Monday, March 15, 2010


You all know "That guy".   You know,  "That guy",  the genetic mutant,  hyper-fit, aerobic machine.  Yep,  that guy.    It had been a while since I went skiing with "That guy",  but finally got back out for an "East Portal" run on Saturday with "That guy".   I remembered pretty quickly how much "fun" it is to chase those mutant types up a valley at speed.   I did mange to get my cardio ( Rule # 1  !!!)  for the week,  and then some.

We went up thinking that if the snow was not too hot for making laps,  we could "go high" there,  and get a bit alpine-ey instead of just chasing laps in the soft stuff.  Good thing we had that thought,  as the general snow condition was breakable crust with a large serving of mank on the side.  Lucked out on another stellar day,  warm,  and NO wind at all.  Skied around all day in a light top,  and with the solar oven effect on full,  mostly dripping in sweat all day.

After a goodly slog,  we ended up climbing mighty Haystack Mountain (11,800').   Hard to believe I scored another wind free front range day (at least three for this season,  a new record!!)

     (the crown line on this thing looked to be 10+ feet deep..... you could see it from the parking lot...)

In spite of chasing mutants for 9 miles,  was a VERY nice day in the mountains.

Even had a few good turns up high,  before diving into the mank.....

Haystack - West Face from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Makes me want to do some spring ski descents on these "big" lines.  Deathtraps now,  but come spring when they settle,  sure look like fun.  Just need to remember to get off the MTB for a day or 2 come corn season.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Warm & Fluffy

Skiing on the Front range has some "rules" one needs to follow,  else you get a lot of wind in your face & mank under your skis.  The gist of these rules is "follow the storms,  young Jedi".    Going out during or right after the front range upslope storms usually gets you the good snow and no wind.   Saturday,  in a desperate attempt to make up for a lousy ski season (for me at least...),  we headed up after a runt of a storm on Friday.  Pretty much expecting mank-o-rific conditions,  went ahead & headed out anyway.  Surprise!  There was a lot more fresh snow than expected.  even ended up breaking trail through 4-6+ inches of new,  but sadly kinda wet & heavy snow.

Busted our way up the 2K feet of climbing into Meadow Mountain Bowl,  to find ourselves ALONE  in there on a sunny,  warm,  windless day.  Cover was up to snuff,  the snow heavy but decent,  and outside of a few bottomless depth hoar "holes" (Dive! Dive! Dive!) pretty darn nice conditions.

Even looked like Christmas on some of the trees,  with full on "natural" decorations

My Lack of laps this year was showing.  Only a couple of laps got done,  but we did our best to properly deal with what we had to work with,  and left things as tracked up as we could.  It was a "death cookie" day.  Silly things would be outrunning you for hundreds of yards.  Still hard to get a better feeling than launching into a glade with NO tracks,  just wide open,  unbroken snow waiting for you to draw those lines on the mountain.

 Good to be getting over the Gack in my lungs.  finally felt human again,  and got the reward of a GREAT Colorado late winter day.   No whining this week,  just good clean fun with frozen precipitation & gravity.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lung Butter

After a solid week of gagging up green bits of lung butter (Hmm,  wonder if you could sell that at the Boulder Whole foods....  natural,  organic,  and locally produced...),  The bubbling & gurgling in my lungs started to subside enough to make me think I might be able to haul my carcass and these strange and unfamiliar things up some hill in the backcountry.
 Well,  might have been a bit premature,  as a lap and a half into the day,  I realized that I was much more interested in lying down for a nap in the snow than taking the "slow lift" back up again.  Something about not being able to breathe and trying to do a few thousand stair repeats at 11,500 feet was making me tired.   A brief day in the woods,  but very nice to get out again.  Much more scenic than the couch.
Finally got enough base,  and the turns were pretty good.  Now If I can just get fully healthy again,  maybe I can milk some of the usual March dump-age for a few more good ski days.    The foggy and snowy day gives one hope for more fluff.  It even seems like the exertion finally blew some of the goo out,  and can even breathe without bubbles today.  Whee!
Besides my mildly neurotic obsession with getting a few good ski days in,  the arrival of March does make me think about riding.  The Lung Butter episode has put a dent in the weight training "program",  and with 50+ degree temperatures on tap,  I may have to get something with 2 wheels out this week.  With a confirmed road trip coming up in April in the works,  it does seem to be time to ride.   That April trip is getting some mental bandwidth.  Made me go out and order a pile of maps & guidebooks,  both for the April trip target area of Hurricane/Gooseberry Mesa area,  
and a few other places that have popped up on the "want to go ride there" radar.    A bit of interweb looking came up with this place,  a treasure trove of Mountain Bike guidebooks and maps.  Ah,  the stuff dreams are made of.   Guidebooks for rides from Argentina to Wisconsin,  all the exotic riding destinations.   Spring is time to road trip.  Get yours.