Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wasatch Citizen Series Race #3

I've had so much fun racing the citizen series the last couple of years. There are alot of races that I'd like to do, but when you figure in the cost of the entry fee and travel, etc. on top of all of the gear you need (running,  triathlon, skiing) there are a lot of of "someday" races. Last night as we were all bottle necked going up some switchbacks doing kickturns by headlamp, someone behind me said "Who put in this track? No double track?" I laughed and said "Do you want a refund?" The beautiful thing about the citizen series races is that they are FREE. And they are basically in my back yard here in Utah.

The 12/18 race was possibly the funnest of the citizen series races that I've been to. There were 50+ people, it was cold, snowing, and everyone is so friendly, to the guy that laps people, to the being lapped. Really, a great atmosphere. Skiing by headlamp is really fun too.

The race included 4 laps on a course that included a single skintrack, booter, kickturns, and even a little kick & glide. The skiing was fantastic with 12" of new snow. Powder turns turned into mogul turns as the night wore on--the conditions kept it interesting. I couldn't wear my goggles on the last run because of snow in them and by the end my eyelashes were freezing together.

The skinsuit mafia is getting faster--it seems every race there is someone that has new race skis. Even though no results are kept, the races are very competitive. At least with me and the guys in front and behind me. I always spend time in the pain cave and counting steps to the transition area when I'm really blown.

A big shout out to my main man Andy for being the scoutmaster of this operation. He shows up early, flags the route, puts in a skintrack/booter, does the race, cleans up the flags, and hands out free stuff afterwards (including pies that he buys with his own hard-earned money). Seriously, a real dude. We owe him alot--he has done a lot to promote skimo racing here in Utah.

Ski Trab has been awesome and gave out a pair of $80 race poles last night and has given Andy a demo fleet for the FREE races. Seriously, you can't get better support for a non-entry fee event.

Friday, December 7, 2012

12/6 Ski Tour 10K

Mountains that face south would have you believe that winter hasn't started yet. View down Cardiff Fork , BCC.

Yesterday I felt like a 10k. 10,000 feet of elevation gain that is-despite the loss of hearing and congestion from the cold that I've had.  I headed up LCC and made a lap up hidden peak. As I was about to rip skins at the top of the Peruvian lift, sitting there coughing--I looked down and saw someone skinning upwards. I decided to wait and see who it was. It was Teague. He easily talked me into the the last couple hundred feet of vert up to the tramdock. We ripped skins and skied down. I tried to follow Teague down, but he outskied me pretty easily. I hopped in the car and drove up to Grizzly gulch where I met up with the Asian Sensations: Andy, Jason, and Jared. Josh was there too. More getting outskied was about to happen.

If I have any chance in keeping up with the Sensations I have to be on full race gear. The pace was pretty fast until Jared and Jason left us at noon. We continued skiing, continuing west along the LCC/BCC ridgeline until we were too pooped or time ran out.

Under bluebird skies, we headed up Grizzly to the honeycomb cliffs, skied some rocks and powder into Silver, climbed up Davenport(?) & out Silver (Jared and Jason leave), skied down Jaws (really aesthetic line) into Days Fork, then up and out Days, over to Holy Toledo (best run of the day!)  into Cardiff, around the subridge, up to the top of Cardiac Ridge (super cool line--I wouldn't have done this without Andy breaking trail for a long ways to the top) including booting the last couple hundred feet stepping lightly on a rock slab covered with snow. (Steepest, coolest looking run of the day)
Booter to the top of Cardiac Ridge. Stolen from Andy's Blog. So sue me, I steal.

Then finally making my way over to pole line to exit Cardiff & did a little Hellen Keller skiing back down to the highway and walking back to the Grizzly Gulch parking lot.

In my dreams I think of runs like the ones I skied. The snow was better on some than others, but all runs were excellent, high-quality, giggling-inducing fun skiing. May this winter have much more of the same.

Clouds moved in later on in the day. Looking back towards Cardiac Ridge.

10k and feeling great!
Stats: Garmin showed 9,539 but doesn't include about 20 minutes of skinning from me forgetting to push start. I think I can comfortably call it at 10,000.

Skin failures: 4. Thankfully I had two pairs of skins. Need to fix the glue again though.

