with a non-wire gate notchless (keylock) biner. This was an improvement, but it was still not ideal as the non-wire gate reduced the gate opening space and made it harder to clip this biner to the quickdraw.
The next iteration was to use a keylock, wire gate biner on my left snow shoe (the quickdraw I use has all these properties). This turned out to be a big improvement, along with switching to gloves from mitten. Boo-yah!
I was quite surprised to find that I was skiing as well on Day 1 this year as the last day of last season. Scott thinks that the new skills I learned from last season had time to marinade over the last 10 months or so, and come together. Better than fester I guess.
Here is a video of me on my first day, skiing icy, black bumps in control, and also having the endurance to link a lot of turns. As usual, the video doesn’t quite capture the size of the bumps and terrain. I was rather pleased.