I ducked out of work a bit early yesterday, but not early enough to do any snowboarding since the lifts close at 4:30. Instead I brought my CX skis up to the Sundance nordic center for some groomed goodness, or so I thought. I was surprised to find out that the nordic center had 3-6 inches of new snow (depending on where you were on the course) on top of the groomed track.
Regretting that I didn't bring my board for a few runs, I set out on my skate skis through the powder. It didn't take long to remember that skating on a powder day can actually be a ton of fun. And there is something surreal about breaking first tracks on a trail deep in the woods below Mt. Timp. I'm pretty sure I was the only skier on the entire mountain. Say what you will about the way that Sundance operates it's resort, but there is no getting around the fact that Sundance is set in one of the most breathtaking locations imaginable. And it seems to me that the folks that run the nordic center are much cooler and laid-back then their counterparts 5 minutes down the road.
I got to the top of the "middle earth" trail and came across the steepest trail in the nordic center called "Jerry's lunch." On a normal groomed and icy day, I only dare go up Jerry's, and even that about gives me a heart attack because of how steep it is. Going down Jerry's on a groomed day on my amazingly fast skate skis would be a death wish for me. But yesterday, Jerry's had not been touched by skis or by a groomer since the snow storms started last weekend...
I think I've mentioned before that I don't really know how to downhill ski. When you add the fact that my skate skis are only about 2 inches wide and have no edges or side-cut, my ability to stay in control deteriorates even further. However, I've never been one to pass up a powder run, so I decided I'd give Jerry's a go. I dropped in and picked up speed pretty quick. Turning to control my speed through about 2 feet of powder was nearly impossible for a hack like me, so I just went with it, hoping that the deep snow would control my speed. I managed to stay upright until I got to the bottom, but I was really flying by the time the grooming and sharper corners started up again at the bottom. It turns out that downhill skiing on CX skis through a 10-foot wide tunnel of thick trees is quite the rush. I did 2 more loops before the nordic center closed at 5pm.
The Sundance nordic center is doing it's "full moonlight ski" on Monday, February 9th, which means that they stay open till 9pm. I think it would be fun to get a bunch of people up there for the CX skiing version of a night ride. Of course, that means we'd need to stop by at Village Inn afterwards. Let me know if you are interested, regardless of skill level. If we're really lucky, maybe we'll get another powder day.
Inside The Passion - John McGuinness
3 months ago