Calories: Not enough. The last couple hours I was thinking about sandwiches. Big tasty sandwiches.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Late November Sastrugi on Red Baldy

Per Andy's recommendation I went up White Pine yesterday. I was by myself so planned really on just going on a easy skin up to the A.F. ridge & back. I took my own sweet time getting up there too. The leisurely pace up was almost embarrassing. Well, the low tide snow prevented me from getting all the way up to the AF ridge so I turned around and went up Red Baldy instead. Skied the standard run down. Not from the top, but from where was reasonable given the rocky conditions at the top. It was...interesting. I was certainly kept on my toes. 3 turns of recrystallized powder, several on sastrugi, two on breakable, then a few on supportable wind board, then more recrystallized pow. Repeat.
Looking up to where I started from.


I was psyched on the view though. Really, a nice day to be out. Sunny blue skies, slight wind, beautiful peaks to admire. A nice day even if the skiing was pretty forgettable.

The next storm cycle is going to make things dicey I think--the surface snow had deteriorated pretty badly at the upper elevations.  Sigh. I don't know if I can handle another winter like last year's. The exit out was mildly exciting too--A frozen narrow track with post holes from all the hikers with the odd stream crossing or rock thrown in there. It was excellent.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dynafit Dyna PDG Boot Review

 My brothers are all into cycling. I guess I'm into skiing because most of my fun money goes to ski stuff. That doesn't make me a good skier--skiing just seems to hold my imagination a little more than other endeavors. Every year I've gotten a new piece of ski equipment. This year I bought the DyNA PDG boots. I debated which race boots to get: Aliens or PDG's. The carbon versions were a bit more than I was willing to pay, so it was either a pebax cuff or this new untested fiberglass cuff on the PDG. I've read some glowing reviews about the aliens and reviews were not to be found anywhere about the PDG--I even searched the web in Italian with no results. I guess I bought the PDG because 1)the cuff is supposed to be stiffer than the plastic Alien 2) they are a bit lighter and 3) I have the TLT 5 Mountains and liked them. So, to help out the ski community I thought I'd post my first impressions of the PDG boot.

I ordered them from Amplatz because no one in N.A. had my size. Shipping took a week and was pretty expensive. It was like 60 euros but the final price all said and done was still a bit less than the they sell for on our continent. Funny that I'm writing about boots I bought from Europe on "Small-business Saturday." We have "Gray Thursday" "Black Friday" "Small-business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday." I'm calling the week before Thanksgiving "International expensive stuff week."

Here's my caveat: I skied them today for the first time, so obviously not an exhaustive review. Only a couple of runs on some groomers at Brighton, so my "review" will evolve as I get more days in the boots and challenge them on more difficult terrain.

Things I really liked about the boots:

  • The walk mode is incredible! I have the TLT 5 Mountain, and the PDG blows it away. Forward flex for skinning is really good. It is pretty resistance free both fore and aft. At least as far as my ankles can move comfortably. The Aliens are probably even better, but the PDG is pretty adequate as well.
  • They are really light. I could tell a noticeable difference in the weight. Listed weight is 790 grams or about a full pound lighter than my TLT 5s. I don't have a gram scale though so I can't say what the actual weight is.
  • They are pretty comfortable right out of the box. My Mountains were so painful at first. I've had to help a couple of bootfitters help me with stretching the shells and modifying the liners. I had to do NOTHING for the PDGs to feel comfy. I have the 27.5 Mountains (297 BSL) and bought the size 28 PDG (299 BSL). So maybe I just bought the wrong size Mountains. Bummer.
  • They are STIFF! I saw someone on the interwebs say they heard the PDG to be "in the same realm of stiffness as the old F1s." No way--these babies are a little stiffer than my Mountains (without tongue). That surprised me. 
  • I like the color.

  • We'll see if they end up durable enough to last a few years. I really hope so. 
  • I hope they solved the issue with the rivet loosening in prior years' carbon boots. 

White Lightning!

Cuff height comparison. The cuffs appear to be the exact same height.

 Looks like the same liner as the original DyNA liner. Pretty light. The boots came with several abrasion patches so they may not be the most durable, but they sure are light. And pretty comfy too.
 The lower buckle has this really cool "tooth" that helps the buckle lock down. My TLT 5 buckles are always opening. This is a nice improvement.
 A full vibram sole. I don't really do tons of booting/climbing or "Teton style" in my ski boots so I can't imagine that wear will ever become an issue.
Well, that's it. Hopefully these babies will help me move from a back of the pack racer to a solid middle of the pack racer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Note: This draft has been in my blogger for almost two full months. I guess I better publish it. Pics to come when I get around to it. Which probably means in 2 more months. Maybe I'll finish the rest of the entry someday too.

