Thursday, February 7, 2013

Waiting for the Pow(der)...

I wish for your sakes that I was better at remembering to take photos while skiing. Or, for that matter, that the conditions warranted skiing more than a few hours a day. I (and I think the entire greater Tahoe area, if such nomenclature exists) have been waiting for a day like today practically all year...
...which translates into looking something like this:
The thaw from yesterday afternoon froze overnight and never really re-thawed today. Then it started snowing around 11am, and visibility deteriorated, at least at the base. I assume it wasn't better higher up. Rather than slide around blindly on dust on crust, I took a non-ski day in hopes that I'll find pockets of pow tomorrow morning.

But let me tell you about yesterday. It was another day of temps rising well above freezing after dipping way below freezing over night. I went out too early on Tuesday and found conditions uninspiring. So yesterday, I bided my time and headed out around noon.

What does one do when the snow conditions are generally uninspiring? 

One demos skis. 

My friend Jenn connected me with an old friend of hers who hooked me up with every single 2013 women's ski I wanted to try. This was awesome. Every ski that the women on TheSkiDiva have been buzzing about for the last year or so were on my feet yesterday afternoon. Well, not every, but pretty close to every. Actually, by "every," I really mean anything that I was willing to put on my feet in hardpack-ish conditions. 

I clicked in to the Volkl Kenja in 156 and chased kept within eyesight Jenn's pal on some groomers and even took air on the race course on my second run of the day. Holy moly. It was the most awesomely exhilarating warmup ever. I didn't know forgot that there was a dramatic pitch change there. How I landed balanced on my skis is beyond me. By far, the Kenja was the most fun, probably because the skis were the right length and stiffness for the uninspiring conditions. 

Aside: Who imported the east coast conditions here? Not me. I've always brought snow with me every time I've come to Tahoe. You – whoever you are – take back the east coast conditions.

I also took out the Blizzard Black Pearl in 152 (meh, but I think the ski was too short and/or soft for the conditions) and the Blizzard Samba in 159 (stable, but holy crap the longest ski I've been on since the shaped ski revolution, even if you discount the rocker/early rise tips).
Blizzard Samba
Now, if you'll indulge in the geeky gear talk, here's the thing that confuses me: Jenn's pal took one look at my adorable alpine touring skis that I lugged out here and told me they were too short. 

Who the heck are the shortest skis designed for if they are not designed for pipsqueaks like me? 

He said, "Tweens." Aren't there junior skis for them? I came up with this last question today, so it'll remain unanswered unless someone pops onto the blog with one.

As it was, the two skis I found most stable yesterday were longer than I would have put myself on. And, the one ski that I found squirrely was, in fact, the shortest. But I question whether I felt stable only because the ski length masked underlying balance issues that I may have and whether I would have felt the same about the skis had I skied more technical terrain. In fact, I took the über-long-but-stable-on-groomers Samba onto some awesomely corned up bumps in the early afternoon and found that they didn't help my perpetually mediocre mogul skiing cause. I kind of felt like a spastic cat with oiled up paws on linoleum. So there's that. Random musings of yesterday.

Tomorrow: Freshies, I'm coming after you. Don't let me down.