This has been an awkward winter – mostly too warm for skating and skiing, too cold to pretend it’s not winter. Winter has finally arrived. I awoke to ten inches of fresh powder and a temperature of 14º F (-10º C). The bike club postponed its ski trip three weeks ago due to lack of snow. Somehow they picked today. Can you say “perfect”?

I headed to the outskirts of town and waited for the group to assemble. Folks made fun of me for my 45 year old boots and 50 year old gaiters. The skis, bindings, and poles were slightly newer. When I lived in California I once lamented to my friend Curtis that my wooden back country skis had cracked and all I had left were the plastic waxless skis with the fish scale bottoms. For California conditions, they were actually preferable to wood and wax. Next thing I knew, Curtis was at my front door (no mean feat, since we lived 400 miles apart) with a pair of lightly-used wooden skis.

Half the fun of skiing is picking the right wax for conditions (though I found out last year that the vast selection of waxes from my youth is no longer available). We used special green for 5-14º F, green from there to 23º, and blue from there up to just below freezing. There were several others (including a slew of waxes for the transitional temperatures above freezing) but those were the mainstays and I’d run out of green.

Today was a special green day and the skiing was perfect! Untrammeled snow, freshly groomed but not tracked. (Tracks sometimes feel too much like transportation and not enough like fun.) In some places, they hadn’t gotten out with the machine at all, so it was just fresh powder deep enough to make my skis disappear, and that sparkled like diamonds in the brief moments that the sun poked through.

A rabbit hopped down the trail toward me, followed by a mink. The mink was enough to convince me to pull out the camera. The mink was shyer than the rabbit so, while the rabbit hopped past me, the mink turned around when I stopped. I had to satisfy myself with a snowy landscape photo sans mink.

The trail wound through the woods and onto a golf course before eventually getting me back to the starting point. A coffee shop on the way home beckoned with the offer of a cortado and a chocolate/espresso scone. An hour and a half of skiing is enough to make one hungry and thirsty. Since I had to discard my old woolen ski knickers (which were both too small and worn out) I did a little online shopping while I had my treat. I figured if these young whippersnappers (truth be told, some of them were near my age) are going to tease me about my old equipment, a pair of wool knickers with wool knee socks oughta put ’em in their place.

I expect that snow to beckon again Monday morning. We’ll see if I answer the call, as the forecast is for 1º (-17º C) and breezy.

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us rode coast to coast across the US. It was so much fun, he's doing it again in 2022! If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

4 thoughts on “Snow!”

  1. I remember a year ago a post like this made me think I should live in Wisconsin. You said the trees would give me claustrophobia and you were right. Here trees are an optional luxury. I never skied on groomed trails until I moved back here. I have mixed feelings about them. Skiing in SoCal was great — always fresh snow and ONLY ME skiing on it (with a dog). Groomed trails are nice and the fancy skis I bought when I came back prefer them, but I’m not sure. Thankfully it’s really not a problem I have to solve or even think about. The skiing philosophy I got in CA is the right one. “If snow, ski.” Have fun!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While yesterday was perfect, today the temperature might reach double digits (That’s still double digits below zero for those of the Celsius persuasion.) By Tuesday morning it might be double digits below zero. (That’s the minus 20s for the C folks.) The good news is the snow won’t melt. The bad news is that means, with a lot of reading for a class tomorrow, I may stay in today. I will get in about 14 miles on the bike to get to and from campus a couple of times tomorrow. I should probably stop reading and take your advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Too bad about that mink but I get it, those nature shots can be tough when the fauna doesn’t cooperate. I need to learn how to X-C ski so I can get more chances at trying to capture those elusive creatures, too.

    Weather report from Markleeville: -8 Fahrenheit this a.m. Coldest this CA boy has ever experienced!

    Enjoy that next ski!

    Mark Schwartz [A picture containing text, bird of prey Description automatically generated] (530) 694-1652 Advocacy. Bikes. Community.

    Liked by 1 person

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