Saturday 4/21/2012 Keith, Steve, Jeff, Greg, Ryan and myself all went to “run” the doublecross of the grand canyon. With the north rim closed until 5/15, we were forced to add a couple hundred miles onto our drive to the south rim of the grand canyon. The drive was not without excitement. A bad crash had closed the highway in both directions just past Page, AZ, and it was obvious that it would be a while before they opened the road again, so we decided to take a bypass road which really was just a maintenance road for the powerlines that ran parallel to the highway. A whole convoy of cars decided to take the same dirt road and we were all hoping the van would make it because having to salmon the little dirt road back to the highway would have been a major time killer.
Road trips with a car full of excited people makes any outing fun. Our attempt to do the doublecross was no exception. At long last we made it to the south rim and were able to set up the tent, get some burritos and check out the trailhead before the sun went down. We were all tucked in bed with an ambient assist at 8pm in anticipation of our long run the next day.

Saturday, the day of our run was Jeff’s birthday. On the way to the trailhead, we sang to him and gave him a pop tart with a candle in it in lieu of cake. We started running @4:30a to beat the burros on the way down. As the sun started to paint the eastern sky a faint shade of color, the darkness lifted and we were able to get our first views of the canyon. The relief is impressive and the canyon so vast! Pictures really don’t do it justice.  I was going at a fun run pace all day which included a mix of running and walking in an effort to make it fun and not too soul crushing of a day. Somewhere near cottonwood I looked at my watch and being 3:20 into it, I let the group know that Jason Dorais would be on the north rim already. We all laughed. At ourselves.

Just getting started.
Bridge across the Colorado.

Jeff came straight from a tailgate party to meet us for the run.

I picked up my skimo suit from Jared before heading down. I had to try it on when we were stopped
for an accident. 

Down down down.

Cell service again! Nerds.

The GC is stunning.

Mission accomplished. I think it took us around 15ish hours but I'm not sure. My watch died on me. Who cares anyway?

I felt really good all day even on the last climb up the Bright Angel trail.

A couple notes about nutrition: I get really sick of gels, bars, etc. on a long day like that. The best thing I had all day was a small stick of beef jerky. Ryan had boiled potatoes, Jeff had a Lynn Wilson burrito (he let it thaw in his pack)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Davis County MTB Tour 4/7/12

A couple of friends of mine were were planning a big day planning on skiing coalpit, the hypodermic needle and the Y couloir. Certainly an awesome day to link those 3 lines--I wanted in. The only problem was the start time of 1:00a for me to meet the fellas on time. I wasn't feeling it--My body needed just a bit more sleep than that. With the little dusting of snow and the hard freeze we had a couple days ago an alternative popped into my mind. My "alternative" was to MTB up to the ranger cabin in Farmington Canyon and lap some Mud and Rice that I've skied several times over the last few years. The Farmington Canyon road has been closed for over a year due to some rockfall, so the only way to get there was by foot or by bike. By foot would take forever, so bike it is. 11ish miles from my house to the skis transition.

Great reflection of the full moon on the GSL this morning.

I quickly figured out a way to lash my skis and boots to my bike and set the alarm for 4:15a. I was skeptical of what the skiing would be like, but sometimes you never know until you go. Anyway, it was cold on the ride up and the ride felt much longer in the dark. My toes were numb basically the whole day. As I type they are sore from the cold ski boots they were stuffed in all morning. I breakfasted  on some spinach and sweet potato pizza leftover as I watched the sunrise. A beautiful clear windless morning, I could look south and see the Wasatch range all the way to Timp. Looking east I could see the high peaks of the Uintas. Looking south was Francis Peak and the Farmington ridge. It was going to be a memorable day.

Owen's skintrack from the week prior? He's the only other person (that I know of) to ski this area this year so it had to be him. 

I was psyched on the view.

Type 1 fun.

Little 80s turns!
My transportation for the day. Not a drop of gas used to ski today. Not 85 octane anyways.
The skiing was fantastic. Really really fun stuff. About 6" of new which this season classifies as a powder day. I was home by noon to start easter-egg hunts, do some honey-dos and spend time with the family.

Stats for the day:

Miles on bike: 22.
Miles on skis: 8-10ish?
Fuel: My spinach and sweet potato basil pizza.
Time: 7.5 hours home to home.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Powderkeg Recap


I don't know what it is with the Powderkeg. In 2010 I could barely walk due to a bad ski crash a couple weeks before the race. I did the rec division on heavy gear. In 2011 I had race gear, but also had bronchitis. A heavy, productive cough at altitude saw me to a miserable day out on the course. In 2012, I was hopeful that it would all come together for me. I felt encouraged by my fitness from the citizen series races. Work was starting to get busy for me (CPA--I know, the worst job ever for a skier). I've had a lingering cold since the beginning of March, but no big deal right? Wrong. Train wreck!

 Right from the le mans start I knew it was going to be a long day. I had no energy and just felt drained even on the first climb. While doing long events like White Rim in a day etc. it's not uncommon for me to have "dark moments" when everything seems dire. Then something happens like a bend in the road providing a good vista, seeing some columbines in bloom, hearing birdsong, or some other trigger that will make it fun again. The 2012 Powderkeg was one big dark moment. I wanted to drop out so bad but eventually I kinda stopped racing and just tried to finish. It is such a shame too because it was such a beautiful day, but I just couldn't get the negative chatter of "I'm hurting so bad" and "Dude, just drop out" out of my head all day. Grrr.

Chad put on a great event that was well attended, had great volunteers, and reserved some beautiful weather for the race. Really, one of the best events I've participated in. The sprint race afterwards was really fun too with 6 teams of 6 racers completing a lap consisting of a short skinner, a booter, short skinner, then ski through some gates back down to the start.

Dissapointed, but finally finished.

Lining up for the spring. Somehow I had to race against the A team.

Finishing the sprint race.

Jeffy in the sprint race.
In the couple of days since the race I realized that the Pkeg didn't reflect my overall ability or fitness--I'm capable of a lot more. Physically and mentally, I had a terrible day. Next year I'm using Purell and I'm going to stop shaking hands in February.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Citizen Series/Mueller Park pipeline

The last citizen series race of the year was Thurs. 3/1. As usual, it was awesome. This really has been a fun series. I'm going to miss not having Thursday night skimo the rest of the winter. 

Hi Jon!

Andy, you're the man.

Directions. Wait, where does it go?

Courtney kicked my butt all winter. He was always just a little faster than me and is a great skier too.

Jeff just after his yardsale to finish the race.

Team exchange.

Mueller Park Reconnaisance

We were short on time Saturday because of family commitments, but still wanted to get out and have a little adventure. The plan was to hike up the pipeline scar that Kern River made this summer in Mueller Park. We made it most of the way up before we had to turn around. 

The scar ranged from mostly flat to 30ish degrees to flatish and went for a long way. There was enough coverage to have some fun turns. I think that scar will provide access to some great options up on the ridge. Gotta get up there again.

(Jeff Caldwell collection)

(Jeff Caldwell collection)

(Jeff Caldwell collection)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jackson guys trip (with my wife too)

Sometime in late November we put a trip to Jackson on the calendar with me, my three brothers, and my dad. The plan was to stay and ski for a couple days and hang out. Well, as the time got closer, some people couldn't make it, so Jami came instead. I've skied at Jackson 2x previously, both for the Jackson Rando Race.

I was super impressed by that mountain and how steep it is! I loved it-That would be a really great home mountain to have. Friday was pretty bluebird. I don't really have alpine skis anymore, so I was on a bluehouse ski with dynafits. A couple of the holes had been reused from a previous mount. Anyway, I was skiing some moguls and crashed. I think what happened is the toepiece ripped out and I tipped. I looked down and the toepiece was still fixed in my boots! I had an interested ski the rest of the way down and had to swap skis for a snowboard for the rest of the trip.

With all of my ski focus being on touring the last couple years, it was fun to ride lifts, chill, hand out with my old lady and goof off with my kid brother.

Jeff is a pretty rad skier. Like Bode.

My Dad still gets after it in his late 60s.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Flagstaff>Oingo Boingo(Days)>Hallway>Pole Line

Last Saturday (Feb 18) was one of those days you just wish you could bottle and take a little with you for the rest of your life. 

Beautiful Days.


Hallway-upper entrance. We passed and skied in from the lower entrance.

Hallway-Trent Duncan shredding.

Cardiac Ridge had tons of tracks. Is it considered Alta sidecountry?

I took this on my way out. Superior would have been great today.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Ski/BMX

Got out the other day with Greg and my brother Boog. I love the Wasatch. 

Nice day to be out!

Per the avalanche forecast, we stayed off of anything smooth, white and steep. Really tempting to look at a nice untracked slope like that. Patience is the name of the game right now.

Boot top pow! Dr. Boog throwing some low angle dust around.
After skiing I hadn't had enough fun, so I went and raced BMX bikes with my friend Logan.